If you've ever enjoyed a drop of Harris gin, there's a fair chance you've savoured one of the first island flavours distilled by apothecary Amanda Saurin.

Amanda's name is on the tiny bottles of aromatic water, distilled using sugar kelp gathered by wild-food harvester Lewis Mackenzie and ready to be dropped sparingly into the island's own gin.  Her connection with Harris started with that aromatic water and with the creation of fragrant apothecary skin products such as hand-wash, bath salts and a weather-defying balm, all made with plants that grow wild in the Outer Hebrides.

But for the whole of six years creating the intoxicating sensory treats, Amanda has been just a regular visitor to Harris.  Her business, A S Apothecary, is based in Lewes, in East Sussex, where she distils roses, lavender and other plants grown onan 80-acre organic farm.  Even going back to all that, she's suffered many a regretful departure from the shores of Harris.

Jamie Hepburn MSP, the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills officially opened the new Loomshed Hebridean Brewery in Tarbert, Harris on Tuesday 27th August.

 The opening of the doors to Harris’ first brewery marks the culmination of 18 months of planning, already creating two new local jobs, with more to follow.

After cutting the ribbon, Jamie Hepburn MSP said, “It’s encouraging to see another new business launch in Harris, and the launch of Loomshed serves to reflect the growth and increasing confidence in the local economy. 

The number of vessels visiting Harris has doubled in the past year since new pontoons were put into place at Tarbert and Scalpay.

The facilities, officially opened on Wednesday 24 July, provide the last vital link in the chain of marine facilities on the east coast of the Outer Hebrides.

So far this year already the number of leisure and commercial vessels visited the new marina hub in Harris has increased by over 120% on the figures for April and May last year.

Harris Development Ltd (HDL) owns and operates the marinas and the facilities have already brought significant economic benefits to the area.

While important revenue comes from visiting yachts, cruisers and cruise ships the pontoons also offer opportunities for local entrepreneurs to develop a range of tourism-related businesses such as sea-angling and wildlife tours.

Essence of Harris, based in Tarbert, opened a new outlet in Aberdeen airport on Monday August 12th following the success of its Inverness Airport store.

They say: "We are thrilled to be opening our latest Essence of Harris store, located in the Departures Lounge at Aberdeen Airport.

"Not only does this allow us to showcase our range of Scottish products to all of you based on the East Coast, but it also grants us the opportunity to employ four new wonderful members of staff into the team, who will tell the Essence of Harris story to everyone travelling through Aberdeen.

Lewis-based firm Porteous Architecture LLP has won a major national award.

 

This was part of the 2019 Saltire Society Housing Design Awards held on Tuesday 25 June.

 

They were presented by the Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Nick Barley, who chaired the judging panel and the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart.

The event saw Kesson Court by ICOSIS Architects in partnership with Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association receive three awards.