View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wednesday 7 March

A day of sharp March showers, with rain, hail, sleet, snow and the kitchen-sink. It is feeling quite cold when the sun goes in. The wind has died down a little from yesterday's severe gale, but it remains very breezy.

A man was reported missing on Benbecula, some 70 miles south of here, after last being seen at Creagorry on Monday night. The body of the janitor at Lionacleit School was found in the waters of the South Ford earlier today. He was known to go out winkle picking at low tide.

Until the 1960s, crossing from Benbecula to South Uist was done by crossing through the waters and over tidal sand banks in the South Ford, a treacherous piece of water. The sands shift over time, and it was easy to be caught out. I stress that I make this remark in a historical and geographical perspective, and has no bearing on the incident involving the janitor. Lionacleit School is a large school, serving the islands of the Uists (North and South Uist, Berneray, Benbecula, Grimsay and Eriskay).

Talking of schools, the new primary school at Barvas, 11 miles north of Stornoway, has now been completed, on schedule and on budget. It is one of six new schools being built in the Western Isles, which include the new Nicolson Institute here in Stornoway. Pupils will start taking lessons in all 6 new buildings as of August this year.