MSP in plea to stop demolition of shop

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) must halt any proposals to demolish the old Co-op building in Castlebay until a full, open, public consultation is carried out, says Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant.
CnES favour demolition and maintain this is the preferred wish of the community, referring to a decision which CnES says was made by the local community council several years ago.
The present tenants of the building, community producers Buth Bharraigh, however, say it is very definitely not the wish of the community and have conducted their own survey that appears to bear out this view.

Ceòlas is finalist in Gaelic Awards

Every July, droves of eager students descend on Ceòlas Uibhist in Dalabrog in South Uist to experience life in the strongest Gaelic-speaking community in Scotland.

The journey has become an annual pilgrimage for many, taking classes in song, piping, dance and enjoying an evening programme of cèilidhs, concerts and walks.

On average, about 20% of Ceòlas summer school participants come from without the UK.

It is no surprise then that Ceòlas Uibhist has been named a finalist in the International Category for ‘Duaisean Gàidhlig na h-Alba’, the Scottish Gaelic Awards. The Awards Ceremony will take place in St Andrew’s in the Square in Glasgow on the 18th of November.  Amongst those also nominated for that category is Àdhamh Ó Broin of Outlander renown.

Mary Schmöller, Development and Office Manager of Ceòlas Uibhist, commented that: "It is a privilege to be nominated for a second time in this category, especially as we are in the process of negotiating to extend the work carried out under EOST two years ago."

Ceòlas was a finalist in the International Category in 2013, and took the Economic Asset Award in 2014.

Big award win for Skye Farm Shop

The Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness was the scene of tension and excitement on October 23, 2015.  The occasion was the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards Dinner & Ceremony, in celebration of Scottish food and drink suppliers. 
One of the winners was the Isle of Skye's very own Skye Farm Shop. 
Based in Armadale, the farm shop was awarded Independent Retailer Of The Year for the second year running! 
Owner, Martin MacLure, says: "I was delighted and quite surprised!  I didn't think we would get it this year, as there was stiff competition.  This shows the work my team and I are doing is appreciated." 
Already on the shop's list of accolades was its previous win in 2014 of the Scottish Variety Award for the Best New Scottish Company or Product.
Martin opened his shop in 2013 with the aim of selling and promoting Highland and Isle of Skye produce, something Martin is passionate about. 
"I always enjoyed my food, even when I was young!" he laughs.  "We have so much quality food out, right here on our doorstep - food that many people are unaware of, even if they live in the Highlands and Islands.  We have some products not available anywhere else, such as our own Highland beef from my dad's stock - he lives about a mile away and it's great to be able to support my dad's crofting."
Skye Farm Shop caters to a wide variety of palates - visitors can enjoy Skye and Highland Meats, Highlands and Islands Cheeses, handmade Skye Chocolate and Fudge, as well as island-made jams and chutneys and a selection of allergen-free products.  That is just a handful of what Skye Farm Shop has to offer, and Martin is aiming to widen his range whenever possible. 
"I try and introduce more and more lines, as it helps open the doors for other businesses," he explains.  "85% of what I sell is produced in Scotland.  I want to bring everyone's attention to quality Scottish food." 
Which part of his job does Martin enjoy most?  "I enjoy doing quality control, because it involves eating things," he laughs.  "Seriously, what I enjoy most is people coming in and being surprised by how much we stock.  It's lovely when they come back and say that they really enjoyed what they bought."
If you would like to enjoy a celebration of Scottish produce, why not drop in to the award-winning Skye Farm Shop and give your taste-buds a treat!

Article by Roz Skinner.

Photographs by Alison White.

Event host comedian Fred MacAulay, Martin MacLure of Skye Farm Shop and Penny Ellis of Knockomie Hotel presented the award.

Martin MacLure of Skye Farm Shop with his family and supporters