District News – 14.11.19

Luing History Group members packing up after a busy day on Torsa.

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The Ocean Explorer Centre is holding an Ocean Food for Christmas event as part of the Oban Winter Festival, which will be run by SAMS International Aquaculture Masters students.

The event will include a glow in the dark experience to demonstrate aquaponics (raising fish alongside plants), a fun drama where you get to join in, a recipe activity stand where you can find out where recipes come from and play a watery, fishing game, and an activity called Build your own fish farm! And also find out more about why we should eat seaweed!

Entry £3 for adults, FREE for children. The event takes place at the Ocean Explorer Centre, Dunstaffnage, Dunbeg, on Saturday November 16, from 11am to 3pm.


Hope Kitchen is launching a new community learning cafe today (Thursday November 14), from 10am to noon. The new class will be held every Thursday in Lorn House, Albany Street (next to Alba Crafts), and it is free. All welcome. Tea and coffee will be provided.

The class will offer help with computers and IT, CVs and job searches, with reading and numbers, help with driving theory, preparation for CSCS card tests, internet access, as well as information about other learning. There will be one-to-one support available.

Oban Saints YFC is holding a race night tomorrow, November 15, in Soroba House, to raise money for the club funds.
Doors open at 7pm and there will be eight races along with a raffle. All the family are welcome.


A Christmas Market and Craft Fair is being held at Not Just Desserts, Columba’s Bay, Barcaldine on Sunday November 24, 10am-3pm.
Tables are £8. Book now to guarantee a space by calling 01631 720096.


A public meeting is taking place in the village hall tonight (November 14), at 7pm to discuss how Lismore can devise a communal response to climate change and come up with some practical plans that can be achieved communally to reduce the island’s carbon footprint, and will help islanders prepare for the future. For more information contact Douglas Thorburn on 07870 217848.


Essential electricity upgrade work has started on islay and Jura to make sure islanders  get a robust and resilient power supply.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) is investing approximately £1 million on refurbishing the existing 500 wooden electricity poles on Jura  that have been delivering power for around 60 years.

That work should be finished by the end of November and is part of a multi-million pound programme of investment to upgrade the electricity network serving both islands. Salt water has been eroding equipment on the wooden pole circuit from Lagg towards Islay over the decades.

Ross Fenton, Head of South Caledonia Region at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said: ‘These works form part of a long-term investment plan to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to our customers on the islands.’

But to carry out the work safely, it means the single-circuit that delivers electricity to Jura needs to be de-energised and mobile generators have to be used to keep lights on in island homes and keep communities connected.
‘While we always look to minimise the use of backup generation on our networks, in order to maintain power supplies we need to use mobile generators to keep the lights on and keep communities connected during this period.

‘We are committed to keeping disruption to a minimum and we’d like to thank our customers for their patience as our engineers complete these essential works as quickly as possible,’ said Mr Fenton.

As Jura’s electricity network serves as the main circuit powering Islay, SSEN will also run Bowmore Power Station from 7am to 8pm then switch back to the main line overnight until investment works on Jura are complete.

On Islay, SSEN is also proposing to install an additional wooden pole overhead line circuit between Port Askaig and Port Ellen to make the island’s electricity network more resiliant.

A SSEN spokesman said the maintenance work was not related to a 48-hour power cut on Colonsay in April, which was caused by a fault on the subsea cable between Islay and Colonsay.


Rising prices mean investing in whisky is an increasingly popular investment option. But the downside is that the market is now attracting the unwelcome attention of counterfeiters.
With the potential for fake whisky on the rise, online auctioneers Just Whisky will be travelling to Islay to hold a free valuation session, advising customers on what is fake and what is not.

To coincide with visit, Just Whisky is launching a simple guide to help buyers invest safely and know the tell-tale signs of a fake. It aims to arm investors with the basic information needed to avoid forgeries and make intelligent investment decisions. Crucially, the guide defines what a fake actually is. The guide also offers tips on what else to look for to avoid purchasing a fake in error.

Graham Crane, Co-founder of Just Whisky, explained: ‘Investing in an appreciating asset like whisky is both enjoyable but carries an element of risk when bought privately – for buyers parting with substantial cash, it is essential that it is the genuine article. Our roadshow and guide are designed to take some of the guesswork out of making what might be a very costly mistake.’

The Just Whisky Valuation Roadshow will be taking place in The Bowmore Hotel, Islay on November 25. For more details call 01496 810416.
Eilean Siar Food bank is again looking for donations in the run up to Christmas to ensure that Foodbank user’s can have a few treats at Christmas just like the rest of us.


The SNP Constituency Office will be available as a drop-off point for donations. The Eilean Siar Foodbank is a voluntary organisation and has limited opening hours while the Constituency Office is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Eilean Siar Foodbank has particularly asked for the following items: custard, tinned fruit (mandarins and fruit cocktails) Christmas puds, mince pies, selection boxes, tinned ham and salmon. Currently the foodbank has a good supply of soup, beans and pasta.


Luing History Group has enjoyed a sunny week exploring the neighbouring island of Torsa with experts from the Association of Certified Field Archeologists.

Survey work included the team walking over the rocky ground to record finds and clues to the island’s farming past.

‘Intriguing features, but so rocky that it’s difficult to tell what’s natural and what’s been made by human hand,’ said one Facebook post from the history group.

In spring time it’s evidently a haven for wildlife, all around are seedheads and broken egg shells, evidence of a mass of flowers and nesting birds,’ added the post.

Like Luing, Torsa belonged to the Medieval Lordship of the Isles, with castles overlooking major sea routes and the islands’ rich land producing grain and cattle.