View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Tuesday 11 June

After a number of days with summery weather, this all came to an end today. The weather closed in and rain started at 3pm. The starling chicks have all flown the nest; over the past few days we watched their number dwindle from 3 to 1 this morning, until they had all disappeared. The blackbirds are still busy with their young. The rhodondendron clearance is continuing in the Castle Grounds, but the burning results in some alarmingly large flames.

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Monday 10 June

Went for a 7 mile walk today, longer than planned. I had thought to cut from Constable Road to Sandwick Road, but this was not possible, so I decided to divert to Holm Village, and return along the shore. It was very warm, 21C / 70F, and in spite of the northeasterly wind it was positively roasting in places. I arrived at Holm Farm at low tide, which made it possible for me to walk out to Holm Island. This is tidal, and I only spent 15 minutes there - the tide was already beginning to come back in again.

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Sunday 9 June

It was reported today that a man, walking along a road at Carinish, North Uist, had been knocked down by a car, and died later. He was Ivan Macdonald, an accomplished piper and crofter. I met Ivan in Lochmaddy in April, where he gave a creditable piping performance at Taigh Chearsabhaigh. His death caused profound shock in the small community that is Uist.

I spent the afternoon outside, watching the antics of blackbirds and starlings and their young. It was quite warm.

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Saturday 8 June

Quite a warm day, and I decided to go on a long walk to the Pentland Road windfarm. This is located some 6 miles northeast of Stornoway, and can easily be accessed from the council dump near Bennadrove. It was quite warm in sheltered places, like the Castle Grounds. The road to the windfarm, not tarred but still well made, is exposed to the wind. About a mile or so beyond the dump, it rises over the hills to the windfarm at an altitude of 600 feet. The views are nice, but the wind machines completely deprecate the wilderness aspect of the area. I have explored these foothills of the Barvas Hills in 2005, but was deeply saddened upon viewing the violation wrought by the turbines.

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Friday 7 June

A beautifully sunny day, which I spent outside, watching the antics of three groups of birds. Starlings, blackbirds and sparrows, all with nests of young. The blackbird chicks are gathering up courage to emerge from under the bush in the garden; the starling chicks are screeching from their rooftop position and the sparrow chicks are fluttering their wings at their parents to have their gobs stuffed.

The Hebridean Princess, a small cruiseliner, put in an appearance. You can spend £4,900 for a 14 days cruise, hanging over the side being seasick most of the time. Sorry, I'm sure it's quite a comfortable vessel, but can't resist the jibe. The Serenissima put in an appearance at sunset.

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Thursday 6 June

Today was the 69th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces landed in Normandy, France, to commence the liberation of continental Europe. It was to take another 11 months for Nazi Germany to be finally defeated, also through the efforts and sacrifices of the Soviet Union.

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Wednesday 5 June

Awoke to fog, which lifted to low cloud later in the morning. The sun came out later, leaving us with a nice afternoon. The Coastguard helicopter hovered over the outer harbour at one point.

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Tuesday 4 June

It was a very nice day, so decided to take a bus to Ness. The purpose was to have a look round the Old Cemetery, behind Swainbost, for the grave of a man who had been awarded Commonwealth War Dead status back in 2011. Unfortunately, a new gravestone has not yet been erected. It was in quite warm, and I enjoyed the amble through the machair to the beach at Eoropie. Had a cuppa and a piece of cake in the Tearoom, before jumping on the 3.40 bus back to town. Down the West Side, I could just discern the Flannan Isles from 60 miles away.

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