View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Evening notes

Strong easterly winds continue to blow, and there is some light rain about tonight.

An avalanche in the western Highlands has killed two climbers on Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe, this afternoon. The avalanche struck just before 5 pm. A major search operation was mounted, which resulted in the recovery of two bodies this evening. Police advise intending climbers to check for avalanche risks before setting out for the hills.

Bad weather is headed our way, meaning that ferry services are likely to be disrupted. It is starting tonight, with our freight ferry (MV Muirneag, shown below) not crossing to Ullapool due to heavy swell. The Muirneag is not a terribly good seaboat.

Wednesday 24 February

Overcast and cold today, although the thermometer is at +4C / 39F this afternoon. The snowballs I had put out as ammo for chasing seagulls away from bread put out for birds have melted on me. Snow is causing extensive disruption across the eastern Highlands, with dozens of schools closed by lunchtime and major delays on arterial routes. Here in Stornoway, there is only an easterly breeze.

Over the weekend, an Atlantic storm will power up and pass Spain en-route for the UK with potentially hurricane force winds. At the moment, the arrival of the low pressure system off the English Channel is timed at the end of the 5-day forecast period, so no specifics at present.

The deputy First Minister of Scotland has apologised to the Scottish Parliament in the matter of a badly written letter. Ms Nicola Sturgeon had written to a court on behalf of a constituent, who had been convicted as a second time fraudster. This caused a political storm at Holyrood two weeks ago, and the minister made a statement to Parliament on the matter this afternoon. She admitted that the wording and composition of the letter was more reminiscent of her previous profession as a lawyer than of her present occupation as MSP. There have been calls for her resignation, but I don't think it will come to that.