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!
Starting on Thursday September 3rd and running until Saturday 5th, the 2015 Skye Book Festival brings another series of events presenting chapters in the lives of internationally famous authors alongside local writers, artists and story-tellers.
This year’s Festival welcomes Val McDermid who is one of the biggest names in crime writing. Val will talk about her latest book Splinter The Silence her most gripping, chilling, suspenseful novel yet, featuring two of the most distinctive and unforgettable characters in crime fiction: Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.
Further murder (of the fishy kind) follows, as depicted by Donald S. Murray at his Herring Tales book launch - the story that was of central importance to the lives of our ancestors, noting how both it - and those involved in their capture – were celebrated in the art, literature, craft, music and folklore of life in northern Europe. He will be joined by the fantastic illustrator Douglas Roberston who, as a visual artist, has worked on a number of Donald’s books.
Ian G Macdonald will also launch his new book Memories of a Portree Kid which looks at village life from a by-gone period whilst DJ MacLennan examines the future with his new book Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment.
A further new title launched at the Festival will be Gaelic in the Landscape: Place-names of the Isle of Skye. Eilidh Scammell and Dr Jacob King have worked with local people to record many of these place-names that might otherwise have been lost – the presentation will be given by Robyn Ireland SNH’s Gaelic Officer.
Award-winning children’s author Theresa Breslin has collected the best-loved tales from all over Scotland in her book An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures. Retelling each in its own individual style, she presents funny tales, moving tales and enchanting fairy tales. Each story is brought to life with exquisite illustrations by Scottish fine artist Kate Leiper. And, Anne McAlpine will share her exciting new children’s book The Silver Locket to the children of Staffin and Kilmuir Primary Schools.
Michael Russell will introduce his captivating debut novel, Lie of the Land, set in a post-apocalyptic near-future Scotland, predominantly in the fictional Highland coastal village of Inverlair. And, Rody Gorman presents his latest work, Sweeney: An Intertonguing which is based on the medieval Gaelic romance The Frenzy of Sweeney. It consists of a multiform, multilingual and polysemantic series of poems, songs and prose passages in Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and English.
Add to the programme the annual PBFA Antiquarian Book Festival, Poetry Readings, Book-binding Workshops and a Poetry Walk around Portree and the three days of the Festival seem just too short a time.
But to finish off, on the Saturday evening The Highland Voyage of Para Handy and the puffer crew comes to life again commemorating a voyage from Glasgow to Skye. What results is a comedic tongue-in-ear romp by three troubadours of this cross-culture: Iain MacLeod, Russell Hunter and Allan MacDonald, who add their own diverse musical talents to put the icing on the black pudding. So, it’s anchors a-weigh for a musical cruise aboard the good ship Vital Spark, Neil Munro’s iconic Clyde puffer. A fitting climax to another exciting Skye Book Festival.
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Pick up a book from Sollas Bookbinding and you hold in your hands a complete original.
Owner, Corinna Krause, not only binds every book herself, she also creates her own unique paper for each cover.
"I developed my own way of making decorative papers by adapting wax paper-making to suit what I need for my covers," she reveals. The result is that no two papers are ever the same!
Corinna describes her technique, saying: "It starts off with a plain sugar paper, to which I add layers of ink and wax. At the end, I iron out the wax and end up with a paper that has really warm and vibrant colours. It is sturdy and tactile at the same time - people just love the feel of it."
Corinna's work will be showcased at the Aros Centre in Portree, where she is involved in The Skye Book Festival on the 4th and 5th of September.
"I am doing two separate workshops, but they work together as a series if people want to attend both," explains Corinna. "The first workshop will show how to make a hand-sewn notebook using a very simple sewing technique. People will be able to leave the workshop with a memorable but simple way of creating their own books."
The second day workshop will feature the oldest form of bookbinding - coptic binding. "The beauty of this technique is that the books lie perfectly flat, so it's a brilliant structure for artists or writers," Corinna enthuses. Corinna's studio is based in Sollas, North Uist - from there she creates books, makes boxes and works on commissions and book repairs.
"Over the last couple of years, I also worked on several commissions for presentation boxes for artists, which I personalise by inlaying the artist's work into the lid." Corinna's wide range of skills means she is very much in demand - as well as selling her work, she continues to offer workshops to pass on her skills to others.
What is Corinna's favourite aspect of her craft? "It's exciting that, out of something that's two-dimensional, like a piece of paper, you can create an object of aesthetic beauty. I'm really excited about teaching - people can go away with something they've made themselves that they can put to their own creative use. That's a wonderful thing."
Does Corinna have any plans for her business? She replies: "We are building our new family home at the moment, where I plan to have my new studio. I hope it will be ready by next Easter. "the Outer Hebrides has such a wonderful potential for visitors to engage in a creative holiday - there are lots of artists and craft-makers. And, with my new studio, I can get people to engage with me and other artists."
In the meantime, you can see Corinna's work in her studio in Sollas or find it available on her website (http://www.sollasbooks.com), where you can contact Corinna for your personal one-to-one bookbinding tuition. "If you would like to explore your own creativity and learn how to design your own bespoke books, visit the Aros Centre, Isle of Skye on the 4th and 5th of September from 10am.
Opening today at midday, in An Talla Dearg Gallery across the road from Hotel Eilean Iarmain, on Isle Ornsay, Sleat, (IV43 8QR) is well-known artist Pam Carter's annual Skye Exhibition for 2015
This runs until 24th August.
Pam says: "As always, there will be the full range of giclée and lithograph limited edition prints, mugs, cards, books and also some of Ruth Swan's beautiful jewellery.
"I will be present most of the time as I usually paint in the gallery.
"The opening is 18th July 12pm until 2pm for wine and canapés.
Farm Clusters and Machair 32"x32"
Stream to The Cuillin 32"x32"
Echo of the Cuillin 12"x12"
Salty, sweet and drizzled with lemon - the glistening oyster is a product from The Oyster Shed, the Isle of Skye's only oyster farm, and it is delicious.
Like many residents of the Carbost area, writes Roz Skinner, I can remember when The Oyster Shed was just that - an oyster shed. Located a minute's walk from the Talisker Distillery, it was simply a shed for processing and harvesting oysters. Owner, Paul McGlynn, took over from his father-in-law in 2008 and, since then, has developed what was once a hobby into a thriving business that has been featured in National Geographic, the L.A. Times and the New York Times.
However, it hasn't always been plain-sailing for Paul. He explains: "After I took over, I grew the farm from 400,000 oysters to just under two million. That was so labour-intensive, as I was working seven days a week." Paul's hard work paid off and in 2011, Paul's first batch of oysters was almost ready to harvest. Then came the oyster farm's darkest moment - one that seemed impossible to recover from! "A form of vibrio went through the adult oysters and over a million died!" explains Paul. "That was soul-destroying, but it was also a turning point."
In May 2012, Paul opened the The Oyster Shed, hoping for success, but reasoning that he had nothing to lose. "Our aim was to educate visitors about the oysters and offer fresh seafood at affordable prices," he says. Paul's never-say-die attitude and his determination to provide a memorable service for customers enabled his business to grow. Now, he can expect up to 200 visitors a day in peak holiday times - every one passionate to learn about where their seafood comes from and enjoying the quality products that Paul provides!
The success of The Oyster Shed is due, not only to the best of cuisine, but to the vibrancy and enthusiasm of Paul's personality. His passion for seafood is contagious. He says: "I love the times when families who have never tasted seafood come in - they can handle live prawns and crabs and learn about where their food comes from."
Paul is keen to ensure that his business works for him - not the other way round! "I always get asked if I would like to expand into a restaurant," he explains. "And I always say: 'No!' I want to keep The Oyster Shed a shed - it's about the rustic feel of it all. I am very humble about this - it's great the business has grown and we can stay open all year round and employ local people, but I don't want to be too busy that I can't enjoy what I do."
However, Paul has made a few upgrades to The Oyster Shed. Combining good food with great scenery, Paul has opened up a picnic area to the left of the Shed. "I deliberately put the benches together as I want the experience to be social," Paul explains. "Seafood is something that everyone should be able to enjoy and share." Paul goes on to sum up his outlook, saying simply: "I want to make seafood fresh and affordable to everybody. I love that people can come in and talk to me, the Oysterman, and have a good craic."
So, for hands-on experience with seafood, as well a unique dining experience, look no further than The Oyster Shed!
Skyeskyns was proud to welcome HRH The Princess Royal in July 2014 for a visit to help celebrate the firm’s 30th anniversary.
The Five-Star visitor attraction in Waternish, which makes and supply finest quality sheepskins, also used the opportunity to recognise members of the local community who contributed to Skyeskyns success.
The Princess Royal had a guided tour of the tannery and showroom with Jess Hartwell, whose family own and run the business, before being given the chance to meet Skyeskyns staff, as well as members of the Waternish community, at a marquee reception.
She also met representatives from businesses who work alongside Skyeskyns, supplying their luxury products for the showroom: Johnstons of Elgin, Hebridean Woolhouse and Devonia Sheepskins. The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit and was presented with a sheepskin.
The visit was an opportunity to showcase Skyeskyns’ role as the only remaining commercial sheepskin tannery in Scotland, using only the most traditional, time-honoured methods.
The business employs a number of local people and retains its close links to the Skye crofting community. When Clive and Lydia Hartwell founded the tannery in 1983, sheepskins were considered a waste product, but Skyeskyns saw the potential to make the industry more sustainable, transforming these fleeces into part of the range of luxury products.
Jess Hartwell, daughter of the founders, recognised the profound contribution her late father Clive Hartwell gave over several decades to the local community. As she said in her welcome speech:
“Clive was hugely proud of the Waternish community and the way local businesses on Skye support and sustain each other. By working together he felt – as I do – that we have been creating a durable and thriving business community here in the beautiful wilds of Waternish.
“As we move now from one generation to the next, we continue to uphold his core values: craftsmanship, outstanding customer service and pride in telling the story of leather, one of the most ancient skills, passed down through generations over time.”
The importance of community and strong local support was clear throughout the visit. Skyeskyns used the opportunity to thank all those around Skye and beyond who had contributed to their development over the years, from Waternish resident Angan MacDonald, who dug the foundations of the tannery, through to Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who helped facilitate its most recent expansions.
It was testament to the efforts of a great many, Jess said, that Skyeskyns had again been confirmed as maintaining its five star visitor attraction rating.
The pioneering role of the VisitWaternish tourism partnership was also praised at the event. Through this initiative, Clive, together with Stein Inn and Dandelion Designs, created a strong, self-sustaining network of businesses that led to Waternish being the first part of Skye to be effectively open for business all year round. The benefits from this, in terms of local employment opportunities, have been clear to see in recent years.
The importance of local businesses working together was also reflected by the Princess Royal in her own speech when she said:
“It is a real pleasure to see a business - which is such a family business - take such pride in what it produces. It’s the quality of the product which has made the success, and the network and the support of the community is equally an integral part of it. Businesses like these do make such a difference to attracting people’s attention to what is going on here.
“It’s really nice to see the quality of work in a product which sadly had become seen as waste. It isn’t. This is a really good quality product which a lot of people would hanker after, and you have the ability to find it here.
“For businesses like this [the internet] can make a real difference, and I hope that will be part of being able to build your success. I mean we’re not looking 30 years down the line, we’re looking a lot further than that. So my best wishes for the future and my congratulations on what you’ve achieved here - it’s a pleasure to see.”
At the end of the visit, the whole family was even involved, as Her Royal Highness was presented with three sheepskin teddy bears for her own grandchildren by Clive and Lydia’s grandson Ruairidh and his friends Katie and Ciara.
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