View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The sky this week

The Naval Oceanography portal (managed by the US Department of Defense) has some useful information. Apart from tropical cyclone information (on which I rely heavily), it also has a feature: The Sky this Week. It can be accessed from the Astronomy section of said portal.

With regard to astronomy, I can about forget about watching stars in the coming weeks. It is not going to get fully dark up here until late July or August. I'll show that picture I took in June 2006, at 1 am.


The Maritime and Coastguard Agency MCA have launched their tombstoning campaign. Tombstoning is a euphemistic description of a daredevil practice, where (mostly) young people jump from the top of a cliff into the water below. It is an extremely dangerous act to perform, particularly if you don't know what lies below the surface of the water.

Please relay.

Thursday 21 May

Slightly better day in terms of weather - although the showers are still plagueing us, they are not as heavy as yesterday. We are warned against thunder, but that is a rare occurrence in these islands. Thunderstorms usually happen in winter. I was caught up in a fierce one in the middle of an ice / snow / hailstorm in January 2005. The bus I was on was reduced to crawling along at 10 mph on the main road down to Tarbert that afternoon.
Just as I start a new paragraph, a hail shower starts. Right, that's me told.

Seaweed used to be an important part of the economy of the islands off the Scottish west coast. Until 1815, it was a major source of potash (potassium nitrate, used in the production of gunpowder). It has resurfaced once more, and a small firm is using seaweed to produce items for the pharmaceutical, food supplement and other industries. In days gone by, people went down to the shoreline to cut the kelp. Now, a machine has been brought across from America to harvest it from the water. Read more here.

Image courtesy Hebrides News