The sun has set on another short day - it has graced us with 8 hours of its presence today. In a month's time, that timespan will be only a little over 6 hours. The weather has cleared up nicely, and only on the distant horizon do some cumulus clouds loom. The weather radar shows a new band of patchy rain or showers, moving slowly up from the southwest. Visibility is reportedly good, 40 km / 25 miles, but the cloud is obscuring my view of the Applecross Forest. The barometer is low, at 989 mbar as one low pressure system moves away and another approaches. The one following on behind is in the middle of the Atlantic and set to bring us very windy weather on Thursday. And depression no 4 looks pretty hefty at the end of the 84-hour period that the weathercharts show me. November is here, and boy, will we know about it.
Locally, the Pairc Trust, which seeks to take over the land of the Pairc Estate in South Lochs (12 miles south of Stornoway as the crow flies, but 30 miles by road) is going to ballot the residents whether to proceed with a hostile buy-out bid. Under landreform legislation, introduced in 2003, any community is entitled to buy the land off the landowner, willing or unwilling. Until now, community buy-outs have commonly proceeded by amicable arrangement between community trust and land owner, but Pairc may see the first hostile buy-out bid.
In November 2004, just after I came to Lewis, the residents of Pairc voted for a community buy-out; the first such move in the Western Isles. Now, five years later, other bids have succeeded: North Harris, Benbecula, South Uist & Eriskay, Galson - but Pairc is still mired in legalistics, brought about by the land owner who does not want to sell. Why not? Because there are plans afoot to build a hugely profitable windfarm in the Pairc Estate (pop. 400), something that would make the land owner quite rich. Will this windfarm actually go ahead? Well, the presence of golden eagles in the district could put a spanner in the works. For they are a protected species of bird, and windturbines are known to cause the death of many an eagle - those of my readers in California will be aware of that.