View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sunday 13 February

The hours of darkness were punctuated by high winds and heavy rain. These abated by about 5 am. As I glanced across the bay at that hour, I noticed a blur of light beside the lighthouse that is not normally there. On training the binoculars on it, it turned out to be a stationary ship. It appeared to be in a position to the north of the Arnish Peninsula, i.e. a bit too close in to shore for good comfort. However, its lights were on and nobody was rushing out to help, so I concluded that all was well. When daylight came, just after 7, the ship in question was on the other side of the peninsula, to the south, and its superstructure peeped above the low land by the lighthouse. I have often found the perspective to be deceiving here, particularly in the dark. The lighthouse, for instance, is exactly 1 mile from my position (across the water), but appears to be much closer. It is not until you step out on the causeway that you realise the distance.

I have completed the transcription of all the war memorials here in Lewis, with the addition of the 23 panels from the Lewis War Memorial. This contains the names of 1,600 people who were lost in WW1 and WW2. I am now continuing my search for the 400 cemeteries and memorials across the world which are the final resting place or the location of remembrance for all from the island who were lost in foreign fields, or on the seas of the world. This link shows the first 100.

13 February

Today, 319 years ago, 38 members of the Clan Macdonald were killed in Glen Coe, when their guests, members of the Clan Campbell, turned on them. Glencoe, a spectacular mountain valley about 80 miles north of Glasgow, is now synonymous with this crime. the details of which are outlined on this Wikipedia article.

The involvement of King William III renders this a black mark on the conscience of the Dutch - he assumed the English throne when he came across from Holland as William of Orange. In the Netherlands, he is referred to as the Father of the Fatherland - translating directly. 23 years ago, there were extensive celebrations on the 300th anniversary of William's marriage to Queen Mary II of England. This lasted for 6 years, until Mary's death in 1694.

William III has another black mark on his record, commonly referred to as the Battle of the Boyne. This battle, which took place on Irish soil in 1689, has been used as a pretext by extremist sections of the Protestant and Catholic communities in (Northern) Ireland for acts of violence in the 20th century.

Mind you, if you think that is bad, it is worth bearing in mind that the war in the Balkans in the 1990s was justified by Serbia's president Slobodan Milosevic on account of the Battle of Kosovo in 1390.