View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Tuesday 13 May

Post #2900 on Atlantic Lines. Things have changed a lot since I first started blogging ten years ago this coming October. From one post a day as a diary, I progressed to a dozen posts a day until 2008. Then I had to move from Northern Trip on AOL to Atlantic Lines on Blogger. At the moment, I am posting on Facebook and transcribe some of that output on here, with a few choice pics.

Anyway, it was a nice sunny day, although not quite as warm as it could be. Did spend some time outside, doing nice things with plants and flowers. Another tug appeared by late afternoon, towing a large barge.

Monday 12 May

First thing this morning, a tug appeared in port with an ugly lump of rust in tow. Seems to be something for the improvements to the harbour.

Brilliantly sunny this morning, with a gentle breeze and 12C / 54F on the thermometer. Not very pleased this morning - camera has decided to give up the ghost. After it had been cleaned out twice before, it was once again developing spots on the pics; and now the lens assembly won't come out upon switching on. Fortunately, I do have a back-up camera. My normal camera did come back to life later in the day.

Sunday 11 May

Afternoon all from a bright and sunny Stornoway, if it wasn't for those ominous cumulus congestus bubbling up I'd go for a walk. However, cumulus congestus are the precursor to cumulonimbus or showerclouds - and I've been soaked already this week, so I'll just continue with my Roll of Honour project.

Happy Mothers Day to all - in the US and on the European mainland. Those in the UK celebrated Mothering Sunday in March, but OK, happy mothers day to y'all too :-)

Went for a walk round the town centre with the aim of photographing a number of informative paving slabs. Outside half a dozen premises in Cromwell Street, one of the oldest streets in the town, paving slabs were laid down a few years ago which commemorate previous occupants or businesses. I specifically did this on a Sunday, as there is nobody about on that day of the week. The complete collection can be viewed here.

Hello puss, you're inquisitive, aren't you? Came into the kitchen for a nosey round, even meowed to get in. Like he belongs here. Well, he was quite happy to pussyfoot away into the evening. I wonder if it was the same cat that accosted two men across the road the other day, holding up the traffic as they tried to get it to move on. They finally hoisted it upon to the seawall, then dashed across to their vehicle and drove off. The cat was left in the middle of the road, looking bemused at the car disappearing into the distance. It's friendly. With EVERYBODY!

Saturday 10 May

Morning all from an overcast but otherwise bright Stornoway. It's very glary out there and the air is very clear: I can make out the Applecross hills, 60 miles to the southeast.

Right. So you turn up at the ferry terminal and are confronted with a sign, telling you that the ferry terminal is closed and to go to pier number 1. What if you are not local? And even some locals don't know where pier number 1 is. The references to the ferry on the roadsigns around town have been blacked out, but there is (as yet) no signage towards pier n° 1. Another complaint that has reached me is the gangway onto the ferry itself. This is pretty steep, depending on the state of the tide, and has these horrible steps. I don't know who to speak to about this, but hope this gets picked up by those in charge of the harbour works here in Stornoway.

Friday 9 May

Morning all from Stornoway, where it is tipping it down. Went out to take pictures of the cruiseliner Ocean Nova (tied up along the near side of pier no 1) and a downpour started just as I wandered into the town centre. I also went to the Coastguard station, where the heavens really and truly opened. My pic of the Voyager, anchored in Glumag Harbour, is decidedly unclear on account of the heavy rain. In other words, if you are getting soaked, do so in style. No, I didn't put on my waterproof trousers, because it looked so nice when I went out. Except for that curtain of grey over the Castle Grounds as I walked into town. I pity those cruise passengers huddling in the bus station, holding umbrellas aloft. Poor things.

On Sunday, it will be 111 years ago since my grandfather was born. He left us 36 years ago in August. When I think of him, I smell cigars and see the flat he and my gran occupied all those years ago. I see the 1971 VW Beetle he drove - and the woodcraft which filled his hours in retirement. I also see the smile and hear the laugh of my grandmother, who followed him out of this world 20 years ago last March. And, of course, I remember my mum, their daughter, now gone 6 years.

Thursday 8 May

Morning all from SY, where it's overcast with a chance of a shower. The ferry has made its last departure from pier no 3 this morning, and will return this afternoon into pier no 1. Ferry arrivals and departures in and out of Stornoway will now be from pier no 1 until further notice. Pier number 1 is located along South Beach, near the Caledonian Hotel, where the MV Clipper Ranger normally docks during the daytime. Just been down to pier no 1 where the ferry has made its first appearance after its relocation. The marshalling area looks very, very small, and I dread what might happen this summer, when it gets really busy.

Spoke to someone who crossed over from Ullapool this evening, who described the arrangements on either side of the Minch as less than perfect. The gangway at Stornoway is unsuitable for any but the most nimble-footed, and the marshalling area by the look of it totally insufficient. In Ullapool, bus passengers are dropped in the carpark where ferry vehicle traffic is marshalled, adding to the pressure. How this is going to pan out during the summer months does not bear thinking about. Why this could not have been postponed for (or brought forward by) 6 months, to avoid inflicting this on our summer tourist trade is not for me to answer. Let's hope my gloomy prediction does not come true.

Wednesday 7 May

Afternoon all. It is showery and wet here today, with the odd chink of brightness breaking through. Not much doing in terms of local news, except that tomorrow will see the ferry relocating from pier no 3 to pier no 1 as of the afternoon sailing. Am continuing with my digitisation of the Roll of Honour, now making my way through the streets of Stornoway - 600-odd names. On a separate, although not unrelated subject, I have been told that the villages of Barvas and Brue (11 miles north of Stornoway) will get their own war memorial for the first time - I think this year. This will not only include the Fallen from the two World Wars, but also the Boer Wars (19th/20th century). Two other memorials in the island refer to that, and to the Korean War (the memorials for Kinloch and Ness).