Thursday, 22 January 2009

The 7th day

I shall open this post by expressing my utmost and deepest respect for anybody's religious convictions. I shall also add immediately that I am familiar with the Scriptural reference to the seventh day being a day of rest. In fact, since arriving in Lewis just over 4 years ago, I have come to appreciate that one quiet day in the week.


In previous posts on the BBC IB site, I have repeatedly mentioned the contradictions that exist in these islands regarding the observation of the Sabbath. Whilst (most) shops are closed, pubs are open. Whilst the ferry does not sail, planes do fly out of the airport at Stornoway. Whilst there is no ferry to the island of Lewis, MV Hebrides happily plies between Lochmaddy (in North Uist) and Uig (Skye) on a Sunday.

And now, the golf course at Scarista is losing out on a £75,000 subsidy because it isn't open on Sunday. The controversy involving the body Sportscotland, which will not award the money, is well publicised locally. They state that sports facilities should be available at all reasonable times - and being closed on Sunday means that Scarista is not. Our MP has huffed and puffed over this, crying wolf over the alleged discrimination against local custom in the northern Hebrides.

I don't think local custom is being discriminated against. It is a case of baking your cake and eating it.

I gather the shortfall has already been made up, incidentally.


  1. A bit unfair on our MP, Arnish. At least he is making effort on behalf of the Golf Club.

    Quote from western

    "SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Angus MacNeil is writing to SportScotland to protest in the strongest possible terms to them for withholding £75,000 from the Isle of Harris Golf Course in Scarista.

    Mr MacNeil said: “I could not believe that SportScotland could withhold the entire grant of £75,000 from Harris Golf Course on the grounds they have.

    “ This is not an issue about Sunday golf but an issue of being treated fairly and equitably.

    “SportScotland have shown a very heavy handed manner in this instance.

    Mr Macneil added: “I am also writing to the Minister for Sport, Stewart Maxwell to get a grip of this quango and ensure that the Isle of Harris Golf Club benefit from a first-rate facility in what is a first-rate setting.”

  2. My female parental unit has just bought John McLeod's book Banner in the West. I surmise her blood pressure must be too low. When he had a column in The Herald, it regularly soared!
    I think sportscotland is being a bit picky. Surely not every organisation it funds has to be open 7 days a week? Or does it?

  3. Why not? Are the inhabitants of Harris so laid-back that they can regularly pursue the game of golf on weekdays? Or do they nearly to a man and woman have to actually work for a living? Hurray for Sunday golf.

  4. You're asking some tough questions there Barney. For those of us who do not live there, the Western Isles have a certain, shall we say...reputation:-)

  5. But of course, EffCee. Whisky Galore to you!