Deadline News Your local source for news in Edinburgh, Fife and Lothian Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:51:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wind wrecks Barra airport’s tiny baggage reclaim hall Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:51:48 +0000 THE world’s only beach airport with scheduled flights has a big problem at the baggage reclaim hall – the wind keeps blowing it apart.

Tiny Barra Airport in the Western Isles is famed for the breathtaking beauty of the approach to its sandy runway.

But the winds of up to 120mph that batter the island destroyed the 12ft by 6ft baggage reclaim during the summer (below).

The airport spent £2,500 on a shiny replacement only to have the roof ripped off shortly afterwards by the same vicious winds.

BARRA_AIRPORT_DN11Ironically, airport chiefs can boast with justifiable pride that they have never lost a piece of baggage through human error in 78 years.

The runway on An Traigh Mhor beach has been used for flights since 1936. Last year, more than 9,500 passengers flew in.

Part of the attraction is the miniscule baggage reclaim which is roughly the size of a bus shelter and has room for about half a dozen cases on its 6ft of conveyer belt.

The airport’s firefighting team double as baggage handlers, passing the cases through an open window on one side of the shelter.

BARRA_AIRPORT_DN08The system worked well until June this year when a gust of wind literally blew the original hall apart (above) and spread the wreckage across the beach.

Airport manager Michael Galbraith said: “Thankfully when the old structure blew away it didn’t hit any cars in the car park.

“It blew off down the beach and we had to go and collect the pieces.”

While they waited for a replacement, passengers’ bags were simply placed on the ground near to the terminal.

A smart new baggage reclaim was installed later in the summer.

BARRA_AIRPORT_DN10Mr Galbraith said: “Shortly after the roof of that blew off too, over on to the other side of the road (above).

“I got in touch with the manufacturers to ask about warranty.

“But they said due to the conditions in this area the warranty didn’t apply.”

He added: “We could have had a replacement roof sent over but it was just easier to patch it back up ourselves.”

BARRA_AIRPORT_DN09Mr Galbraith (above) admitted: “There has since been some shaking but so far – touch wood – it’s all held together.”

Passengers pay around £80 for a single between Glasgow and Barra, flying aboard Twin Otter aircraft which seat up to 18.

Other airport facilities include a pay phone and cafe. During good weather, there is one daily flight from Glasgow – apart from Sunday for reasons of religious observance.

Barra Airport is the only airport in the world to have scheduled flights landing on a beach, tide allowing.

BARRA_AIRPORT_DN02In 2011 it won the ‘World’s Most Stunning Airport Approach’ title, beating off competitors from as far away as Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles.

Mr Galbraith said: “Apart from the Twin Otters landing, the baggage reclaim is the next most photographed thing when people land.

“It’s definitely different to what people are used to but that is what people love about it.”

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School libraries on “edge of a cliff” warns private school library head Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:41:11 +0000 THE librarian at one of Scotland’s top private colleges has warned that school library facilities are “standing on the edge of a cliff”.

Duncan Wright, the librarian of £20,000-a-year Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh, has started a Facebook campaign page dedicated to saving school libraries.

The page highlights a crisis in the library profession as cash-strapped councils axe posts to save money.

Mr Wright and teaching unions say the move fails to recognise “the importance of the school library in developing lifelong learning skills in our children and young people.”

School library services appear to present a “soft target” to councils desperate to save cash. East Renfrewshire hopes to save £131,000 replacing school librarians with senior pupils and self-service machines.

Mr Wright’s page, called Save Scotland’s School Libraries, highlights cutbacks in school library provision.

Mr Wright told an education magazine: “The school library service in Scotland is currently standing on the edge of a cliff.

“We believe that access to quality school library provision, including a specialist school librarian, supports children and young people’s learning and achievement across the curriculum.

“We encourage HM Inspectors to reflect on the impact of the school library during their inspection and encourage the Scottish Parliament and local authorities to recognise the importance of the school library in developing lifelong learning skills in our children and young people,” he added.

He said that East Renfrewshire’s decision to replace professional librarians trained to degree level with pupils and service points was “particularly galling”.

His Facebook page contains links to noted author Neil Gaiman speaking about his love of the school library as a “safe place… without bullies”.

He also links to an article by comedian Russell Brand on how schools without libraries are a “disgrace”.

It emerged earlier this year that East Renfrewshire hopes to save around £131,000 by removing school librarians and replacing them with senior pupils and self-service machines.

Numerous schools already share resources – with five librarians covering nine schools in East Ayrshire and Renfrewshire has seven working across 11 schools.

Falkirk council proposes to “stop the school library service” that supports 13 staff – to save £325,000 by shifting management responsibility to secondary schools.

Other proposals include sharing librarians between schools in Glasgow and replacing professional librarians in North, South Ayreshire and Fife with library assistants.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS teaching union said: “School librarians are graduate professionals and often the linchpins of school literacy programs, which may grind to a halt when they are removed.”

A spokeswoman from East Renfrewshire Council said: “We are consulting fully with communities in East Renfrewshire and no decision will be taken until February.

“Any reduction in staff will be managed carefully over a period of time and would involve between eight and nine full-time equivalent posts, which we should be able to manage through natural turnover, management of vacancies and voluntary redundancy.

“No decision has been taken as yet and we would encourage local residents, communities and staff to make their views known over the next few weeks.”

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Susuan Boyle signs up for acting lessons Fri, 28 Nov 2014 17:36:12 +0000 SUSAN Boyle has signed up for acting lessons.

The singing star revealed yesterday (Fri) that she has even arranged an audition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

SuBo has already appeared in a cameo role in ‘Rab C Nesbitt’ and says acting is something she has always wanted to do.

If she passes her audition she will be following in the footsteps of stars such as James McAvoy and Robert Carlyle.

Subo says she'd love to add acting to her achievements

Subo says she’d love to add acting to her achievements


SuBo told the Huffington Post in an exclusive interview with the online site: “Acting would be wonderful but alongside my singing career.

“It would not be full time and the lessons would be around my schedule but acting is something I do love doing and I think it gives you a little confidence as well.

“I like to try and perfect my arts and grow as a person so I think acting lessons will help me a lot.
“I’d love to act in another movie, that was great fun.”

Subo reveal that she also wanted to challenge herself musically.

She said: “To be honest I’d really like to work with songwriters in the future and create new music and change the direction I go in musically.

“I think for an artist to have longevity you need to adapt and change and I have proven with my tours that I can sing a host of different musical genres and I’d like the public to be able to see more of that.

“I’m not saying I’m going to reinvent myself in the way of Lady Gaga and come out in public in an egg but musically I want to progress.”

Susan said there were a number of artists she’d like to collaborate while trying her hand at acting: “Ed Sheeran because he is so talented at writing music that it would be great to work on an original piece of music together. I’d also love to do a duet or work with Coldplay. I think they are brilliant and Chris Martin again is so talented.

She described where she came from in Blackburn, West Lothian, helped keep her grounded as an artist.

She said: “My tried and tested method for coping is by staying in my home town of Blackburn with my friends and family around, there’s no diva behaviour allowed in Blackburn. These friends have been around me since I was young and I know their intentions are good and kind.

“I also like to take the bus and shop in Tesco’s and do all the normal things I did before ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

“I want to pick out my own food and I like my free bus rides. When you’ve lived a life where money is tight for 47 years you’re not going to be too frivolous as you want to ensure it lasts.

“I don’t want to ever be in a situation again where I’m sitting in a dark cold house because I didn’t have enough money to pay the bills. Which is why I’ve gone the other way now. I have so much credit on the gas and electric I should be good for at least the next 20 years!

“My advice to anyone in the industry or starting out is keep your good friends around you and beware of those ‘yes people’. It’s ok to be told No!”

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Thug holds woman at knife point as he robs shop Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:35:16 +0000 A WOMAN shopkeeper was left shaken after a thug held her at kniefpoint before robbing the shop.


The incident occurred around 7pm yesterday at the Dalry Newsagent on Dalry Road, Edinburgh.


The 39-year-old woman was working alone within the shop when a man entered and brandished a knife before demanding money.


Pic Katielee Arrowsmith/Deadline News..Lothian and Boarders Police


After stealing the contents of the till he then made off towards Gorgie Road.


Police in Edinburgh are appealing for witnesses following a knifepoint robbery at a city convenience store.


Officers are now urging anyone who can assist with their enquiries to come forward.


Police said the suspect was white, in her early twenties, around 5ft 7ins tall with a slim build. He was said to be wearing a grey hooded top with white stripes running down the sleeves, a black scarf covering his face, woolly gloves and black trousers.


Detective Constable Joyce Gunderson said: “Fortunately the shop assistant was not injured during the robbery, but this was a distressing ordeal and she was left understandably shaken.


“We are keen to hear from anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity in the Dalry Road area on Thursday evening, or anyone who recognises the description of the suspect.


“The male is believed to have been loitering outside the store and the nearby Bensons Bar just prior to the incident and so any patrons who believe they have information that can assist with our enquiries are asked to contact police immediately.”

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Beer is “good for you” and has less calories than wine Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:10:55 +0000 Arran Brewery is hoping to appeal to more woman drinkers by offering beer that has less calories than wine.


With more and more women drinking beer in recent years the number is still small in comparison to how many men enjoy the beverage. This has prompted Managing director of Arran Brewery, Gerald Michaluk, to encourage more woman to try his beer by explaining the health benefits.


“Starting with calories, there is a misconception that wine has less calories than beer. This is simply not true a typical beer at 4.6% has fewer calories than the same volume of a standard wine. So actually Arran beers are less fattening than wine.






“Not just has Arran Beer less calories than the same volume of wine but according to the BBPA, a glass of beer with a typical 4.6% alcoholic volume, has fewer calories than milk or fruit juice too.


Michaluk continues:”Beer is in fact packed with many of the nutrients the body needs for a healthy diet. It was once known as ‘liquid bread’ and we all know that cereals are good for us, beer is made from cereals. So logically is good for you as well.




“While, unlike other alcoholic drinks, Arran Ales are chock full of vitamins and minerals. A pint of Arran beer will supply about 5% of your daily protein needs, whereas wine has none.


While perhaps the most surprising fact is Arran Beer has absolutely no cholesterol or fat but contain useful quantities of soluble fibre instead.


Many studies have shown that the alcohol in beer benefits our heart and circulation systems. Not to mention the Polyphenols in Arran beer that are effective at scavenging harmful cancer inducing free radicals.


In moderation, Arran beer will not make you fat and its constituents are proven to help in a balanced diet”.


The Isle of Arran Brewery opened February 2000 and was the project of Richard and Elisabeth Roberts.


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Worldwide competition sees school kids’ robots battle it out Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:55:52 +0000 lego.jpeg


LEGO robots built by Scottish School children will be put through their paces this weekend as kids from around the world take part in a competition designed to inspire the next generation of computer scientists.


The FIRST LEGO League championship (FLL) will see children, aged 9 – 16, challenged as their custom built robot is put to the test through a variety of missions.


Beginning this weekend (Saturday 29 November) at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, 28 teams of up to ten pupils will compete in regional heats, with the following events happening on 2 December at the Glasgow Science Centre and 10 December at Aberdeen’s Satrosphere Science Centre.


As well as completing a series of set tasks, the teams will be challenged to imagine useful inventions to redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century.


They join over 250,000 young people from 80 countries worldwide in the annual FIRST LEGO League championship (FLL), which is being run across Scotland by the RSE Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) and Lambda Jam, a not-for-profit organisation working to improve children’s problem solving skills and enjoyment.


They are working in partnership with The Institution of Engineering and Technology, which already runs a yearly event in the UK, to bring the league permanently to Scotland.


YAS programme organiser, Dr Fiona McNeill, said the league has an important educational purpose, “Computing develops skills in analytical problem solving, logical thinking and understanding information systems, each of which are useful for many areas of life.”


Dr Laura Meikle from Lambda Jam added, “When it comes to self-development, technology has huge potential to engage each child at their own level in rich and varied ways, and it can give the motivation and reward that comes from surmounting a fun challenge or creating something exciting.”


In running this year’s event, Dr Meikle and Dr McNeill have broadened participation by involving more than 20 schools which have never taken part. This has been enabled by creating a bank of Lego robot kits that can be lent to schools which do not have the resource available to purchase their own – approximately half of the teams taking part are in this situation.


In addition, a network of engineer mentors has been established to support teams and maximise the potential of the competition to interest children in computer science and engineering.


Such skills are becoming ever more important in today’s digital world, and especially so in Scotland, as the IT industry has become a vital part of the national economy and is expected to grow substantially over the coming years.


Unfortunately, recent statistics on computer science in schools and universities raise a number of serious concerns. According to figures obtained by Computing at School Scotland last month, the numbers of computing teachers in Scotland fell by nearly 14% over two years. The result is that one in eight Scottish secondary schools does not have a specialist computing teacher.


According to iomart, Scotland’s acute IT skills shortage is down to a lack of graduates being available to enter the jobs market. Scotland’s universities are producing only 1,800 qualified graduates a year – leaving a huge annual deficit of 7,800 vacancies still to be filled.


Dr Meikle said, “The FIRST LEGO League shows that there is ample appetite and capacity amongst young people for engaging with computer science. It also provides a way into the fun aspects of programming for the first time, and has seen success around the globe.”


Dr McNeill added, “As Scotland is crying out for more computer scientists, we hope that programmes like this will help support and strengthen the development of important skills from an early age.”


]]> 0 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:28:12 +0000 Around 20 MSPs gathered outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday to show support for the campaign to scrap Trident Missiles. Some of the MSPs involved were, Patrick Harvey (Green), Clare Adamson (SNP), Christina McKelvie (SNP), Michael Matheson (SNP), John Wilson (SNP), Rob Gibson (SNP), Jean Urquhart (Ind), Cara Hilton (lab), Stewart Maxwell (SNP), Mark McDonald (SNP), Marco Biagi (SNP) Alison Johnstone (Green) (c) Wullie Marr/HOLYROOD PR For pic details, contact Wullie Marr........... 07989359845 (Wullie Marr/DEADLINE NEWS)

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Disabled schoolboy’s car set on fire Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:50:02 +0000 A DISABLED schoolboy’s motability car was set on fire by heartless vandals.

The sick thugs broke into 13-year-old Thomas McNulty’s vehicle and used a can of deicer to start a blaze.

Thomas, who suffers from spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, is recovering from a recent operation and needs the vehicle daily, including getting to school and hospital.

Thugs used a can of de-icer to start the blaze

Thugs used a can of de-icer to start the blaze


The gang even stole the boy’s sweets from the adapted Citroen Picasso which was parked outside his home in Dunfermline, Fife.


Thomas’s father, Jerry, said the family felt “violated” by what he called a “despicable” act of vandalism.

The fire on Monday night wrecked the interior of the vehicle, leaving molten plastic across the seats.

The burnt-out remains of the car

The burnt-out remains of the car


Jerry, 57, said: “It’s caused upset and shock for the whole family. If they only knew how much pressure our family is under taking care of Thomas’s needs.

“I was stunned. I can’t believe it’s happened. It was parked on a disabled square. It’s so personal. I feel violated.”

He continued: “It looked fine from the outside. I got up to it and opened the door – it was black and the smell was really strong.

“They had got in and stolen my TomTom, car pump, my jacket and odds and ends and even sweets out of it.

“If they had stolen that and then left the car you’d get over that. But they took the de-icer in the car and sprayed it all over and set fire to it.

Thomas keeps asking if the vandals have been caught yet

Thomas keeps asking if the vandals have been caught yet


“They [the vandals] have no compassion for anybody else in life.”


He added: “Thomas is just recovering from an operation and just getting his life back to normal. He keeps asking have they caught them yet.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “At about 7.40am police were called to Westwood Place, Dunfermline, due to reports that a car had been set on fire. This was a despicable crime as the car was motability vehicle, required by the family to provide transport for their son.


Thomas with his father Jerry

Thomas with his father Jerry


“Due to the circumstances surrounding the fire, it is considered at this time to be suspicious and Police Scotland are continuing to investigate.

“It is requested that anyone with information or knowledge of this crime contact Police Scotland on 101.”


By Jenny Kane

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Aviation safety chiefs warn estate agents over drone photographs Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:31:41 +0000 AVIATION safety chiefs have warned estate agents they risk hefty fines by using drones to get stunning images of luxury properties for sale.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says it is aware of cases where estate agents have “potentially” broken the law by operating drones without a licence.

The remotely-operated aircraft are increasingly being used to provide beautiful aerial images of high-end properties.

Drones are used to get stunning pictures of property

Drones are used to get stunning pictures of property


But the CAA has threatened says it will prosecute companies that use drones without a licence for commercial purposes, potentially landing them with a fine of up to £5,000.

Drones are attractive to estate agents because hiring a helicopter to get aerial shots costs in the region of £4,000. Drones capable of doing the job can be bought outright for as little as £350.

The drones must be used with a license

The drones must be used with a license


Regulations set out in the UK’s Air Navigation Order state that, for safety reasons, a licence is needed to operate a drone to make money.


Getting the licence involves paying thousands of pounds in fees and taking a training course. Some photographers used by estate agents are either unaware of the rules or dodging them.

A CAA spokesman confirmed: “Any business or person operating an unmanned aircraft for commercial use, requires a Permission from the CAA.

“To obtain a Permission, they need to submit an operations manual demonstrating how they intend to use the unmanned aircraft, the person operating the device needs to be qualified, having successfully passed an approved training course and they need to have liability insurance in place.

Some photographers are unaware of the rules

Some photographers are unaware of the rules


“In addition, any business, which wants to fly within 50m of any property, will need an additional permission from the CAA, again providing the necessary assurances.”

The spokesman added: “We are aware of a number of incidents where estate agents have potentially used unmanned aircraft without permission.

“We will be seeking to raise awareness of the rules within the sector.”


Regulations are in place to protect the safety of the public

Regulations are in place to protect the safety of the public


He continued: “The regulations relating to the use of unmanned aircraft are in place to protect the safety of the public.

“Where an operator breaches these regulations and, where we have sufficient evidence we will take legal action.”

Craig Jump, Director of Loch Lomond-based Sky View Video Scotland is licensed and has us drones to get pictures for estate agents.

He said: “The estate agent end of the market is saturated and one that is full of unlicensed operators.

“It is frustrating for companies like ours who have invested a lot of time and money getting our license and approvals, and having the proper insurances.”

Mr Jump continued: “The licence involves attending a course and passing a test on air law and navigation.

The drones allow the houses to be put in context with their surroundings

The drones allow the houses to be put in context with their surroundings


“You then have to write an operations manual on how you will safely carry out your operations, then site a flight test against them before apply to the CAA for a commercial license. It is not a low cost process.”


He added: “Unmanned aerial vehicles are not toys, they can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

“If you have one battery and it fails it will fall out the sky. If you have four propellers and they fail it will fall out the sky.

“Most commercial guys fly with six or eight propellers and two batteries. It’s a danger if people don’t know the limitations of the aircraft they are using.”

Images can be transformed into panoramic views

Images can be transformed into panoramic views


Toby Milbank, of estate agents Strutt & Parker, confirmed they only use properly licensed drone operators.

He said: “The drone allowed us to capture a more birds-eye view that gives people a real feel of the vastness and beauty of the of the surrounding countryside, not just the property.

“We do this now with a lot of grander country houses that come with acreage and the clients love it.”

Another agency which has used drones to take photographs of impressive properties on the market is Glasgow-based Robb Residential.

Director Iain Robb said: “Previous images of properties in context could appear dimensionless, devoid from location. With the help of drone photography, images can be transformed into panoramic views within the landscape.”


By Jenny Kane

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Jamie Murray condemns lack of indoor tennis courts Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:20:04 +0000 JAMIE MURRAY has complained about the lack of indoor tennis courts in Scotland.


The 28-year professional tennis player criticised tennis authorities earlier this month for failing to boost the sport on the back of his younger brother’s achievements.


He has now taken to Twitter to complain about the lack of indoor facilities for aspiring tennis players.





He tweeted: “If you head north on the A9 from Stirling and drive for 250 miles to the top of Scotland you will not find one indoor tennis court.”


tweet 1



This was followed by another tweet which targeted Fife, Scotland’s third largest local authority.


He tweeted: “Population of Fife – 360,000 Number of public indoor tennis courts – 0″



Explaining his annoyance, he added: “Single most important factor that gave myself and Andy the opportunity to become pro tennis players was living 10mins from indoor courts.”



A Tennis Scotland spokesperson said yesterday. “Since January 2013 more than £3.5 million has been invested in tennis projects that have been either completed or are committed to, representing over 30 initiatives and more than 70 new courts, in addition to those that have been refurbished, many with floodlights.


“This has afforded thousands of people the opportunity to play tennis at a local level for the first time.


“While we would, of course, like to see more indoor tennis projects completed in Scotland, we also have to recognise that securing multi-million pound partner funding during the recent recession has been a challenge that is not restricted to tennis.


“Tennis Scotland is in discussion with partners in St Andrews, East Kilbride, Inverness, Edinburgh, Galashiels and Dumfries to look at the feasibility of potential new indoor facilities and other indoor projects such as Gleneagles are already confirmed.”


Cllr Mark Hood, Executive Committee member for Fife Council said: “There are some strong tennis clubs in Fife that the council supports.


“We also offer people a pathway into these clubs by running activities like short tennis in our community use schools and leisure centres. Some games halls also have tennis markings to allow full indoor tennis.”


Jamie specialises in doubles and is currently ranked 42 in the world doubles by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).


In 2007 he won his first and only Grand Slam doubles title in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon where he was partnered with Serbian Jelena Jankovi?.


Judy Murray has also spoken out at the lack of indoor tennis courts in Scotland and last year vowed to build a tennis centre with both indoor and outdoor tennis courts.


However costs proved prohibitive and so a partnership seemed likely.


In August this year Stirling council received almost 200 objections to a proposed development for a housing development and leisure centre from a team including Judy Murray and golfer Colin Montgomerie.


The plans, if approved, will feature six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts, a six-hole golf course and practice range, mini golf, a 3G multi-sport all-weather pitch and space for changing facilities, coaching suites, and cafe and restaurant.


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