View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 2 April 2012

Monday 2 April

It has gotten very cold out here, with the mercury down at freezing a minute ago. On the mainland, snow is coming down heavily, I hear. What a contrast to a week ago, when we were 'sweltering' in the high teens, celsius. Well, it's only April, so what do you expect. Fortunately, the cold snap (as per usual) will only last a day or so, but those who will travel over the Clisham will see some snow up there. The webcam on the Reinigeadal junction appears to be out of action, so I can't show you what it's like. The altitude there is 650 feet (190 m) above sealevel.

I have continued the transcription of the Napier Appendices, which contain additional submissions to the 1883 inquiry. These could not be heard at the time, or are in reply to evidence at the inquiry. Appendices 60 to 70 relate heavily to the lands, owned by the Duke of Sutherland, a much maligned figure in Highlands history. I take a slightly more balanced approach, in that his estate officials did much of the evil deeds that the Napier Commission looked into. But, at the end of the day, it all happened under the aegis of the Duke, and he did nothing to stop it.

My second transcript is slightly more recent, the Dewar Commission's Report 1912, and contained a faintly humourous note. A doctor was asked whether people and cattle still shared the same building (which was common place in the Outer Hebrides until about 1950). The doctor replied in the affirmative, saying that he went to see a sick person, only for the door to be answered by a calf.