View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 5 October 2009

From the archives: Monday 4 October 2004

Today's weather is a little better than at the weekend, but still very showery. I take the 10.20 bus to Broadford and alight at the bottom of the road to Heast. This is a settlement 5 miles south of Broadford on the shore of Loch Eishort. Six years ago, I walked up this road a little way, but I'm now up for the whole hog. Not a terribly inspiring route, but the approach into Heast is nice. The village is only 2 miles east of Boreraig, but it's not possible to find a route. Right by the seashore, a fishing pier with a lot of fishboxes and the stench of diesel. Across the harbour lies Heast Island. I tried to walk east, parallel to the shore, which was tricky. Going west, to Boreraig was a signposted route. Unfortunately, following the heavy rain of the last few days, the Heast River was in spate and could not be crossed. Thwarted on both sides, I could only retrace my steps up the road.There is a nice view once you crest the highest point, at 200 m / 675ft. It ranges from the Red Cuillins in the west to Scalpay, the islands in the Inner Sound and the hills between Kyle and Applecross. I wanted to make things interesting by cutting cross Braigh Skulamus, from gridreference NG660206. This path was fine, until it got wetter and wetter, the closer I got to Harrapool. Nipped into one of the local hotels for a bite to eat, then started to look round for a shop selling boots.There was an outdoor shop next to a veterinary surgery. Have to be careful not to go into the wrong door there. In the hotel, the barman was sanding and revarnishing his bar. Had a general look round the village before returning to the Coop. This provided me with tonight's dinner. Went back to Kyleakin on the bus at 4. There is a restauran tacross the road from the hostel, and I went in there to check out the food. At one point, I joined a family for dinner who were also in the hostel. Nice convivial evening. In this restaurant you serve yourself. Food good, no atmosphere. It's the King Haakon bar. Kyleakin is the Kyle (Narrows) of Haakon. So no Ky-lea-kin please, it's Kyle-akin. Still noisy pipes in the hostel. It offers Internet access, a TV-room. I sit in the dining area and offer people advice on the district. Am I a walking tourist office, or what?

Who is who?

Researching the two Rolls of Honour for the Isle of Lewis yielded a strange piece of confusion. Although I have requested assistance from the Historical Societies for Uig and East Loch Roag, I do not expect this to be cleared up anytime soon.

The two servicemen pictured below are both described as John Macleod from 1 Enaclete and Finlay Maclean from 36 Breasclete.

1916 Roll of Honour
Finlay Maclean, Breasclete, Roll of Honour 1916

1921 Roll of Honour

Finlay Maclean, 36 Breasclete - Roll of Honour 1921

1916 Roll of Honour
John Macleod, Enaclete - Roll of Honour 1916

1921 Roll of Honour
John Macleod, Enaclete - Roll of Honour 1921

Tropical storm Grace

In amongst the high powered drama being acted out in the northwestern Pacific, tropical storm Grace nearly slipped under the radar. This is a system which is located 575 miles southwest of Cork, Ireland and rapidly heading north to northeast. Because it is over waters of 18C, it is not expected to live long as a tropical cyclone, which requires water of 26C / 80F or warmer to be sustained. Nonetheless, I am extremely wary of tropical systems making it as far north as this; in 2007, a system called Gordon brought force 11 stormforce winds to the Irish Sea. In 1987, the remnant of Hurricane Charlie brought an unexpected hurricane to the southcoast of England as it sped up the English Channel.

I copy my entry from my Tropical Cyclones blog - I have noted the line "Threatened landmasses" as NONE; by the time Grace reaches any land, it will be part of a frontal system.

Tropical storm Grace / 09L
Warning 03 from NHC for 1500 GMT
Position 45.4N 16.4W
Location 575 miles SW of Cork, Ireland
Movement NNE at 28 knots
Maximum sustained windspeeds 55 knots
Maximum gusts 70 knots
Winds of 34 knots or higher occur within 70 miles to the south of the centre
Threatened landmasses NONE
Next update 2100 GMT

Monday 5 October

Fairly bright today after a very chilly start; the mercury went down to only just above freezing through the night. Up at 11C / 52F as I type.

It is 10 years ago today that a fatal train crash at Ladbrooke Grove, a few miles west of Paddington Station in London, claimed 31 lives and injured more than 400 others. An outbound local service had failed to note a red signal, and moved into the path of an incoming express, which was travelling at high speed. Although both drivers applied brakes, the trains collided with a combined speed of 80 mph. The collision was followed by a fierce fire, in which a large number of the dead perished. Both trains were diesel powered. At 8.11 am this morning, survivors and relatives of the deceased gathered at the memorial at Paddington.Two other rail disasters followed within 5 years: in October 2000, the Intercity from King's Cross to Leeds left the tracks outside Hatfield, Hertfordshire, due to a broken rail, claiming 4 lives. The eerie thing for me personally was that I had travelled on the same service, the 12.00 to Leeds, exactly a week before. Two years later, a train derailed at Potter's Bar, not far from Hatfield. The deathtoll here was 7.