View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Saturday 28 June

It's Armed Forces Day in the United Kingdom, and I would find it slightly more palatable if they had toned down the celebrations a bit. As I stated earlier today, it is a hundred years ago today since the events took place that precipitated the First World War. I am the first to salute the efforts and sacrifices made by our military in today's world, but an acknowledgement of the historical significance of today's date would be appreciated.

At 6pm sharp, one of the two vessels docked in Glumag Harbour repeatedly sounded their foghorn in remembrance of the start of events leading up to WW1, 100 years ago that moment.

Visited Museum nan Eilean for the Stornoway Historical Society's exhibition on WW1 casualties from Stornoway and environs (as far afield as Berneray. Had a brief discussion with the Society's chair about WW1 and WW2 casualties who were missed off the CWGC's registers.

P6289255 P6289262

Friday 27 June

Bright but not sunny, as there is a fair amount of mid-level cloud around. 12C / 54F (at 10.30 am) is rather cooler than of late. The summer is here though, as monitoring has revealed increased levels of algal toxins, in West Loch Roag and in Loch Stranndabhat.

Interesting. Isles FM (on-line) report that there are already questions over the capacity of the new ferry, MV Loch Seaforth, which will come on to the Ullapool route in September. I would have expected an assessment of required capacity to be carried out before the boat was even designed. Although there is no point going back over done deeds, there was a question whether TWO boats should be doing the run. I can sort of envisage the good ole Isle of Lewis kept on stream to double up on the route.

P6279251 P6279252

Thursday 26 June

Brilliantly sunny in Stornoway, but with a very keen northeasterly breeze. Once again 15C / 59F at the moment.

Local radiostation Isles FM 103 put out the following statement: We remain off air. Isles FM continues to work at identifying the damage to our transmission network, which we believe was caused by an unknown surge or lightning strike. We are hoping to be back with you next week, if not earlier, and will continue to prepare excellent, local, volunteer-led programmes for your listening enjoyment.

Ships, ferries, and fishing boats are to fly their flags at half-mast between sunrise and sunset on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the first event which triggered the First World War. In addition, vessels berthed in port are encouraged to sound a remembrance signal by giving a blast on their fog horns at 6pm (5pm GMT) that day - to mark the hour of the first shot fired in the war.

P6269249 P6269250

Wednesday 25 June

Discovered a newly reopened path in the Castle Grounds, leading off from the path to Strawberry Hill. Another new path branches off in the opposite direction, so will have to go back to explore that. However, I have a good idea where that leads: to the top of Strawberry Hill and on to the quarry and Marybank. Why do I keep going on about Strawberry Hill? It was previously inaccessible.

My camera came back from the repair place, unrepaired. However, it is back in a semblance of working order. Maybe taking it to bits and reassembling it did something. Fingers crossed - next time it conks out it'll have to be replaced.

Today was a glorious day, after a slow start in terms of sunshine. At 9pm, I'm watching the ferry going OUT on its final crossing to Ullapool. It is due back into Stornoway at 2.45 am tomorrow morning, and is due to depart on its Thursday schedule by 7 am.We had a cruiseliner in as well: the Louis Aura.

P6252011 P6259219 P6259225 P6259228 P6259231 P6259232 P6259233 P6259242 P6259244

Tuesday 24 June

Quite a nice day here in Stornoway, a pleasant 15C on the thermometer and the sun is slowly sweeping the clouds away. We have an easterly breeze, which usually brings us fair weather.

Went on a walk to Sandwick in the afternoon, in blazing sunshine and this easterly breeze. I recently found an old picture of one of the gravestones in the cemetery there, and revisited the site. Only to find the inscription badly faded, 5 years after being touched up. Sandwick Cemetery gets blasted by sand, wind and rain. 

P6241994 P6241997 P6241998 P6242003

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Monday 23 June

Slightly brighter this morning, but I can still see the drizzle draping itself over the Arnish hills.

I am very pleased that I managed to obtain a photograph of the gravestone for Finlay Maclean in the Lambhill Cemetery in Glasgow. I am proud that it is thanks to my efforts that Finlay was recognised as Commonwealth War Dead in December 2010.

Sunday 22 June

Rather dreich and at times wet in Stornoway. No improvement through the day, in fact it's going to get worse. Never mind, tomorrow's another day. I have a lot of cropping, cutting and pasting to do (the portraits from the Roll of Honour), with which to adorn the website.


Saturday 21 June

Morning all from a fairly overcast Stornoway. We're in for some showers today, with the mercury around 15C. It's always nice to be different, the rest of the country is basking in sunshine. The summer solstice occurred at 11.51 am, and the Callanish Stones were overrun by misguided stone-huggers, by all accounts.

I'm told that the wreck of the Monaco has finally been fully removed from the Inner Harbour. It was plainly visible from Cromwell Street / Bayhead near the Kenneth Street turn-off, and presented an eyesore from the Castle Grounds. I'm sad to see any boat being reduce to rubble like that, particularly in the Monaco's case. If it hadn't been for a protracted legal battle, she wouldn't have had to linger in port for the past 12 years. The only winners are the lawyers, the two people disputing ownership now have the object of their battle turned into whisky casks!


Friday 20 June

Quite a bright morning, although a good amount of cloud as well. Two cruiseliners in today, the Black Prince, anchored behind the lighthouse, and the Hebridean Princess, along pier no 1.

Fuel poverty among the elderly in the Western Isles turns out to be an endemic problem, according to Ofgem. 60% of the over-60s spend more than 10% of their income on keeping warm, sometimes choosing to keep warm rather than keeping fed - or the other way round. Fuel costs here are higher than on the mainland at any rate.

Black Prince (left) and Hebridean Princess (disappearing beside the lighthouse) this evening.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Thursday 19 June

Cruiseliner Minerva is the fourth liner in port this week (I missed the Serenissima on Tuesday), and she came to dock at pier no 3 at 7.30 am. Although this pier is part of the port refurbishments, cruiseliners continue to use it. Passengers have to thread their way through the works, behind fencing, to make their way into town.

I went for a 6 km walk in the Castle Grounds to mark out one of my walks on Walking World, no 3952. I recently added the section round Strawberry Hill to it, but found that pictures and descriptions were out of sequence.

The wreck of the Monaco, which has been disgracing this port for the past 12 years or so, is due to be fully removed by tomorrow. It has taken 8 months for the ship to be taken apart, but I'll be pleased to see this eyesore gone.

P6191928 P6191929 P6191933 P6191937 P6191941 P6191947 P6191950 P6191957 P6191958

Wednesday 18 June

Quite a turn-around since yesterday, overcast and only 13C / 55F. Another cruiseliner in this morning, the Adonia, anchored off Sandwick Bay. She is the second of six liners that are due to visit this week.

At 9.50pm, we'll be having the last 40 minutes of the sun's presence above the horizon today, she'll be happy to take a break. However, at 4.19 am in the morning, less than 6 hours after leaving us, the sun will be back. In point of fact, she'll be teasing us from only 8 degrees below the horizon in the meantime.

P6181914 P6181918

Tuesday 17 June

That's my camera officially declared dead. Oh, I could have had it repaired, but at a cost almost equivalent to the original purchase price, three years ago. I have now worn out two digital cameras in the space of 8 years, having taken something like 52,000 pictures.

We managed 20C / 68F this afternoon. Spent a wee while out in the sun; the forecast for tomorrow sees a downturn in our summer fortunes. The mercury will now head down, towards 13C / 55F by the end of the week. After a lovely sunny day, the fog came down around 7pm, with visibility barely 300 yards.

Iain Ruaridh Gillies, aged 24, has succumbed to the injuries he sustained in a carcrash in Lionel, Ness, in the early hours of Saturday. Although he was airlifted to hospital in Paisley, he passed away earlier today. RIP. His friends and family are in my thoughts. The community in Ness is stunned and deeply saddened by this loss.

P6171900 1.47 am
P6171902 P6171905 P6171907 P6171908 P6171911 P6171913

Monday 16 June

A 24-year old car driver crashed his car into a wall at Lionel, Ness, in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was airlifted to hospital in Paisley, near Glasgow, in a critical condition. First aiders had to resuscitate him at the site of his accident.

Overcast and damp this morning, although the light rain has stopped. It's not really cold, 15C / 59F. As the week goes on, we are set for some colder weather.

The rower who had to be rescued from his boat after being injured in a freak wave has expressed his sorrow and apologised for his failure. However, accidents happen and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it.

P6161897 P6161896 P6161895

Sunday 15 June

P6151884 P6151885
A typical quiet Stornoway Sunday. I'm in the process of completing the transcript of the Roll of Honour on-line, showing that 6,000 Lewismen (and women) went to war between 1914 and 1918 out of nearly 2,900 households from 126 villages and townships, as well as the town of Stornoway. We are now within a week of the summer solstice, meaning it now gets light at 3 am, and doesn't get dark properly until after 11.30pm.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Saturday 14 June

I'm saddened to report that Niall Iain Macdonald has had to abandon Ny2sy: Solo North Atlantic Row after suffering a fall on board his craft. He is reported to have injured his back and possibly his head. Boston Coastguard went to his rescue, 100 miles off-shore; the craft has been abandoned out at sea. Niall was taken to hospital after the incident, which occurred at 8.26pm last night.

Overcast but fairly bright, with only a little wind and a little rain. 16C / 61F is quite acceptable for this neck of the woods. Went for an amble round the harbour, as I had heard that the wreck of the Monaco had been removed. Not so. However, now, only the bow-section remains. Its planking is being cannibalised for whisky casks at the Abhainn Dearg distillery in Carnish, Uig.

Very pleased having attended a performance by the Stornoway Singers of works including Gabriel Fauré's Requiem. Before the break, a series of Romantic pieces were performed by a number of local musicians. Excellent evening.

P6141869 P6141870 P6141874 P6141875 P6141879 P6141880