Home of the @HI_Voices rotational Twitter account, which features a new voice each week from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

212: John Hutchison

by handivoices


15th to 22nd October 2017

Hello there,

I’m a community advocate based in Lochaber and active in the community land movement.  Helping to build confident communities is what I’ve been striving to do over the past 20 plus years, though my earlier careers were in civil engineering (steelwork and roads) and I retired 10 years ago as Lochaber Area Manager for Highland Council, a more corporate role, during a period when the Council was more decentralised.

A few years ago I was chair of Scottish Rural Action, the body that set up our first Rural Parliament, which is still going strong.  At the moment I’m chairing the East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust, the body that last year bid for the land within the former Alcan Estate – we’re still in discussion with the new owner to examine possibilities.  Apart from that I chair the West Highland Museum and the West Highland College UHI, which has an operating area extending from Kinlochleven to Ullapool, including Ardnamurchan and Skye, where I lived for a few years.

I’m also active with those campaigning for a new Belford Hospital and seeking improvements to the A82, which affects logistics and strangles development in much of the H&I Voices area.

Interests such as involvement in the justice system I’ll set aside for this week but mountains will likely figure.  With the country being in such a state of flux I’ll be surprised if political comment as affects the Highlands & Islands don’t arise.

But my main reason in seeking to cover the H&I Voices account this particular week is the National Mòd which will be running in Lochaber.  I felt it could be interesting to give folk a bit of an insight.  I’ll be busy stewarding for part of the time but my main responsibility is within Lochaber District Gaelic Choir (Còisir Ghàidhlig Sgìre Loch Abar) when we compete again in the Margrat Duncan competition on Friday and perform elsewhere during the week.  Some colleagues will be competing solo and in duets.

I’ll be interested in the individual competitions too, though my solo days are long behind.  I reached the Gold Medal final four times, so I understand the pressures, being runner-up in Govan in 1990 – which now seems a very long time ago!




211: Ellis O’Connor

by handivoices


8th – 15th October 2017

Scottish Visual Artist Inspired by landscapes in the North 

@VisitScotland Ambassador


210: David Lapsley

by handivoices


1st October – 8th October 2017

Hello all, I’m David and I live in the lovely village of Taynuilt, 11 miles from Oban.

Originally from Ayrshire – West Kilbride and then moved to Tiree.

I am the Head Sommelier of @Etiverestaurant and we hold 2 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence for our food and I curate a varied wine list of about 200 bottles and we also have a Whisky collection of over 150 bottles and over 70 Gins!

I am crazy about Scotland and sustainability of restaurants and this week I will try and get out to as many local suppliers as I can and also drown your newsfeeds promoting hospitality in the Argyll area.

We have great produce, great chefs and all we need to do out front is chat to guests and pull corks, easy right?

209: Stephen McNally

by handivoices


24th September 2017 to 1st October 2017

Hello, I’m Stephen from Oban in Argyll. I am 46 year old father of two and husband of one. For money I splice fibre cables together and for pleasure I play tunes on various traditional instruments.

208: Skye Live Festival

by Simon Varwell


17th September to 24th September 2017

No bio submitted.

207: Crowvus

by handivoices


10th September to 17th September 2017

Hello to you all.  We are an indie-publisher in Wick, Caithness, which was set-up at the start of this year to publish work by ourselves and – hopefully one day soon – other people as well. We’re not a business – just a family who love writing and reading, and saw publishing as the merry old middle-ground of those two things.

We have three publishers at the moment and four writers, but we’re currently going-global (!) with our first Short Story Competition, and we’ll be publishing work from at least 10 new authors.

We’re all involved in other things in our communities, whether that is through work, hobbies or volunteering, and we’re looking forward to a week of sharing things with people who share our passion for the Highlands and Islands.

We say we’re only interested in only two things: the publication of writing that was created to be shared, and matching that to the readers for whom it was written. But actually that’s a lie – and hopefully this week will show some of those other interests we have!

206: Milly Mammoth

by handivoices


3rd September to 10th September 2017

Hi, I’m Milly the Mammoth! I’m the mascot for Redditch Senior Section, which is the oldest branch of Girlguiding for girls age 14 to 25 years based in Redditch, Worcestershire. We are an active group of young people who like travel and new adventures.

I usually live with our leader Alix @AilidhNoor, who curated @HI_voices a few months ago when she was in Skye studying Gaelic. This week I’m holiday with our other leader, Julie, who still doesn’t have her own Twitter account! She is touring Kintyre, Gigha, Islay, Jura and Arran this week.

Julie is Canadian, born and bred in Toronto, and has been living in the West Midlands for 10 years. She’s a keen geocacher, a history geek and has a nerdy love of steam trains. She believes that the world is made a better place by cake. She likes to really get to know the places she is traveling, and really enjoys meeting local people and gaining and understanding of the area through the people who live there.

Julie loves Scotland and her love of random and remote places has taken her to a lot of Scottish Islands, including the Orkneys, Mull and Iona, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland, but is ashamed to say that she still hasn’t been to Skye (yet…). Her favourite island so far was Unst in Shetland, but special mention has to go to Barra for being the setting of the most random day ever (a Canadian, an Englishman and two Americans walked into a castle…).


205: Renee Mason

by handivoices


27th August – 3rd September 2017

Hi! I’m Renee, an Aussie migrant on the Isle of Skye. We moved back to Skye at the start of this year and recently took on a bookstore/cafe/vintage studio in Struan – an exciting move for a librarian and a chef.

I come from a gorgeous place called Moogerah in Queensland, Australia. I first came to Scotland in 2002 as a backpacker, living and working in Ardgay, Aviemore, all over Skye and in Stornoway. Since leaving in 2005 I’ve lived in Darwin, Alice Springs, New Zealand, Qingdao and Ningbo in China and Nerja, Spain.

Brexit cut our plans for life in Spain a wee bit short but it has worked out well. It’s good to be back on Skye and finally qualify to tweet from the H&I Voices account!

This week marks my first month as a bookseller, and my first Skye Book Festival, so I’ll mostly be tweeting about the new business, life on Skye and the Book Festival.


204: An Talla Solais

by handivoices


20th August to 27th August 2017

An Talla Solais exists to bring inspiring art into the community and to give everyone a chance to take part. Art should be for everybody. We have believed this since we opened our first exhibition in Ullapool in 2004, and it is the driving force behind everything we do.

As a visual arts charity we offer classes and courses for beginners and artists alike. We provide studios, a kiln and workshop space and we show an exhilarating wealth of work. Admission to our exhibitions is always free.

Our current exhibition is Murmur: Artists Reflect on Climate Change and features the work of artists Sarah Gittins, Chloe Lewis, Ellis O’Connor, Meg Rodger and Saule Zuk. We’ve also got a series of events on this week if you happen to be in Ullapool.

We have a staff of four: Joanna, Victoria, Geraldine and Steve and hopefully you’ll meet them all during the course of our week as the H&I Voice.



203: Emma Cooper

by handivoices


13th August – 20th August

Hi! I’m Emma Cooper and I live in Ardbeg on the Isle of Bute in Argyll & Bute. I’m 36 years old and I have lived on Bute since 2011. Before that I was in Brighton, before that Wales, and before that Derbyshire.

I moved to Scotland because I was travelling so much to spend weekends hiking and SCUBA diving – two great loves of mine – and so moving somewhere with such an amazing landscape was a dream come true. My Gran grew-up in Paisley and was a very passionate Scotswoman who fed us Scotch pancakes as a matter of principle, so Scotland was an obvious choice.

The added benefit was to be able to afford a house, with a garden, and space to grow veg, for a dog and chickens etc., which I’m very pleased to have found on the Isle of Bute. So I live with Tim (human), Beinn (dog), Orthia (cat), Brighton, Hilary, Cuckoo, Lucky and Very Lucky (chickens), assorted fish and pigs for some of the year.

I’m even more pleased to have found a great job which I can do from home (most of the time) working for Scottish Rural Action, which organises the Scottish Rural Parliament amongst other things. It’s a challenging role, for a very small organisation with big ambitions. I believe strongly that people living in rural areas are entitled to the same access to services and living standards of others, and in this role I help to make that happen.

I am actively involved in my local community and despite the challenges this can bring, I can’t imagine life any other way. A group of friends and I set up a music festival, now in it’s third year – ButeFest – to bring new visitors and different arts and cultural experiences to the island. It’s been going very well thankfully and growing steadily (but still a small, family-friendly festival). I am also on the board of Rothesay Pavilion, which is restoring the old Pavilion on the island, again in an effort to bring more people here and activities. And finally, I am a director of our community-owned forest, Bute Forest.


202: Mrs MacDixon

by handivoices


6th August – 13th August

Hi. I’m a mum of a 2 year old and 6 month old. Currently making the most of maternity leave in Inverness.

201: Thurso Kirk OSP

by handivoices


31st July – 6th August

No bio was submitted by this curator

200: Caithness Broch Project

by handivoices


23rd July – 30th July

CBP logo

Highlands and Islands Voices 200th contributor is Caithness Broch Project.

Hello! We are Caithness Broch Project.

Caithness Broch Project is an archaeological charity set up to highlight Caithness’ heritage tourism potential, through the promotion and development of the region’s fascinating archaeology. We specially look to promote the brochs of Caithness – the region can lay claim to having more brochs than anywhere else in Scotland!

(For the uninitiated – you poor lot – we should explain that brochs are 2000 year-old drystone towers found only in Scotland. There are around 400-500 brochs in Scotland, and around 180 of these are found in Caithness.

We are both investigating and promoting the fact that Caithness was once the ‘home of the broch’ through a number of exciting projects, including our Lego Broch, archaeological activities (more on that soon!) and, our raison d’etre, the construction of a replica broch, which would serve as an experimental archaeology project, traditional skills workshop and major tourist attraction.

To find out more, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or online at www.thebrochproject.co.uk

You can also drop us a line on caithnessbrochproject@gmail.com

Dont forget – you can help to support us by joining our membership: www.thebrochproject.co.uk/membership-1

Thank you!

199 Ailidh Kingham

by handivoices

16th July to 23rd July 2017

Air an t-seachdain-sa tha Ailidh Kingham aig Sabhal Mòr Ostaig anns an Eilean Sgitheanach.

This week Ailidh Kingham is at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye.

Ailidh is a Gaelic learner whose home is in England, but whose heart is in the Highlands. She tweets in English and Gàidhlig about life as a distance learner, bird watching and other wildlife, the trials and tribulations of being a Girl Guide leader, and the antics of her Irish setter

198: Isle of Tiree

by handivoices

9th July to 16th July 2017

This week, Stephanie Cope takes time-out from Tiree’s glorious beaches to bring you news, wildlife and island life! Stephanie moved to Tiree from her home on the Isle of Mull in early 2017; starting a new role with Tiree Community Development Trust as Tiree Ranger. Previously, she worked as a ranger for the Glengorm Wildlife Project and Mull Eagle Watch. Stephanie has a keen interest in Natural History and loves sharing her passion for the Hebridean environment with others.



197: Isle of Barra

by handivoices


2nd July to 9th July 2017

Based of the lovely Isle of Barra, Sarah MacLean tweets about all things Barra and Vatersay including events, activities, news and the general goings-on.  Sarah has been living on Barrra for 18 years, is married to a local fisherman and has 2 Gaelic speaking children (ages 8 and 10)

196: WildCaithness

by handivoices


25th June to 2 July 2017

Based in the Caithness in the far north, Kate Willis operates Caithness Wildlife Tours and tweets as WildCaithness about wildife, history, walking, and wild places in Caithness and further afield.

195: Liberty Bligh

by handivoices


18th to 25th June 2017

Liberty Bligh is the Chief Executive of Libertie Project, a creative and digital social enterprise in Inverness. A single mum, unashamed coffee snob, has been known to roast her own coffee in a popcorn maker in the garden, interested in all things arty farty, eco warrior, eternal bargain hunter and very beginner gospel singer.

194: Graham Phillips

by handivoices



11th – 18th June 2017

Graham is a consultant, troubleshooter and project manager with more years experience than he cares to admit to. Mostly in the finance sector, but not entirely – including a brush with the Mafia in Italy, which set him up for a spell in politics. As a Highland Councillor he enjoyed helping people, and misses that, but doesn’t miss the accompanying idiocy.

193: Calum Morrison Ross

by Simon Varwell


4th to 11th June 2017

No bio submitted.