View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Solstice Notes

I'm wondering how many people turned up at Stonehenge this morning, to witness the Winter Solstice. I believe it was cloudy down south. Up here, turning up at the Callanish Stones on this midwinter day is a waste of time. Callanish is a lunar monument, not a solar one.

The port is brimming with three ferries tied up at the moment. The MV Lord of the Isles arrived this afternoon to take over from our usual boat, the MV Isle of Lewis which is due to go for its annual refit. The MV Pentalina B (referred to by everybody as the Iona) continues to cover for the freight ferry Muirneag, still away on its refit to the Tyne. The Muirneag was involved in a grounding earlier this year, when she lost steering and ran onto rocks at the Castle Grounds here in Stornoway, nearly knocking out an early morning jogger in the process.

This will be my final post on here for this year, with the exception of the Remembering Today postings, which will be put up automatically, courtesy Blogger, until January 5th. As I indicated yesterday, I shall be thinking about my future on-line during the holiday period. Early tomorrow morning, I am leaving for Holland, from where I will blog on The Shell Gallery. I intend to continue working on Atlantic Light, my photoblog, over the next 2 weeks.

I shall leave you on here with a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - back on January 6th.

Hurricane update - 21 December

Tropical cyclone Billy is currently over the far north of Western Australia, and will reemerge over the warm waters of the Indian Ocean during Monday. The system will strengthen to a fully fledge cyclone, with winds up to 65 knots (hurricane force) by the middle of the week. The coast of WA is under warning / watch for this storm, all the way from Kalumburu in the north to Wallal further south.

I shall continue to update my Tropical Cyclones blog over the Christmas and New Year period, with the exception of tomorrow.

Sunday 21 December

Last Sunday before Christmas, and after a benign start, the weather has once more turned nasty. It is blowing hard and it's raining. We can expect gales later today - hope they subside by tomorrow, as I'm due to cross to the mainland first thing Monday morning.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which more than 200 were killed. A bomb exploded on board the Boeing 747, bringing it down on the town of Lockerbie and killing several people on the ground. Two men were brought to trial in later years, one of whom is currently in jail, serving a sentence for the attack.

Today is also the shortest day of the year. The sun rose at 9.15 am, and will set at 3.35 pm. Stornoway lies just north of the 58th parallel; the sun will not rise today in any place located north of the 66th parallel.

Remembering Today

21 December
On this day in the First World War, these two men from the Isle of Lewis lost their lives in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Last address in Lewis: 43 South Shawbost,
Son of John and Mary MacLennan Murray, of 43, South Shawbost, Stornoway.
Regiment or division: 2nd Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 3/8201
Date of death: 21 December 1915 at the age of 40
Interred: Bragar Cemetery
Local memorial: West Side, Bragar

Last address in Lewis: 10 Tong,
Regiment or division: 1st Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 12
Date of death: 21 December 1914
Killed in action
Memorial: Le Touret
Memorial reference: Panel 38 and 39
Lewis Memorial: Back