View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday 13 July

Friday the 13th. Well, it certainly wasn't a good start of the day on Highland roads. A lorry went up in a fierce blaze on the A9 near Aviemore. The A835 Inverness to Ullapool road was blocked at Aultguish for a couple of hours following an accident, prompting a detour of 100 miles through Gairloch - not good for ferry traffic. Because today is the second day of the Hebridean Celtic Festival here in Stornoway. About 15,000 people have descended on our wee town, but to be honest, the line-up doesn't do it for me. I am typing this, watching live coverage on the Gaelic TV channel BBC Alba. And I'm singularly not impressed.

Rangers FC of Glasgow look set to play in the lowest division of the Scottish football league in the new season, which starts in August. They were demoted from the top flight after going bust - as a result of not paying tax. They were more than £100 million in the red.

I was saddened to hear of the death of nine climbers on Mont Maudit (near Mt Blanc) in France. They were killed in an avalanche yesterday morning at 5.30 am local time. At the time, there had been high wind conditions, which are known to be a contributing factor for avalanches to occur. Those on the climb were experienced and well equipped mountaineers, and the 9 deaths are attributed to an accident. I know, from my own experience, that mountains should be treated with respect, and any hazards anticipated and their risk assessed. But still, even the most experienced can get caught out - one of the dead was a former general secretary in the British Mountaineering Council.