View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday 23 October

A repeat of the past few days. Wet and windy to start with, followed by a calming of conditions - but remaining dull and grey all day. The last of the Mod-goers disappeared to the mainland on today's TWO Sunday sailings. As well as 6 passengers on the first Sunday sailing out of Tarbert, in Harris, which is proving controversial down there. Ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne say they have decided to put fare-paying passengers on board the MV Hebrides, which leaves Tarbert early on Sunday morning at any rate (to go to Lochmaddy in North Uist), after consultation with local people. Sections of Harris society claim that there has been no such consultation. However, there was already a Sunday ferry in Harris: it goes to Berneray twice on the Sabbath.

The Europeans have launched another part of their Galileo satellite group into space, which, by 2015, will start to form an alternative GPS system. In recent times, NATO exercises in the Minch have jammed GPS signals. I was agog at the storm of protest that blew up, because local mariners proved to be incapable of navigating without GPS. What is wrong with using your eyes and a map? I mean, GPS is not as perfect as it may seem. It still has a margin of error of about 15 feet, which can be rather a lot at times. And I have seen it going wildly off the scale in the mountains - when I was in Switzerland, it put me a full mile away from my actual position. You can't miss being in the middle of a town, can you?