View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday 21 October

Another cool but bright day, after some overnight rain. The leaves are falling off the trees now, having turned all shades of green, brown, yellow or red in the process. Went for a short amble over to Goat Island and round the power station this afternoon, and even on that relatively treeless stretch came across a few expressions of autumn. The forecast says we can expect a foretaste of winter by the end of the coming week, with snow on the hills and sleet at lower levels. Well, November isn't far off now, and summer a distant memory. The ferries and buses in our neck of the woods have now gone to winter timetabling; no major changes on the ferry to and from Ullapool, but there are fewer buses around. Usually. The problem is that the winter timetables for the buses have not yet been published. Yesterday was the last day of the Royal National Mod in Dunoon, across the Clyde from Gourock (west of Glasgow), which really signals the end of the season. From now on, all will be hunkering down for winter, and once the clocks go back next Sunday morning, the winter half-year will really have started.

In the below pics, the black and white boat is the local pilot boat. It has been laid up on the slipway since about July, when they found her to be springing a leak. On Friday, I discovered that the Monaco (last reported sunk at her berth) had been refloated alongside the Cromwell Street Quay.

PA219118 PA219115 PA219113 PA219109

The boat

Sailing the waters of the far northwest
Braving the elements, fair and foul
Guarding the lives of all on board
Bringing their livelihood safely to shore

Aided by motorpower, perhaps earlier sail
A net from the stern, or a line athwart
Hooks to catch mackerel
A creel for some crabs, or a lobster

Within sight of Suilven, Stac Polly or An Teallach
The Clisham a beacon, high up in Harris
Bowing for the blue men of Shiant
Or bucking in the Atlantic swell

Hastily brought in for that storm of a lifetime
Tethered on a mooring, in safety they thought
Found crashed on the boulders
When the storm had blown itself out

Many's a time I walked by on Goat Island
Ever more pieces went missing each time
Until only the bow remained on the strand
And finally only its soul, winging away to the Minch