View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Petar Vodogaz used to write in Jland, until he closed down his blog to leave AOL. He now writes on LiveJournal in a blog called Responsorium. Petar, an Australian blogger that I have known for a few years through this medium, is perturbed by a rise in apparent racism in his country. His latest post, accessible after clicking through a contents warning (nothing untoward, but it is a horrible story), warrants wider airing - I think this is a worldwide problem.


Hurricane update - 16 April

Tropical cyclone Bijli is currently swinging northeast, later east through the northern part of the Bay of Bengal, east of India. It is at tropical storm strength, with maximum sustained winds of 50 knots (55 mph), which will increase to 60 knots (70 mph) in the next 24 hours. The storm will make landfall on the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar [Burma] early on Saturday. As per usual with tropical cyclones, the greatest hazard is rainfall.

Tropical cyclones (hurricanes) are common in the Bay of Bengal at this time of year, ahead of the monsoon, which will start to move north later in the spring. Last year, tropical cyclone Nargis wreaked devastation near Myanmar's capital Rangoon - vehemently denied by the country's military junta. They also tried to thwart the much-needed supply of emergency aid.

Thursday 16 April

Another bright and sunny day, but with quite a cold northeasterly wind. Am currently processing the pictures I took at the cemetery in Bragar yesterday, and came across a little piece of interesting history.

One of men buried there, Duncan Macleod, died in 1943 whilst held in a POW camp in Burma. He himself is interred near the camp on the infamous Burma railway, where so many Allied POWs perished. His name is mentioned on one of the private gravestones at Bragar, and as I had him on record for the World War II memorial for Lewis, I looked into it further. I had little information on him, save that he came from Lochcroistean, a schoolhouse in the Uig district of Lewis.

His father was one of the school's headmasters, Norman Macleod, who held sway there until 1923. He died 20 January 1938 at the age of 75. He was married to Bell Ann Mackay, who died 8 December 1944 at the age of 69.

The website for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission interestingly state that they came from Tighnabruaich in Argyll. They had four children, two of whom (Iain and Chirsty Mary) died in infancy. Jessie died in May 1980 at the age of 73; their son Duncan died on 19 September 1943 at the age of 42.

Lochcroistean is located in a remote part of the island, but was itself a central school (of sorts). It acted as a hub for several side-schools, in places like Morsgail, Luachar and Ardbeag. The latter two places no longer exist. Luachar lies by the head of Loch Reasort, some 10 miles from Lochcroistean to the south; Ardbeag is even further away, by my estimation at least 15 miles to the southwest.