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October 2017 Issue
Contents of the online version:
All photos are copyright either of the individual photographers or West Word.
HELP! WE NEED A NEW PRINTER!
West Word's current printer, which we've had for nearly ten years, has become increasingly unreliable of late and as it is an outdated model, it is becoming more and more difficult to source replacement parts to keep it running.
As I write (on October 5th) the paper is ready for publication but the printer is currently not functioning; the engineer has been here most of the day trying to get it running but more parts are needed and it won't be fixed until sometime next week. Every month it's a similar story of setbacks and delays, paper jams and calls to the engineer, and clearly the time has come to purchase a new machine.
We have identified a new model which fits our needs and would cost in the region of £14,000. We are in the process of seeking out and applying for funding but any donations would be very gratefully received. If you are able to help at all it would be hugely appreciated. Donations can be sent to West Word at Morar Station Buildings, Morar, PH40 4PB (please make cheques payable to 'Mallaig & District Newspaper Association'), or contact us for bank details. Thank you!
WEST WORD GOES TO FIJI!
Arisaig's Tom MacKinnon is currently sailing in the South Pacific on Star of the Sea with new skipper Billy Dyer and previous owner Christopher Swann. They recently visited Kabara, an island about the size of Eigg which lies 160 miles southeast of mainland Fiji and has a population of 700. The islanders are famed for their boatbuilding and woodcarving skills, traditionally using slow-growing hardwood Vesi trees which grow well on the island, and now faster-growing sandalwood, to build speedy single sail outrigger 'camakau' canoes for transport between the islands. Their island community is challenged by limited arable land and scarce fresh water.
Swanny sheltered there from bad weather a few months ago and returned with Tom and Billy bringing gifts of tools, school supplies and Star of the Sea t-shirts for the school children!
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Thanks to everyone who noted the change of deadline and sent their submissions in early this month - much appreciated. I thought this issue would be a bit thin as it was a 'short' month, but it's anything but! Thank you all.
However as you will have read on the cover the printer is refusing to oblige and my efforts to get the paper out early have been stymied! It's a little frustrating - all ready to go but it'll be a few days yet before the paper goes to print. The printer barely limped through the last issue - I was hand-folding and stapling at the end of the run - and with so many hiccups, printing has become incredibly time consuming.
As ever my thanks to Ewen and Morag for their help with nursing the printer - we're all dreaming of a hassle-free new machine - and also to Anne for sticking even more labels than usual on envelopes this month.
If you have any comments or you'd like to get in touch, you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 07538 530550.
Well I have to say, I think the biggest highlight of this month was my wedding to Lewis. What an incredible and beautiful weekend it was. We couldn't have done it without our community though, so first of all I just want to thank everyone who was involved and who helped us make it so perfect. The list would take up half this column if I named every person who contributed but I would like to name just a few of the folk who we couldn't have done without … Fiona Lennie who was our celebrant (and who put in so much work all year to be able to even be the celebrant!), Mark who was our photographer - we can't wait to see the pictures! - Britta who did us an incredible spread for the meal and Anna, who really pulled all the stops out as my chief bridesmaid; it honestly would not have happened without her. It's times like these that you realise just what it means to live in a small community and how special it is. We're also lucky to have so many talented people in one place! Fras played our wedding ceilidh and did us proud and the party carried on into Sunday with a spectacular bonfire as the sun went down. To tell the truth, we were still going on Monday… We couldn't have wished for anything more, it really was a truly fantastic weekend!
So apart from that, the start of the month saw a lot of rather grim weather (clearly it was raining itself out for the wedding) but on the plus side the midgies have now almost disappeared and it's distinctly quieter with visitors for the moment. There's always something nice about the end of the season for that. We did have an enormous cruise liner come to visit though, the National Trust for Scotland's Colours of the Celts, which anchored out in the bay. There were few hundred folk floating about that day! (no pun intended there….)
There has been an interesting visitor who has come to work and share his skills with the community, Sorren, who is Wandergeselle (someone who has finished their apprenticeship and is travelling to share their new-found skills). It is a big traditional thing to do, originating in Germany although Sorren himself if from Denmark and he is definitely making himself useful.
Find about next month about the future plans for not only the forestry but also the community development.
Heather (no longer Gilmour) Robb
ISLE OF MUCK
Hardly had the ink dried on September's West Word when we had the news of a very welcome U-turn by the top brass at Marine Harvest. Instead of keeping the cages empty until next summer they are to be restocked as soon as the six week fallow period is up. But not with smoults; part grown salmon are being transferred from an inshore site to Muck. It will cost; a well boat will be required but the higher growth rate off Muck will offset some of it.
The landing craft Ben Aerean is already back in Port Mor.
On the farm the calves are all sold in Fort William. Few dramas apart from the truck taking nine hours to reach the market instead of the more normal four and the calves were rather mucky by the time they reached the pens. Prices were similar to those at the October sale last year but below those of September.
At the sheep fank all the ewes have been receiving an injection - for foot rot - a condition which must be quite painful for those sheep that have it. In 2016 Colin used the vaccine for the first time and it certainly works. This year I only saw two lame sheep.
Lastly an apology. Last month I stated that there were 11 pupils in Muck Primary. At a presentation of the children's varied activities at Nethy Bridge Outdoor Centre (presented by the participants themselves) I had the opportunity to do a head count. There were only 10 taking part, still fairly remarkable, and the total population of the island is 46.
ISLE OF CANNA
Like last month weather has dominated everything on Canna during September. The washing away of the Tarbert road has led to some major civil engineering works which have now been completed. Many thanks to Highland Stoneways for their hard work in repairing the damaged roads on Canna. The heavy plant required for the work also posed a challenge to the Spanish John which had to fit at least two 360 JCBs, two dumper trucks, a mini excavator and a road roller onto the vessel.
At the beginning of the month we also lost our telephone connection to the mainland which resulted in some entertaining conversations by email with BT who couldn't understand why we could not call them by mobile phone or nip along to the next town to contact them.
Cafe Canna has now closed for the season and Chris and Anna can look forward to some well-earned holidays. We look forward to their reopening next season albeit a long way off! Congratulations also to Chris for a successful completion of the Loch Ness 10k which he completed in 43 minutes which was a great achievement in his first race.
Our repairs to the pier which we had hoped would be completed by now have been delayed until early November so hopefully the weather will be kind to us!
Criomagan (Crumbs) from Canna House
September saw extensive wood and asbestos surveys being carried out in Canna House which meant much preparatory work being done to ensure the safety and well-being of the collections. Hopefully everything will be returned to their rightful locations soon!
Fiona also had the welcome input from Eilidh Sykes, Sabhal Mor Ostaig's student on placement, for three weeks. During her time in Canna House, amongst other tasks, Eilidh began work on transcribing the Visitors Books for Canna House, a hugely important and valuable task which will mean that we are able to pinpoint exactly when visitors such as author Compton Mackenzie actually visited Canna.
September also is the month of Michaelmas - September 29th. Margaret Campbell included the recipe for the traditional cake, "Struthan", to be eaten on this day and quotes a traditional rhyme to accompany it -
"Là Fhèill Micheil ni sinn strùthan, Gabhaidh sinn dheth gu cridheil càirdeil, mar bu choir a bhith -
On St Michael's Day, we will make a cake, we will partake of it in a joyful friendly manner, as is proper".
And the recipe from "Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist"?
ISLE OF EIGG
September, as you will see from my ESIN/SIF AGM report, was a bit of a blur for me, at least for the first half! For the rest of the island it was equally busy, with the record number of visitors in Lochaber meaning more tourists than ever on Eigg at a time when numbers start to decrease. I chatted to my first ever pair of Chinese tourists in the craftshop, who confessed they would not have come to Eigg if it had not been recommended as an alternative to stowed-out Skye by their B&B host! Eigg's AirBnB's also benefitted massively from lack of accommodation in Lochaber generally! We will need that updated pier centre, and now that Becca Long has been appointed as our new Eigg Trust business manager, we look forward to progress in that direction: well done Becca!
A bumper bramble and apple harvest this year, with the community orchard trees bending under the weight of apples and island children loving picking the sweet treats on the road side. I can't remember brambles being so huge and so sweet for a long long time.
Apart from this, work on Tamsin and Stu's house is progressing nicely and at the other end of the island, Pascal and Catherine have been making an average of three baskets a day to get their order done for the latest Outlander series! Watch out for a glimpse of these Appalachian style baskets when it is shown on TV!
Talking about TV, Eigg featured twice this month in the same week, with the Massacre Cave on STV's The People's History Show (courtesy of yours truly), and our champion runner Larraine plus the Eigg Run Club featuring on The Adventure Show on BBC2 Scotland. Archaeologist Fergus Sutherland who presented The People's History was well impressed by our Viking stone, and felt it was very likely to be genuine, as he had seen many Norse gravestones of the same type. And now I hear that there might have been a similar one found in Moidart. How exciting!
Exciting was certainly the right qualifier for the birthday of our one and only Maggie May Carr, who invited all, grownups and young ones, to come to Laig for a deep sea theme party: such an array of jellyfishes, mermaids, luminescent creatures and crustaceans have rarely been seen on the island: Damian's cardboard lobster pincers were pretty amazing, but whether Sadie's sea-horse was not really a prawn after all was a matter for some debate! Singer song writer Reg Meuross' return visit to Eigg this month was a real treat, and our singing group swelled to such a number with our September visitors that we were able to sing in four parts harmony, and such a joy it was that we want to do it again and again! So please, Eigg visitors, come to our Monday singing fun, you will not be disappointed and make us very happy! Last but not least Creeling featuring Hannah Morrisson was premiered on Eigg! Great stuff, Hannah, we are all very proud of your talent and skills, keep going, girl!
Mallaig Book Festival Friday 10th November ~ Sunday 12th November
It's nearly here! Only a month now to A Write Highland Hoolie so make sure you book your tickets. You'll meet up with old friends and make new ones - it's going to be lively, entertaining, friendly and informative and it only costs £5 for each talk! Over the last few months through West Word we have given you a flavour of all the talks and the feature writing workshop and all details are on our website, Eventbrite and in the programme which is now available all over the place.
There is truly something for everyone. Be there right at the start at 5pm on Friday November 10th for the Drinks Reception to celebrate Mairi Hedderwick's Outstanding Achievement Award and enjoy a free glass of wine if you have a ticket for Mairi's talk Art Rambles in the Highlands & Islands.
For the young, Bookbug will be making appearances just after lunchtime on both Saturday and Sunday, providing entertainment and activities for pre-school children, and children of all ages should enjoy Mairi Hedderwick telling us all we want to know about Katie Morag on Saturday afternoon. Bernard MacLaverty and Colin Speedie will be making a pre-Festival appearance at Mallaig High School on the Friday morning, specifically for the pupils - the rest of us can hear them speaking about their experiences and writings on Saturday, at 11am and 1.15pm respectively.
The evenings are going to be great fun too, as we know from last year when the bar was set high: dinner with the restaurant full of chatter and laughter, followed by music in the bar. Angus MacDonald, Roshven, will welcome everyone on the Friday night, and Skye musician Donald 'Doc' Livingstone will kick off the evening ceilidh in the bar, where you are welcome to join in. Authors and guests last year brought instruments and we know it will be the same this year so don't be shy, bring in that guitar or fiddle! After dinner on Saturday, writer Lesley Glaister will give us a reading of her work over coffee. Lesley's husband Andrew Grieg is talking about his novels and poetry on Sunday morning at 11.30am. The evening's music will be provided by Elsa Jean McTaggart and Gary Lister, who played a storm last year in a much talked about ceilidh.
The Scots Magazine is our media partner this year - look out for another article on the Hoolie in the next issue. Its regular columnists Cameron McNeish and Polly Pullar will be with us, as well as award winning editor Robert Wight who is delivering a Feature Writing Workshop (almost sold out) on Saturday at 2.30pm. Cameron is well known from his TV programmes, hiking over Scotland's hills and glens, and will be speaking on Saturday at 9.30am about his walking trips and writing. Polly is our own Hoolie chairman who, as well as running around all weekend making sure her hard work at organising it is going smoothly, will be joining up with photographer Neil McIntyre for a lovely visual event packed with interesting information and photos of the endearing red squirrel, star of their book The Red Squirrel - a Future in the Forest.
We have poetry too on Sunday morning. Ken Stevens starts off the final day reading from some of his beautiful poetry collections, and will also talk about his work as a novelist. His recent book is on the Sami, the indigenous people of Arctic Scandinavia and Russia, charting their fascinating way of life. Poetry too from Andrew Greig with his micro-epic Found at Sea, and he will also read from and talk about his memoir of teenage fandom in the 1960s. He'll give us a song or two as well!
Sunday rounds off with local historian Alasdair Roberts telling us about the people and gentry of Morar, the subject of his new book, and finally at 3.15pm there will be tea and cakes provided by the High School in aid of their forthcoming London trip while Robert Wight announces the winners of the Creative Writing competition being held in all the local primary schools and presents the prizes to them and the winner of our Art competition, Faye Henderson. You can see the programme in full at www.eventbrite.co.uk or pick up a paper copy - they can be found all over Lochaber in shops, cafes, community centres and libraries (including the mobile library): locally they are in many places in Mallaig, plus Morar Motors and Arisaig's Land Sea & Islands Centre. We will also have our own table selling books by all the featured authors plus stalls from Mallaig Heritage Centre, Kenny MacKenzie and the Highland Bookshop. There will also be a raffle, held over the weekend and drawn at lunchtime on Sunday.
Ticket sales are going well - make sure you book yours through www.eventbrite.co.uk or phone Ann on 01687 450263 if you don't wish to use the internet. Of course you'll be able to drop in on the weekend - we hope you do! - and tickets will be available but we won't be able to guarantee you'll get a ticket for the talk you want.
ON AND OFF THE RAILS
Jacobite steam train - update
You couldn't make it up!! The day after the afternoon service ended for 2017 glorious weather came in, and with it came gold and red sunsets, mirror imaging on the lochs, photo opportunities galore, starry starry nights etc. etc. But, timetables and deadlines must be adhered to, and the nights are definitely on the chilly side with a heavy dew. The stags alongside the railway line seem to be aware of timetable changes too. They are trotting the rails knowing that once the 6.15pm ScotRail service has departed Mallaig the line is open territory for them!
The seven day a week morning Jacobite becomes five days a week - Monday to Friday - after Sunday October 1st. The service is still nearly always fully booked in advance from Fort William, but each day a queue forms to try for 'walk on' tickets or to try to secure a cancelled seat later in the week. The return journey to Fort William which departs at 2.10pm is slightly easier to obtain a seat for some days due to one way ticket sales. Harry Potter scarves and cloaks are frequently spotted. Yesterday we had two splendidly attired 'Chelsea Pensioners' travelling in their red uniforms.
I don't know if any of you saw, on Friday September 15th on TV Channel 5 at 9pm Celebrity Five go Motorhoming? The last ten minutes of the programme featured three of the five celebrities boarding The Jacobite at Fort William, after blowing the whistle on the footplate of the K1 locomotive and talking to driver John Hunt, and then travelling in a closed compartment coach to Mallaig. The remaining two celebrities drove the two campervans to Glenfinnan to 'spot and wave' to each other at Glenfinnan Viaduct, before travelling on to Mallaig to re-group and take the CalMac ferry on to the Isle of Skye.
We have witnessed 'drone' photography this year around The Jacobite, plus one of the BBC Aberdeen film units are currently collating material with me to produce a piece for BBC1's Landward about the horse and cart remains that were identified by using radio-wave technology on the concrete pillars of the viaduct at Loch nan Uamh. Then there was more drone filming for a future series called Scotland from the Sky by another BBC crew … etc, etc.
It will all quieten down a bit when The Jacobite service takes a break from Friday October 27th until Monday December 4th. On this date The Jacobite Santa Specials commence, running from Fort William to Mallaig and back, Monday to Friday until December 22nd, followed by three more Santa Specials on the 27th, 28th, and 29th December. All the December dates are 10.20am departures from Fort William, arriving into Mallaig at 12.25pm and departing Mallaig at 2.10pm. Last year's Santa Specials were great fun for all, and good for trade in Mallaig as well!
ScotRail Sunday service cuts - again
Or perhaps I should amend that to Winter Timetable alterations!
'Just as we get a bit of time to go to the 'Fort' and back on a Sunday after working seven days a week during summer' say locals, 'we can't by any means of public transport!'
Once again after October 29th train-wise on a Sunday we revert to a 4.05pm Class 156 Super Sprinter service out of Mallaig and an 11.38pm service into Mallaig until next March. Leaving locals with no means of visiting anyone in hospital or care home at the Fort, no shopping and a meal out, no means of University or College students being able to connect with buses to Inverness, Glasgow, Perth, Edinburgh etc at a safe time to travel, after coming in late on a Friday night by public transport. Getting to Raigmore Hospital for Sunday admission for operations on a Monday - no chance! Each and every one of these activities applies every week of the year, not just in the summer, and don't even get me started about incoming visitors or islanders wanting to travel.
As a ScotRail Station Adopter working on the railway platform on a Sunday and a passionate advocate of Public Transport, I think ScotRail should be addressing the problem - but they are not. Come on Abellio, hear our plea. I rest my case!
Pictures sought of the old Morar Camping Coach ...
... requested our Editor in the last West Word. 'No sooner said than done' replied John Hunt - driver on the K1 NELPG-owned 62005 locomotive that was on duty hauling the Jacobite coaches this week (September 18th). 'I used to stay with my parents in the camping coach as a child!' Job done! Photos sent to Editor as requested.
(Here's one of John's pictures from a holiday in 1964 - more next month! - Ed.)
September issue - competition results
Not a single local response this month to the competition set last month, but lots of postcards from further away, with the correct answer - two. Yes, there are two winners: they are John Wallbridge from Blackfield, Southampton - first time entrant I believe - and Pearl Jenkins from Grimsby. Each of you should have received your prize - a copy each of the DVD of the Great Britain X rail tour, filmed this year by Dragon-in-the-Firebox Productions. Don't forget, if you didn't win, but want to purchase a copy of the DVD, maybe as a Christmas present, you can ring me on 01687 462189 and I will arrange it. Congratulations, winners.
Belmond Royal Scotsman news
Saturday October 14th will be the last Mallaig visit by this luxury touring train, arriving in to Mallaig approx. 11.50am. The train is scheduled to visit us a massive eighteen times next year between Saturday April 21st and Saturday 6th October, if all goes to plan. It provides a great photographic opportunity not only to promote our area by means of all media outlets (a team of photographers were on its previous trip to take pictures for the new upgraded website/brochure) but shots of it appear on postcards and calendars etc produced by locals. It is a win-win situation.
Now, where have I carefully put away all the spring bulbs that will soon need planting, and will my carefully tended pot grown Christmas trees survive?
Stop Press! ...
The Jacobite will be visiting Mallaig on Saturday 7th and 28th October (arr. 12.20, dep 14.10). These additions to the timetable are run by Statesman Rail as part of a three day tour of the Highlands and are completely sold out!
Scotrail are currently running an offer for Club 50 members - travel anywhere in Scotland for £17 return. Depart any time before 14th November and return within a month. (Annual membership costs £15/year and gives you discounts on rail travel of up to 20%.) See www.scotrail.co.uk/offers/club50 for more information.
See you on the train,
The Buckie registered Sparkling Star which has been fishing in the North Minch for the past few years has recently been acquired by Skipper Allan Cameron, Acharacle. We welcome the 18 metre trawler to Mallaig and wish Allan, who will operate through the Mallaig Fishermen's Co-op and is a member of the Mallaig & North West Fishermen's Association, all the best with his latest business venture!
CalMac's winter timetable comes into effect on Monday 23rd October and marks the end of the daily connection between Lochboisdale and Mallaig - a service that has been extremely well used over the past six months or so.
Like last winter the Lord of The Isles will operate between Lochboisdale and Mallaig, departing at 7.15am each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with arrival at Mallaig at 10.45am. The return leg of the journey will be departing at 14.00hrs (2pm) on Wednesday and Saturday and half an hour earlier (1.30pm) on a Sunday.
Both the Skye Ferry Service and The Small Isles Service remain unchanged from last winter.
01687 462154 email@example.com
LIFEBOAT LOG by Jim Morton
1st September 2017 Assist Injured Kayaker
Launched by Stornoway Coastguard at 12:25hrs to the assistance of an injured Kayaker in Loch Bracadale, Skye. Whilst returning to her Kayak after a break from paddling the casualty slipped and badly injured her lower back. Rescue 948 was also tasked to the scene. Before the Lifeboat arrived on scene at 13:50hrs, the Helicopter had winched down their own Winch man/Medic to attend to the Casualty. Once packaged and ready for extraction, the Helicopter requested that the Lifeboat recover the Casualty by Y-Boat to the Lifeboat as the Rescue 948 required to refuel at a nearby airfield. Once the casualty was recovered to the Lifeboat along with the 948's Winch man the Lifeboat proceeded out to the loch entrance to await 948's return from fueling. On 948's return the casualty was successfully winched into the Helicopter and transferred to the McKinnon Memorial Hospital in Broadford, Isle of Skye. Lifeboat fueled and ready for service back in Mallaig at 17:00hrs.
4th September 2017 Assist Yacht with Engine Failure
A phone call was received from a yacht by Mallaig Harbour Authority requesting assistance to berth at the Marina due to engine failure, at 15:00hrs. The yacht was under sail for Mallaig and would heave to off the harbour on arrival. The Lifeboat station was approached for assistance and after a crew was assembled the yacht was met off the harbour at 16:32. Once it was lashed alongside, the Lifeboat delivered the yacht to the Marina. Lifeboat ready for service at 16:45hrs.
This month 45 years ago television came to Arisaig and I'm thankful to Jimmy MacDonald for supplying me with this copy of a newspaper article describing (in part at least) how the formation of the Arisaig Village Television Club, combined with the drive and ambition of the Parish Priest, Fr Ian Gillies, and his band of willing helpers, achieved what many thought couldn't be achieved - providing TV to an extremely remote west coast community.
In this digital age you can access worldwide news instantly via your phone, ipad and computer; 45 years ago it was a vastly different scenario in Arisaig as all they had was the radio. The Gillies household in Kinloid was one of the first to get a watchable TV signal in Arisaig via their own aerial and my wife recalls regular visitations from family and friends to watch football and boxing on a small black and white television set.
Then via the efforts of Fr Ian Gillies and Frank Paterson, the TV engineer from Fort William, a painstaking search of the hills around Arisaig ensued, and eventually a strong signal was found on a hill above the railway line emanating from the transmitter on Mull. Then came the formation of the Arisaig TV Club and the rest, as they say, is history.
Villager Alastair MacLean recalls the occasion fondly. 'It was a great and exciting time for the whole village,' he said, 'as we were bringing television into their homes and the camaraderie of the committee and workforce was something that I'll never forget. It was truly great craic!' He went on 'We laid miles of cabling from the aerial hut down to the railway line, under the line via the cattle creep, down the hill into the village and then into each and every home. We used a railway bogey to transport the equipment and workforce from the Arisaig Station to near the aerial hut site. I'm sure we wouldn't get away with that today!'
The Traigh Triathlon
One hundred and ten fit and fearless local and visitor triathletes from the length of the country turned out on a warm and rainy Sunday morning, to swim, ride and run against a backdrop of one of Scotland's most beautiful land and seascapes. The inaugural Traigh Triathlon Series was run by Mallaig Pool & Leisure and took place on 24th September, and although the morning was overcast, spirits were high. The event raised over £1500 to support the refurbishment of our community sports facility, and an army of volunteers and marshals on land and sea kept the athletes safe on the road and water. Their endeavours enabled the most fantastic day enjoyed by all and we cannot thank them enough for their contribution.
The Traigh Triathlons are a unique and challenging series of multiple distance triathlons based along the stunning Road to the Isles. A spectacular location, and a great spectator course meant that a complete cross-section of competitors from first time triathletes to club and national team athletes could participate cheered on by family and friends. It was particularly rewarding to see so many local competitors and families taking part as individuals and teams.
The Super Sprint Triathlon comprises a 400m indoor pool swim [20 lengths], a 10km bike ride and a 2.5km run suitable for complete novices, first timers, and those who want to improve. Overall winners in this category were: 1st Darren Shearer 2nd Thomas Woods 3rd Hannah Newson. A strong showing in the Junior category in the Super Sprint has us all very excited for grass roots level triathlon training with Thomas and Hannah coming second and third overall, closely followed by Fraser Davis and Joe Jones.
The Traigh Sprint for both beginner and experienced triathletes comprises a 750m open water swim off Traigh Beach, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run. Overall winners in this category were: 1st Matthew Jones, 2nd Dave Reid, 3rd Graham Whyte, all of whom were leading the field competing in the Male Senior Vets category.
The Traigh Standard event, a real treat for experienced triathletes, comprises a 1500m open water swim off Traigh Beach, a 40km bike ride and 10km run. Overall winners in this category were: 1st Marie Meldrum, 2nd Andrew Stevens, 3rd Paul Easto. Marie put in a spectacular performance flying the flag for the ladies in this most gruelling of races and beating her nearest competitor in second place by a clear five minutes.
Each series is broken down into further categories of male, female and age group. Complete competitor placings and timings can be found on the Mallaig Pool & Leisure website at mallaigleisure.org.uk. A special mention to a brave run from Euan Nicol who competed in the Traigh Sprint as part of a team of three. As a sufferer of Parkinson's himself, he and his team were raising money and awareness of this debilitating illness.
Thanks must be extended to race organiser Graham Moss who brought to the event a wealth of Triathlon expertise. To Paula Wilkinson for co-ordinating the event before managing her own special event that week [welcome Petra Francesca to the world]. To the Henderson family at Traigh Farm, and the Shaw Stewart family for the use of their field. No Fuss Events for the loan of equipment and timing dibbers, and to the Arisaig Games for the loan of their games tent. To Sarah at Arisaig House for the delicious Risotto and Iain Stewart for donating the most amazing langoustines, scallops and white fish. To the Ardnamurachan Distillery for the very welcome post run whiskey shots. Special thanks to Catherine McDonell for giving all the competitors aerobic warm-ups both on the beach and poolside. To the irreplaceable Ben Gunn for his energy and enthusiasm, who was just about everywhere doing everything. To Gavin for helping prepare the grounds. To Mike Kingswood and the Mallaig & District Canoe Club and to Rod Barry and Michael Baker on rescue rib. To Arthur Campbell for his amazing photographs. To Brian and all the staff at Mallaig Pool & Leisure, our first-aiders and first responders, to Tom Baillie and once again all our volunteers who total 32 in number and who are too many to name here. You know who you are and we love you for helping us in the pouring rain.
The event was a huge success and competitors are already signing up for next year's Traigh Triathlon scheduled for Sunday 16th September. If you've been inspired, then get training and we'll see you next year. Entries are open now on the Mallaig Pool & Leisure website, and swim, cycle and run training advice is always available at the centre. High Life Highland subscriptions for the Mallaig pool, the newly refurbished gym and all classes and facilities are from £20 per month to make regular training really affordable. If you think you can't do it, you can. Fitness is an investment for life - be active, stay active. Sheila Kingswood, who was with the rescue boat team, said 'It was a great day - wonderful turnout and such a good effort from everyone. Organisation was spot-on, food was delicious, everyone seemed happily knackered! Get training for next year.'
Competitor Lorn said; 'Great event. We really enjoyed it and I've already signed up for next year along with some of my club mates…swim was excellent…cycle route fantastic, almost crashed twice marvelling at the scenery and each time I came down to the bridge at Morar, expressed out loud how fantastic it was! An excellently well organised and supported event. We are regular visitors to the area and will always try to support great events like this.'
WORLD WIDE WEST WORD
Hugh Cameron and his copy of West Word are preparing to board a Zeppelin flight out of Friedrichshafen for a trip around the Bodensee in Germany. Hugh would like to thank Hester, his family, and friends for his amazing birthday present.
Here's Arisaig's Blair Martin at a Peace Wall in Belfast. A number of peace walls were built in Northern Ireland to separate Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods and there are plans afoot to remove some.
Tom MacKinnon is off on his travels again. He's laminated his battered July 2013 copy of West Word to help it survive another trip!
He says 'This is us in the Kingdom of Tonga, accompanied by Captain Christopher Swann (ex owner of the Marguerite Explorer) and Captain Billy Dyer (my cousin and son of Shearwater skipper Ronnie, and new owner of the Star of the Sea), swimming and photographing humpback whales and basically having a 'whale' of a time ... It was fantastic catching up with everyone from our community and I appreciate all the lovely comments from my West Word followers of my travels. I will try to keep you all up to date as this new adventure unfolds.'
Watch this space for extracts from next month's issue!
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