Districts week 24

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Children from Arrochar Primary School, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, chairman of Luss Estates Co., Paul Wheehouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, and Duncan MacLachlan, chairman of Arrochar Community Hydro. NO_T24_Arrochar Community Hydro opens_01
Children from Arrochar Primary School, Sir Malcolm Colquhoun, chairman of Luss Estates Company, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, and Duncan MacLachlan, chairman of Arrochar Community Hydro. 

Arrochar Community Hydro was officially opened last month by Sir Malcolm Colquhoun of Luss, chairman of Luss Estates Company, joined by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, and pupils from Arrochar Primary School.

Project contractors explained how the scheme works and that income will go to Luss and Arden Development Trust and Arrochar and Tarbet Development Trust.

Arrochar Community Hydro scheme was initially proposed by Luss Estates Company to enable residents to generate income to reinvest in their communities.

Sir Malcolm Colquhoun said: ‘In October 2013 we put the idea of a community hydro to Arrochar and Tarbet and Luss and Arden development trusts. I am delighted this initiative has come to fruition and wish the venture well. It offers a unique chance to raise funding to invest in the local community.  I congratulate everyone involved in delivering this scheme  with particular thanks to Duncan MacLachlan for driving the overall project.’

Duncan MacLachlan, chairman of Arrochar Community Hydro Society, said: ‘With great help and support from everyone, we have completed our project. We recognise the generous financial support from ethical funders throughout the UK and the 22 other community renewable energy projects who took up our community share offer in July 2017.

‘Construction started in September 2017 and was completed in March 2018, despite challenging weather and last minute issues with the Scottish and Southern Energy cable passing under the West Highland railway.’

Pipe Major Donald Ban MacDonald, Sheena Stewart (UCVO Manager) and Andrew Veitch Walker (UCVO Director). Photo: Iain Stephen Morrison, editor of Am Paipear. NO_T24_Sgoill Lionacleit Pipe Band cheque_01
Pipe Major Donald Ban MacDonald, Sheena Stewart, UCVO manager, and Andrew Veitch Walker, UCVO director. Photograph: Iain Stephen Morrison, editor of Am Paipear. 

The chances of winning the National Lottery jackpot is one in 13,983,816, but the luckiest winner of a new Hebridean lottery, who lives on Uist, has already won three times.

Organisers say it is giving a bigger percentage – 60 per cent – back to the community than any other lottery.

Most recently, the Uist Council of Voluntary Organisations (UCVO) presented Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band with £1,306 after Balivanich Playpark received £1,362 earlier this year.

Both awards were raised by the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery (WILL), where 60p of every £1 ticket bought over three months is returned to local causes.

Since it launched in August, the hugely successful lottery has raised £35,236.26 for projects across the Western Isles. Winners among the islands’ 28,000 residents have shared prizes totalling £14,108.25.

The Uist Council of Voluntary Organisations will soon announce who the next period of funding will be allocated to. The nominated group will receive all proceeds from ticket sales raised between April 1 and August 31.

A UCVO spokeperson said: ‘The more supporters who buy tickets, the more money can be returned to the area.’

The draw takes place every Saturday evening at 8pm.

  • Connel Church hall hosts summer lunches on the first Saturday of every month, noon to 2pm, serving soup, rolls, home baking, teas and coffee. Donations are welcome.

Connel’s village hall’s rear car park is in urgent need of costly safety improvements.

  • Community councillors are applying to the Calor Gas Community Fund but need help in a public vote.

The group posted on its Facebook page: ‘Our scheme is now subject of a voting competition with other applications from all around the country. Those with most votes will have the highest chance of success. Some schemes are based in communities with a lot larger populations so we will have to work harder to get the votes in.’

The website explains more about the project: ‘The boundary to the car park is defined, to the north, by a fast flowing stream – the Lusragan Burn. A thin metal fence marks this boundary but the fence offers no protection from the stream and is now deemed unsafe.

‘Our project is to replace the fence and its foundations with a new structure. We plan to install a crash barrier along the boundary where there is the steepest drop into the burn. This will involve building proper foundations and stabilising parts of the retaining wall. We will also erect a two metre fence to prevent access to the burn.

‘You can cast 10 votes and please also get friends, family and hall users to vote too.’

Loch Awe

Scottish dancing classes take to the floor every Monday at Loch Awe Village Hall from 7.30pm. Beginners welcome. No experience or partner needed.


The 61st Appin Agricultural Show will be held on Saturday August 18.

A highlight of the day will be the hill race, which sets off from Tynribbie at 1pm.

There will be prizes of £100, £50 and £25 for the first three runners in the men’s and women’s events.

  • Strath of Appin Primary School’s summer fair takes place on Friday June 22 from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, with a bottle stall, baking, bric-a-brac, games and more.
  • Appin Art Group is hosting a free exhibition in Port Appin Hall from Wednesday July 18 to Saturday July 28, excluding Sunday July 22. The display will be open to the public from 10.30am until 6pm, apart from the last day, when it will finish at 4pm.

Coll’s population doubled on Monday when the SS Waverley pulled into the CalMac ferry terminal. Pupils from Arinagour Primary School enjoyed a trip aboard.

Anne Tait with VisitScotland Regional Director, David Adams McGilp. Credit: Visit Scotland. NO_T24_Anchorage 1
Anne Tait with VisitScotland regional director David Adams McGilp. Photograph: Visit Scotland. 

An Islay bed and breakfast has become Scotland’s first two-star gold accommodation following a grading from VisitScotland.

Anchorage B&B, on the shores of Lochindaal in Bruichladdich, received the award from the national tourism organisation’s Quality Assurance (QA) Scheme in recognition of its outstanding customer service.

The Anchorage is an early 19th century stone built house and has been lived in by owner Anne Tait since she was two years old. Despite moving away to study nursing, it was always her home and she moved back to open it as a B&B in 1990.

Anne said: ‘I’m delighted to receive this wonderful recognition from VisitScotland. I do my upmost to ensure the needs of my guests are met so it’s great to see the hard work has paid off with this award.’

Western Isles
The young pup, less than a fortnight old, was rescued by local vet David Buckland on Eriskay. NO_T24_Seal
The young pup, less than a fortnight old, was rescued by vet David Buckland on

An abandoned seal pup has been flown to Glasgow by Loganair.

The two-week old pup was rescued by local vet David Buckland on Eriskay in the Western Isles.

The baby seal, accompanied by the vet from the Southern Isles Veterinary Practice, flew from Benbecula to Glasgow before being transferred to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal’s (SSPCA) National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Alloa.

David has been taking care of the pup since Friday June 1 after finding her malnourished and in serious need of care. It’s not known what happened to her mother.

Once fit to fly, the pup was flown, free of charge, by Loganair to continue her recovery with the team at the SSPCA centre.

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: ‘It was a pleasure to make arrangements to fly the baby seal pup to Glasgow and make sure she was given first-class service for her first time on board an aircraft. The Highlands and Islands is our heartland and we’re always glad to help where we can.’

SSPCA centre manager Colin Seddon said: ‘We have received a young female harbour seal at our centre in Fishcross. She seems to be in reasonably good health. She was found on a beach in Eriskay and appeared to be dehydrated.

‘Harbour seals are vulnerable and we will be keeping a close eye on her. We also received a male harbour seal of around the same age from the Isle of Eigg. He has improved overnight but will require round the clock care over the coming days.

‘Having two pups in at the same time is great for socialisation and the pair will be reared together. When they are ready to go back into the wild we will release them together at a suitable location on the west coast.’

Loganair has launched a competition on social media to name the pups.


Loss of mobile phone signal is causing major disruption for residents of Uig on the Isle of Lewis.

Politicians are calling on the mobile phone operator to take action.

The poor signal for EE customers is caused by ongoing works to upgrade the mast to a 4G service.

Angus MacNeil said: ‘This situation with EE has been ongoing for several months and my constituents are fed up by the lack of communication from the mobile phone operator.

‘I understand progress is expected to be made this week but I will be maintaining pressure on EE to sort this out and inform their customers.

‘A mobile phone signal is so important to communities, particularly in the busy tourist season. These communities are not getting the service they deserve and the service which customers are paying for.’

Alasdair Allan MSP said: ‘To go a month without any mobile reception and to be given no idea of what the problem is or when it will be fixed is an intolerable situation to place Uig residents into, especially as we approach the height of the tourist season.’

John Maciver, chairman of Uig Community Council said: ‘The situation in Uig is a shambles. We have had no mobile signal for almost a month without any information from EE to customers. At a peak time in the tourist season, we are vulnerable should there be an emergency in such a remote community.’