Criomagan: Crofting boost; care visits; new song project; mart closure….

Crofting development

Scottish Crofting Federation has welcomed the announcement that four new crofting development posts will be created for the Crofting Commission in the Western Isles.

The £325,000 Scottish Government investment will provide opportunities for the Crofting Commission to extend its development activities.

Donald MacKinnon, vice-chair of SCF and a Lewis-based crofter said he was pleased the government had recognised the need to expand crofting development.

Crofting Commission Convener Rod Mackenzie added: “Crofting has shaped the land use, demographics and culture of the Highlands and Islands since 1886 and still has a huge contribution to make in shaping the future.”

Coasting through Gaelic song

To celebrate the Year of Coasts and Waters, Gaelic arts organisation, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, is championing the rich collection of Gaelic songs associated with the theme.

A bottle from ‘The Politician’, Pic, Cailean Maclean

‘Cladaichean is Uisgeachan’ (Gaelic for Coasts and Waters) features new recordings of songs and archive recordings along with the history and background information of each song and the links to local Fèisean.

Each song is accompanied with an image celebrating Scotland’s beautiful coasts and waters, taken by Cailean Maclean.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal is working with Gaelic song expert Jo Macdonald to compile the resource which includes interesting historical and local information.

Singers involved include Royal National Mod gold medallists Cristin Mackenzie, Ruairidh Cormack and Jenna Cumming, all members of female trio, Sian (Eilidh Cormack, Ceitlin Lilidh and Ellen Macdonald) and Trail West’s Ian Smith. 

Visit or

Uist memorial

A crofter from Minish in Lochmaddy has applied to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for planning permission to erect a permanent memorial on croft land in the township ‘as a symbol of thanks’ to the men of Minish who fought in the Great War and WW2. 

The memorial would consist of a 1.2m tall ‘soldier figure’ standing on a stone plinth with a plague along with an adjacent 3-metre high flag pole.

The applicant, Euphemia Rodger, said in her planning application that the flag pole would be used to ‘fly the Union Flag on Armistice Day and other dates in relation to these conflicts’.

The plaque would bear the names of relatives of the applicant who fought in the conflicts.

By Peter Urpeth, local democracy reporter

Normalise Gaelic

Kate Forbes MSP has said that Gaelic should be treated as normal in all services for the Highlands and Islands to increase confidence in speakers to use the language in everyday situations.

Her comments follow new research that said daily use of Gaelic was too low if it is to be sustained as a community language in the future.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said: “This isn’t just about preserving our heritage, understanding our culture or sentimentalising our ancestors’ memory – important as all of those are.

“This is about our future, and ensuring that this language is alive and in use for many years to come.

 Mart closure

Lewis and Harris Auction Mart has confirmed that it is not currently able to proceed with preparations for this year’s livestock sales due to restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement LHAM, which  operates sheep and cattle sales from premises on the outskirts of Stornoway said that they were continuing to work “very closely” with Dingwall & Highland Marts to try to make arrangements for a sale programme in Stornoway but travel, transport and the need for safe operation of the sales continues to prevent these arrangements being put in place.

LHAM says that it still aims to offer sales in Stornoway this year but, if that’s not possible, it would look to arrange for the sales to be held in Dingwall and will organise to transport livestock stock to Dingwall for the sales. By Peter Urpeth

 Care home visits

Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust and local councillors, through their ward funds, have enabled Island care homes to re-introduce visiting by the purchase of equipment making socially distanced outdoor visiting possible.

Outdoor visiting

Chairperson of the Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust Iain MacIver said: “By offering help from the fund we hope that, in however small a way, the money can be used to safely add to the quality of comfort and care for residents.”