Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles

Visit West Word on Facebook

List of Issues online

July 2015 Issue

Contents of the online version:

Top stories
Monthly news from Knoydart, Muck, Rum, Eigg, Canna
Railway, lifeboat and harbour news

Letters, e-mails and comments are welcome.
Contact Details & How to Subscribe to the Paper
Sign our Guestbook

All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
Not to be reproduced without permission.

The residents of the Mackintosh Centre are returning!
The date of 3rd August has been identified 'to work to for the return of the residents to the Mackintosh Centre' in a letter sent to residents' families, staff, the GP practice, local Councillors and West Word by MHS Area Manager (West) Tracy Ligema. She gives this undertaking and promises immediate notification of 'any slippage on this timescale.'
This is the most positive news we have had from NHS and we are all hopeful that the residents will soon be back in the community. Indeed, community is going to be a big word in the planned future for the Centre.
The date of 3rd August has been identified to 'work to for the return of the residents to the Mackintosh Centre' in a letter sent to residents' families, staff, the GP practice, local Councillors and West Word by MHS Area Manager (West) Tracy Ligema. It gives this undertaking and promises immediate notification of 'any slippage on this timescale.'
This is the most positive news we have had from NHS and we are all hopeful that the residents will soon be back in the community. Indeed, community is going to be a big word in the planned future for the Centre.
There is now a full complement of staff, and in addition Jackie Hodges, NHS Service Lead for Older People, has been appointed as Interim Manager for both the Mackintosh Centre and Dail Mor Care Home in Strontian .Jackie has extensive experience in management of residential homes and will be leading the work to develop services in the Mackintosh Centre as it opens. Jackie is enthusiastic and committed to improving the interaction between Centre and the community.
Nancy Campbell will be seconded from her present post as Public Health Practitioner, bringing her local expertise and knowledge to provide both management and service improvement to the Mackintosh Centre.
This service improvement will involve support and involvement from the local community, which Jackie Hodges will lead using the 'My Home Life' approach.
The My Home Life project was initiated in 2006 by National Care Forum, an organisation that represents not-for-profit care homes and Help the Aged. It highlights the importance of positive relationships between older people, relatives and staff, and between care homes and the wider community. Residents are encouraged to maintain their identity and engage in meaningful activity, and residents, their families and staff are involved in shared decision making in all aspects of home life. This will entail extensive discussion and engagements with stakeholders, staff, residents, families, community members, elected members, the GPs, Community Health and Social Care staff.
Out of this will come consideration by all concerned locally on what the best provision for the future of the Centre will be and the service that will be offered.
Dr Iain Gartshore said 'On behalf of the Mallaig & Arisaig Medical Practice, we are delighted to hear that the Mackintosh Centre will be opening in the near future. The current plan appears to provide the first firm likelihood of the Centre re-opening, and we will be looking forward to welcoming the residents back. The new Management Team will provide a fresh start for the Centre, and we look forward to working closely with them to develop the services at the Mackintosh Centre. We hope the staff are fully supported in their return. There is still much discussion to take place about how best to make use of the remaining beds at the Centre, and we hope to be an active part of that work.'
Let us hope there is no 'slippage' in the plans and look forward to welcoming back the staff, 'old' and new, and the residents at the beginning of August. We hope West Word will play a valuable role in the interaction between the Centre and the community.

Knoydart Forest Trust has scooped two top spots in the Scotland Finest Woods Awards 2015. As well as winning the 'Promoting Viable Livelihoods' competition, the Trust also won the Tim Stead Trophy as overall winner in the Community Woodlands category. Environment Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod presented the award and trophy to Trust Manager, Lorna Schofield and forester, Grant Holroyd, at a ceremony at the Royal Highland Show on Friday 19th June.
The Trust, which manages the community's woodland on behalf of the Knoydart Foundation, has restructured existing plantation woodlands, created new native woodlands, managed invasive species and improved public access. It has also developed woodfuel and timber processing opportunities. Through its trading subsidiary, Wood Knoydart CIC, small wood products are crafted and sold in the local shop and woodland management and creation work is carried out for neighbouring landowners.

Dr Aileen McLeod, Grant Holroyd and Lorna Schofield at the Awards Ceremony


In total 22 posts have been created within the various organisations and companies associated with community ownership of the estate, representing in excess of 15 full time jobs. In addition various opportunities arise for self-employed contractors.
Lorna Schofield, Trust Manager, said "This is a great accolade for the Trust and all the people who have worked hard looking after and developing Knoydart's woodlands over the last 16 years. "The community's ownership of the Knoydart Estate has underpinned the collective effort to manage the resource for the long-term benefit of the community and environment.
"New houses have been built, new jobs and businesses created, encouraging people to move here and to commit to the area's future development and growth. It's been hard work but everyone is in this for the long haul and this award is fantastic recognition for what we've achieved so far." Angela Douglas, Executive Director of Scotland's Finest Woods, said "The judges were very impressed by the business-like approach of Knoydart Forest Trust and considered that for such a small community of people, its achievements are outstanding. This particular category has a focus on economic development and regeneration by communities related to woods and forests.
"The Knoydart Forest Trust project is an exemplar in terms of community woodland management and as a result we were delighted to name them the winner of the Scotland's Finest Woods Award prize for promoting viable livelihoods and as the overall winner of the Tim Stead Trophy.
"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank this year's partners, supporters and volunteer judging teams who make possible the annual Awards programme."

The restrictions imposed by the new Marine Protected Area around the Small Isles may cause at least one Mallaig fishing family to give up going to sea altogether.
Thirty new areas have been announced covering most of the seas around the coast of Scotland, including the waters around Rum and Canna, which will impose restrictions on where boats can fish. Now Mallaig skipper and owner of the prawn trawler Caralisa Willie John McLean is facing the fact that he may have to give up fishing. His son Aaron works with him, making the fourth generation of the McLean family to have fished out of Mallaig.
Willie John said 'Every fisherman I know is keen to protect the environment but these new measures are a step too far and greatly harmful to fishing communities. The area around the Small Isles is very important to us and offers sheltered fishing when the weather is bad.'

The Caralisa unloading her catch in Mallaig

Kevin McDonell, Chief Executive of the West of Scotland Fish Producers Organisation Ltd in Mallaig, has written a letter to Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food & Environment, inviting him to come to Mallaig to explain why it was necessary to ignore proposals put forward by local fishermen during the consultation on the MPAs and instead to close off important parts of the area to them.
The letter continues 'Within the fishing communities affected by the MPA process there is justifiable anger and disappointment both in the outcome and the process of the consultation.' The Scottish Government claim that fishing boats can simply fish elsewhere and have estimated the financial impact on communities to be a 1% cumulative drop in earnings. Willie John wonders where they got their figures from. He says 'For our vessel the impact on our grossings will be a lot more than 1%.'
The voice of protest is also coming from the Western Isles. Their Scottish Fishermen's Federation sent a delegation to Glasgow to meet with Richard Lochhead to express their anger over the proposed measures but felt the meeting did not go well.
The main focus of conservation in the Small Isles is the fan mussel, one of the UK's most threatened molluscs. As well as the large aggregation of fan mussels, the central section of the Sound of Canna supports the deepest known horse mussel bed in Scotland at depths of between 160 - 250 m. In addition the large breeding colony of over 1,200 individual black guillemots present around the islands is a proposed protected feature.
Willie John says 'During the consultation period for the MPA fishermen had been led to believe that they would be able to fish in a way what would avoid any sensitive marine features - which we would have been happy to make sacrifices to do - but now we have been imposed with significant reduced fishing opportunities in the area.'

Schools out! Never thought I'd be saying that again after I left school but here I am, 6 years later, back working in one. It may be the summer holidays but unfortunately the west coast hasn't quite caught up... The midgies however, have definitely arrived. Gotta love Scottish summer time…
June was a relatively quiet month, starting out with a community volunteer day down on the beach, making campfire sites and a new BBQ area to improve the campsite.
There was a bit of excitement (not the good kind) one night, as a man had collapsed on the hill, walking with his friends. Unfortunately he died at the scene, so the lifeboat was over with just about every emergency group. Doctors, lifeboat men, police, fire brigade...
Everyone's thoughts were with his friends and family. It's always sad when something like that happens. The aforementioned fire brigade were not involved with the hillwalkers though, no, they were for our house…Chimney fire. Ooops. Luckily it was fine, no damage done and in fact, I wasn't even home when it was all going on which is perhaps just as well
Knoydart Forest Trust had some exciting news, with them having won Scotland's Finest Woods Award 2015 viable livelihoods competition, overall winner of the Community Woodland Category and the Tim Stead Trophy. Lorna and Grant headed up to the Royal Highland Show to receive the awards and it's safe to say it was a proud day. Still on KFT for a moment, The Kirkton Woodlands and Heritage group paid a visit to see our community development and running woodfuel business.
Jackie R, Drew and Tom went off to Tough Mudder, making a team with a couple of friends in the Borders and good on them! (I certainly couldn't do it in a million years!)
Finally, congratulations to Alice and Tom, who got their own wee house, down at Scottas.
Think that's it folks...
Heather Gilmour

Following on from a poor Saturday, the Open Day on Sunday 7th was less well attended than usual and only one trailer was needed for the farm tour. We welcomed among others Donald MacGillivray from Mull, Lea MacNally from Invergarry and Hugh MacLean who has come now for four years.
Everyone had a chance to be shown round the school by the scholars including the garden and the new polly tunnel full of growing vegetables. Since the Open Day the school has aquired an' outdoor classroom' built by Marine Harvest with funding by the parent/teacher association. And we have held a 'home grown' evening where the children cooked supper and entertained us with music, singing and a range of activities. £365 was raised towards school funds.
On the farm the grass is coming at last masking the flowers which though attractive to the visitors are of no value in the silage. As I write silage making is still a week or two away and nearly a month behind last year. However the ewes are all shorn and the lambs are looking well.
At Port Mor Marine Harvest have installed a lengthy pontoon for their tenders. It looks ideal for visiting yachtsmen who are visiting us in increasing numbers whenever the weather is reasonable.
Lawrence MacEwen

Muck Primary School
We enjoyed preparing for the Muck Open day by making signs for forest school, poly tunnel, school and playground. We gave tours with the visitors. David and Kitty were in the poly tunnel, Jasper and Willow were on forest school, and Katie was on school and playground with Daniel. We all practiced very well and it was very good. We also sold quite a lot of plants and bird feeders and we think the signs worked quite well. We raised quite a lot of money which will go towards our trip to the Nethybridge Outdoor Activity Centre in September. We were very pleased and we would like to thank everyone for their help.
A lady staying on the island came into school and taught us rag weaving, and that was really fun, but quite hard.
Maisy, Maggie and Tadghan came over from Eigg Primary because the older children were on Small Isles week in Mallaig. We had a really fun time and the first thing we did was sing a welcome song, and then we played with the nursery's blocks. After that we showed them the poly tunnel and we watered the plants at the same time. Then we had a snack and played in the playground, after that we all went home and the Eigg children went back on the Sheerwater
A lady called Susie came into school to give us a talk about teeth, and we had one of those tablets that makes your teeth all purple so you can see were you haven't brushed enough. We also played a little game where we had to order the sugar drinks to the non sugar drinks, and did you know diet coke has no sugar at all in it!
We have also been busy preparing and making our posters for Home Grown Night, which was on Thursday 25 June, as well as a little quiz and practicing our talents. We had a lot of work to do and it got harder as we got nearer to Thursday. We had to make a big sign also all the other decorations, and on Wednesday we made some food. There was a soup team and a stew team. We all did very well. Mrs B told us the best way to make salad is to make it on the day you are going to eat it so we made ours on Thursday. We made a salad out of our own poly tunnel vegetables. We did some cool talents with 'I'm a Gnu' by Kitty, Build up by Daniel and David, Flowers in your hair by Jasper, Our God is a great big God by Willow and How much is that doggie on Muck? by Katie. The food was amazing. Our favourite was the good old pasta. The adults did really well on the talents. We really liked to hear the ukulele and we loved the cautionary tale about Jim.
In the poly tunnel we planted out some tomato plants and we have begun watering it before school which is keeping us quite busy.
In nursery Hugh made honey cake and he shared it with us on Friday. It was yummy.
We would like to wish Mrs Ibrahim well following the announcement of her retirement in December 2015. We have enjoyed her visits, especially when she got to hold one of our chicks for the first time (see photo).
Our outdoor classroom has been finished and we are all very excited! It has no door and never will. Now in cold weather we can play and learn in the outdoor classroom, and use it as a shelter in horrible weather. Thank you very much Marine Harvest and Parent Council! We are very happy.
By David, Katie and Kitty

June saw the start of the midges on Rum, but still nothing like the normal levels of biting beasties. The weather continues to be a mish-mash of four seasons in one hour! Weekly cetacean sighting trips with the Rum ranger aboard the MV Sheerwater continue to be unseasonably quiet. Where are those dolphins and orcas?
Lots of birthdays celebrated on Rum in June - Sylvia, Ali and Neil. The SNH run Kinloch hostel officially closed on 15th June meaning the Community Bunkhouse and camping cabins are super busy. Jinty is in the process of installing a cabin on the campsite which will add much need accommodation.
The calving at Kilmory Deer project enjoyed the lack of midges but the poor weather meant a really slow start to calving with some hinds carrying on into July. Good to see Martyn formally of Kilmory Deer Project back for a flying visit. Ranger Trudi took a very happy group of tourists on a day trip to Kilmory for deer watching.
Rum Primary enjoyed hosting Canna school for a few days and ran a splendid pop up teashop making lots of money and delighting tourists and locals with the great food on offer. They also had a school trip to Croft 3 to meet all the various creatures including pigs and piglets and some bird handling of the ducklings and goslings. Rum Primary even did some animal feeding for Nic & Ady later in the month.
A mass exodus of Rum crofters went off to the Royal Highland Show with Nic, Ady, Davies, Scarlett and Lesley (plus bump!) all heading south for the four day event.
The Calmac strike affected Rum shop deliveries and while Jinty's Dad Pete did an admirable job of shop sitting we went from famine to feast on dairy produce when a double order arrived when the boat brought our delayed supplies on the Monday. Bananas and yoghurt were on very special offer at Rum shop for a few days. I think everyone on Rum had excellent potassium levels from all the bananas!
Loads of events booked in for July, so do check out isleofrum.com events page for info. We will also be saying goodbye to Mel & Emily later in July so this will be their last West Word as Rumachs.
Nic Goddard

Another disappointing month from the point of view of temperature, still so cold for the season that growth is very slow in our gardens... However, this has not prevented our Monday markets from starting again, with delicious and innovative food provided by Eiggy Bread, which often makes use of our abundant wild resources: check that creamy nettle and wild garlic soup!
There was enough sunshine in any case to make it a very pleasant morning after the party on Sunday 14 June. Islanders, friends and well wishers all got together that evening for a great music session following our anniversary night on the 13th. Shooglenifty who themselves were celebrating their 25 years as a group this year were in top form and it was great to see them again on the island. Combined with our special "anniversary" ceilidh band still going strong after all these years, up and coming Irish band Dalahan and DJ Dolphin Boy, our 18th birthday was a great success.
Our stint on Radio 4's Cost the Earth Programme this month appropriately and timely brought our renewable energy achievements to a national audience, attracting a lot of interest in communities south of the border, which we hope might eventually help put the pressure on the Westminster government to reverse its criminally short-sighted policy on renewables.
Songs of Separation, organised by Jenny Hills, followed on from our anniversary and brought together to Eigg a bunch of extremely talented women whose task was to compose and record a CD of new songs within a week. Not only was it a rare pleasure for our singing group to sing with them, raising the roof at the Glebe Barn, but it was fantastic to have them play the Saturday session at the tearoom. It was great to hear "S'trom direadh" (sad is the climbing) the song composed about the Eigg Massacre, sang by Mairi McMaster, and Soil and Soul, a new song inspired by what has happened on the island in more modern times, with a chorus that included Corrina Hewat and Eliza Carthy. For more on their awesome woman power, look them up on Facebook!
This month also saw the last community consultation by Cal Mac as part of their tendering process for the ferry service, with Eigg and the rest of the Small Isles represented at the public meeting in Mallaig earlier in the month. With 90 % of the decision being made on cost and 10% on quality, it is hoped that the lifeline service currently delivered to the Small Isles by Cal Mac will continue with the same operator. It was good to see that they were listening to the islanders' voice and we certainly have noticed an improvement in the way that they have tried to mitigate the perennial access problems to Muck. The service which is delivered to the Small Isles is unique and it is very unlikely that SERCO would understand that. Let's hope than that Cal Mac will be successful in winning the tender and that they can implement the suggestions that came out of the meeting.
Meanwhile on Eigg, the "3 nurseketeers" service is now going into full gear, with our community health workers stepping up their training, and ambitious plans put forward for a community heath centre in what used to be the doctor's house. Two islanders have also come forward for election as representative on the forthcoming Lochaber Health and Care panel. Watch this space...
Camille Dressler

More yachts, kayaks and cruise ships have appeared this month so maybe summer is on its way at last. There are lots of noisy corncrakes around and a Bee-eater has been spotted at Kate's Cottage.
On the 9th singer Carol Fieldhouse performed in the Rhu Church which was a great little venue, very atmospheric with lots of candlelight.
We enjoyed an open day at Canna Primary on the 24th and it was good to have Rum primary over to join in. The children entertained us with songs and Ryan Guthrie gave an excellent PowerPoint presentation on their school trip to Rum.
Good to see the Western Isles back in Canna on the Puffin Cruise, hope this becomes a more regular event.
Sadly, Phil Wren our coastguard sector manager has retired and members of local teams met up to share a meal with Phil at the West Highland to show our appreciation for his long service with the Coastguard. Best wishes for your retirement Phil.
Big happy 50 to Canna's Anne Marie MacKinnon on the 27th June.
Geraldine MacKinnon

The Road to the Isles Show 2015
The Road to the Isles Agricultural Show took place on Saturday 13th. June, at Camusdarach near Arisaig and the committee are again indebted to the Stuart and Stuart-Orchard families for agreeing to host the show, for providing some of the facilities and for helping before, during and after the day. Many thanks to all!
The livestock numbers, especially in the sheep classes, were down a bit on last year, however the committee appreciates that it is not always easy to prepare for and attend a show and we hope that some of our regular exhibitors will return next year. Many thanks to those who did attend and we hope that you had an enjoyable day. The cattle classes were of the usual high standard and in fact the overall champion was a young calf!
The Baking and Handicrafts sections were well supported as usual, with the Schools section being especially busy.
After all the judging, the afternoon entertainment began with a piping selection by three members of the Skye Youth Pipe Band who very kindly travelled over for the day. This was followed by the first display by Mark Wylie and his Drakes of Hazard. Mark's inimitable style always proves entertaining and the spectators enjoyed his display.
The trophies were then presented by Mrs. Vera MacDonald, Arisaig.
Unfortunately, the Birds of Prey did not manage to attend the show (for the second year running!) so the afternoon programme was a little curtailed.
The Open Dog Show is always a big hit and the judge this year was Morag McGee from Crown Vets, Fort William. This is always quite a big task but Morag was able to pick two worthy winners from a large number of entries.
The afternoon ended with a second great display by the Drakes of Hazard, ably assisted by Mark Wylie, who very kindly extended his part of the show in the absence of the Birds of Prey. A big 'Thank You' to Mark!
The committee wishes to thank all those who helped and supported the show in any way, especially our able commentators Isabel and Linda Campbell who kept the show going, and we hope that you will all return again next year!

Morar WRI representatives with their trophies.
L to r: Pauline Elwell with the Camusdarach Rose Bowl for Floral Art (shared with June Cairns, Arisaig WRI);
Christine Haynes, Old Library Trophy for Baking and Produce;
Nicky Parish with the Lochaber SWRI Trophy for the Institute with the most points.
Photo by Keith Elwell

Photo Robert MacMillan
Winner of the Dog Show, German Shepherd Bella
with owner Joe Blower.
Photo Moe Mathieson.

The Skye Youth Pipe Band Photo Alison Woffinden.

Mark Wylie and the Drakes of Hazzard
Photo Moe Mathieson
One of the Drakes of Hazzard leaving the 'castle'.
Photo Alison Wooffinden

The Mission Gala Day Saturday 27th June
The weather wasn't at its best but that didn't deter the crowd from enjoying an action packed Mission Gala Day.
On behalf of the Friends of Mallaig Fishermen's Mission gala committee can I thank all those who supported our gala day. Our total I'd likely to be in excess of £3500. Can I especially thank those who came along and gave invaluable help and assistance on the day whether on stalls or with events and to those who were a great help before and after the event.
The Fishermen's Mission is unable to function without the continued support of the community and our gala day provides much needed funds to provide financial assistance to all fishermen.
Karen Calder, Manager

The Boat Race: Emma C, Ocean Trust and Spanish John II. Photo by Eileen Simmonds.

Harry Clyne with his model traction engine. Photo Moe Mathieson

The Jacobites charge!
Photo Iain Ferguson, The Write Image

Mission Manager Karen Calder presents the trophy to the Art Competition winner Corra Davis.
Photo Karen Calder

Children from Broadford on the Lifeboat
Photo Moe Mathieson

CalMac crew pulling the lorry
Photo Moe Mathieson
Stormy Albert pulling a lorry
Photo Moe Mathieson

The Jacobite soldiers Photo David Sharp

The Jacobites pull the carriage containing the Gala Queen, Anna Robertson, and the Gala Princess, Amy Kane.
Photo Moe Mathieson

Traigh golf - you might like it!
We are pleased to say that the sinkhole, which appeared overnight last November as a result of a collapsed drain, has been fully repaired and the new turf is now well-established. Our thanks go to Corrie Construction who, with a lot of help from greenkeeper Gavin Johnston, managed to overcome all manner of unanticipated technical difficulties to achieve this. A new grassy bunker has been added next to the 7th green where the sinkhole appeared, and the entire hole is now going to be renamed following the tradition of using both English and Gaelic, to names which will remain secret until the day of our Open. Our thanks to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for keeping us right here!

The sinkhole - November 2014

The site as it is now

Our Open competition will be held on Saturday 1 August and entries are invited from any golfer holding a national handicap. Entry forms can be picked up either at the Clubhouse, Mallaig Visitor Information Centre, or by email to traighsecretary@gmail.com. Gents will compete for the Jack Shaw Stewart Cup while ladies will play for the Norma Downie Quaich. If we have any juniors competing, we will put up a voucher for the winner too. Winners and runners up will also receive vouchers, as will players with the longest drives and nearest the hole.
We are again grateful to local businesses for supporting the event and we will acknowledge that support, both on the day and in the September edition of West Word where the winners will also be announced.
On Friday 4 September, the Club is hosting, for the first time, a Seniors Open competition which will be open to any player over 50 with a national handicap. The winner will receive the "Millie Cup", kindly donated by Ron Cameron of Arisaig who has been a member for many years. Regulars will remember seeing Ron play most days, with Millie his dog in attendance. Sadly, Millie is no longer with us. The Club will be providing voucher prizes for runners up etc. Entry forms are available as above.

The Club recently presented a bench to the Shaw Stewart family in memory of their father, Jacky, who passed away in December 2013. The bench has been positioned close to the third tee, with a commanding view out to Skye, Rum and Eigg and, on a clear day, South Uist.

The view from the bench placed in memory of Jack Shaw Stewart

We warmly welcome new members, be they gents, ladies, junior or overseas and country members. Ladies and Gents' membership fees are £175, with junior membership at £30 and country membership costing £100 for the year. Overseas members are also warmly welcomed to apply for 'country' membership to a 'real Scottish Golf Club'. Overseas and country members can play in all events organised by the club including medal competitions.
If you are looking to join, membership forms are available from the Clubhouse or the Visitor's Information Centre in Mallaig. If you would prefer to have a form posted or emailed to you, please contact the Secretary at traighsecretary@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Facebook.

On and Off the Rails

Time to reflect?
As we are now into the seventh month of the year, and with the Summer Solstice well behind us (in reality a dreich, misty, short daylight hours day), I guess I should look back on the year so far - including the fact that on June 30th we all leapt forward a second at midday! Did you know? Well you do now. Scientists needed to compensate for the Earth's slowing rotation. Meaning this year is a second longer. I hope you used the time wisely!
West Coast Railway Company were at their lowest ebb if you read the headline in the press and media and not the story behind it, regarding the Wootton Bassett incident on March 7, 2015.
However, Mallaig 'Kept Calm and Carried On' in our stoical way-convinced that all would come right for our forthcoming Jacobite steam train season. West Coast Railway Company made all of its resources available to Network Rail and the Office of Rail and Road and although the RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch) continues its investigations into the incident, the season of steam trains to Mallaig in the form of the Jacobite runs very smoothly, on time, fully booked, twice a day, seven days a week-and aren't we just very, very grateful for that. Thanks WCRC! Crew training and certification is at its highest level ever. Morale is high, and new appointments to ensure even smoother operational levels in the running of WCRC have been made, from the appointment of a new post of senior manager to other 'experienced managers, strengthening the company's safety procedures significantly.' We continue to thank them for the passengers they bring to the area and for the happy times that they and we in Mallaig give them.
In the past few weeks, a complete bridal party was transported in for a wedding on the pier (should have been on the Lifeboat they were out on a 'shout'!). They dined at the Chlachain and were transported back on ScotRail, in all their finery.
Jacobite soldiers were transported to Mallaig to the Fishermen's Mission Gala Day and returned on ScotRail. Countless birthdays, anniversary celebrations (always with chocolate cake!) ensued, owners have been reunited with their lost property, and - on the day of Charles Kennedy's funeral wreaths were carried on both the Jacobite services and the outgoing sleeper train that night. Train whistles lamented as they went past his croft. 'He was one of ours' was the toast. Indeed Charles was President of the Friends of the West Highland Line and Glenfinnan Station Museum. Now, WCRC is being heralded in the Press for twice having come to the rescue of Serco's (on behalf of Transport Scotland) Caledonian Sleeper trains.
The 'zero to hero' status first happened on Wednesday, June 10th. Just before departure the Locomotive (DB Schenker's Type5 No. 67007) was declared a 'fail' due to flat batteries-meaning no motive power. The only other mainline approved diesel locomotive within 100 miles was West Coast Railway Company Type 3 No 37516 which was the shunting/standby locomotive at Fort William in the event of the steam failure or high fire risk (neither has happened yet!) on the Jacobite services.
A portable RETB set was quickly fitted to the Class 37 and the whole train departed only 90 minutes late, and had cut that deficit to 75 minutes on arrival at Edinburgh. It is believed to be the first time a Class 37 has 'worked the beds' since the class was displaced from the role by Class 67s in June 2006. The next morning, 37516 returned to Fort William on the rear of the down portion of the sleeper, hauled by 67004!
The second occasion was on Tuesday 23rd of June. The Caledonian Sleeper coming into Fort William that morning was 'overheating' on its way from Crianlarich and could only run for 20 minutes, then still-cool down-and run again. This caused a backlog of trains behind it until it reached an overtaking loop. The locomotive was failed again at Fort William. Again West Coast provided the locomotive power-this time by sending up an engine from England - to ensure the Caledonian Sleeper ran that night.
So, remember the old adage 'Opinions are like navels. Everybody has one and nobody should spend too much time gazing at them!' Hero or Zero!!
ScotRail trains continue to be well loaded, with passengers alighting and boarding at almost every station on the line. The number of cyclists travelling with their bikes seems to be at capacity, and wheelie suitcases bigger! When you get to a company like 'Great Railway Journeys' exiting the train at Fort William with anything up to 35 guests plus one host the only thing to do to ease congestion is to form a 'wheelie case queue' and before the guests know it the luggage is on the platform and my shopping on the train!! It can be quite funny. The local conductors and drivers are so good putting people at ease. Customer Service to the fore at this time of year!
Anyway, enough of looking back, let's look forward to the Autumn! I am concerned that the news we (myself and the Station Manager at Fort William) were given, at pre-takeover of the franchise meetings held at Inverness and Fort William, regarding an all year round funding train service into and out of Mallaig between the end of October until the end of March 2016 is not going to happen! Printed timetables do not show any improvement on one train departing Mallaig and one arriving into Mallaig.
It could just be printed timetables were in the draft stage before the announcement was made. In both cases (Inverness and Fort William) Abellio stated the change to a room full of staff after we asked the specific question about timetable changes. I will endeavour to find out!

Rail tracks returned in the Invergarry Station
Christopher Ellice has written a very up-to-date article, with photos, in the July issue of Lochaber Life. The work that is voluntary leave being carried out there is to be commended. Dig out your copy of the magazine (you know it's in the house somewhere!) Or keep up with the project as it develops via www.stationproject.org.uk

Leaflets at Mallaig Railway Station
Abellio, who operate ScotRail, and Serco, who operate the Caledonian Sleeper, have a wide range of offers in the form of new leaflets at Mallaig Booking Office/Waiting Room. There are also Jacobite leaflets, plus West Coast's Great Summer Railway Journeys Summer 2015 brochure. If it is not in the rack, ask Anne at the Booking Office for them.

HITRANS Thistle Assistance Card
HITRANS -who are the Regional Transport Partnership (RTP) for the Highlands and Islands, and have their Regional Offices at Arisaig railway station, have produced a card (credit card size) to assist any disabled person to communicate easily with staff members when travelling on any form of public transport. Once obtained, the card can be personalised with provided stickers which pinpoint your disability, i.e. sight, hearing, speech, ability etc, and requests such as 'please talk slowly and clearly,' or 'let me know when we arrive at...' If you think one of these cards would be helpful to you contact www.hitrans.org.uk or telephone 01463 719002.

Station Adoption
At last we have a good display of summer planting-and the weather to go with it. The damp (putting it mildly) cool year has been much more suited to shrubs and bedding plants so far. All my pera planted from seeds and tiny plugs this year are only just making headway. It will be another year before I can use them. Things like Giums and Veronica are so slow still. But, the Hostas, Brooms, Azaleas, Camellias and cultivated Rhododendrons have excelled, and still are. The hanging baskets (fingers crossed) are a joy to see this year. Go to Mallaig Station and have a look. It will make you happy I guarantee!

Competition Time
The winner of last month's competition, winning a trip to on the Jacobite steam train, is Mr Bill Greener, from Clara Vale, Tyne and Wear. Bill holidays at Morar so I'm sure will be delighted to fit in a happy trip on the train. Congratulations to Bill and thanks to all others who entered. Christopher Vine who produces charming stories about Peter and his new railway, Grandpa's tales from the old railways and how it works pages, has 15 books out now. Ranging from £2.99 to £11.99, they are easily available online at petersrailway.com. His latest book is entitled Peters Railway the Great Train Robbery. It makes enchanting reading for age 6 to 12 years approx (or me!) and I have two copies to give away which will be sent, signed by the author. Needless to say, Peter (again) saves the day with his pals and foils the plot!
Competition: to be in with a chance of owning Peters Railway the Great Train Robbery, send a postcard with the answer to the following question to me Sonia Cameron, Fasgadh, Marine Place, Mallaig, Invernessshire PH41 4RD by Tuesday, July 28th, 2015.
Question: Who is the author of the books?
Good luck.
See you on the train.
Sonia Cameron

There were 11 call outs for the Henry Alston Hewat, 10 in the month of June.

Friday 29th May:
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to the assistance of a Kayaker believed to be in difficulty in the entrance of Loch Ailort at Roshven. A member of the public reported what they believed to be a Kayaker in difficulty in fresh weather. A Rescue helicopter exercising in the area was tasked to assist and was on scene before the Lifeboat. Once on scene the Y-Boat was deployed with two crew members to search the Coastline on both sides of the estuary. After several sweeps of the estuary by the Helicopter and the Lifeboat and Y-Boat nothing was found apart from general flotsam. Lifeboat and Helicopter stood down at 21:00hrs along with shore based Coastguards from Mallaig and Salen. Police were continuing with their own enquiries. Lifeboat fueled and ready for service at 21:45hrs.

Friday 5th June 2015:
Medivac from Doune, Knoydart

A phone call to the Coxswain and then routed through the necessary bodies saw the Lifeboat launched at 20:45 to Medivac an injured woman from Doune on the Knoydart peninsula. Fortunately a Doctor was holidaying in Doune and was able to administer some first aid until the Lifeboat arrived with the Paramedics. Once the Paramedics had carried out their assessments and made the female casualty comfortable for transfer, the Lifeboat was brought alongside the small jetty. Once moored the casualty was brought from the accommodation block and boarded the Lifeboat for the short journey back to Mallaig. Once at the pontoon she was taken to the Belford Hospital for further treatment. Lifeboat ready for service at 22:30hrs.

Saturday 13th June 2015:
Medivac from Eigg
The lifeboat was tasked to transport two members of the Ambulance Service to the Isle of Eigg to respond to a call from a male who had sustained a head injury. On arrival at the Island the Ambulance personnel met with the casualty. After treating the casualty at the location it was deemed unnecessary to take him ashore for further treatment. The Ambulance crew returned to the lifeboat after which the lifeboat returned to station. The Lifeboat was refueled and ready for service at 23.30 Hours.

Sunday 14th June 2015:
Medivac from Eigg The Lifeboat was tasked to transport Ambulance personnel to the Isle of Eigg to respond to reports of a person who had sustained a suspected broken ankle. On arrival at the scene the ambulance personnel went ashore to assess the casualty. The Casualty was taken to back to the lifeboat and transported back to Mallaig under supervision of the ambulance personnel. The lifeboat was refueled and ready for service at 03.30 hours.

Tuesday 16th June 2015: F/V Our Catherine
The lifeboat was tasked to go to the assistance to the F/V Our Catherine BRD177 who had gone to a mooring at the fish farm in Loch Hourn to lie overnight. After failing to start due to a faulty starter the skipper called the Coastguard for assistance. The lifeboat reached the casualty at 05.10 and transferred a towline. The vessel was taken under tow to Isle Oransay and safely berthed alongside the Jetty at 0630. The lifeboat was back alongside in Mallaig, refueled and ready for service at 0715.

Thursday 18th June 2015:

A yacht 2 miles North of the Harbour called the harbour on channel 16 that they had run out of fuel and would appreciate some assistance in getting into the Marina. After going through the proper channels the Lifeboat was launched to assist the yacht into the harbour. As the Lifeboat left her berth the crew were alerted to another more serious incident further out of the Isle of Eigg. A quick call to a passing ferry requesting that after dropping off their passengers would they return to the yacht with some fuel in order to release the Lifeboat for her second tasking. With arrangements in hand to get fuel to the yacht, the Lifeboat proceeded for Eigg.

Fishing vessel casualty
Whilst proceeding to assist a yacht the Lifeboat was diverted by the Coastguard to the assistance of an unwell crewmember of a fishing vessel at 10:06hrs. The crew had radioed the coastguard that they thought that a crewman may have suffered a stroke. As well as the Lifeboat being at sea the Coastguard helicopter was also in the air and diverted to the vessel. Almost within minutes of each other the Lifeboat and the Helicopter were on scene at 10:55hrs. As their was a moderate sea and swell running the Lifeboat would have had difficulty transferring the casualty on board to transfer to the Helicopter. By passing a high line to the crew of the vessel the Helicopter winchman was guided on board to assess the casualty. The winchman reported back that evacuation was not necessary and that the trawler should return to port and the casualty attend the local GP. Coastguard requested that the Lifeboat escorted the vessel ashore and both vessels docked at 13:50hrs.

The helicopter attending to airlift crew member. Photo by Moe Mathieson.

Recovering Casualty from Inverie.
A request from Police Scotland via the proper channels saw the Lifeboat leave for Inverie to recover the body of a hill walker at 19:25hrs. On arrival at Inverie the lifeboat was met by locals who had recovered the body to the pier. Once the body had been placed in a body bag it was brought onboard the boat and placed in the survivors' cabin. Meanwhile the Police carried out their enquiries taking statements etc. Lifeboat returned to Mallaig at 22:10hrs and were met by private ambulance to convey the body to Fort William. Lifeboat ready for service at 22:30hrs.

Fire in Inverie
Whilst awaiting the arrival of Police for the previous tasking the Coastguard requested that the Fire Brigade travel to Inverie along with the Police. Their task was to check out a now extinguished chimney fire for hotspots or any other internal/external damage to a property in the village at Inverie. The Fire crew waited along with the Lifeboats crew till the Police were finished with their enquiries from the previous incident. Lifeboat back at the Pontoon at 22:10hrs.

Saturday 20th June 2015:
Yacht: Jooley

Launched at 10:55 hrs to tow a yacht into Loch Harport, Isle of Skye by Stornoway Coastguard. The Yacht Jooley was located of Portnalong and towed into Carbost and placed on a mooring to await an engineer to repair a broken prop shaft. Lifeboat back in Mallaig at 15:05

Medivac from Eigg
Launched to convey Paramedics to the Isle of Eigg. An elderly women on the Island was showing symptoms of a possible heart attack. The Lifeboat was met by the Island's first responder who conveyed the Paramedics to the casualty location at Cleadale. Once assessed the elderly person was brought to the Lifeboat and transferred to Mallaig for onward travel to Fort William's Belford Hospital. Lifeboat launched at 14:18hrs and back and ready for service at 17:00hrs.
Jim Morton


Marina Facilities Building
For various reasons - and there have been quite a few - the handover of the Marina Facilities Building to the Authority has been delayed yet again.
Contractors Knoydart Construction Ltd have given indication to the Authority that they would expect to have the building that houses the toilets/showers/laundry facilities for the Marina users, completed by sometime in early August.
Progress is being made under difficult circumstances and the Authority is mindful of this but there's also a tinge of disappointment that the handover has been delayed.
On a lighter note no one has yet come up with a suitable name for the Harbour Facilities Building - can you? Suggestions to me via contact details at bottom of the page.

Strike Action
Strike action by RMT workers who work for CalMac resulted in both the Mallaig/Armadale ferry Coruisk and the Small Isles ferry Lochnevis being tied up at Mallaig Steamer Pier all day Friday 26th June.
Mallaig Harbour was an unexpected beneficiary of the strike action as CalMac officials re-scheduled and re-jigged their timetables.
This resulted in a Lochboisdale to Mallaig car ferry service operating from Lochboisdale on the mornings of Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th and Saturday 27th June. The weather was good with little wind and the Lord of The Isles carried out the three extra sailings with no apparent issues/problems.

Look back - Steamer Pier
On the first day of April 1901, the SS Clydesdale from Stornoway and the SS Lovedale from Portree berthed at Mallaig with passengers for the waiting train. The Mallaig Extension of the West Highland Railway was officially open.
Here's an interesting picture of the Steamer Pier under construction - the earliest I have ever seen - and knowing the information in the opening paragraph puts the date of the photo c 1899/1900.


Pier construction workers, horses and simple cranes can all be seen in the photo.
Robert MacMillan, CEO
01687 462154 info@mallaigharbourauthority.com

BIRDWATCH - by Stephen MacDonald
An entry omitted last month: A Lesser Redpoll that was caught by a ringer in the same garden on the 22nd April had been ringed at Catterick Garrison, Yorkshire, on the 11th April 2014, presumably on migration northwards. It just shows how far our breeding birds travel outside the breeding season.

June 2015
A very mixed bag weather wise this month, a cold, damp start, but by the last few days it was warming up and it felt more like summer.
A very pale Skua seen and photographed from the MV Sheerwater between Eigg and Arisaig on the 3rd provided an identification puzzle for the observers. The images were emailed to a number birders around the country and the consensus was a very pale immature Long-Tailed Skua. Most Long-Tailed Skua spring passage is usually over by the end of May and mostly involves adult birds, so a good find by the boys on the Sheerwater.
The next birding highlight was the discovery of an Ortolan Bunting in a Morar garden on the evening of the 23rd. This migratory bunting, although widespread in Southern and Eastern Europe and into Russia, has become an increasingly scarce vagrant to the British Isles in recent years. Most records come from the South and East Coasts of England and also the Northern Isles.

Ortolan Bunting by Stephen MacDonald

The bird would come to feed at fairly regular intervals throughout the next couple of days, although only feeding for a short time before flying off. A number of visiting birders managed to see it before it was last seen on the morning of the 26th. This bird is probably only the 4th or 5th record for Highland.
Other birds noted this month included a single Pink-footed Goose amongst a flock of 50 Greylags resting in the sea off Traigh Farm on the 8th. A single Greenshank was seen at Loch nan Eala on the 17th. Also on Loch nan Eala on that date were Snipe and Little Grebe, the latter may have nested there. The first reported Stormy Petrel was seen just off Rhue on the 19th. Chiffchaffs were heard at the Larachmore Gardens, Arisaig, Whitethroats were noted at Camusdarach and the 'Circular Walk', Mallaig. Blackcaps were seen and heard at Arisaig House and Morar. The Barn Owls were seen at the usual cliff-sites near Mallaig and hunting birds were observed on several occasions around the Loch Nevis Terrace are of Mallaig.
Several reports of Yellowhammers were seen at garden feeders in Mallaig with sightings at King's Way and East Bay.
The breeding season is in full swing and many juvenile birds reported from gardens. After a late start, good numbers of juvenile Siskins, Goldfinches and Redpolls etc. reported from gardens, Juvenile Linnets and Great-Spotted Woodpeckers also reported from a garden in Morar. Interestingly as adult Great-Spotted Woodpecker was observed attacking a nest-box that contained Great Tits on the 16th. It must have been unsuccessful as at least two juvenile Great Tits fledged two days later. Broods of Red-breasted Mergansers and Greylag Geese were seen at the West end of Loch Morar during the month.
A family party of Redstarts was seen by the canal, Arisaig, on the last day of the month. Although many of our garden birds seem to have had a successful breeding season, many of our ground nesting birds appear to have had a dismal season.

Looking back...

Twenty years ago - July 1995
The West Word of July 1995 had a cover price of 50p, 32 pages and coverage of three items on its front page. A photo showing heavily armed kilted Highlanders on the steam locomotive (No 75014) was captioned 'Steam Returns to Mallaig' and the story told of the first run of the Jacobite steam train on the West Highland Line which had taken place on Tuesday 27th June. Operator David Smith announced there would be 60 trips that summer - five per week.
The foundering of the local fishing boat Fidelis and the subsequent rescue of its four man crew by the Rescue Helicopter was, quite rightly, given front page prominence, as was Maruma's weekend visit to the Feis Eige weekend. This gave the islanders a chance to meet their new landlord. Rubbish and its disposal was the subject matter covered by Council Corner and Councillor King also told of a meeting of the Trustees of the new Morar Playing Field (has it really taken 10 years to come to fruition!).
Nothing much has changed in that same period for the fishing industry, as back in July '95 Hugh Allen was bemoaning the pressure being applied to the fishing industry by environmental lobbyists (see this month's article by John Hermse). A half page feature on Roshven artist Jemima Blackburn ended with the news that some of her paintings would be on display, for one month only, at the Mallaig Heritage Centre. (Ten years on, there is a display of her work currently at Arisaig's Land, Sea & Islands Centre.)
Other items included in Issue 9 Volume 1 was the usual Round and About feature of news from around the district, Molly Grigor recalled her Peruvian Adventure and Paul Galbraith provided A Glimpse from the Past - the importance of herring fishing to Mallaig and the surrounding area.
Local lass Heather Smith, aided and abetted by her dad Hamish, described her incredible Microlight Island Hop in aid of Raleigh International. Skye/Eigg/Muck/Coll/Tiree/Mull - phew, what a day out that was!!!
A great success was the verdict and congratulations to all involved in the very first Road to the Isles Agricultural Show at Camusdarach - the Mission Weekend also went well with HMS Alderney being the special guest.
Anne Cameron (11), Morroch, was the winner of the competition to design a logo for Arisaig Community Council while Leanne MacVarish (13) and Euan Baillie (12) were adjudged joint winners in the West Word Children's Cartoon Competition (is this something we should re-visit, Mrs Editor?) There was a nice letter from Mallaig born Mary Snow (nee Johnson) recalling her village childhood and her husband Eric also provided a piece.
This was one of the Snippets... only another two members needed for the magic 100 at Traigh Golf Club... I wonder if they ever made it and I wonder how many members the 2005 Club can boast? Maybe we will find out by the next edition of West Word.
Robert MacMillan (written in July 2005)

Ten years ago - July 2005
Still only 75p but with 40 pages in those days. The front page reported on the official opening of the new Eigg Community Hall, but the main story was that Sir Cameron Mackintosh had launched a campaign to encourage a community buy out of his 140,000 acre estate. On page 2 was an open letter from Sir Cameron explaining the situation: one crofting family who had announced their intention of buying six of their crofts which would leave a 4,200 acre 'hole' in the centre of the estate, threatening its sustainability.
The Mallaig All-Weather pitch had had the required remedial work carried out more speedily than anyone expected.
Arisaig dogs swept the board at the 10th Agricultural Show: Dr Gartshore's Maddy came first, Kevin Kane's Max was third, Grace Macniven's Finn fourth, with a sneaky entry from Glasgow, Clyde, taking 2nd place with owner Agnes Shield.
Margaret and Iain MacEachen were pictured cutting the cake at their 40th wedding anniversary celebration - why no photo of your 50th?! Pictured on their wedding day were .Alistair and Allison Fleming - happy 10th wedding anniversary to you!
Ann Lamont

Three years after his first fundraising CD raised more than £9,000, Robert 'Bodie' Bowman has teamed up again with good friend and musician Steve 'Wonderland' Brown to compile a second CD with a particular aim in mind.
Robert's five-year old daughter Dawn has cerebral palsy and was born with meningitis, a cleft palate and a serious abdominal condition. She can't walk, talk or eat but under the loving care of Robert and his wife, Maryann, she is a very happy child.
The £9,000 raised from the first CD was split between the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Raigmore Hospital which the couple believe saved Dawn's life, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, buying the much needed equipment requested by each unit.

Robert with daughter Dawn

Robert and Steve have teamed up again to produce an album of 19 favourite songs on the CD entitled 'Songs for Dawn (Three Years On)' which retails for £12.00. The money raised from the sales of the CD will go towards buying Dawn a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) which will cost around £14,000 and which will enable Dawn to get out and about and be able to attend her many medical appointments more easily. At present she has a very heavy and cumbersome specialised pram, and the new vehicle would enable this to be simply wheeled aboard and strapped down. Robert hopes that at least the deposit for the WAV can be raised by the CD sales but however much is raised ten percent will go the to SCBU at Raigmore Hospital.
The family, who presently live in Arisaig, are waiting for a specially adapted house in Fort William to be completed and will be moving in the near future.

Happy Dawn on the CD cover

The CD is on sale in Arisaig Spar, Mallaig Co-op, Arisaig Hotel, The Gallery in the Fort on Fort William High Street, Fort William Health Centre, Lochyside Primary 'school and the Barber Shop on Middle Street in Fort William. It can also be bought online at www.songsfordawn.co.uk. You can also make a donation by contacting the family through the Songs for Dawn Facebook page.


Footballosophy by Iain Gillies
There's a cracking photo on the back cover of the book where Iain Gillies is pictured with Celtic F.C. legends Jock Stein, Bobby Collins, Bobby Evans and Charlie Tully enjoying a bit of fun on an Ayrshire beach. But, maybe, it shows a bit more. Maybe it shows just how tantalisingly close 18 year old Iain "Rogie" Gillies was, from making the breakthrough at Celtic Park.
Iain describes signing for Celtic and the highs and lows of his season with them and the ultimate heartbreak of being given a free transfer at the age of 19.
Iain had had trials for Hearts FC and Morton FC being experiencing his schoolboy dream of signing for Celtic and the book tells of how a young lad, born and raised in Mallaig travelled via his football skills and abilities to Celtic Park to Crewe Alexandra to Inverness Thistle and ultimately to New Zealand.
Although Iain is credited as writer of the book it's really an oral history with Iain's words and reminisces being transcribed into book format by his son Angus.

It provides an insight into how life in Mallaig was in the 40's & 50's and tells of how the Gillies family struggled to adapt to life in New Zealand first time around; of their return to the UK with little money; and of the family being split up lodging in rooms here and there, before getting a council house in Lovat Terrace where they could all be together again.
After his National Service Iain became a journalist with DC Thomson and while in Inverness playing Highland League football with Inverness Thistle he shared digs (and a double bed) with Arisaig's Tony Moynihan another fine local footballer.
It was in Inverness in 1959 that Iain noticed an advert in Charles Buchan's Football Monthly "Footballers Wanted In New Zealand" and within the month he and Tony set off for New Zealand. Footballosophy by Iain Gillies is always interesting and peppered with local names and anecdotes.
The 179 page book can be purchased at the Mallaig Heritage Centre Price £10.00 and can also be obtained via Amazon.
Robert MacMillan


This photo (above) does not appear in Footballosophy which is not surprising since it's not the photo of a football team but one of Clanranald Shinty Team and guess who is the in the back row - Iain "Rogie" Gillies that's who!
Back Row: (left to right) Hugh MacKelvie; Ewan Robertson; Iain Gillies; Unknown; Ronnie MacDonald; Donald McDonnell; Sandy MacMillan.
Front row: Farquhar MacRae; Jimmy Hanratty, Eddie Hanratty; Johnny Robertson; Jimmy MacMillan & Colin Munro.

See Iain as he is now in Wide World West Word this month, reading his copy in New Zealand!

From Personal Angle by RMM
Here is a photograph of Arisaig taken over 100 years ago! It shows Morroch in the foreground, the High Land and Low Land houses, the new rail track and Railway Station. Written in pencil on the back of the photo is the following information: 'Photograph of Arisaig specially taken for the Arisaig Church Bazaar', dated 6.03 (June 1903). Unfortunately the photographer cannot be identified, the name being indistinct and incomplete. My thanks to Jimmy MacDonald for use of the photo!


Why not send us a photo of your pet? Or any interesting wildlife seen out and about?
Bran thinks she's a cat but is in fact a Wauzer - a cross Mini Schnauzer/West Highland Terrier - and she rules the lives of editor Ann and her husband Richard in Arisaig. Bran was the name of the dog belonging to the giant Finn McCool, a reference to the fact she is so small and Richard is 6ft 7in.


World Wide West Word
A bit of sport, a bit of culture, and a lot of fun this month!

This is Betsy pictured with her West Word. She was made by Ailsa MacDougall as her entry for the Tattie Bogle Competition at the Land Sea and Islands Centre, Arisaig.
Betsy came second and Ailsa presented her to her Grandpa, Hugh MacDougall on Fathers' Day. She now holds pride of place in the vegetable patch.
We reckon Betsy has the best view of any scarecrow in Britain as she looks out on the Isle of Rum and the Isle of Skye towards the Cuillin Mountains. Well Done, Ailsa!

Three ex Mallaig men catching up on West Word news in Wellington, New Zealand for the FIFA U-20 World Cup:
bothers Iain, Ronnie and Archie Gillies.
Ian and Archie live in Gisborne, NZ, Ronnie in Wellington. Iain's book, Footballosophy, is reviewed above.

Ian and Cynthia Buick atook their copy from Arisaig to the opening ceremony of the 1st European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan on 12 June 2015.

Outside the Hotel Merry at a wedding in Izmir, Turkey are the happy couple, wedding musicians and guests.
From left to right: Ross and Eilidh Martin, Angus Binnie, groom Paul Thomson and bride Alev, Rachel Crawley, Steve Brook and Billy MacMillan, with Kirsty and Fraser Martin holding West Word.
With the party but not in the photo were Tam the banjo, Galen Brook and Christine Ames.

Malcolm Ross, ex Arisaig and now Huddersfield, read his while on a gondola in Venice!

Finn (aged 8), Arisaig, took his copy into the new composting toilet in Carol and Rory Duncan's garden.
Funnily enough we've had two photos of West Word being read on the toilet and both have been by children!

Cameron Purdon, a friend of James MacMillan in Wiltshire, took a copy (James') to Thailand when he went on a golfing holiday - and here we are at the Bridge over the River Kwai!

Brogan Sangan took time off from her job at the Pool to go to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and took us with her.
Also with her are her boyfriend Ian Dempster, her brother Cameron and her father Tony.

Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
Letters, e-mails and comments are welcome.
Feel free to Sign our Guestbook

List of Issues online

Visit West Word on Facebook

The paper version of West Word contains approximately 40 pages (A4 size) including:

  • Reports from the local communities, lifeboat log and weather
  • Columns on local sport, wildlife, politics
  • Poets corner, letters, snippets
  • Feature articles, local events, festivals and games
  • .....and lots more photos!

For 12 issues: £36 anywhere in the UK
£55 for Eire and Europe / £75 for the rest of the world.
Contact the Editor to subscribe.

West Word
Morar Station Buildings
Inverness-shire PH40 4PB
Tel/Fax: 01687 462 720
E-mail: editor@westword.org.uk

Sign our Guestbook or Read our Guestbook
(Your comments may be printed in next month's issue)

Visit the official Road to the Isles web site


Copyright © 2002-2015 West Word
Page last updated: July 2015

Site designed by
The Internet Guide to Scotland