Along the Pentland Road, 25 May 2017

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Wednesday 17 October

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That was the start to the morning, and it stayed fairly bright all day. The northeasterly wind did nothing to warm things up, and we barely managed double figures. Overnight, the mainland saw a hard frost, with -9C / 16F being reported from deepest Aberdeenshire. Five hundred miles to the south, in London, the overnight low was 15C / 59F. The UK is a comparatively small country, but can certainly see some dramatic differences in weather. The Cairngorms (a mountain range with peaks over 4,000 feet, 30 miles south of Inverness) had their first covering of snow over the weekend. It's mid October, and we'll know about it.

It is also the week for springtides, which causes trouble for the ferry between Leverburgh and Berneray, 55 miles south of here. It cannot sail at low tide during springtide, because there is simply not enough (or just plain no) water in the channels of the Sound of Harris. At one point, the boat comes to a near full stop, makes a 90 degree turn on the spot, then proceeds. It is that tight. Low tide also offers me the opportunity to go down to the bottom of the basin across the way from me, and look for shellfish. Like in previous years, I did find some, but unlike previous years, they did not jump up and down on the tray. Scallops move around on the seabed by quickly opening and shutting their shells. These did not budge. Although not all of them will have been scallops (probably queen scallops), I was not going to chance eating them. You see the amount of growth (both seaweed and barnacle), so the content would have been decidedly off.

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Earlier this week, the British Prime Minister and the Scottish First Minister signed an agreement to hold a referendum on independence for Scotland before the end of 2014. I have previously made my position clear on the issue: NO.

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