Thursday, 27 October 2011


West Harris Trust are moving forward with their plans to install a hydro electric scheme on the Abhainn Gil an Tailleir river, the Trust now owns the weir built by Scottish Water and intend adapting this, installing a new pipeline and building a turbine house at the foot of the river. The 100kw turbine is projected to generate 516,000kwh producing a gross income in excess of £100,000 per annum.

First House Sites Allocated

The Trust’s plans to increase the local population through welcoming new families to the area have taken their first positive steps. A number of house sites in Luskentyre and Horgabost have been offered to and accepted by would-be self-builders.

The sites all have outline planning permission and on receipt of a deposit the applicants are given up to 2 years to secure full planning permission and to pay the balance of the purchase price. At least some of the purchasers are keen to move faster than this and hopefully we will see some projects starting next year. In later articles we will introduce you to some of them.

The Trust is aware that building is not an option for some and so we are also actively looking at possibilities for the Trust to build housing for rent. The Trust has held initial talks with Tighean Innse Gall (the local housing development agency) and both parties are keen to develop a joint project in West Harris. Further discussions will take place over the next few months with the aim of coming up with a firm proposal for starting a development next year.

WHT Dance

All was not lost after the disappointment of having our Danns’ an Rathaid (Open Air Dance) cancelled due to bad weather in July. Our spirits were not dampened!

September saw the very first WHT Crofter’s Ceilidh in Leverburgh Village Hall.  This event was a combined celebration of Hebridean traditions, the crofting way of life and also the centenary of the Harris Tweed orb.

Picture the scene... an accordionist and band surrounded by bales of hay playing three hours of toe-tapping music, black and white photographs depicting days gone by, Harris Tweed, a spinning wheel, creels, wellies, good craic, strip the willow, a highland schottische, a reel and a wee dram.  Projected on a wall and adding to the ambience are beautiful images which capture the link our island landscape has with the colours and patterns of Harris Tweed from Ian Lawson’s ‘Bhon chroit, an clò’.  Half way through the evening some delicious oatcakes, pancakes, fudge and clootie dumpling are produced, all adding to the charm.

This evening was a great success and we would like to thank; Stuart Taylor and Catch 22 who kept everyone in high spirits throughout, all those who kindly donated raffle prizes, our own WHT committee and the social team for not letting a bit of rain and wind in July stop the momentum, and all those who helped and came to support the event making it so enjoyable.  Also, a very special thank you to Kenny, who gave up his spare time on more than one occasion to support us. Tapadh leibh uile.

Barn Dance