View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A week in pictures

Saturday 19 November

Another overcast day with only occasional light drizzle. The high humidity made it feel cold though, and the thick cloudcover made it for a typical dark November day. Hoping for a bit more light tomorrow; we have to content with only 8 hours of the sun at the moment at any rate - which will decrease to 6 hours over the next week or so.

A lot has been said on the local news this week about 100 years of Harris Tweed. In 1911, the Orb was established as the trademark for the product, but it was not until 1960 that this was enshrined through an Act of Parliament. Harris Tweed can only be called that if the cloth has been hand-woven in the Outer Hebrides from virgin Scottish wool . The Harris Tweed industry has been reduced to only a shadow of its former self, with the dozen mills in Stornoway all closed down. Only mills in Shawbost and Carloway, about 20 miles west of Stornoway, now produce the cloth in any noticeable volume. Fellow researcher Direcleit has done a critical appraisal of the history of Harris Tweed, as told by Angus Ease Macleod, late of Calbost.

Friday 18 November

A rain-soaked day - not pouring, but just the Hebridean drizzle. And a strong breeze going. Today is Children in Need night, a national fund-raising event, culminating in a 7-hour TV show in the evening. One person has not been able to complete his challenge; a man who was planning to row the 130 miles from Castlebay (Barra) to Stornoway became unstuck when his oar broke off North Uist, half-way through his journey. The RNLI lifeboat had to come to his rescue in amongst high seas and treacherous reefs.

Over the past day or so, a large ship has been docked at the Arnish Fabrication Yard to remove a tall structure which has been camped out there since the summer. It is apparently the bottom structure of a tidal power generator, destined for trial off the island of Eday in Orkney. The other bits have been fabricated at Methil in Fife.