View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Canoeists die on Loch Maree

Loch Maree [bottom central on the above map] is a large inland loch near the west coast of Scotland, east of Gairloch and south of Ullapool. It was the scene of a rescue operation this afternoon, after a father and his 7-year old son set out on to the loch by canoe, but failed to return. Stornoway Coastguard turned out by helicopter and recovered the two from the water. Local news website Hebrides News reports the search, but not the fact, relayed by BBC Highlands and Islands, that they were both dead. My thoughts are with the family of the deceased.

Sunday 23 August

A grey and overcast day, but at least it's dry. Dry is something they can do without like a hole in the head down in Greece, where wildfires are raging out of control near Athens. A year ago, a similar event left scores of people dead as they could not escape from the raging inferno that engulfed their villages. Still on the theme of weather, hurricane Bill is headed for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, which will get a lot of wind and a lot of rain today and tomorrow. Come Wednesday, Bill's remnant will approach England from the west and bring humid conditions for a day. I hope it isn't going to shoot up the English Channel; last time that happened to a former hurricane (1987), it wreaked havoc across the Home Counties with winds of 120 mph. Former BBC weatherman Michael Fish, who said there was not going to be a hurricane, has never lived down that erroneous forecast.

The political fall-out continues over the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Two former Scottish First Ministers have come out with vastly differing opinions on it all. Henry McLeish has said the right decision was taken; his successor, Jack McConnell, has made it clear that this would be damaging for Scotland's stature in the world. And meanwhile Gadaffi is laughing all the way to the bank. The Scottish Parliament will reconvene tomorrow to discuss this item, and we'll see an unseemly political scrap.

Have to say that I have little time for the current SNP-led administration in Edinburgh, but I do support them in this, their toughest decision to date. I have NO time at all for the American administration who fail to take cognisance of the difference in legal systems, namely that Scots law allows for compassionate release, and US law does not. And dare I mention the words Guantanamo Bay? All I can say to close this post is: the price of principle is often abuse.