View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 12 December 2009


I am heartily fed up with "celebrities" and "sports personalities" and the fact that their lives get splayed out on all the news media you may care to think of. The X-factor, Strictly Come Dancing, I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Here, Big Brother, for heaven's sake. Even the mainstream news media, like the BBC and broadsheet newspapers are full of it.

Tiger Woods. He has been unfaithful to his wife and smashed his car outside their home. In other words, Tiger is daft. He is in the public limelight, as he is a good golfplayer. Doesn't he realise that when you live in a glass house, you can't afford to throw stones around? Doesn't he realise he is a role-model to young people and others around the world? However, why the hospitalisation of his mother in law had to be broadcast is beyond me.

Jade Goody. She died earlier this year of cervical cancer, but had climbed to prominence as being the dumbest Big Brother contestant ever seen. However, she did the right thing by putting her illness, treatment and death on public display. Why oh why do we have to be regaled to the fact that her husband, to whom she got married in the weeks before her death, has a season ticket to the dock in the criminal court?

Can't we have a day, a week, a month, a year (or even longer) without celebrity c**p?

Christmas decorations 2009

For the 5 years that I have been in this island, I have watched the Christmas decorations in Stornoway decrease in size and luminosity. Every year, one or other part of it no longer appears. Anyway, here are some pics of this year's display.

2009 / 2008

Visit to Coll and Back - 11 December

In the afternoon, I took the bus north to the villages of Coll and Back [marked as its neighbour Vatisker on above map], situated across the water from Garrabost. Upper Coll has a memorial cairn, but until my visit yesterday, I did not know what it was for. It turned out to be a monument to the Land Raiders of 1921, who appropriated land from landowner Lord Leverhulme. Another memorial, to the same cause, stands at Gress, 2 miles northeast of Coll.
The main objective of my trip was (once more) to photograph the war memorial at Back. 

Land Raiders' Memorial, Coll

Coll Beach

Back War Memorial

Back Free Church (and carpark)


Birds on a wire, Back

Abandoned machinery

Horse in croftland

Visit to Garrabost - 11 December

Ruined house

View along the main road

Church of Scotland

Free Church of Scotland

Point War Memorial

Entrance to Point War Memorial

Garrabost is a crofting township in the Point area of Lewis, 5 miles east of Stornoway. It is noteworthy that this small community has two churches, as shown above; the Church of Scotland is the mainstream church, the Free Church of Scotland was split off the CoS in the 19th century. Other schisms have occurred since, and continue to occur. A Church of Scotland has a musical instrument; the Free Church does not allow such frivolity. They sing psalms with a precentor, who sings out a line and the congregation follows suit, at its own pitch and tempo. This recording, taken at the Royal National Mod in Stornoway in 2005, demonstrates what it sounds like.

The objective of my journey was to photograph the war memorial for the Point District. I took detailed pictures of the four panels.

Saturday 12 December

Bright and sunny this morning, with only wispy high clouds about. It is cold outside, after the overnight temps dropped close to freezing. Tonight, a sharp frost is expected, with the mercury down to -6C in places in the Highlands. Count myself fortunate that I'm on the coast, so any frost won't be quite so severe.

Spent the past half hour compiling the latest hurricane bulletin for the southern hemisphere. Things are really livening up, with a cyclone about to form near Darwin in Australia, another one spinning up north of Fiji and a third forming in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The cyclone that is off the coast of India will make landfall south of Chennai in the course of tomorrow - that is of course a late northern hemisphere system. A tropical cyclone is the same as a hurricane, for reference.

More later