View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunday 30 January

After a spell of heavy rain and high winds, the sun has come out to grace us with its presence for the last hour of daylight. There was a cloud of seagulls over the harbour outside my window, and when I went down to find out what attracted 400 gulls it turned out to be BIRDSEED. Lewis Crofters stock birdseed and other stuff, and as we have not had any heavy rain for a while, a lot of it got washed down the stormdrain and ended up in the harbour.

A moutain walker in the Highlands is the luckiest man alive, after he fell down 1,000 feet off a mountain top, east of Ben Nevis. He was spotted by the crew of a helicopter, who had been sent to his rescue. They did not believe he was the casualty, as he was standing up and reading his map. However, when the chopper crew saw the trail of debris, leading from the summit to the point where the man was standing, it did become clear he was the casualty.

Not so lucky were the passengers on a train in the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt, when it collided head-on with a goods train near Magdeburg. Ten of them died, and 33 were injured. The cause of the crash, which headed on a single-track line, is not clear. German railways (DB) have a good safety record.

I have completed the website for the casualties from the Uists and Barra from WW1 and WW2, replacing two separate webpages. I do not have as much information on the Uists as I had for Lewis, so hope it does serve some purpose.

And today brought more sadness to J-land, when I was told that Angie Marshall (Can you all hear me at the back?) had passed away unexpectedly. I was not a regular reader of her blog, but the expressions of grief over the past few hours have shown she was well loved in the community, and will be sorely missed.

Saturday 29 January

A bright day, but the high cloud does not bode too well for the near future. Went outside Stornoway for the first time this year, to Bosta Beach in Great Bernera. That's about 30 miles by road. Bosta is one of my favourites in the island; I also wanted to go there to see the Time and Tide Bell that was installed there last July. It was not working, as the clapper appeared to be missing. In the evening, we gave the restaurant in the An Lanntair [Lantern] arts centre another try, and this time everything was good. Prompt service, good food and a decent price. I'll spare you the disasters that have befallen me there over the past five years.

Looking towards Roineabhal from the Bernera road

Old and new: the slipway for the pre-1950s ferry to Great Bernera, and the bridge

Loch Barraglom, near the Bernera Bridge


Bosta cemetery

Tide and Time Bell

At Bosta Beach

Hurricane update - 30 January

The Australian state of Queensland will take delivery of two tropical cyclones this week. Anthony is headed for landfall near the town of Ayr later today or early tomorrow. Its highest winds are at 45 knots, that's 50 mph or equivalent to force 10 on the Beaufort scale. The Australian weather service is issuing warnings.

I am far more worried about tropical cyclone Yasi, which has formed between Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, 1500 miles east northeast of Queensland. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center is forecasting that this storm will blow up to an upper-end category III hurricane, striking the Queensland coast near Cairns with winds of 110 knots, 120 mph, on Friday of this week.