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Outer Hebrides One Of The World's Top Ten Places To Visit


Earlier this month, London-based travel book company Rough Guide named the Outer Hebrides as one of the world’s top ten places to visit in 2016. As the sole British region and one of only three from Europe to make the list, the Western Isles stands proud amongst some of the most exotic locations on the planet.
 
The publication describes the Western Isles as follows:

"During the long summer days, the isles’ turquoise waters and white sandy beaches appear Caribbean-like, with top-notch waves for surfers and kiteboarders.
"Inland, castles, archeological sites, museums and quaint cottages make for perfect stops along the dramatic walking trails and cycle routes.
"While each island possesses a unique character, all are spectacular and overlooked."
 
Rough Guide’s top ten list

1. Alaska, USA
2. Gujarat, India
3. Tasmania, Australia
4. Quebec, Canada
5. Tohoku, Japan
6. Northern Cape, South Africa
7. Lombok, Indonesia
8. Calabria, Italy
9. Castilla Y Lyon, Spain
10. Western Isles, Scotland
 

HebCelt Festival 2016


Now that the festive season is a fading memory and we are into the fourth week of the new year, it is time to turn our attention again to the multi-award winning HebCelt Festival, which will have its 21st staging during the period 13th to 16th July 2016.

Already some very attractive acts have been announced for this year’s event. Scottish rock legends Runrig will be headlining and will close the event on Saturday, 16th July. Also making a welcome return to the HebCelt stage is the ever-popular Julie Fowlis, who will be performing on the night of Friday, 15th July. Julie was one of the first inductees to the HebCelt Hall of Fame and is an ambassador for the Festival. She last performed there in 2012.

Another famous Scottish name at this year’s event is the hugely talented and experienced John McCusker who will be appearing with his band. John joined the legendary folk outfit, Battlefield Band as a 17 year old and remained with them for 11 years, until 2007. Since 2008, he has been a member of Mark Knopfler’s band, appearing at many of the world’s great venues and has shared a stage, and recording studio, with some of the most illustrious performers of our time.

Also appearing this year is Hayseed Dixie, a band from the heart of the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee in the USA, who will take to the stage on Thursday, 14th July; the Scottish up-and-coming girl-band, Fara, who are fast making a big name for themselves on the folk music scene and Talisk, winners of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award who, despite only coming together in August 2014, have made a big name for themselves and have already landed slots at some of Britain’s biggest festivals, including Cambridge Folk Festival, Celtic Connections and Fairport Convention’s Cropredy Festival.

We will keep you posted on further additions to the list, as they are announced. In the meantime, however, it cannot be over-emphasised that, due to high demand during Festival time, people are advised to organise accommodation well in advance.

Ness Gala Day 2015


This year's Ness Gala Day will be held at the Ness FC football ground on Saturday, 27th June 1pm - 5pm. A great day is in store, with something for everyone, so why not go along and enjoy yourselves.

Year Of Food And Drink Scotland 2015

This year has been designatedYear Of Food And Drink Scotland 2015and will be marked  by numerous events throughout the length and breadth of the country, including in the Isle of Lewis and various other parts of the Western Isles. In Ness, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis is hoping to mark the occasion with an event highlighting traditional fare from the North Lewis area. No details of this are available, at this stage, but we will spread the news as soon as more information is released.

Here is an extract from the Visit Scotland website, providing some detail about Year of Food and Drink. For more information, check out their website at www.visitscotland.org

"Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland and Scotland Food & Drink.


 The aim of Year of Food and Drink 2015 is to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland's natural larder and quality produce to our people and our visitors and in doing so, further develop Scotland's reputation as a land of food and drink."

Celebration of 20th Anniversary Of HebCelt

Distinguished Lewis fiddle player Alasdair White, who is a member of top Scots band, the Battlefield Band, has been commissioned to create an entire suite of new music, titled 'An Iuchar' (The Key) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the globally-acclaimed Hebridean Celtic Festival.

'An Iuchar' will be an hour-long piece, featuring some 30 tunes and involving a number of highly acclaimed musicians and will be performed on the opening night of the festival arena (16th July). For Alasdair, who first appeared on stage at HebCelt as 13 year-old schoolboy, the scale of this commission has been challenging but also a massive opportunity to demonstrate further examples of his massive and varied musical talent.

Full details are to be found on the Hebridean Celtic Festival Website https://www.hebceltfest.com/

Update On Ferry Service Disruption 20 April - 18 May 2015

Just a matter of days now until the normal car ferry route from Stornoway to Ullapool is resumed, following four weeks of work at Ullapool pier, updating the linkspan. Islanders and visitors, alike, will welcome the resumption of normal services provided by the new Caledonian Macbrayne ferry, MV Loch Seaforth. The temporary car ferry service between Stornoway and Uig, Isle of Skye, provided by its predecessor the MV Isle of Lewis over the past four weeks, has been anything but an unqualified success. Over the past few years, the MV Isle of Lewis has had a poor record on the Stornoway - Ullapool route, and this unreliability, together with a spell of bad weather, has resulted in the cancellation of a number of sailings. These cancellations, along with other factors, such as the longer sea journey and the long tortuous car journey across Skye, has undoubtedly had an adverse effect on the Lewis economy, particularly the tourism sector. Hopefully, we will now be able to look forward to a successful summer season for Cabuzana Bed and Breakfast and all other bed and breakfast establishments throughout the Outer Hebrides.

Weather Watch

The weather hasn't been very kind to us here in the Western Isles, or indeed throughout Scotland, over the Bank Holiday weekend. The car ferry Isle of Lewis has had disruptions to her sailings on the Stornoway - Uig route, because of the weather. It wasn't as bad for foot passengers, however, as the new ferry, Loch Seaforth  seemed to cope better on its passenger only sailings on the Stornoway - Ullapool route. We can only hope that the weather improves soon!

Weather Watch

The Isle of Lewis, in common with many other parts of Scotland, has seen a return to winter weather over the past two days. At this very moment, the whole landscape has turned pure white once again. Not only that, but the temperatures have gone into freefall. Let's hope this is just a blip and that we get back to more seasonal weather very soon.

Holiday Season Gets Under Way

Cabuzana Bed and Breakfast, in common with other such establishments on the Isle of Lewis and throughout the Western Isles, is now experiencing a heavy volume of accommodation enquiries and bookings for the 2015 summer season. The springtime always seems to be popular for cycling holidays, in the Western Isles, and this year is no different. On a journey from Ness to Stornoway you meet countless cyclists, many of whom are covering all of the Western Isles, starting from Barra and journeying all the way to the Butt of Lewis, the northernmost point. We live in hope that, this summer, the weather will be kind to all visitors who wish to share the magic of our beautiful island.

Ferry Service Disruption 20 April - 18 May 2015

All visitors intending to travel by ferry to the Western Isles, and the Isle of Lewis in particular, during the next 3-4 weeks require to keep a close eye on the Calmac website and ensure that they book early for their travel tickets. Due to essential work being carried out to the Ullapool linkspan, all ferry sailings to and from Stornoway will carry foot passengers only throughout the period 20th April to 18th May 2015. A temporary programme of sailings has been arranged, for this period, to cater for vehicular traffic and these will run between Stornoway and Uig, Isle of Skye. As there may be some variations to the times of sailings, it is imperative that travellers closely monitor the situation on a daily basis. It is also worth noting that any foot passengers wishing to travel on the temporary Stornoway - Uig route will need to be aware that the bus timetables may not coincide with ferry sailing times.
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