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

347: Impact Hub Inverness: Inverness, Coworking, social enterprise, Communities!

by handivoices


31 May – 7th June 2020

Hi everyone!

We are Impact Hub Inverness, Serving the Highlands and Islands. We are the first and only Impact Hub in Scotland, and we opened on June 1 2017. We are one of around 100 Impact Hubs around the world, co-working spaces based on social impact. You might also know us as HISEZ. We are based on Castle Street in Inverness and our co-working desks have a fantastic view of the castle! For the last 17 years, as HISEZ, we have been delivering business support to social enterprises in the H&I, and have visited practically every corner of the patch. We are very hands on, and enjoy working with communities and social enterprises helping to make a difference, often under the Scottish Government’s Just Enterprise contract. As a co-working space have 40 members who use us to work in, and many others who come to the space for events, meetings, and training. Our tweets will likely be about: social enterprise, community development, local businesses, rural life, and co-working. We are delighted to virtually meet you all!

346: Catriona: Cromarty, Climate, Communities!

by handivoices


24 – 31st May 2020

Hi everyone!

My name is Catriona (@cjomallows) and I grew up in Cromarty on the east coast of Scotland, but I am currently located in Kyle of Lochalsh. I’m a Master’s student, based in BC in Canada, and I’m looking at the ways that coastal communities can respond to and adapt to changing climate conditions. I’ve worked in sustainability and community development across the Highlands and Islands and I am interested in the interactions between the environment and society. I like being outside – keen runner, passionate surfer, and very scared climber! My tweets will likely be about: ecology and nature, climate action, community development, local food, the sea, rural life, and young people. I’m excited to virtually meet you all!

345 – Mull Geology

by handivoices


Sunday 17th April 2020 – Sunday 24th April 2020

This week you have James Westland who lives in Tobermory, Isle of Mull. My main interests are geology, hill walking, exploring the coasts and generally being out of doors whenever possible. I am also a Gaelic speaker (a learner not native) and spent several years at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Skye.

My main work is in IT but geology is my main passion. I offer geology walks during the tourist season (but not this year so far!) as well as spending a fair bit of time on social media promoting the subject and raising awareness of the superb geology that Mull has to offer.

I will mainly be tweeting about the geology of Mull and other places nearby. Lots of photos and descriptions. Any questions feel free to message me!


Lynbreck Croft

by handivoices

This week on the @hi_voices Twitter account you can follow the journey of Lynn and Sandra from Lynbreck Croft

We will be tweeting from 10th-17th May, all about our life on the land, starting a new croft business from scratch and how we farm with nature

We really hope you enjoy the week with us

343 – 2 for the price of one

by handivoices

This week you have 2 of us, firstly me, Ross Johnston @Ross_Johnston and as a bonus you also get my sidekick (although I think I may be his), AntBoy Xander www.xanderjo.co.uk.

We am outdoor and cycling mad, preferring to spend my time outdoors in the Cairngorms Natural Park rather than indoors, although at the moment with lockdown thats been difficult to achieve.

You may recognise Xander from his TV appearances (Countryfile and Spring and AutumWatch), a recognised entomologist at only 13 years old.

This week we will be sharing some of our lockdown outdoor activities, some of our past adventures and some of Xander’s amazing nature facts.

by handivoices

342: Anne Butler

Sunday 26th April to Sunday 3rd May 2020


I am 54 and live in Aviemore with my husband Bill and our dog Ralph. We are lucky to have views of the Cairngorm mountains from the front of our house.

I am a somewhat obsessive hillwalker having completed five rounds of Munros as well as the Corbetts, Munro Tops, Grahams, Donalds and Furths (what is known as a Full House). I am always accompanied on the hills by my dogs.

This week I will be sharing photos from life in Aviemore, lots of past hillwalking trips (as the hills are currently out of bounds during lockdown) and of course plenty of dogs!

341: Robin Wallace

by handivoices


Sunday 19 April – Sunday 26 April 2020

Hiya folks, Robin here. I’m 38 and based in sunny East Lothian, Scotland. I’m a keen hill walker and spend a lot of my spare time stravaiging Scotland’s wild places. I completed the Munros in 2014. Discovering Munro bagging was a life changer, the best hobby ever that also got me into wild camping, wildlife, bothies, whisky and Scottish bands like the Vatersay Boys.

These days I enjoy doing any hill armed with a tent. I hope to visit as many Scottish Isles as I can, with Rùm, Jura and the Uists being my favourites to date.

I also share a lot of my trips on my YouTube channel, Walk With Wallace.

I’m looking forward to taking over the H&I Voices Twitter account this week, this is the first time I’ve done something like this, so go easy on me. 😊

Take care & stay safe,



My goodself on The Devil’s Ridge
Pitched up with my mate Kev on the Paps of Jura

340: The Fyne Den

by handivoices


Sunday 12th – Sunday 19th April 2020

Afternoon everyone. Following on from two weeks of great views from the Hebrides, I am sitting at the other end of the H&I region in lovely Argyll, relatively close to the central belt at the very head of Loch Fyne, close to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar on the A83.
I spent much of my childhood here and have lived here full time for over 30 years with my family and much appreciate being part of a strong community – especially in these days.

Like many in these parts I wear several hats but  this twitter account is for our new family centre which we opened up this January after well over a decade of fundraising, planning etc. We are very grateful to have got it built but sad that we are temporarily closed after just 3 months but looking forward to re-opening when we can and getting the kids back though the door.

We are a Community organisation providing full time childcare and early learning plus an exciting adventure zone open to the public from which we hope to generate income to support the childcare facility.

I am looking forward to tweeting this week and meeting the H&I Voices followers – my first grandchild is due to arrive sometime soon so it could be an exciting week!


Keep up to date with our Instagram and Facebook  too:-



339: Sigourney Stansfield

by handivoices


Sunday 5th April – Sunday 12th April 2020

Hello! I have lived on the Isle of Lewis for nearly two years now and love it here. I work as Cafe Supervisor at the busy Callanish Visitors Centre, welcoming people from all over the world. Most people visiting the islands will make a pit stop at the Calanais Stones, we had an incredible 155,000 visitors last year!

When I am not busy baking away in the kitchen, I will be found potting around in the garden growing all sorts of veggies. Even though our growing season is short and the constant wind is challenging, I still get a good crop throughout the year. As with everyone on the islands, I love visiting our beaches, watching wildlife and enjoying the nature on our doorstep.

Thanks for having me!

Sigourney x

338: Victoria Harvey

by handivoices


Sunday 29th March – Sunday 5th April 2020

So hello everyone! I am a 29 year old city girl turned aspiring Hebridean, living on the Isle of Lewis and I have to say I am LOVING it! I have worked in the Scottish tourism industry for around 10 years now and being able to mix my career with my favourite place in the world is so rewarding. I am currently the Front of House Manager at the Calanais Visitor Centre. Our visitor centre is nestled at the foot of the iconic Calanais Standing Stones, which received 155k visitors in 2019 (so it’s busy!)

Along with work, I love a good road trip around my island home, using nature as a way to let good mental health prosper and am really passionate about local food and drink. This week I want to talk a little bit about my work experiences, what I get up to when I’m mooching about in my own time and I also want to hear what everyone is up to whilst we are on lockdown.

Can’t wait to hear from you & look after yourselves,


Keep up to date on my Instagram too:-


337: Gregor Macleod

by handivoices


Sunday 22nd March to Sunday 29th March 2020

Ciamar a tha sibh?

I’m Gregor Macleod, I was born and brought up in Callanish on the Isle of Lewis, where I still live and run my own traditional croft house B&B with my partner. The cottage known as ‘Gealabhat’, has been in the family since the early sixties and was run as a B&B for many years by my grandmother, to this day I still make her pancake recipe for my guests and I even have her visitor book, that my own guests now sign.

I’ve always felt most at home in Nature, making the most of my surroundings such as the beaches and lochs on my doorstep, growing my own produce and now even keeping my own Bees. Callanish is an ideal place for watching migratory birds and our dark skies provide a haven for astronomers and aurora borealis watchers in the winter months. It doesn’t matter how cold it gets or how sore my neck gets, you can find me watching the sky for hours on end when it puts on a show- much like the bees on a daily basis!

Bees are vitally important for the garden which I love- I’m most interested in growing for food but even that can look beautiful. I’ve always been a keen gardener and I get so much pleasure from growing my own salad and veg. Time spent outside, is time well spent- I get to make the garden look beautiful and I’m rewarded for my work with lovely homegrown produce. Recently, I told myself I would become more self-sufficient, which is more and more important in the current economy. Not only do I know where my food has come from, but I can reassure myself that I’m doing my bit for the planet too! With an added bonus in that I get to share with friends and family locally!


As with a lot of islanders, I’ve been brought up bilingual with Gàidhlig. Theres a real appreciation from the older generation when you speak Gaelic to them, like you are keeping the language alive!

My Gaelic upbringing and my love for cooking and baking has even led to me now presenting Fuine with BBC Alba, where I tour Scotland visiting some of the countries best bakers and being invited into their kitchens to sample their own goods! I also invite you into my kitchen, where I cook up some of my grannies recipes along with some of my own favourites- hopefully soon with some of my bees honey to go with my sourdough!

My partner moved up to the island from the mainland after holidaying here for 13 years and having a real love and respect for the Hebrides. We like to make the most of the outdoors, when we are not in the garden growing our own food and tending to the bees we’re hill climbing, surfing, sea swimming and braving the elements, and even gathering our own shellfish- like mussels along the shore and free diving for scallops. I’ve found that nature really does give us everything we need, mentally and physically!

It wouldn’t be right for me to sign off and end my week without mentioning the infamous Barney! He’s a free spirit with a wandering soul, and known unmistakably by his old fashioned sheep markings and ear with a little bit missing, by locals and tourists alike! He’s made many the local TV programme, makes friends with all the visitors at the nearby Callanish Centre cafe as he’s ruled by his stomach- yum-yum’s the word! He’s even sneaked his way on to the bus for a free ride and taken himself a 6 mile journey following our scent to town. He’s a dog with an adventurous spirit well suited to the expanse of space we have here!

336: Jordane Symington

by handivoices


Sunday 15th March to Sunday 22nd March 2020

Hello Everyone!

I’m Jordane, and I’ve taken over the H&I Voices page this week from Fiona at Sradag Creative. I’m based on the Isle of Lewis, near the Callanish Standing Stones, where I run my own croft-based workshop and studio as a self-employed jewellery designer and maker under the name of Islewear.

I’m originally from Glasgow, but moved up to the Isles at the tender age of twelve, where my childhood all of a sudden was opened up to more freedom, exploration, adventures and creativity. As with most young islanders I’ve come and gone, for studies, further education and even just to spread my wings. However there’s just something about the island that’s kept bringing me back, I guess you could call me a home-bird!

I left the island initially to study at the Glasgow School of Art, where I found over the course of the four years that the Island heavily inspired everything I produced, from nature, the landscape, to heritage and culture. Now, I focus my designing process purely around my island home, where I take organic material native to the Isles, such as seaweed, coral, heather, flora and fauna from the Machair, rock textures from Gneiss and even bark from our native trees, and then transform them in to precious metal. The growth of my business to my now self-employed status has happened so organically I hadn’t realised I’d end up working in certain industries- such as with weddings and even teaching people to make their own!

I believe in the concept of ‘community over competition’ and use it as a motto for my business. Collaborating with your peers is so important in the creative industry but even more so with a rurally based business. I find the support network I have locally in my network of peers such as photographers, artists, textile designers, retailers and galleries second to none!

As I find my inspiration for my designs from around the islands I try to make the most of what I have on my doorstep, from drives, camping, beach trips, swimming and even paddle boarding. The landscape here is diverse and stretching, so I don’t have an excuse to be short of a new concept!

Thanks for sticking with my journey this week, its been a little bit of an unusual one with the outbreak of Covid-19 but I hope to have brought you a little bit of island-related respite.

If you would like to follow my journey beyond my take-over this Sunday come say hello on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @Islewear or visit me in person on the Island, find my details here http://www.islewear.co.uk

So once more from my apprentice and I, thanks for having me, Cheers!

335: Fiona Rennie

by handivoices


Sunday 8th March to Sunday 15th March 2020

Good evening folks! Feasgar math dhuibh uile!

I’m Fiona and I’m a bilingual graphic designer and photographer based in the Isle of Lewis. I am also actively engaged in community work. I run my own company called Sradag Creative (Scottish Gaelic for Creative Spark) which is a vessel to carry out the various creative projects I wish to carry out. I am a fluent Gaelic speaker, and I’d say my practice is predominantly (or at least largely) in Gaelic, and based in my home community of the Galson Estate in North Lewis.

My work is mostly of a social-documentary theme, where conversation and photography, often presented together, convey a story or feeling of place. For more about me or to see any of my projects find my website: fionarenniephoto.com or follow my instagram @SradagCreative

334: Netty Sopata

by handivoices


Sunday 1st March to Sunday 8th March 2020

Hello to everyone. I’m a Kiltmaker & Designer based in Ness on the Isle of Lewis. Alongside running my own business I run the new Fashion HNC Course at Lews Castle College (UHI) in Stornoway and work as a Retained Firefighter. This is all juggled whilst occupying a young family and helping my partner with our flock of Hebridean Sheep. One of whom No 29 (aka Angus) is pictured below………….

333: Chris Aitken

by handivoices


Sunday 23rd February to Sunday 1st March 2020

Hi everyone. I’m a Computing Science teacher at Wick High School. I’m originally from Keiss but now living in Upper Gills near John o’ Groats.

I’m a director with the Caithness Broch Project and a huge interest in Caithness history from the mesolithic to the present.

Image result for chris aitken wick

332: Stephen Makin

by Simon Varwell


Sunday 16th February to Sunday 23rd February 2020

No bio submitted.

331: Conor O’Hara

by handivoices


Sunday 9th February – Sunday 16th February 2020

Greetings. I’ve been hosting the H&I Voices account on Twitter this week and am only writing this wee bio the night before I handover to the next host. Of course, I’d hand-written in rare Indian ink a calligraphic beauty of a letter describing same but alas it caught fire under the full moon this week and, well, you know how it goes sometimes. I rarely lie, too. Though once I played drums in a Queen tribute band and played their Wembley Stadium set in a pub in Finglas, Dublin, in front of twelve people. That was my first taste of humility, which I promptly forgot for, ooh, 20 years.

Me with someone else’s dog, who seems too interested in my armpit.

I just celebrated the seventh anniversary of arriving in Inverness, from my hometown, Dublin. It’s a long story why and how I ended up on these shores, but honestly, despite the hardships that any emigrant might feel from time to time, Scotland has been very good to me. I can only hope I can return the immense favours and hard-won successes I’ve had since moving here.

I really feel there’s a chance for something really surprising to come from the Highlands, something beyond tartan and whiskey and high suicide rates. Something magical and fun. Working on it and I want to collaborate to make “it” happen.

Fashion shoot I location managed, near Loch Ness, during the blazin’ hot June of 2019. Clients originally wanted murky clouds. So it goes…

I work mostly as a freelance locations and production person based from Inverness, doing fashion shoots, commercials, TV factual entertainment and lifestyle programmes, documentaries and music videos. I’ve done movies and dramas but those often require long months and too much time away from parenting, which is my prime role in this life. But if someone came calling for a gig in the Carribean, well…

I’ve also worked with vulnerable adults and delivered workshops in personal development, which teaches the facilitator as much as, one hopes, the participants. My biggest learning in the past year is being able to speak with emotional intimacy – the fear factor to do this was and is immense. We’re a funny species.

The creative industry is very privileged work and I really enjoy it. It brings me in contact with a huge variety of people behind and in front of the lens, and there is nothing like the feeling of working real hard to make a scene happen and then getting the shot. Well, there are a couple of better things and you probably know them already.

About as close as any decent cameraman will let me near their baby.

But now it’s been a quiet winter and I’m in a transitional phase, deciding on my next moves to sustain a quality of life here in the Highlands, so maybe it’s time to put my pen to paper and begin writing more. I’ve done journalism, editing, stand-up and spoken word performance, and feel that writing might be the thing to give further and moresoulful rewards, despite the commerical odds. We shall see. I’m very interested in radio documentary too, so keep an eye out on my Twitter account for updates and random observations: @sigilarts

On a sofa in Durness, like one does, right? Room for others too; you can never have enough loving people in your life.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and thanks to the H&I Voices admin team for asking me to host for the week. Mind yourselves, cherish your friends, make love with your whole being, and to paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, don’t forget to fart around once in a while. Oh yeah, and as one gets older the old adage rings true: I know nothing, to be sure.

Roll on spring. Tapaidh leibh.

That’s a wrap, mo chairde.

330: Fiona Leith

by handivoices


Sunday 2nd February 2020 – Sunday 9th February 2020

Hello, I’m Fiona Leith, a born Speysider now living in Fife, but a Highlands holidaymaker whenever I get the chance. I had been sorting through generations of photographs in January and was keen to celebrate some of those memories, and share new ones with the site’s followers.

The River Spey.

This is me at my favourite place in the world, on the banks of The River Spey where I grew up. I have huge affection for it, and its spirit and incredible beauty have shaped much of my life. I hope very much to return there one day. My dog, Bessie, seems to approve of it too.

St Ninian’s Isle.

I increasingly have a love affair with the remote, inhospitable, barren or abandoned beauty of the Highlands whenever I have the free time to escape and explore. From the twenty-something road trips through Skye, to life-affirming swims in the Shetland sunshine and so much more – my heart most definitely belongs to the Highlands.


The visual splendour and emotion of the area’s landscapes has been wonderful to share in this week, and I hope the community continues.

329: The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association

by handivoices


Sunday 26th January 2020 – Sunday 2nd February 2020

Hi there! We’re the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA)! We represent all higher and further education students across the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and its 13 partners.

HISA is run by students, for students, we exist to make sure the student experience at UHI is the best it can be! 

Helping to improve students time studying is at the heart of everything we do, we promote inclusion, celebrate individuality and fight for the issues that affect the young people of the Highlands and Islands! 

We’ve loved sharing an insight into the work we’ve been doing this week – and showcasing our annual Students Conference – HISA Con – via this incredible platform.

328: Karen Buchanan

by handivoices


Sunday 12 January 2020 – Sunday 19 January 2020  [12 – 19 Am Faoilleach 2020]

Hi there!  I am Karen Buchanan and I am lucky enough to live in Gairloch, Wester Ross.  For the past six years I have been curator of Gairloch Museum.  In July last year we moved our collection to a fancy new building and renewed all of our displays, so I am current recovering from that and enjoying the fruits of our labour.

I am a life long learner.  It has become an affliction.  I am currently in the final year of my FIFTH university degree.  This time, I am studying Gaelic language and culture with the University of the Highlands and Islands.  They have thrown in a bit of history and archaeology for good measure.  It is all useful learning for a Highland curator.  

I am also an obsessive knitter.  I particularly love Fair Isle and other traditional patterns and methods.  I often knit for other people and sometimes sell my own knitted designs.

The museum is closed in January so I am busy working with the collection this week.  I am looking forward to sharing an insight into the curatorial and archival work I will be doing.  This is not the most exciting time of year in Gairloch, and the forecast doesn’t look very suitable for showing off the scenery, but I will do my best to keep the trivia interesting.

I look forward to making new connections this week.