Wednesday, 22 October 2008


I don't have children going to school, but am only too aware of the 'problems' surrounding the provision of education to the island's youngsters. As I indicated in a previous post, I am totally lost as for the rationale behind the decisions being taken, only to be reversed within hours, by Western Isles Council. I had to bite back a sardonic cackle this evening when reading that 'hard decisions' would have to be taken. For goodness sakes, hard decisions were called for this summer, and were very effectively avoided.

Now I read that the provision of primary education is to be reviewed. All 38 primaries in the Western Isles catchment area (Barra to Butt) will come under close scrutiny. However, should the secondary segments (S1/S2) in outlying schools come to be closed (can't, for the muddle, tell whether or not that's the case), classrooms will start to lie empty, which could be used for primary education.

Confused? How DO you mean, confused?!

Back in the late 1980s, someone was employed by the Council to go round and axe schools, left, right and centre. He was the scapegoat and could safely leave the island, with all the impopularity on his unfortunate shoulders. Being electorally aware has, by the sound of things, made our councillors scared of making impopular decisions, only batting for their own wards. Fair enough, up to a point, but it's already led to insults from a parliamentary representative - something I don't agree with in itself - but it IS time Sandwick Road got its act together, made a firm decision and stuck to it. We've got a Butt of Lewis in our island, we don't need to be the Butt of Jokes.

Monday, 20 October 2008

October notes

Road-equivalent tarriff has been introduced on the routes linking the Western Isles to the Scottish mainland today, slashing the single fare for a footpassenger to £7.25 on the Ullapool crossing. I hope it brings the much-vaunted hike in passenger numbers, otherwise someone will have to pick up the tab for the decreased revenue for Calmac. Calmac's annual losses (some £32m) are covered by government.

Earlier this month, I went to Orkney and came away with 1200 pictures of the trip, of which 700 were photographs of wargraves. 3 from the cemetery by St Magnus in Kirkwall, 125 from St Olaf's Cemetery on the road to Scapa Flow and 580 from the Royal Naval Cemetery at Lyness (Hoy). I'm currently gathering the info associated with the pics from Lyness. Took me 2 hours to go round there and snap the headstones.

Here are some assorted piccies from the rest of the trip, in no particular order.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Hailshower over Loch Broom"]Hailshower over Loch Broom[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Arriving at Ullapool from Stornoway"]Arriving at Ullapool from Stornoway[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Snowcapped Ben Wyvis as seen from Inverness"]Snowcapped Ben Wyvis as seen from Inverness[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Helsmdale Harbour"]Helsmdale Harbour[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Scrabster at 7pm"]Scrabster at 7pm[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall"]St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Lyness"]Lyness[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Royal Naval Cemetery, LynessRoad on Hoy"]Royal Naval Cemetery, Lyness[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Pegal Burn, Hoy"]Pegal Burn, Hoy[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Victoria Street, Stromness"]Victoria Street, Stromness[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Excavations at Skara Brae"]Excavations at Skara Brae[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Inside the Italian Chapel"]Inside the Italian Chapel[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Helmsdale"]Helmsdale[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Road to Ullapool"]Road to Ullapool[/caption]