WEST WORD
COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR 2005 & 2008
Lochaber Small Business of the Year 2015
Community paper for Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Lochailort, Glenfinnan
Glenuig, Knoydart and the Small Isles

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September 2017 Issue

Contents of the online version:

Top stories
Letter from the Editor
Monthly news from Knoydart, Muck, Canna, Eigg, Rum
Lifeboat, harbour and railway news

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Contact Details & How to Subscribe to the Paper
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Plans for Rum salmon farm submitted to Council
Plans for a new salmon farm off the Isle of Rum which would create ten new jobs have been submitted to the Highland Council. The site off Rum would be the latest in Marine Harvest Scotland's series of "open sea" farms, following farms opening off Barra, the Isle of Muck and Colonsay since 2009.
The plans for Rum involve creating ten jobs, including a farm manager and two assistant farm managers, with Marine Harvest building a 3-bedroom manager's house; two 3-bedroom flats; a visitors annex and a shore base at Kinloch.
Marine Harvest have been working with the Isle of Rum Community Trust and the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust to develop the project, with the Community Trust also drawing up their own plans to build four semi-detached homes as part of the development.
The plans also include a boost to tourism on the island with the proposal to provide visiting yachts with moorings, use of the Marine Harvest pontoon, and possible provision of toilets and showers.
Ben Hadfield, Managing Director for Marine Harvest Scotland, said: "As demand for Scottish salmon continues to grow our aim is to create a thriving sustainable industry whilst providing jobs in some of our most fragile rural communities.
"We are delighted to be working so closely with the community on Rum on plans for a project that would benefit everyone involved and also support the local tourist industry."
Over the past two years Marine Harvest have carried out a programme of consultation about the plans with the community and local groups. Local people, members of the Community Trust and representatives from Scottish Natural Heritage also visited the Marine Harvest farm on neighbouring Muck to find out more about how it operates.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Well, August was officially a wash-out and there's a little bit of an autumnal chill in the air. The heather, rowans, and blackberries are all putting on a great show - it's such a beautiful time of year.

I'm going to try and make a much-requested change to the publication date of West Word and bring it closer to the beginning of the month starting with October's edition. Inevitably this means changing the date for submissions - this will happen gradually over the next three months. October's deadline will be 25th September - early submissions are always appreciated though of course!
My thanks to Anne and Miya for patiently sticking labels on envelopes, and to Ewen and Morag for their patience with the printer (which has been a bit of a beast lately ..)
If you have any comments or you'd like to get in touch, you can email me on editor@westword.org.uk or call on 07538 530550.
Kirsty Bloom

The deadline for submissions to West Word is changing
Over the last six months I have had requests from many of West Word's readers and contributors for the publication date be brought forward to the beginning of the month.
This would enable us to promote events for a full calendar month and simplify procedures for advertisers.
In order for this to happen the deadline for contributions will be changing over the next few months:
The deadline for the October issue will be 25th September.
The deadline for the November issue will be 25th October.
The deadline for the December issue will be 20th November, and from then on the deadline will be the 20th of the previous month.
With any luck this will mean that the October and November issues will be in the shops around the 5th of the month, and the December issue should be out around the 1st!
Hopefully this change will suit both contributors and readers, and fit in with everyone's expectations of a monthly paper.
As ever, your feedback is appreciated! Please email editor@westword.org.uk if you have any comments.

Jamie and Chris ride the length of Britain to raise funds for Birchwood Highland
In last month's West Word we reported how Jamie Begg from Glenuig and his friend Chris Dacre were planning to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for Birchwood Highland.
They have since completed their ride and raised over a massive £5,300 to date! Congratulations boys! Jamie says 'we'd just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who's supported us from back home and also along the way. We are astounded by how much people have donated, it's been amazing! All in all we had a great time doing it as well. We did it in 13 days and cycled 1075 miles in total. I think since then we've both been enjoying beds, soft seats and houses!'
Jamie wrote a blog along the way which can be read here
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamie-and-chris-go-cycling

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Canna residents set up crowdfunding appeal for Sanday's first road
The Isle of Canna Community Trust are appealing for contributions to help build a road on Sanday.
The isle of Sanday is joined to Canna by a road bridge but presently there is no road on Sanday itself. A rocky track around the shore is useable at low tide but when the tide is in, travel is only possible by foot or quad bike.
The community have already raised £17,200 towards the total cost of £31,428 for the road and are now asking for help to raise the remaining funds. The Trust says the road would 'make a huge and immediate difference to the lives of everyone living there. It will enable islanders to travel freely by vehicle from the pier on Canna to home on Sanday, to carry basic supplies such as shopping and fuel for heating, and to get back and forth to work on Canna. Creating this track will be life-changing for residents of Sanday and is vital to encourage new people to settle on the island.'
Funds raised so far include contributions from the National Trust for Scotland and the Mackintosh Foundation.
The road, which will be approximately 1.5 miles long, will stretch from the Canna bridge to St Edwards church, and will be built using locally sourced materials. The community are also planning to create a trail alongside the road to link sites of interest on Sanday together. These include the bridge itself, the shrine, machair and sand dunes, archaeology, bird colonies, working croft lands, St Edwards Church and Sanday lighthouse.
Their fundraising page can be found at
www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sanday


KNOYDART
Well it was a cracking start to the month with the Games taking place on the first weekend. And, joy of all joys - the sun actually graced us with its presence for the most part! It was a fantastic weekend, kick-started on the Friday with pizza at the Table. There was a good turnout of folk, including an entertaining "Hag" do group sporting some amazing costumes (the giant inflatable T-Rex was my favourite personally) and plenty of silliness as usual. The giant pipe slide returned too, and there was a new outdoor bar constructed. The Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band carried on the festivities into the night and I think the funniest part may have been watching the inflatable T-Rex ceilidh-ing.
It seemed like no time at all after the games that the kids (and teachers!) were going back to school. Congratulations to Victor, Innes and Ruben who are now officially "big boys" and are doing very well in the big class. Can't believe we've been back 3 weeks already!
On the Renewables front there has been things happening behind the scenes. They recently held a strategy day where the main aim was to generate ideas for how best to utilise the spare capacity for the community's benefit. The idea is to be creative with the spare capacity in a way which helps the system work more smoothly and efficiently and give also give the community something more. It will be interesting to see what we come up with… We also had another great music night with Eddie and Luc, two young lads who were really good and gave us some lovely Celtic tunes.
Coming up in September…. Me and Lewis's wedding….Exciting times!
Cheers for now
Heather Gilmour

ISLE OF MUCK
August was another poor month for weather but then it is many years since we have had serious fine weather in August. That said we had numerous sunny afternoons and that is what is most important for our August visitors. The other important feature of the island for the visitors is of course the Craft Shop for lunch and tea and this has been run by a whole team of islanders.
On the Fish Farm the cages are empty. All the salmon are sold and we believe that despite the fish growing faster off Muck than any other Scottish site the cages will not be restocked until 2018. This will possibly be at the same time as the new farm off Rum. Normally the fallow period with no fish is six weeks. The effect of this is that those islanders working for Marine Harvest will have to travel which can be bad news in winter!
Back on land all the ewes and lambs are sold or they should have been, had not at the last minute CalMac decided that the forecast was too poor to take the sheep lorry to Skye. So they had to travel via Fort William to Dingwall. As the railway bridges are too low to allow three decks to pass underneath, the top deck had to be folded down and around 120 lambs left behind. However despite gloomy predictions, prices at Dingwall were similar to last year apart from Sandy's who was really chuffed. The best of his Beltex lambs made over £70.
Lots of changes at the Muck school. Two new pupils have joined the class of nine. Tara MacEwen has joined P1 leaving nursery empty for a time. However, Phoebe has not become unemployed: she has moved sideways and become Clerical Assistant.
Last month we welcomed another new family to the island - Neil and Georgia Gillies and their children Logan and Aoife. Logan is bringing the school role to 11 as he too has joined P1. Georgia's father Ed was one time warden on Rum. It was a period marked by the best ever relations between Rum and Muck. Good news too at Gallanach Lodge. Toby has had his contract extended by SNH. 50 stags a year have to be removed from the Rum herd.
That is about all this month.
Lawrence MacEwen

ISLE OF CANNA
This month has been dominated by the torrential thunderstorm which hit Canna on the night of the 22 August. We estimate that at least 8 inches of rain fell in a matter of 8 hours and the aftermath has proved damaging to the island. We have lost the road to Tarbert which is essential for the farm. Part of it has been washed away and other sections have been subjected to very large landslides. One young wild camper was exceedingly lucky as he had camped along the Tarbert road overnight and his tent was only a few feet away from one of the landslips. He said that he felt the tent moving during the night "as if it was floating" but was unaware of how fortunate he had been until he woke up in the morning.
On a happier note the first 300 lambs have left the island to be sold at the Dingwall Lamb Sales.

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Sadly we had to say goodbye to the Guthrie family and Martin, the school teacher, who have moved back to the mainland. We all wish them well for the future and they will take many happy memories of Canna with them.
The harbour is still busy with visiting RIBs and yachts and we are also looking forward to repairs to the pier being carried out in September. This includes fixing some of the fenders and also providing a set of steps at the old cattle ramp which should make it easier for small boats to offload passengers at high tide.
Donald MacKenzie

Criomagan (Crumbs) from Canna House
In August, Fiona travelled to Uig on Skye to take the fast boat to the island of St Kilda. Margaret Fay Shaw Campbell of Canna House was one of the last visitors to the island before evacuation in 1930 and took a set of stunning black and white photographs documenting her trip. Fiona wanted to recreate these images and take today's equivalents to compare how much or how little the island had changed since 1930. Unfortunately Fiona's plans were put on hold due to poor weather conditions but she hopes to try again early next year.
Fiona, however, was able to change her plans and travel to South Uist instead of St Kilda, where she was able to go to Kildonan Museum and see the items on loan there, from Canna House, in the new exhibition celebrating religious life in the islands. Canna House loaned the exhibition the famous notebooks and some of the photos of Father Allan Macdonald, the Eriskay/Fort William priest on South Uist in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Fiona has also been delivering regular Wednesday lunchtime talks on the work of Margaret and John Campbell of Canna House, in the Shearing Shed. These have proven very popular with to visitors, Patrons and residents and provide an alternative to island walks when weather is not so clement!
Fiona MacKenzie

Fiona will be appearing at the Mallaig Book Festival in November

ISLE OF EIGG
John the Birdie tells us that the dismal August weather made for an early departure of summer migrants, but that did not mean our visitor numbers have abated. On the contrary, Eigg has enjoyed a good season this year, with the island capitalising at times on the lack of accommodation in Lochaber! Not quite like Skye though, thank goodness!
The Trust's wooden pods have been full non-stop and we've even had some Islanders from Ouessant, the most western island of Brittany, which is on the way to being powered by renewables on the example of Eigg, who were very keen to see the way our Eigg micro-brewery operates.
However, the end of August has also seen the departure of our human summer migrants - our volunteers and our SWT ranger, Gillian, who has thoroughly enjoyed her time on Eigg. We too have enjoyed her activities, from landscape drawing at Laig to looking at moths, dragonflies and bats, and hope she will be able to come back next year to build on all these activities! Of note wildlife-wise this month, two Pomarine Skuas were reported by the Sheerwater, and good numbers of Storm Petrel offshore as well as frequent sightings of Minke Whales, Common Dolphin and Basking Sharks. Exotic Violet Snails washed up on Laig bay must be the oddest wildlife event of the summer. In Cleadale, the Meadowsweet is spectacular as are the Fuschia hedges covered with crimson blossoms, and high in the hills, there has been a really good show of Bog Orchids!
As the summer ends, many changes are afoot, with Taigh Eilidh being sold as well as two building plots in Cleadale. Ian Leaver, who has been Eigg's Project and Development Officer, has also left the island after 10 years in post to take up a job with the Development Trust Association. We all wish him well, and recognise that his position might be difficult to fill, what with our forestry project finally getting off the ground, and the end of the first phase for the community hub at the pier, and the housing project at Sandavore!
However, one change which everyone is rejoicing over is the fact that Nan Fee, frequent visitor to Eigg and singer from North Ireland, has been appointed as teacher to replace Lizzie Boden who has now retired from Eigg Primary School. Lizzie will be at long last being able to dedicate all her time to the family farm at Sandavore! Thanks for your contribution over the last 10 years, Lizzie! Meanwhile, the Eigg Singing Group has gained a new member: Babouchka, Babouchka, I can hear a Kate Bush tune coming our way!
With Sadie Macquarrie, Nan was one of the two elves who guided Taidghean and all the Eigg children from his granny's house on a Dragon quest all the way to his uncle Damian's house, where his 6th birthday party took place. There were some pretty groovy knights and princesses, but two year old Colm was not too sure about the dragon, and confided he did not much like it! A real nice, warm evening on Damian's decking around the fire, enjoying the last of the summer… Meanwhile, Iain Blackford's visit to Eigg reminded us of the challenges afoot in UK politics: a helpful visit, which allowed us to share concerns about the future of farming and the islands as Brexit negotiations seem to stall without bringing any clarity or reassurance about post Brexit life in rural areas. Future of the rural areas will be the topic of Scottish Rural Action next month, and I look forward to going. I will make sure I will report for West Word readers… Meanwhile, Katie Miller's fundraising for her Kilimanjaro adventure next month to fund children's schools in Tanzania has exceeded her expectations. Well done and Good luck Katie, and don't forget your copy of our paper!
Camille Dressler

ISLE OF RUM
Rum Primary is back to school - good to have Debs back after a summer down south - very envious of her tan!
The camping cabins have had an upgrade and now have electricity. Shuggy was over from Eigg to help make that happen. Bunkhouse Manager Jed is hoping it will increase the visitors season into the winter.
Billy has been over working on Kinloch Castle - sorting out the dry rot, shocking to see the deterioration in the areas they have been working on. Some of the furniture has been taken off for moth treatment too - sofas and chairs removed and taken to a huge freezer to kill off any parasites before being returned. Stalking season is in full swing with John-Alex here and plenty of Rum pony action shots. Lots of folk milling around in tweed, the echoes of shots ringing out across the hills and fresh venison back on the menu. It will be interesting to see whether the many stags roaming Kinloch village stay in situ for the rut or head out into the island in search of hinds. We could well have AutumnWatch-style action happening outside our windows this year!
Kim's tea shop has had a good season and evening meals have proved a real hit - Kim is looking forward to introducing Rum venison to the menu for next year. Brambling season is fully upon us and all at Croft 3 have purple fingers from being out picking. Nic has a new range of jams in the shed and has even started exporting brambles from Rum - find Croft 3 artisan jams for sale in Mallaig at Amy-Jayne's new shop. Plans to head off for the winter for the Goddards are firming up and along with livestock for sale (anyone wanting chickens, ducks or pigs?) we are also selling our little car, perfect for running between Mallaig and Fort William, less suitable for taking a family of four, a cat and a dog down to the other end of the country!
Happy September birthdays to Dougal (2), Davies (17) and Ranger Trudi. Happy wedding anniversaries to Sean & Ali and Nic & Ady.
Nic Goddard

The Isle of Rum Regeneration Project 2016-17
Isle of Rum Ranger Service (part-funded by Scottish Natural Heritage) & Isle of Rum Community Trust with Tesco 'Bags of Help', Greenspace Scotland & Groundwork UK
The Rum Regeneration Project was devised to deliver rural regeneration to Kinloch Village, including Community Polytunnel restoration, improved footpaths and wheelchair access and visitor facilities.
We hosted a total of 25 volunteers during the course of the project. They ranged in age from early 20s to late 60s and came from all over Scotland, Wales and England in addition to Germany and the Netherlands! Four volunteers came from Bath Spa, the Ranger's old university, and two of them wrote about their time on Rum for the Bath Spa Alumni Magazine.
Duration of stay ranged from one week to four weeks. One volunteer returned for a second stay, another extended her stay from two weeks to three, and every single one expressed regret at having to leave, and promised to return in the future. Seven Rum residents also put in volunteer hours, helping with rhody burning, hedge trimming and flower planting.
Everyone worked exceptionally hard, enduring extremes of weather from torrential rain to scorching heat, to sleet and snow!
The difference made to Kinloch Village has been amazing.
The volunteers:

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Clearing new and old rhododendron will allow the regeneration of wildflowers, providing more food and habitat for bees and butterflies. Trimming the roadsides means the mechanical digger can renew the ditches - not only protecting our roads from erosion but also restoring habitat for dragonflies, damselflies and carnivorous plants.
Those less able can now enjoy the Bluebell Wood and the Wildlife Garden thanks to the improved drainage and removal of excess vegetation.
The 25 visiting volunteers gained valuable experience in nature conservation and countryside management, helping many of them to gain job interviews in the field. The Ranger wrote a reference for one volunteer, helping her to land a job studying seabirds in the Fallaron Islands off the coast of California!
The new Community Polytunnel will foster greater social cohesion and allow everyone, especially the children, to learn horticultural skills and benefit from the increased supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Overall, this project has been far more than the sum of its parts. New faces coming to stay on Rum, learning new skills, exploring the island and getting to know the residents, has been an overwhelmingly positive force. Many of them remain in contact through social media, allowing us to follow their progress beyond Rum.
The project has fostered a great sense of pride in our surroundings and renewed our determination to make Rum a superbly welcoming place for holidays and hillwalking, for people from all walks of life, all ages and all abilities.
The community of Rum would like to express our enormous thanks and appreciation to Tesco 'Bags of Help', Greenspace Scotland and Groundwork UK for the grant money that allowed this wonderful project to go ahead. It has made a very real impact on our tiny community, and we shall be able to reap the benefits for years to come.
Trudi Clarke
Rum Community Ranger
August 2017


At the beginning of August two young Frenchmen, Mayeul and Xavier, came to stay with us in Morar. These intrepid adventurers were about to realise a plan, four years in the making, to sail round Skye in a catamaran. The aim was to find remote beaches suitable for kite-surfing. Their small craft took a day to assemble and pack. Clothing, tent, sleeping bags and food had to be put into waterproof bags and tied securely to the top of the hulls, there being no 'hold'. They set off from the Morar estuary for a three week trip up the west coast of Skye and down the east. As we all know, the weather this summer has been unpredictable.

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Camping on Raasay

Their catamaran - two hulls linked by a 'trampoline', three sails and with no such luxuries as a cabin or engine - relied totally on wind (but not too much!). It travels exceedingly fast when the wind catches underneath the 'trampoline', skimming over the water. They anchored in secluded bays and swam ashore with the tent and food. They had a drone which gave a wonderful pictorial record of their travels. Becalmed in Carbost (not a bad place to be stranded given its proximity to the Talisker distillery) gave an opportunity to rectify, with local help, certain storm damage to their vessel.
After two weeks the seafarers arrived back in Morar a week earlier than planned with shredded sails and necessary repairs but exuberant with a sense of wellbeing and achievement.
Deirdre Roberts


Mallaig Harbour News

Mallaig Fish Market
Chilling facilities have been fitted in the Fish Market and as a result the building has been internally sub-divided into two separate areas/compartments - areas which can be chilled independently, helping to store fish and prawns in prime condition.
A completion certificate for the work is awaited prior to the chilling facilities being test run, checking both its capabilities and running costs.

Harbour Masterplan
Another important milestone was reached just last week when the £90m Masterplan proposals were approved by the Lochaber Committee of the Highland Council's Planning Department.
Councillors were informed that the vision for Mallaig Harbour is to safeguard and enhance the harbour as a thriving and diverse hub of marine activity for the benefit of harbour users, residents and visitors. The planned Outer Breakwater will allow new quays and ferry berths to be built to accommodate larger ferries, wellboats, cargo boats and even small cruise ships.
The Masterplan was approved as interim supplementary guidance pending its final adoption. This will follow the formal adoption of the West Highland and Islands Development Plan.
The second phase of the Masterplan is now well underway with consultants Fisher Associates, hopeful of completing work on the Masterplan Business Case and publishing it within the next 2 - 3 months.
In the process of formulating the Business Case, meetings and dialogue have occurred with the Scottish Future's Trust, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, Nevis Estate, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Highland Council, Transport Scotland and, in a political sense, the Authority has held discussions on the Masterplan with MP Ian Blackford, MSP Kate Forbes and, as highlighted in last month's West Word, with Humza Yousaf MSP Minister for Transport and The Islands.

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Harbour Chairman Charlie King with MSP Kate Forbes during her visit to Mallaig Harbour last month

Defibrillator
I believe that the Big Lunch in Arisaig's Astley Hall last month was very well attended. The event was held to raise funds to purchase a public access defibrillator for Arisaig.
It therefore seems an appropriate time to remind everyone who works in and around Mallaig Pier that the Harbour Authority has a public access defibrillator. It's located in the stairwell at the entrance door to the Harbour Building, the door located between An Cala and Johnston Bros Shop.
Keep this information in mind - you might just save a life!!!
Robert MacMillan
CEO
01687 462154 info@mallaigharbourauthority.com


RNLI log - Jim Morton

4th August 2017 Fatality at Loch Harport, Isle of Skye
Launched at 15:50 hrs. at the request of Stornoway Coastguard to Loch Harport, Isle of Skye. The body of a male had been discovered on board a yacht at anchor at the head of Loch Harport. Coastguards requested the Lifeboat to attend so as to transfer Police and Coastguards to the scene. Whilst on passage to the scene the Lifeboat was stood down at 16:50hrs. Local Coastguards had managed to acquire assistance from locals and other yachtsmen to bring the yacht alongside for investigation by local Police Officers. Lifeboat berthed and ready for service at 18:00hrs.

9th August 2017 Assisting Paramedics at Arisaig Harbour
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to assist Paramedics recover an injured person off a yacht at Arisaig Marina at 19:45hrs. A female had slipped entering the cabin and broke her ankle. Paramedics were ferried out to yacht by the marina's tender but the tender was not suitable to take the casualty ashore to the landing pontoon. Arriving on scene at 20:20hrs the Lifeboat located the yacht and transferred a stretcher on-board along with some crewmen to assist recover the casualty from the cabin then aboard the Lifeboat. The Lifeboat transferred the casualty to the landing pontoon where local Coastguards were awaiting to assist with mooring and helped take the casualty from the Lifeboat to the Ambulance. Lifeboat departed for Mallaig at 20:33hrs and was fueled and ready for service at 21:30hrs.

14th August 2017 Medivac from Inverie, Knoydart
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard to convey Paramedics to Knoydart at 05:40hrs. A female living in Inverie was in need of medical attention. Once on scene at 05:55 the medics were transported to the casualty location by a member of her family. Once an assessment was carried out the Medics it was decided that she should be transferred to hospital. Once the patient and her companion were taken onboard, the lifeboat returned to Mallaig berthing at 06:45hrs. Patient transported to Fort William for further treatment in Ambulance. Lifeboat ready for service at 07:00hrs.


On and Off the Rails

ScotRail - service train alterations
Essential engineering works on the West Highland line - between Glasgow Queen Street, Dalmuir and Crianlarich - to be carried out by Network Rail on weekends at the end of September and beginning of October will result in buses and coaches replacing all ScotRail trains in both directions on the following dates: Saturday September 23rd, Sunday September 24th, Saturday September 30th and Sunday October 1st.
ScotRail trains will still operate on these dates between Crianlarich and Fort William, Mallaig, and Oban, as near to the scheduled timetable as is possible. Between Crianlarich and Glasgow Queen Street station it will be bustituition. Please be aware that the time taken on this part of the journey may mean that you arrive or depart earlier or later than the scheduled timetable times. Allow for this, especially when departing. There will be no coach/bus connections to Rannoch and Corrour on these dates. It is essential to keep up maintenance, and upgrade parts of our line on a regular basis to keep us safe. The quickest way to do it is with a line closure.

Caledonian sleeper train alterations
During the period of time above, plus the Fridays and Mondays before and after the essential line closure, the Caledonian sleeper service, operated by Serco, will not be able to convey passengers to and from Fort William and London Euston. Arrangements are in place for passengers to be transported by coach/bus from Tulloch, Roy Bridge, Spean Bridge and Fort William to Kingussie where they will join the Inverness/London Euston train which will have extra coaches on at this time. If travelling from London Euston to Kingussie a coach/bus will be waiting for the onward journey to Fort William.
All train operators and Network Rail apologise for any inconvenience caused during these essential line closures.

Royal Scotsman Touring Train
The route taken by the Belmond Royal Scotsman touring train has also been affected by the above engineering works, and its last visits to Mallaig this year will be on Sunday, September 3rd and Saturdays September 16th and October 14th. Guests on this usually fully booked four day tour of our part of Scotland are given the opportunity to alight from the train at Arisaig, where a Shiel Bus and hostess await to take them on a tour of the coastal route to Morar beach where they stretch their legs before rejoining the train. The staff on board use the opportunity to remake the beds, hoover and lay up the dining rooms for lunch! In Mallaig, they dash to the local shops, have time to water-up the train and have a quick word before departing. I have the pleasure to act as a host if required/requested by guests. I usually depart with a round of applause - so I must be doing something right! We hope to see them again next year.

Jacobite steam train - update
The afternoon service - Saturday and Sunday only - will cease for this year on Sunday, September 3rd. The morning service - Saturday and Sunday only - will cease for this year on Sunday, October 1st. I can hardly believe I have just written the above. The station and all the restaurants are decked out with their floral arrangements and the trains are full, but the nights are beginning to draw in slightly.
This is followed by the Monday to Friday afternoon service ceasing on Friday, September 15th. It is hardly possible that the afternoon service commenced on May 15th. Where has that time gone!
Thanks must be given to all train crews, on-board catering staff, guards, drivers and shop staff who have worked tirelessly to convey the Jacobite passengers to Mallaig from Fort William. Tourism in any form is a huge part of income that comes into Mallaig - whether it is just postcards, stamps and a cup of tea to much larger purchases and overnight stays, and everyone (or nearly everyone) wants to sample fish and chips Mallaig style! Thank you for coming to see us. We appreciate it.

Competition results - August issue
The answer to the question asked - see August issue - was 'five minutes'. Two winners, drawn from the entries received, who by now will have their prize of a double disc DVD Steam in The Smoke Box, were Julie Archer from Salisbury and Peter Pickles from Alness. If you are not lucky and want to buy the two disc DVD contact me on (01687) 462189.

A new competition
For the past 10 years a nine-day rail tour using steam and diesel haulage called The Great Britain has run literally from the Highlands of Scotland to the coastline of Devon. This year's tour, The Great Britain X, has been filmed and condensed from nine days to 62 minutes on DVD! Dragon-in-the-Firebox productions have given me two copies of the DVD to use for a competition. It is captioned, without commentary - which means you get the full locomotive sounds. It features seven locomotives including LNER Class 3 No 60103 Flying Scotsman and LMS Royal Scot Class No 46100 to namedrop two of them. To qualify to go into the draw to win a copy, answer the following question on a postcard - and send it to me, Sonia Cameron, Fasgadh, 5 Marine Place, Mallaig, Inverness-shire PH41 4RD, to arrive no later than September 25th, with a stamp on it!
Question: how many copies of the above DVD am I giving away this month? It is that easy. Good luck! If you fancy purchasing the DVD give me a ring on (01687) 462189 and I will give you the details.
At I prepare to trundle my trolley to Mallaig Railway Station to do some deadheading of the hanging baskets which have done so well for me this year, check on the watering system,and spread some coffee grounds on the top of the soil in the half-whisky casks to keep the slugs at bay, I will reflect on the newly arrived nearly black tulips to be planted later for spring flowering along with daffodils and hopefully some hyacinths, top planted for Christmas with trees and pansies.
See you on the train,
Sonia Cameron


World Wide West World

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Catriona MacDonald and Flora Mullin took a copy of West Word with them when they visited Fatima in Portugal.
They are reading it in front of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.

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Arisaig's Blair Martin read his copy of West Word at the Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin, on a recent visit.
The cast iron pedestrian bridge was built in 1816 and spans the River Liffey.


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

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

For 12 issues: £30 anywhere in the UK
£50 for Eire and Europe / £60 for the rest of the world.

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

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(Your comments may be printed in next month's issue)

Visit the official Road to the Isles web site

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Page last updated: October 2017
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