View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 27 March 2009

North wind

It is blowing a force 7 from the north this evening, straight in from the Arctic. Temperature at the moment +5C, which is not too bad for late March. At 7pm, I went outside to get some coal in, but I was 'frozen' by the time I came in. It is pouring with rain as well, which makes it doubly cold. A northerly wind is bad news in this part of the world, and it is borne out by the disruptions page on the Calmac website - full of orange and red, meaning disrupted or cancelled sailings. The 5.35pm sailing from Ullapool to Stornoway was called off, meaning the 7 am sailing in the opposite direction tomorrow morning will not operate either. Looking at AIS Minch, I see nearly a dozen fishing vessels of Dutch, Danish and Norwegian registration in port or sheltering south of here along the coast, where the Point peninsula provides some shelter.

Friday 27 March

March still rules supreme, and it's the usual alternating between brilliant sunshine and heavy showers. A battle royal between summer warmth and winter cold, and the battlefield as per usual lies over Scotland. I don't really mind, it's what makes these parts interesting and attractive.

Three weeks ago, a horse was taken on the ferry between Ullapool and Stornoway to go into semi-retirement in Lewis. Unfortunately, upon arrival at Stornoway the animal was found dead in its horsebox on the vehicle deck. There are suggestions that carbon monoxide fumes from a refrigeration unit on an adjacent trailer were to blame, but there is no firm evidence. Ferry operators Calmac state that the air on the vehicle deck is refreshed every 3 minutes, and the horsebox was placed next to an air intake.

Buses in Lewis have gone to summer timetable as of today, but due to a legally required tendering exercise and cutbacks, there have been some serious changes. As not many of my readers are intimately familiar with the geography of this island, I won't bother you with the details. Suffice to say, there is a good chance that some people can't find their bus, and even if they find a bus it may well not take them to their destination.