Families into Sport for Health (Fi SH) have been fighting their Western Isles Council, the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Cn ES), for Sunday pool access in Stornoway for a number of years.
On Friday the latest avenue of attack on the practice of closing the pool on Sunday came as the group delivered a cheque for £11,400 raised through crowdfunding to pay for Sunday staff for a year.
FOR generations the Western Isles have held out as one of the last outposts where observance of the Sabbath held sway and Sunday was a day given over to rest and religious observance.
But now tensions are rising in the capital of Lewis and Harris where a determined community group are chipping away at the belief that 'thou shalt not' do stuff on the Lord's Day with they campaign to have the local swimming pool opened.
The River Creed fishery provides local and visiting anglers with ready access to high quality, low cost, salmon and sea trout fishing.
Ticket prices range from £10 for an evening ticket to £55-£95 for season tickets and are available to both locals and visitors.
Religious belief has loomed large in the dispute, with one Councillor initially saying: “It is a matter of conscience for me as I have to stand up for what I believe in and that is in God,” while another responded, “Before my election, my personal leaflet distributed to the electorate stated a commitment to uphold Christian values "if elected" and I believe the fourth commandment, "Remembering the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" is one such value.” When Fi SH submitted a follow-up request in October, councillors voted 19-9 against a year’s trial run to open the Lewis Sports Centre and swimming pool for three hours each Sunday due to the costs plus the lack of staff willing to work.
The highest sea trout catch was in 2003 (355) and the highest salmon catch in 2007 (308).
In 2015, 138, salmon, 309 sea trout and 437 finnock were recorded.
Stroll along the quay at Stornoway Harbour and hear the shouts of the fishermen as the traditional fleet land the catch of the day before shipping it out to the island’s amazing eateries, smell the unmistakeable odour of peat on the air as the smokehouses turn the seafood specimens into island specialities and feel the winds off The Minch that carry so many here from the mainland.
Visit the historic Lews Castle and the adjoining Lews Castle Museum and Archive a key cultural centre for Outer Hebrides heritage, or the wander through the surrounding woods and visit the Woodland Centre where you can eat, drink and shop for local crafts.