View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Wind & rain

Winter in the Western Isles of Scotland isn't so much cold, more like wet and windy. Last Saturday's 100 mph winds were extreme, but by no means unheard of. I am at a latitude of 58 degrees north, but on an island in the North Atlantic, 40 miles off the north coast of Scotland. The 'warm' Gulf Streams laps our shores, although water temperatures of 10C / 50F do not rank as particularly tropical. However, if you cast your eyes west towards the equivalent coast in North America, you'll come across Labrador. Currently, their daytime maximum temps range from 0 to -20C (that's 30 to 0F). Ours rarely sink below zero in the daytime.

In summer, temperatures are equally moderate; last summer's highs of 25C / 77F were very unusual. It is found to be 'hot' if the mercury exceeds 20C / 68F.

When I travel to Holland tomorrow, I shall be flying via Glasgow and London Gatwick. The latter airport will be lashed by winds up to 60 mph, so I can look forward to a fair bit of disruption. And waiting at airports is one of my least favourite pastimes.

22 January

Blustery old day, but mainly dry. Sun is out as I type, and that has been the rule through the morning as well.

Gather that Obama felt he had to retake his oath of office, after the Chief Justice and himself fluffed their lines on Tuesday. Better double safe was the mostly likely line of reasoning.

A subsidy for the golf course at Scarista in Harris has been withheld by Sportscotland, because the course is not open on Sunday, out of respect for Sabbath observation in the island. Sportscotland have stated that it will only award subsidies if there is no discrimination present in the facility in question, and if it is open 7 days a week. Scarista's golf course is located in the dunes right above the beach on the western shore of the island, with stunning views to the mountains in North Harris. The Western Isles MP has come out forcefully against the decision, but in my mind, the closure of Scarista on Sunday is one of those unfortunate contradictions. It ranks shoulder to shoulder with planes flying out of the airport at Stornoway on Sunday, but no ferry out of the port.

Tomorrow, I shall be travelling to Holland for a 10-day visit, partly to celebrate my father's birthday. Although my last visit ended only 17 days ago, it is one of those important milestones that follow the death of a close relative. Unless I find something else to write about before tonight, I shall resume posting on the Shell Gallery on Saturday 24 January. That will also be the day that the Remembering Today entries will continue on Atlantic Lines. There were no casualties from Lewis that fell on January 21st, 22nd or 23rd in any year of the First World War.