View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Saturday 4 June

Quite a bit cooler than it was yesterday, with the mercury only reaching 13C / 55F. Cruiseliner Lauren L  was in port today, presenting a handsome sight alongside the ferry pier. Went into town to buy a book, a paper notepad and some factor 50 sunblock. Keep abreast of postings on my blog, and you'll find out what I need those for.

Times change, and they certainly have over a period of 150 years. I came across a newspaper article from 1863, which described the loss of life following a severe storm in the Minch. Nowadays, you get ample warning of bad weather, usually several days ahead. More than enough for mariners to get to the safety of a port, and for fishermen not to venture out. Furthermore, in a modern motorised vessel, even being caught out in a force 10 need not necessarily be life threatening. It was in December 1862, when a sudden storm caught a group of two dozen fishingboats at the Butt of Lewis, and blew them right across the Minch to the coast of Wester Ross and Sutherland. The wreckage lined the shores from Gairloch to Lochinver. Although the article calculated the loss of life as 120, the eventual total was "only" 31. A huge loss to the community of Ness, in the north of Lewis, without a doubt.