Title picture: Harris hills seen from Barvas, 14 June 2015

Monday, 29 June 2015

No Eishken windfarm

Local journalist Iain Maciver has revealed that power company GDF / Suez has cancelled the construction of the 39-turbine windfarm in the Eishken district of Lewis. The reasons appear to be that the procrastination over the building of the high voltage sub-sea electricity cable (interconnector) was one of the main reasons. The economic case for said cable has always been flimsy, and is now no longer viable. What renewable energy schemes are left in the island, including the 26-turbine windfarm to the northeast in Pairc, are insufficient to make the case for the cable.

Since 2005, I have been very vocal in my opposition to any large-scale windfarms in Lewis, particularly on the now defunct Arnish Lighthouse blog. The 180-turbine North Lewis windfarm was scuttled in 2008, after it was found to be in breach of an EU habitat directive that is in place for the central moorlands of the island. Any plans for a resurrection on a smaller scale are now at least in doubt.

There is a silver lining for those to whom this news constitutes a cloud. A cancellation clause means that £2 million pounds of community benefit will be transferred to community groups, who were due to receive £1m annually, had the windfarm materialised.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sunday 21 June

Summer solstice. The sun will be with us for 18 hours and 15 minutes today, but hidden by clouds. Although there is a trend towards less cold weather, it is taking its time.
We are currently on warning for a possible seamen's strike on the Calmac ferry network. This serves all the islands and peninsulae in the west of Scotland, from Lewis in the north to Islay in the south, from Ullapool in the east to Barra in the west. On Wednesday and Thursday 24th and 25th, sailors will work to rule; on Friday 26th June, there could be an all-out strike. The reason is job security in the face of a tendering process, that could see the west coast ferry services going to private operator Serco. This jeopardises jobs and the ferry services as a whole.

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Saturday 20 June

P6204754 P6204755 P6204757 Cruiseliner Corinthian
P6204759 P6204762 P6204764 A dark sky that came to nothing.
Still cold and changeable. Only the cruiseliners tell us it's summer. 

Friday 19 June

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Thursday 18 June

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Did I say the weather was dull, dark, overcast and cold? Well, this is the Outer Hebrides, and summer can be late if it comes at all.

Wednesday 17 June

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P6174726 Antares

Tuesday 16 June

P6164717 Fishing vessel Scotia
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Monday 15 June

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P6154712 MV Abis Bremen

Monday, 15 June 2015

Sunday 14 June

This afternoon, I was unexpectedly invited to join a journey by car to Barvas, Shader, Arnol, Bragar and Shawbost. The wind made it feel very, very cold in the exposed Barvas Cemetery, and there was a little rain at Bragar and Shawbost. Nonetheless, it was unusual to get out of town on a Sunday - I don't have a car, and there is no public bus service on the Sabbath.

P6144640 Barvas Moor
P6144643 Clan battle memorial, Barvas machair
P6144645 P6144646 Barvas Loch
P6144649 Barvas, Loch Street
P6144653 Burnt-out house, Ballantrushal
P6144657 P6144658 Shader
P6144665 P6144661 Barvas Cemetery
P6144667 P6144666 At Barvas Cemetery
P6144674 P6144676 Arnol Blackhouse
P6144684 Arnol Blackhouse
P6144692 North Shawbost
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Saturday 13 June

P6134613 MV Isle of Lewis
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P6134615 Pole Star working on harbour buoy
P6134618 MV Loch Seaforth (L) and MV Isle of Lewis