View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Lochs galore

The eastern part of the island of Lewis, south of Stornoway, is referred to as Lochs. For obvious reasons. Driving down the minor sideroad to Grimshader, Ranish and Crossbost, you encounter nothing but lochs (Scots for lakes). The sea is never far away either, with several sealochs (obviously connected to the sea, in this case the Minch) penetrating deep inland. Loch Erisort, 10 miles south of Stornoway, reaches 15 miles from the sea to the village of Balallan. These are the site for several fish and musselfarms. Setting the scene for a scenic drive this afternoon, with the sun out.

Coming down the B897 (which branches off the main road south from Stornoway to Tarbert), first popped into Ranish, which overlooks Grimshader on the far side of the loch. Incidentally, the sideroad within Ranish takes you to the Loch Erisort side of the peninsula. It is fronted by a 360 foot high hill, which I once traversed in pouring rain, in my footloose days back in 2005. Beinn Mhor - to the Gaelic speakers among you, this name will not come as a surprise. The big hill. Doubling back into Crossbost, the road plunges down to the little bay at the end of the road. The churchyard, at the Leurbost side of the village, has seen me several times for war graves business.

We then continued through Leurbost to the junction at Cameron Terrace, then on to Achmore. The map above is incorrect, by the way. The main road is not the A858, which veers northeast out of Achmore. This is a narrow, single-track, road to Stornoway. Although it cuts the distance to town from 12 to 9 miles, it is by no means faster. It rises to 500 feet above sealevel at Beinn a'Bhuinne, past shieling huts and peat cuts. Pity that my camera battery gave out at that point, after sustaining me through about 250 pictures. Here are some of the 50 I took today.


Fidigarry, entering Ranish

Shack at Ranish


At the end of the road in Crossbost


Lochs at Achmore


Tuesday's storm

So we had a 50 mph storm on Tuesday. Someone's dustbin was emptied by the gale; bin on its side, contents blown away. A sailor got into difficulties after he had to give up his anchorage in Glumag Harbour, for a vessel that was due in. Said vessel rode out the storm outside the harbour until Wednesday morning. He was towed into port by the lifeboat. A heavy gale always generates interesting images, see below.

Lifeboat to the rescue

Heavy seas at the Coastguard Station

Thursday 10 September

A nice, sunny day in Stornoway, where we have another cruiseliner in: the Hebridean Princess. Pay £7,000 for two weeks bobbing about on the waves in the Hebrides. No thanks, I'll use a Calmac tub to do that.

Another cruiseliner was in the news for the wrong reasons: the Balmoral, carrying more than 1,800 passengers and crew, was afflicted by the winter vomiting bug. The ship last docked at Invergordon, 25 miles north of Inverness, earlier in the week and headed for Portree in Skye. Due to the poor weather, she diverted to Tobermory. The ship's owners now state that the bug was brought on board by a passenger, who did not stay in her cabin as advised. She spread it to nearly 80 other passengers.