View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 8 October 2009

From the archives: Friday 8 October 2004

Today is the 5th anniversary of my blogging activities. Although I have been reposting entries from before 8 October 2004, I added those diary entries later on. It was on that date that I sat down at the communal computer in the youth hostel at Kyleakin, Skye (now closed) and wrote:

Once again in the Youth Hostel at Kyleakin. Strange day today. As I was waiting for the usual 10.20 bus to Broadford, I noticed two young people getting into the water of the Kyle. It was a bracingly cool morning. Bright and sunny, but rather nippy. And there were two youngsters getting into the water and going right in! The female appeared to be skinny dipping, oh dear. At Broadford, I proceeded to the Elgol postbus, where the driver was huffing and puffing to get all the mail, the milk, the papers, the everything on board. It wasn't until 11 o'clock that we finally got going. I had meanwhile come to chat to an elderly lady on the bus, who was quite knowledgeable. She lived at Elgol, which I was not going to reach. My destination was the little path just south of Strathaird across to Camasunary. But, that was not for another 75 minutes. The driver complained that he was a Jack of all Trades but master of none. On arrival at Torrin, we dumped mail not just in postboxes, but through open windows, on top of a baby's playpen, in dustbins, disused freezers, and little homemade boxes at the side of the road, marked 1/2 7. Meaning, half of number 7. It was all good fun, and we duly arrived at Strathaird at 12.15. Fifty minutes late. The path to Camasunary was well boggy at first, and stony afterwards. The views are stunning, and I'll add pictures when I get hold of them. I did not go very far, since I would not want to miss the return bus at 5pm. Bla Bheinn (Blaven), Beinn na Cro and the backdrop of Loch Slapin, Loch Eishort, Sleat, Suisnish and the distant mountains on the mainland dominated the backdrop on the ascent. At 1pm I was at the pass, alt. 189m, and my jaw dropped. The massive curve of the Cuillins' main ridge, forestalled by Sgurr na Stri, Camasunary. To the south all the Small Isles were visible, Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna. Just to the right of the Cuillins the Isle of Soay could be seen. And on the horizon the double hump of Barra and the ridge of South Uist. A very sad cairn announced the location where the ashes of a cheif (sic) constable of Inverness-shire had been scattered by his daughter. Hers had been scattered in the same location 5 years later. A fantastic piece of scenery. Hobbling back to the main road, where I had to wait an hour for the bus back to Broadford. Fortunately, a couple from Israel/USA were also waiting, so we passed the time in pleasant chat, although the temperature was dropping like a stone.

Skye Cuillins

Rum and Soay

Bla Bheinn and memorial cairn

Thursday 8 October

A better day than yesterday, with only scattered, light showers. Not the huge downpours that plagued us through the afternoon on Wednesday. The wind is expected to pick up again by the end of the day.

One of my sources for local news is a website called Hebrides News, and its attendant letters column. The news is pretty good, the letters column an opportunity for all and sundry to vent their spleen and hold forth on their pet hates. A local letter writer is going to be taken to court for all his bother, after he criticised a candidate for the General Election. More here. Just goes to show, there can't be much wrong with the place if that is headline news. After the people having to be cut out of crashed cars and megasized fishfarms.

Regionally, the story of the plane that wasn't properly de-iced and had to be diverted to another airport drew my attention. In April 2008, an aircraft took off from Aberdeen in freezing conditions, only to find it was losing control. It was diverted to Wick, in the far north of Scotland, where temperatures were higher. The ice melted naturally. More here.