The Skye Magazine is an exciting insight into Skye and Raasay, as well as providing information on new up-and-coming businesses, and new ventures on the island. The Skye Magazine in its printed form, appears once a year from May, and thousands are distributed throughout the islands.

And the on-line edition - below - is updated throughout the year with new reports, photographs and information from all across the Islands.

So, just click download, enjoy learning about the beautiful isles of Skye and Raasay, and, if you aren’t here already, make sure to plan a visit sometime soon!

Runrig boys receive Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s prestigious Sàr Ghàidheal award

A celebratory dinner was held by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI recently to present brothers Rory and Calum MacDonald, from the successful band Runrig, with their Sàr Ghàidheal awards.

It was at this year’s Graduation ceremony that the title of Sàr Ghàidheal was bestowed upon them and although unable to attend, they filmed a video thanking the College for the award which was shown to all those present.

There have been many links, both historical and personal, between the brothers and the College through the years.  Rory MacDonald designed the first ever SMO logo, their band Runrig played in the Talla Mhòr back in the early days, Donnie Munro the Director of Development and the Arts at SMO was a fellow member of the band and both Calum and Rory were in primary school with College Principal, Prof Boyd Robertson.

Prof Robertson said:  “It was entirely appropriate that the title of Sàr Ghàidheal was bestowed on the MacDonald brothers given how they revitalised and extended the corpus of Gaelic song.  and how, through their repertoire with Runrig, they brought Gaelic music and song to the world stage and  got people unfamiliar with the language  to sing Gaelic songs .  It was also very fitting that the award of Sàr Ghàidheal was conferred on Rory and Calum by Roddy John MacLeod in his last official engagement as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.  He and the brothers had attended Portree High School together and he went on to become their legal advisor when they established the band.”


Balaich Runrig a’ faighinn duaisean chliùiteach an t-Sabhail Mhòir

Chaidh dìnnear a chumail le Sabhal Mòr Ostaig OGE o chionn ghoirid airson duais nan Sàr Ghàidheal a thoirt do na bràithrean Ruairidh agus Calum Dòmhnallach bhon chòmhlan ainmeil Runrig.  

B’ ann aig Ceumnachd na bliadhna-sa san Dàmhair a chaidh an t-urram a bhuileachadh orra.  Leis nach b’ urrainn dhaibh a bhith an làthair, chaidh bhideo a chlàradh leotha ‘s a shealltainn don fheadhainn a bha ann.  

Tha mòran cheanglaichean air a bhith eadar na bràithrean agus an an t-Sabhal thar nam bliadhnaichean.  B’ e Ruairidh Dòmhnallach a dhealbhaich a’ chiad shuaicheantas aig a’ Cholaiste, chluich an còmhlan san Talla Mhòr sna tràth làithean, bha Donnie Rothach a tha na Stìuiriche Leasachaidh is Ealain aig an t-Sabhal na chompanach aca sa chòmhlan agus bha iad fhèin is Prionnsapal an t-Sabhail, an t-Oll Boyd Robasdan, sa bhun-sgoil còmhla.  

Thuirt an t-Oll Robasdan: “Bha e iomchaidh gun deach inbhe Sàr Ghàidheil a bhuileachadh air na bràithrean Dòmhnallach airson mar a dh’ùraich agus a’ leudaich iad stòras òrain nan Gàidheal agus na rinn iad gus ceòl na Gàidhlig a thoirt gu aire an t-saoghail is òrain Ghàidhlig a chur air bilean an t-sluaigh tron chòmhlan Runrig. Bha e freagarrach dhà-rìribh gur e duais nan Sàr Ghàidheal a thoirt do Ruairidh is Calum Dòmhnallach an gnìomh oifigeil mu dheireadh a bh’ aig Ruaraidh Iain MacLeòid mar Chathraiche an t-Sabhail.  Bha e fhèin is na bràithrean nan sgoilearan còmhla ann an Àrd-sgoil Phort Rìgh agus bha e na neach-comhairleachaidh lagha aca nuair a stèidhich iad an còmhlan.”



Why Chris makes films on Skye

Celebrating the Gaelic language and culture is very much at the heart of what Isle of Skye film company, Young Films, aims to do.  Owner, Christopher Young, whose previous productions include sitcom The Inbetweeners, says: "The Isle of Skye has so much history and tradition.  The Gaelic language is a key to unlock all of that.  It's a wonderful way of giving voice and expression to the authentic culture of the place."

It makes sense, then, that Young Films is the company behind Bannan - the first Gaelic drama to be made since the 1990's.  Christopher enthuses: "I wanted to create a long-running drama shot in Skye. So far, we have made 18 half-hour long episodes.  Episodes 9 - 13 are going to be aired on BBC Alba in January and we are looking to make another 15 episodes in the future.

From an early age, Edinburgh-born Christopher was passionate about films.  "I made a few short films as a teenager, but then I went on to do a degree at university in Italian and French Literature," he explains.  "I kept the love of film-making going through my university days by doing a lot of acting and drama."  

Christopher's film-making career started to ignite properly when he became involved with the Edinburgh Film Festival.  "At first, it was jobs like driving vans and making tea," he admits.  "But I had the excitement of meeting people like Marshall Brickman, who was Woody Allen's scriptwriter.  There was also one day when I had to entertain scriptwriter and director Terrence Davies."  For a young man who had been obsessed with the cinema from age 14, meeting and working with celebrated film-makers was significant and inspiring.

Read more: Why Chris makes films on Skye

Future artist stranded on stack by rising tide!

Stranded on the stack!  It sounds like the alliterative title of a disaster film!  However, when renowned landscape artist, Nigel Grounds, was just eight years old, he and his family had this unnerving experience at Talisker Bay, Isle of Skye.  They walked out to the famous sea stack and Nigel, his brother and their parents climbed to the top.  The tide came in quickly, stranding the family!  

"We were stuck there for hours in quite rough weather, with the sea raging around us!" Nigel recalls.  "My brother and I were sucking sweets and my dad just fished - it was an amazing and, in retrospect, surreal experience!"

Nigel's adventures (and misadventures!) on the Hebridean islands help to inspire his paintings, allowing his experiences and perspectives to be recreated on the canvas.  Mixing Scotland's timeless inspiration with his own memories, Nigel has painted scenes from where he used to live at Plockton, holidays to Harris and Lewis and the surroundings of his current home and gallery in Sleat, Isle of Skye.  

Nigel spent his early years in St Helens, Lancashire before his family moved to Eynort, Isle of Skye.  Like his father, who enjoyed fishing and camping, Nigel was most at home out of doors.  "I was very interested in wildlife as a youngster," he says.  "I explored all the way from Coruisk to Talisker.  My first jobs were shearing sheep and hand-hauling lobster creels!"  It was around this time that Nigel's love of art developed.  Along with science, Nigel had a natural aptitude for art at school.  

However, after attending Portree High School, Nigel went on to do a course in land economy and surveying.  "I stuck at it for the first year, but I wasn't enjoying it," he admits.  "I sat down and thought about what I would really like to do."  This epiphany ultimately led to Nigel graduating from Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen with a B.A. (Hons.) in Fine Art.

However, Nigel still believes he is on a learning curve with his art, saying: "I am not afraid to experiment.  When I paint, I want to get better and better in terms of capturing that all-important sense of place."

The ever-changing landscapes provide Nigel with constant inspiration.  "There are a lot of tonal contrasts in my paintings," he says.  "I love to capture the natural drama of the landscapes.  I try to create a thing of beauty that has an emotional impact."  

A few of Nigel's favourite locations to capture are Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris, the views to Knoydart from the Isle of Skye and the islands of Eigg and Rum.  "I wouldn't say I was Mr Beach, but I enjoy painting beaches.  The contrasts are wonderful and the composition changes constantly, with tide variation, different seasons and, of course, the weather!"

In 2007, Nigel was able to relocate to Armadale, in a place where he had enough room for a gallery, a studio and living accommodation.  Visitors to the gallery will find art that transports them all around Scotland, where they will see the landscape with Nigel's unique perspective and receive a warm welcome from the artist himself!

(Article and photographs by Roz Skinner)

Memories of holidays in Skye…50 years on

It was 1964, we were in our twenties, living in Manchester with two small children.  Both of us had already fallen in love with Scotland and had hopes of going to live and work there. 
In the spring we had seen an advert in what was then the Manchester Guardian for a Holiday Let, a little cottage on Skye at Herbusta, five miles from Uig, so we booked it for three weeks in September. 
We drove to York and put the car on the Motorail to Scotland, whilst we all slept in the sleeper compartments, to get off next morning at Inverness.  Whilst the cars were unloaded we went straight into the magnificent Station Hotel for porridge and kippers!
The night before we had accidentally left our little daughter's supper in the car, we could not reach it as it was all locked up on the train's car wagons, so she had gone to sleep hungry.  The kindly waitress at the station hotel brought her a huge silver dish of scrambled eggs and within about five minutes she had eaten every scrap!
Refreshed by breakfast we set off in our old Ford Popular to drive to Skye.  It took us far longer than we had anticipated to get from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh because of the winding roads and passing places.  When we arrived there we had a long, long wait for the ferry (three hours).
Finally having arrived on Skye, we were unaware how long it was going to take us to get from Kyleakin to Herbusta.  But make it we did, arriving in the dark at our cottage.  A lovely fire was lit to welcome us in, a jug of milk on the table, and a kindly neighbour unloaded our sleeping children and carried them into the cottage.
We loved it, the wonderful fresh air.  One day the wind blew away the nappies drying on the line, two fields away.  We drank in the beauty of the scenery, which stirred our souls as we pushed the old pram (conveniently left in the cottage) round the roads and lanes.  We were very near Flora Macdonald's monument.  There was a tea-room near there and we had frequent visits for scones and warm pancakes.  We were welcomed every visit with great enthusiasm and I can still hear the gentle lilt of their lovely voices.  Three-year-old Mark fell in love with the tea-room lady and wanted us to visit her again the next year…which we did! And how much we enjoyed the views of the outer islands from the cottage windows.  To us, in 1964, it was all so magical.
June 1965 saw us back on Skye at our little cottage, this time venturing further afield to the sandy beach at Staffin, and walking into the paths at the Quirang.  We did not want to leave but this time we drove home to Manchester, staying the night at the Kings Arms at Lockerbie.  We arrived home to find a letter for David offering him a job in Glenrothes new town (he was an architect)… so by September 1965 our dream was fulfilled and here we were living in Scotland. 
Move on 50 years (September 2014), we decided with a nostalgic urge to find our little cottage again.  We came on the bus from Edinburgh stayed in Portree and the following day caught the bus to Flora Macdonald's monument but there was no sign of the tea-room.  However, we set off down what we felt was the right road but it started to feel further than we thought.  Then we found a cottage which in our memory looked like ours so we plucked up courage to knock on the door.  This was opened by a lovely lady called Mary Ann Graham who was so welcoming, invited us in for a cup of tea and rock buns and then she sent us on our way and we soon found the right cottage.
Mary Ann was just my age so she had been living in her croft all these 50 years, whilst we had been living in Glenrothes, Lanark, East Kilbride, the Isle of Arran, and now Edinburgh. 
As we stood outside our former holiday let, memories flooded back, it had changed with a new extension added on, but there was the lay-by where we parked our old Ford Popular and the cows ate the rubber off the windscreen, and the rubber off the running board, we don't know how tasty it was but we made it home to Manchester without it! 
As soon as we got home to Edinburgh we hunted round for our old 1964 slides of Skye.  We printed them off and sent some to Mary Ann who loved them, and then we decided to share our story with the Skye Magazine.


College expansion reaches new stage

The first major building in the new Kilbeg Development on Sleat in Skye was officially opened on Wednesday October 22 by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, seen above in front of the new facility. 
The new building at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, the National Centre for the Gaelic Language and Culture, is named "Ionad Iain Nobail" or the Iain Noble Centre, in memory of the late Sir Iain Noble who was instrumental in the establishment and early development of the College more than 40 years ago.
Sir Iain was inspired to launch the drive to create Sabhal Mòr Ostaig by the example of the Faroe Islands where the campaign to protect and develop the local language had started at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Work began on Phase 1 of the major new 'Kilbeg Village Development' project, being led by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, in March 2014.  Along with the site servicing and infrastructure, which should enable the future elements of the Kilbeg Village plan to be delivered in stages over 10-15 years.
The Iain Noble Centre is built as an Academic, Research, Knowledge Transfer and Enterprise building.  Part of this new centre is also home to key College staff who previously occupied the original Ostaig Steading buildings.
The Chairman of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig's Board of Directors, Lord Minginish , said: "I would like to congratulate everyone who has brought us to where we are today. There are too many to name individually butit would be appropriate to give thanks to the Government for their help at every stage of the development.
"By being with us today to officially open and name Ionad Iain Nobail the First Minister is demonstrating that continued support.  We are greatly indebted to every group involved in the funding of the project also. This is a great and historic day for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, for Sleat and for the Isle of Skye: the first step in a development that will continue for the next twenty years."
Funding assistance towards the £6.2m cost of Phase 1 at Kilbeg has been provided by the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Government, the European Regional Development Fund (Convergence) of the European Union, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Highland Council and the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Development Trust which incorporates the former Highland Fund and Urras na h-Aiseirigh.
Robert Muir, Area Manager for HIE Lochaber Skye and Wester Ross said "HIE are delighted that the first phase of the ambitious Kilbeg Village development has been completed successfully. We look forward to the long term benefits of this initial infrastructure investment being realised through future projects that Sabhal Mòr Ostaig develop on site".
The project contractors, Robertson Construction Northern Ltd, completed the development in April 2015 and the Regional Managing Director, Frank Reid, said: "With Kilbeg Village, we were conscious that we weren't simply working on a building, but something that would help stimulate the continuing success of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – as well as contribute towards the economic growth of Skye and the wider Highlands and Islands area.
"It was vital then that this development reflected the ambition, quality and significance of the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, so we are particularly proud to see it now and are certain it will fulfil this goal. We are honoured to have played an integral part in the development of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for not just Sleat and Skye, but the whole Gaelic culture."
Sir Iain’s widow, Lucilla, Lady Noble, said: "It gives me great joy to learn that the flagship building of A' Chill' Bheag is being named Ionad Iain Nobail. Given the challenges that he overcame in setting up Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, combined with his lifelong commitment and endeavour towards ensuring the future of the Gaelic language, culture and education,  it will also be appreciated that Iain's name will continue in perpetuity at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig."
Sleat Community Council welcomed this latest phase of the College's development and paid tribute to the vision of Sir Iain. Their chairman Roddy Murray said "This latest development  marks not only the continuing growth of the College but also the start of a new phase of Community involvement and diversification through the Kilbeg Village Plan. The Community Council looks forward to the provision of further enhanced facilities at Kilbeg which will benefit both the College and the community for generations to come". 
The Kilbeg initiative will result in the creation of the first new 'planned village' on Skye, in almost 100 years and is, therefore, of great historical significance. It will also build upon the significant socio-economic impact which the College has had in the region since its founding in 1973.
After the official opening, the First Minister delivered the annual Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Lecture where she spoke of the relationship between Gaelic linguistic and cultural regeneration and the economic vitality of the country and, in particular, of what Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has contributed since the establishment of the College.
She praised Sir Iain Noble's vision and the ways in which Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has grown over the years, in regards to both education and development, and in which the College is today a great example to the entire country.
She said: "When Sir Ian Noble established this college, his vision was partly based on the view that cultural regeneration would encourage economic regeneration. The two go hand in hand. That vision has been vindicated here on Sleat over the last four decades.
"The new walls of the Kilbeg development demonstrate the contribution Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has made to Gaelic learning; to the regeneration of the Sleat peninsula; and to the culture and economy of the Highlands and Islands."
The First Minister explained how Gaelic medium education had increased numbers of Gaelic speakers and how important it is that that these numbers continue to rise.
She said: "What we're trying to do now is to ensure that our education legislation and schools system help rather than hinder the development of Gaelic.  So we're adopting a proportionate and practical approach which will help to secure the language's future.   We want more people to learn Gaelic, to use it, and to see its relevance in their everyday lives.  And in doing so, we will ensure that Gaelic contributes to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities."
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Principal, Professor Boyd Robertson said: "Today marked an important milestone in the developing story of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig."  He pointed out that Nicola Sturgeon was the fourth First Minister to give the lecture. "We were greatly encouraged by her recognition of the work of the College and her support for it.  She also exhibited a good grasp of the position of the language and the key role education and broadcasting play in reviving its fortunes."