View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Monday 29 July

It seemed to have cooled down a bit, but when the sun came out this afternoon it suddenly got quite warm again. This did have a consequence though, as a line of heavy showers erupted down the west coast of the island. Some visitors got caught out in several of these downpours, and were thoroughly soaked.

This morning, I watched two cruiseliners coming in; the Marco Polo was anchored off Sandwick Bay, about half a mile away; the other sailed into port to dock at the near side of the ferry pier. This vessel, the Silver Cloud, had been in before and departed around 4pm for Belfast. The arrival and departure of the ferry Isle of Lewis created some nice photo opportunities which were duly taken by your blogger.

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Silver Cloud (right) dwarfing the Isle of Lewis

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Saturday 27 July

It has cooled down a little since yesterday, but we're still at 20C. Went into town and it was markedly more quiet than last week, which was the last day of the Hebridean Celtic Festival. A cruiseliner, the Eurodam, passed within sight of Stornoway, but a long way out in the Minch.

A train crash in Spain, on Wednesday, killed 78 people. It is alleged that the train driver was speeding - at twice the speedlimit. I'm just wondering whether there were devices in place that automatically stop trains that are exceeding the speed limit on a stretch of track. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed or injured at Santiago de Compostela.

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Friday 26 July

A very strange day, weatherwise. Although we started off with good sunshine, some enormous cumulonimbus showerclouds built during lunchtime. Just after two, a chilly downdraft heralded the arrival of a thunderstorm. That's an unusual occurrence in these islands, and something to be dreaded in summer. The Met Office rainfall radar showed very heavy rainfall, with large hail reported from Achmore and a tornado at Laxay, and another at Callanish. That's what I mean by to be dreaded. No damage was reported from the tornado; its remnant could be seen from my position, dissipating under a very large cumulonimbus slowly moving northwest, to the west of Stornoway.

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Wednesday 24 July

A lovely summer's day, which I spent monment tside. The sky provided plenty of entertainment, with a lot of varying high level cloud. Mercury reached 23C / 74F for the second time this month. The day ended with a beautiful sunset at 10 o'clock.

It was pointed out to me that it's Ramadan at the moment, a tough time for Muslims anywhere in the world, but particularly for the faithful in this part of the world. The hours of darkness stretch only from 11.15pm to 3.30am, meaning only about 4 hours for breaking the fast. Ramadan will run for another ten days or so.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Tuesday 23 July

Yes, it's been a full month since I last posted on this blog. For the first time in the nearly 9 years of its existence have I let it lapse for this long. Those of you who follow me on Facebook will be aware that I have not fallen off the edge of the earth, and I'll make an effort to resume normal service.First off, I'll be putting up a number of backposts with hopefully nice pics that I took over the past month.

Today, we have a cruiseship in, the Balmoral, which will depart for Belfast later today. She is anchored at the mouth of the harbour, as her 24 ft draught precludes her docking alongside one of the town piers. Tenders have been ferrying her passengers ashore this morning.

Yesterday, the Royal Baby was born, and the internet is going quite gaga over this. Yes, it's 3rd in line to the British throne, but can we get things back into perspective please.

It is warm and muggy in Stornoway this lunchtime, but heavy thunderstorms are raking western Scotland along a line between Glasgow and Tiree. These are moving north, and we're likely to see some of that action later today.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sunday 7 July

Went out on the bike again, this time to the Landraiders' Memorial at Aignish, a return trip of 8 miles. It was brilliantly sunny and warm, with hardly any traffic - I timed my trip to coincide with the Wimbledon tennis final (won by Murray). Had a look inside the old church at Aignish, which has been partly refurbished. At least you can now safely enter the edifice.

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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Saturday 6 July

Wet and windy today. That is the exception to the rule of warm sunshine across the rest of the country. However, I'm not complaining about 15C / 59F on the thermometer, but am not tempted outside today. That is, until evening when the sun came out and I jumped on the bike for a run through the Castle Grounds as far as the Marybank and Creed Gates.

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Friday, 5 July 2013

Friday 5 July

Had to change my t-shirt because it was reeking of the smoke of rhodondendron burning from last Monday, when it was drying outside on the line ...

It's not too cold, 15C / 59F (again), which I prefer to the temps into the 80s Fahrenheit that southern England will get this weekend. A cool breeze, which is actually stopping the freight ferry Muirneag from making its overnight crossing to Ullapool. Our freight boat has difficulty manoeuvering in a high wind. If she sails, she'll start arguing with the quay in Ullapool or here in Stornoway, and we'd be left with no boat at all.


Went out for another cycle run, this time into the Castle Grounds. However, as I passed Cuddy Point I became aware of increasing movement in the handle bars. They expressed an increasing willingness to part company with the rest of the bike - prompting me to turn round and head back. I felt I could be losing control of the cycle if I went much further. No harm done.

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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Thursday 4 July

A blustery west wind blowing in short sharp showers. Bright sunshine in between and relatively mild temperatures at 15C / 59F.

The on-going saga surrounding the interconnector now sees our MP intervening, calling for an end to the 'ping-pong' politics, is it going to happen or not. I couldn't agree more. But my gut feeling is that the i/c will never happen. It'll just take some time to never happen.

This evening, I was able to use a bicycle around Stornoway for the very first time during my 9 year stint in this island. I rode it through the town centre, up Macaulay Road, down Perceval Road to Plasterfield and Sandwick, to return along the shore path. The ride served to highlight that Stornoway is a very hilly town.

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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Tuesday 2 July

Rain and wind getting ... stronger as the day carries on. No change in sight. And don't talk to me about high pressure from the Azores. I don't care if it's coming in from the B-zores or the C-zores, or through saddle sores. It just propels Atlantic low pressure systems our way - and the Atlantic is boss here.
So, is anyone going to go to the West Side to watch the World go by? I don't need to go anywhere, I just watch the world go by. Erm, in case you're wondering what the hell I'm on about now, the World is a large cruise ship that called into Ullapool over the weekend. Isles FM reported this morning that it was going to pass to the west of the Outer Hebrides, en route to St Kilda.
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Monday, 1 July 2013

Monday 1 July

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A nice enough day, but marred, as shown in above pics, by the burning of rhodondendrons in the Castle Grounds. These are alien and unwanted plants, which block the sun from the ground underneath. Large swathes of the shoreline are covered in the things. When the wind is in the wrong direction, the plumes of smoke wreath the town centre in a pungent mist of smoke.