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!


Open Day at Eaglais na h-Aoidhe

There will be an Open Day at Eaglais na h-Aoidhe on Point, Isle of Lewis, on Saturday 18th July, from 10am to 4pm.
Also known as St Columba’s Ui Church, this is a medieval ruined church located at the Point end of the Braighe overlooking Broad Bay.

It is one of the most important archaeological sites on Lewis.  It was the main church on the Island during the medieval period and is a burial place for Macleod chiefs until the 17th Century and the Mackenzies who controlled the island in later years.  It is one of the few and most complete remains of the medieval and post-medieval period on the Isle of Lewis.
The ancient ruins were very carefully consolidated and stabilised in 2012/13 after a long fundraising campaign.  However the severe storms of 2014 and 2015, coupled with exceptionally high tides earlier this year, took their toll on the sea defences near the Church.  The seawall was badly breached in several places and the church and graveyard were at risk from further storms.

Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe (the charitable trust responsible for the church) got professional advice and funding to repair and strengthen the sea defences.  Sheet piles were very gently inserted between the church and the sea along the line of the eroded seawall.  Then the area was filled with stones and the level of the path was raised to nearer the base of the church.  A wooden rail finishes the top of the piles neatly.
The Open Day on Saturday 18th July, from 10.00am to 4.00pm is for people to come and see the work that has been done.  Several directors and an archaeologist will be there to answer questions and to listen to your ideas for the future.

There will be an opportunity to buy books about the church and other gifts and Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe are planning some activities for children.  You will also be able to see and contribute to the research we are doing on the graveyard.
"Everyone is welcome and we look forward to meeting you on the 18th, " say the organisers.



MSP pledges fairness on ferry pensions deal

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has rejected claims that the tendering process for the Hebridean and Clyde ferry services will be unfair because of unequal provision of pension liabilities between contenders CalMac and Serco.
Speaking just before a day-long strike for ferry workers, he said:  “It is the Scottish Ministers’ intention that the winning tenderer will be obligated to take on a reformed CalMac pension scheme for the duration of the next contract. 
“Whoever wins the tender will have to abide by that requirement.  This means that no advantage will be conferred to either company because of pensions.
“I would also like to welcome the Transport Minister’s announcement of the setting up of an independent procurement reference panel with the aim of ensuring fairness, openness and transparency during this process.”
The panel will be invited to review and offer comment to Transport Scotland on:
• the Initial Invitation to Tender, due to issue on 10 July 2015. 
• the Interim Invitation to Tender, due to issue in autumn 2015.
• the Final Invitation to Tender, due to issue in December 2015.
Transport Scotland will take the views of the panel into account and provide an undertaking to consider all relevant points made by the panel.  Any necessary changes arising from the panel’s assessment would be incorporated in the subsequent or final version of the Invitation to Tender.
The panel will be made up of some six to ten members representing local communities, various sectors or interest groups including the trade unions.
Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said:  “This is an entirely new initiative in the procurement of ferry services in Scotland – the establishment of an independent Procurement Reference Panel to further reinforce our commitment to fairness, openness and transparency in the procurement process.
“We have already engaged with key stakeholders who have a direct interest in the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services, but this panel will give them additional assurances around the procurement process.  It will also allow further important input from local communities and interest groups.
“As Minister for Transport and Islands, I am well aware of the crucial role these lifeline links play for families and businesses on the West Coast and the Western Isles and there is no doubt the award of the next CHFS contract is an incredibly important moment for Scotland’s island communities.
“I am convinced this new approach will be welcomed by all of those who live, work and visit communities served by these services.”
Mr Mackay also addressed issues around the tender process:
“The Scottish Government would rather we did not have to tender these services.  My party opposed the initial tender of these services in 2004.  However, it has been demonstrated that EU law requires the Scottish Government to do so.” 
He said the present government inherited this situation from the previous Labour-Lib Dem Administration and it was that coalition which initiated the first tendering of the contract. 
“Some opposition members who supported the tender then appear to be suggesting that we break EU law, the consequences of which would surely result in challenge.
“If we were not to tender this contract we put the services themselves, the subsidy we provide them with, the routes, the vessels and the investment at risk.  That is not a risk this Government will take.
“I also want to re-emphasise that the current tender process does not involve the Scottish Government selling any assets or controlling interests to the private sector. 
“No matter the outcome, Scottish Ministers will retain ownership and control of all the vessels and ports currently under public ownership.
“We will set routes, timetables and fares – as we do just now – and we will retain full control of the services provided by the operator through the public service contract.”

Borgh Pottery reopens

Borgh Pottery has reopened after a massive development project which has seen the roof replaced and the inside entirely remodelled – despite delays imposed by the worst winter in years.

Borgh Pottery has been established for many years off the road between Barvas and Port of Ness in North Lewis in the village of the same name.

Owner Sue Blair welcomes people to her new retail zone – while the final touches are put to the transformation of her pottery-making area and to new studio facilities at the rear of the building.

Once work is completed, the pottery will be integrated into the garden surrounding it, with a chance for people to enjoy the plats, shrubs and wildlife as well as the original pottery work and a whole range of other products from home and away.

The story of Harris…in tweed and tapestry


In November 1739, the slave-boat ‘William’ sailed from Ireland to Finsbay, in Harris.    There, local men, women and children were taken on board by force.
They were to be sold as slaves in the West Indies, but managed to escape when the ship stopped off in Ireland for supplies.
It’s a fascinating true story, but only one of many depicted on the ‘Isle of Harris Tapestry’, detailing over 1,000 years of Harris history.
Available to view upstairs in ‘An Clachan’ stores, in Leverburgh, the tapestry comprises nine panels, all relating to particular areas of Harris.
And as word of the exhibition grows, more and more visitors to Harris are stopping in to view for themselves this stunning piece of artwork, made almost entirely from Harris Tweed.
The Harris Tapestry was the brainchild of Gillian Scott-Forrest, who moved to Northton in 1994, from Oxfordshire.   She said: “In our church at that time we had been looking ahead to the millennium, to see what kind of gift we could provide from this generation to the next generation, something that would act as a lasting memento.

Read more: The story of Harris…in tweed and tapestry

West Harris Trust launches campervan hookups

Tourists with campervans can now enjoy the luxury of electricity as the West Harris Trust provides four brand new hook-ups beside the stunning Seilebost Beach.
And included in the £18 per night (inc VAT) fee is use of litter bins and fresh water.
Situated at the Trust’s base at the former Seilebost School, the hook-ups are already proving to be a real hit with happy campers.
Lisa Macdonald is a Development Officer at the West Harris Trust, and the hook-up scheme was her first major project since moving to Harris last year.
She said: “We have installed four campervan hook-ups for use between April and September.  These will be manned Monday to Friday by ourselves during the daytime, but we also have an out-of-hours caretaker.”
The new hook-ups come with four special pitches, and are securely fastened on two posts.  “All motorhomes have their own cables,” said Lisa.
“It’s just a case of turning up and plugging in.”   Although planning permission restrictions means that the Trust cannot offer toilet or shower facilities, Lisa says that campers are directed to Horgabost, where such amenities are available.
For the future, the Trust hopes to establish another three hook-ups at its new enterprise centre in Horgabost. “Only a few places have hook-ups in Harris, but none are on the west side,” said Lisa.
“Our hook-ups are right beside the beach. It’s a perfect spot for getting onto Seilebost beach, and it’s an ideal place to base yourself if you want to see the whole island, as you are right between Tarbert and Leverburgh.”
To book a hookup, visit www.westharristrust.org, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 01859 550 457. 
Lisa added: “The hook-ups have been very popular.  A lot of people have found us online, on Facebook and on www.ukcampsite.co.uk.
“On our first day we had a motorhome who had heard about us from someone in Scarista, so word of mouth has been very useful too.”