We at HEB Magazine do our best to let the world know exactly what our islands have to offer, and where exactly to find what you're interested in.  HEB is printed once a year and thousands of copies are distributed across the Islands.

And the on-line edition - below! - is updated throughout the year with new reports, photographs and information from all across the Islands.

So, just click the download button, or go to our page-turning version, and enjoy learning about the beautiful Scottish Hebrides, and, if you aren’t here already, make sure to plan a visit sometime soon!

 

Honours for publishers as books win approval

By Eilidh Whiteford

A collection of wonderful, charming, at times poignant and often very funny tales from one of Stornoway’s ‘old guard’, Mr Pat MacFarlane, is proving to be a hit for Lewis based Gaelic publishers Acair Ltd.

Launched on Pat’s 95th birthday in 2015, ‘A Stornoway Life – From Scotland Street to South Africa’, sees the author reflect on his early life growing up in Stornoway, in the same Scotland Street house built by his great-grandfather in 1920 where Pat still lives. Then there are his war years in South Africa and tales of the many acquaintances he met through his iconic town centre bookshop, Loch Erisort.

From stories recalling childhood games, japes and ploys that went with growing up in that era, to tales of his service during the war years – Pat trained pilots how to land planes using early simulators – and musings on the plethora of individuals and characters that have made their way into his life, the book is charming, laughout- loud funny and full of personality; just like Pat himself.

‘A Stornoway Life’ is just one of the recent publications from the Lewis-based publishing house to have hit the mark with audiences.

And within the industry itself, the work of Acair has been honoured, with ‘Dol Fodha na Greine’ (The Going Down of the Sun) being awarded the Overall Literature Prize at the Royal National Mod last year.

Read more: Honours for publishers as books win approval

Hotel looks back at history that started with a school

By Eilidh Whiteford

A truly island location – with the Carloway Broch nearby and the Callanish Standing Stones just along the road – a historic building and a warm welcome are what awaits visitors to the Doune Braes Hotel in Carloway.

Originally housing the local school and headmaster’s living quarters, the Doune Braes Hotel has been under the stewardship of owner Eileen MacDonald since she moved to the Isle of Lewis in 1982.

“In 1966 the local school stopped and the hotel was opened in 1967 and was probably the first major licence outside Stornoway at the time,” said Eileen.

Read more: Hotel looks back at history that started with a school

SoapmakIng proves a natural route for Linda

The latest skin-care range launched by the Hebridean Soap
Company, named after the first Greek goddess,
Mother Earth Gaia

Photographs and story by Eilidh Whiteford

Step into the world of Hebridean Soap Company and you step into a world of all natural ingredients and fragrances as owner Linda Sutherland and team create an array of soapy delights and lotions from the Breasclete-based business.

Established in 2002, and the first commercial soap producing company in the Western Isles, Hebridean Soap came about as Linda, a former IBM systems programmer, looked for a new challenge in life.

Read more: SoapmakIng proves a natural route for Linda

20 years of cèolas…and many more to come

By Eilidh Whiteford

Twenty years of promoting Gaelic culture and heritage from within the language’s heartland is being celebrated as community-managed project Ceòlas reaches this major milestone.

The brainchild of Hamish Moore, Daliburgh-based Ceòlas began as a week-long summer school in 1996. Mary Schmoller, Ceòlas Operations Manager, said: “Hamish had been to Cape Breton [in eastern Canada] and realised how similar parts of it were still to the culture of the islands.

“He discussed the idea with PnE [Pròiseact nan Ealan, the former national Gaelic Arts Agency] about where would be most suitable and it transpired that South Uist could be a candidate community.

“The project was first run by PnE with the support of the local Arts Development Officer ‘Ryno’ Morrison and, after observing the programme, several people became involved in a variety of roles over the coming years until it became a community-managed project in 2001.”

She continued: “For many of our directors, Ceòlas has given them the opportunity to contribute to the cultural and social development of the islands.

“The Summer School is a beacon of what is best about a Gaelic community, in song, music and dance in public and in private homes at house cèilidhs.”

Read more: 20 years of cèolas…and many more to come

Craft-venture couple take over former post office

By Eilidh Whiteford

Bringing the Old Post Office building back to life, Susan and Austen Dancey were delighted to house their Puffin Studio Crafts shop in Creagorry, Benbecula, in the well-known premises.

“People remember it as the Post Office and before that the Bank,” said Austen, “and say that they’re pleased to see the building in use again.” 

“Many tell us that it seems a lot larger than before but all we’ve done is move things around and open up the windows on the road side, which lets in a lot more light.” 

Read more: Craft-venture couple take over former post office