Hebrides Today

News from the Western Isles

Gaelic on the piste

Posted by Editor On February - 12 - 2009

SCOTLAND’s skiing industry has been given a Gaelic makeover as an extensive programme of bilingual signage gets underway at Highland ski centres.

This week sees the completion of stage one of the programme with both The Lecht Ski Centre and Glenshee Ski Centre formally launching their new Gaelic signage and fully bilingual piste map.

As part of the initiative both ski centres have prepared Gaelic Language Plans which will ensure that the bilingual approach is continued in the future and that Gaelic will have a much enhanced profile at the locations.

The Lecht and Glenshee Ski Centres have delivered the new signage and maps through a partnership between Comunn na Gàidhlig, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands & Islands Enterprise with Bòrd na Gàidhlig providing financial support for the initiative.

The important role played by skiing in the Scottish economy and its appeal to all ages means that a whole new audience is now able to access Gaelic and be informed on the many opportunities available through the language.

Acting Chief Executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Rosemary Ward said: “We are very pleased to be able to support both The Lecht and Glenshee to promote and use Gaelic in their daily business. This is the first time that Gaelic Language Plans have been implemented in the private sector and we very keen to draw attention to the extensive range of employment opportunities available though Gaelic.”

Comunn na Gàidhlig (CnaG) provided practical support for the ski centres and supplied the bilingual piste maps.

Archie Maclean, Chief Executive of CnaG, said that all businesses in the Highlands and Islands are able to access financial and practical support to use bilingual signs. "We provide support to a range of businesses and are actively seeking other companies who might wish to introduce bilingual signs.”

Speaking about the developments at Glenshee Ski Centre, Graham McCabe, Managing Director commented: “We are really pleased with the new signs and visitors to the ski centre have already expressed great interest in Gaelic. We will be continuing with this approach in the future.”

The Lecht and Glenshee projects will be followed by similar developments at other ski centres during the winter. Comunn na Gàidhlig wishes to encourage feedback on the initiative and has set up a dedicated email address for people to contact them. [email protected]

Western Isles Primary School closures

Posted by Editor On February - 12 - 2009
FALLING numbers of children and a poor standard of school buildings has lead Western Isles Council to consider the closure of many Primary Schools throughout the island chain. The number of school age children in the region has plummeted over the last 30 years from 6,300 to only 3,730 in September 2008. Councillors at a meeting on Tuesday discussed a report into the Future Strategy for Schools and named possible receiving schools in the event of closures. This left room for speculation over the future of Tong, Tolsta, Sandwickhill, Cross, Bragar, Carloway, Bernera, Balallan, Selibost, Scalpay, Lochmaddy, Eriskay and Eoligarry Primary Schools. Also included were Aird and Knock Primaries which are already scheduled to close on the completion of the new Point community school and Barvas and Airidhantium which would come together in the new Westside community school. Members have decided to go to a public consultation exercise, but they heavily emphasised that no school has yet been selected for the chopping block. The issue is a controversial one, especially considering the public backlash the Council faced over their decision to close seven junior secondary school units. A decision which has not found favour with the Scottish Government, who have today (Thursday) refused permission for the closure of S1/S2 units at Daliburgh and Paible in Uist and Lionel and Shawbost in Lewis .