View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 30 September 2013

Sunday 29 September

Another windless and sunny day, and in fact warm enough to sit out in the sun for a couple of hours.  Made good progress with a book on Scottish history by Tom Devine, which (as per usual) served to debunk quite a handful of myths. Went for an amble around the harbour, and found that the Monaco (Stornoway's resident wreck) had been moved round the end of the quayside to be broken up.

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Saturday 28 September

A very calm day, with not a breath of wind to speak of. The result was fog after sunset - and lovely reflections in the waters of the harbour. 

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Friday 27 September

Overcast and misty, bordering on foggy earlier on. There is wind now and it's clearing up. Is that the sun up there, eh, eh, eh?! Anyway, 13C, feeling cool. Not too bad though. Oh, when you park your campervan, make sure it's back end doesn't protrude out of the parking bay into the carriageway.

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Thursday 26 September

We are approaching Hallowe'en (October 31st), and two supermarket chains decided to launch some suitably scare costumes. Naming them Mental Patient and Psycho Ward has unfortunately proven to be a mistake. In my opinion, children should be taught to be understanding and empathetic towards people with mental health issues, which can often not be seen from the outside. How often do I have to say: You break a leg, and it takes a few weeks to heal, and nobody else is much affected. You break your mind, and it can take a lifetime (if ever) to heal, and all around you are affected.

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Wednesday 25 September

Like yesterday, we had a glitch with the broadband. Apparently, there was a fault with the microwave link to the mainland, which carries all our internet traffic. When things were restored to normal, I was able to carry on my researches into North Uist casualties of the Great War. Upon going into town, I noticed that the Muirnneag's port of registration (previously Glasgow) and the Calmac website address had been painted out. She is apparently due to go to Turkey in the next couple of days. Sunset brought us another display of blazing colours.

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Tuesday 24 September

The day started with low cloud - which prompted descended to sealevel to leave us wreathed in dense fog. Couldn't even see the causeway to Goat Island, which is only about 300 yards away. Fortunately, the weather cleared up and the day ended with beautiful sunset colours. I also finished writing my latest short story, my seventh.

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Monday 23 September

It's been an odd day here, 18 degrees C (64F) and feeling very warm. The sun even came out at one point. Thank you Humberto (this old tropical storm has been pumping mild air north from the tropics). Anyway, I'm hearing that the Clipper Ranger can carry 81 lorries, rather more than the old Muirneag (I think her tally was 16).

Today also saw the last visit of a cruiseliner to Stornoway for this year. It was the Fram, a regular late- or early-season visitor. The Stornoway Gazette promptly got the name wrong, thinking the route designation (Hurtigruten) was the vessel's name. They could have known better.

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Sunday 22 September

Been busy uploading pictures of cruiseliners and freightboats that have frequented this port over the last year and a half. I am a user of, and they apply fairly rigorous standards. The pics that I felt were a bit below par were duly removed by admins. I don't mind that, as I indicated, it didn't come as a surprise. I am also busy writing a new short story, which initially is always a slow process.

The RNLI and the Coastguard request those near the shore not to let off emergency flares unless there is an emergency. Some people have been letting them off as a celebration, and were promptly treated to the spectacle of the Coastguard helicopter, RNLI lifeboat and shore-based search and rescue teams - looking for a casualty that was not there. Meanwhile, they could have been delayed looking for a real casualty. Same applies to Chinese lanterns, by the way.

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Saturday 21 September

Our freight ferry Muirneag returned from its last trip to Ullapool this morning. As of midday today, the Clipper Ranger is taking over the run. The Muirneag was subsequently parked at Arnish. It was strange to be able to capture both the Muirneag and the passenger ferry Isle of Lewis in the one shot. The weather was suitably gloomy and autumnal, especially later in the day.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Thursday 19 September

Today saw the start of a new era, and the beginning of the end of an old one. The replacement freight ferry Clipper Ranger came into Stornoway just after 7pm, and conducted berthing trials at piers no 3 and 1. The Muirneag, who will go out of service on Saturday, relocated to the quayside at Arnish. At 9pm, I went into town to view the new ferry at pier no 1.

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Tuesday 17 September

Another barefoot walk in Harris today, but now at Huisinis. Unfortunately, the weather has changed and it is now quite a bit colder than Saturday, with a keen northwest wind. Huisinis is difficult to get to by public transport, so I have to rely on a lift. Fortunately, a North Harris Trust vehicle pulled up by my side and took me the 14 miles from Ardhasaig to Huisinis. On arrival, there were a dozen walkers plus a guide. Not all took their boots off - admittedly, it was perishing cold, even worse in the sea, but we had an enjoyable amble along the peninsula on the far side of the village. We returned at 1.45, after passing over the highest point. The NHT took me and a few others back to Tarbert, where we had a cuppa before the bus returned me to Stornoway.

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Monday, 16 September 2013

Saturday 14 September

This coming week sees the North Harris Mountain Festival, and they have organised a host of events. One of these is a barefoot walk in the machair at Northton, South Harris, overlooking the Sound of Harris towards Berneray and North Uist. I went on the bus at 9.35 and joined a party of 12 (including guide) for a 3 mile walk from Northton towards the old temple below Ceapabhal. The walking boots did come off and stayed off for the duration of the walk, which led along beaches and stretches of machairland. The weather was absolutely stunning, although it did start to change by the middle of the afternoon. The bus took me back to Stornoway for 5pm. During a half-hour stopover in Tarbert, I watched a bit of the action in the raft race, which was a lot of fun. People inevitable ended up in the water - which is none to warm.

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