Title picture: Partial solar eclipse seen from Stornoway, 20 March 2015

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

General Election 2015

I'm pleased to hear the Conservative Party have opened a campaign shop in Stornoway, and that the former leader of the party at Holyrood, Annabel Goldie, will call round in the isles during the current election campaign. The previous candidate, in the 2010 campaign, made complete fool of herself by suggesting that her top priority when elected would be the refurbishment of the pier at Achmore. Local people will immediately recognise the joke and breathtaking idiocy of the statement.

I'm not a natural Tory supporter (my leanings tend to be rather left of centre), but my attitude towards them during this campaign is different. I feel it is important that the emphasis is shifted from the previous Labour / Conservative dichotomy and focused on what I perceive to be the present and continuing danger to the United Kingdom posed by the Scottish National Party. There is no sincerity in the SNP's assertion that they're willing to go into a coalition with Labour. Labour is the SNP's adversary at Holyrood and was referred to as "dying" by the latter party's leader, Nicola Sturgeon. Labour's leadership is weak and stuck in the past. As with the 2007 Holyrood election, the party is bedeviled by complacency, assuming that their natural support in Scotland will rally round. Really? What happened during the Scottish Independence referendum poll in September last year? Glasgow, Red Clydeside, was one of the few districts to return a Yes vote.

I am not at all sure of the abiding support for our SNP MP, Angus Macneil. He has recently been severely criticised on several local issues - some would say he is not very interested in any matter pertaining to the islands north of the Sound of Barra. Anything to diminish support for the SNP should, in my perspective, be welcomed and encouraged. If that includes a strong Tory candidate in the Western Isles (and other places in Scotland), so be it. We cannot permit any active involvement of the SNP, whether it be overtly or covertly, in the government of the United Kingdom. They are, after all, only interested in breaking up the UK.
 
Did I say I am not eligible to vote in the election on 7 May? I'm still entitled to an opinion, and you now have it.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Thursday 26 March

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Tuesday's plane crash in France claimed 150 lives. It would appear increasingly likely that the co-pilot flew the aircraft into the ground. We shall probably never know the exact reasons for this act. We can only remember those that were lost, and keep in thoughts their family and friends.

Wednesday 25 March

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Tuesday 24 March

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First cruiseliner of the 2015 season has appeared, the Azores. She leaves at 5 pm for Avonmouth, near Bristol.

Monday 23 March

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Sunday 22 March

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An uninspiring grey day, with strong winds. The Arnish Lighthouse and its demolished outlier are now temporarily connected due to the very low tides.

Saturday 21 March

After yesterday's eclipse by the supermoon, we now have a supertide. A super-low tide, coming in at 0.0 feet above chart datum. My usual passtime during a springtide, looking for shellfish on the bottom of the harbour, yields nothing. The critters stay hidden in the mud, and just spit water 3 feet in the air!

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Meanwhile on the slipway, the fishingboat that got its nets snagged by an U-boat of unknown origin. The encounter caused £10k worth of damage.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Solar eclipse 20 March 2015

P3203299 8.23
P3203306 8.35
P3203311 8.43
P3203314 8.47
P3203324 8.57
P3203331 9.07
P3203343 9.12
P3203352 9.17
P3203359 9.22
P3203365 9.25
P3203372 9.28
P3203380 9.30
P3203384 9.32
P3203388 9.33
P3203390 9.33
P3203392 9.34
P3203397 9.36
P3203400 9.46
P3203406 9.52
P3203412 9.56
P3203414 10.03
P3203419 10.05

Friday 20 March

Today, a 97% partial eclipse was visible in Stornoway - totality was visible from the Faeroes, 250 miles (400 km) to the north, as well as in Svalbard, north of Norway. The weather was better than forecast, with some bright and sunny spells to give me good opportunities for photography - 110 images. The light got really strange around 9.30, when the eclipse was at its height, temperature dropped and the wind got up. I'm posting a separate entry with eclipse pics.

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Thursday 19 March

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Still hazy today, with some drizzle. It is reported that the Point Show, thus far held at Aird School, has been cancelled because the roof was blown off the school buildings. There is now a distinct chance that the building will have to be demolished.

Wednesday 18 March

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Very hazy conditions today, as shown in the images with the MV Clipper Ranger (by the lighthouse) and the MV Loch Seaforth, parked at Arnish for the day. The last image shows the RNLI lifeboat bringing in a disabled fishing boat; her steering gear was damaged after one of her nets was allegedly caught by a passing submarine - not NATO?