View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 2 November 2012

Picture post - 2 November

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Friday 2 November

Quite a bright day with an occasional shower or two, but turning very cold after nightfall - we are just on or below freezing at the moment. We didn't manage more than 6C / 43F in the afternoon.

News came through that the interconnector is to be delayed by at least a year. The interconnector is a subsea high-voltage electricity cable, which is crucial for exporting power, generated by proposed renewable energy projects in the Isle of Lewis. These consist in the main of windfarms. Two are currently under construction, but reading the submission from power company SSE, it sounds as if they are gradually backing out of the idea. The cost has risen to a total of £775m, and the delay would augment the cost further. I'm not too unhappy with the idea of the interconnector never coming here, but others are crying wolf, claiming it would be the wrecking of the islands' economy.

I have been in Lewis 8 years this month, and over that period, windfarms have been talked about an awful lot. They were vaunted as the salvation for the employment problems here, with some rosey-eyed individuals thinking it would lead to the return of the diaspora to work in the local fabrication yard. Since then, the fabrication yard has operated more off than on, switching owners several times. Constructing a windfarm does generate jobs, but only for a limited period of time. The Pentland Road windfarm has had its wind turbine components fabricated elsewhere, as they were shipped in earlier this week from another factory. And if the interconnector never materialises, then many millions of pounds will have been wasted.


Sun and moon
seasons' cycle
winter snow
round to autumn rain

Marked out in stones
high on the ridge top
two dozen others
not far away

Aligned to distant hills
obscuring the moon
when the nights
are not dark

One was interred
in the centre circle
where he is now, none know
but not there for sure

They come now from far-off loands
to visit the stones
celebrate the sunrise
at solstice, forgetting the moon

All is quiet
as the days shorten
winds batter the circle
impervious to what passes

They have seen many
pass by
never returning
They will remain

The old cemetery

A rusty gate
from the sandy dunes
A wall of stone
on all four sides

A rock-strewn hillside
The sea incessantly
speaks from the shore

no rocks
outside the walls
just flower-clad sands

Rolling away
in every direction
down to the ocean
their ancient roadway

Living from the bounty
of the ever-present sea
it would exact its price
giving change - wreckage on the shore

Living in penury
but happily
demure hamlets
strung out to the north

Poor ground prompted
a move inland for summer
gathering fuel
before the storms came

Unknown were the riches
in money and goods
Riches in happiness and
the strength of kinship

Only a rock
remains within walls
a mark of ending
to remember their days

Nine thousand you'll find
on that rock-strewn hillside
No carved tombstone
Just a rock