View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

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.

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Friday 13 June

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Dreich and damp today. Made good progress with the Roll of Honour transcript, the end is now in sight. World Championship Football has started in Brazil. Defending champs Spain were thrashed 5-1 by the Netherlands, whom Spain beat in the 2010 final. Revenge!

Thursday 12 June

Quite pleased with progress on my Roll of Honour project, now 4/5th done, and progressing through the roll of Fidigary school. Fidigarry is not a village but an area of Lochs in Lewis, encompassing Ranish and Crossbost.

Although the morning started bright and sunny at 5 this morning (no, didn't sleep very well last night), we are now plagued by occasional showers and cooler weather. "Only" 15C / 59F, which is still not bad for this neck of the woods. I gather Germany reached 36C / 97F earlier this week, which resulted in deadly thunderstorms. I still think I prefer the Hebridean weather.

Congratulations are in order for the people of the Isle of Eigg, 15 miles southwest of Mallaig, and about 100 miles south of Stornoway, to the south of Skye. Today in 1997, they gained ownership of their island and they have not looked back. Population is pushing 100, their energy needs are met mainly through renewable energy sources (wind, sun and water) and there is a flurry of local enterprise. On Saturday, there will be a celebratory ceilidh (that's a party with a difference), and I do not anticipate hearing a beep out of the islanders much before Monday :-)

After lunch, a bus pulled up outside. Another bus parked in front of it, and took on board all the passengers of the other one. An engineer in overalls and gloves approached the broken-down vehicle. meanwhile, a Galson Motors bus passed in the background.

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Wednesday 11 June

J.K. Rowling has declared herself against Scottish independence, and a virulent campaign against the author ensues within hours. Send her books back to England, did I read that?

A woman in Clydebank (a suburb of Glasgow) declares herself against Scottish independence, and is subject to abuse from an aide to Alex Salmond. The First Minister apologises, but these two instances give a whiff of the unsavoury side to the independence debate. I just wished it was over and done with. Eugh.

It's been a bright and breezy afternoon in Stornoway, with the mercury currently at 18C / 64F. A tornado, alongside thunder and lightning, was reported from Pabbay in the Sound of Harris, this morning.

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Monday 9 June

It's turned into another sunny day, but hazy and muggy now. We had rain earlier on. 16C / 61F at the moment, with a promise of more. It suddenly got quite warm sitting out in the sun. But then, the cloud moved across. We had some downpours this evening, but here in Stornoway no thunder, unlike the West Side. 

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Tuesday 10 June

Morning all from the land of sunshine and showers. The southerly wind is driving the latter along, and they are pretty heavy when they do occur. A cruiseliner lies anchored off Lower Sandwick, a mile or so to the southeast. It's the Discovery, which has been in before, I believe.

An intrepid adventurer is currently holed up on top of Rockall, a 70 ft high rock in the Atlantic, 250 miles west of here. He is set to remain there for two months, weather and birds permitting. The birds bombard him and his shelter with poo and puke (sorry...); Atlantic conditions can be harsh. The aim of Nick Hancock's enterprise is to raise money for Help for Heroes.

More intrepid charity events include Niall Ian Macdonald's trans-Atlantic row, which is currently underway. He hopes to cover the 3,400 miles from New York to Stornoway in three months, arriving into Stornoway Harbour before the autumn gales set in. Niall Ian supports SAMH, the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Later this month (28 June - 4 July), a group of 9 swimmers will tackle the 60 miles from Harris to St Kilda, once more in the Atlantic. They will be supporting The Leanne Fund, The Fishermen's Mission and Yorkhill Children's Charity. More information on their webpage.

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Sunday 8 June

Afternoon from a bright, sunny and breezy Stornoway. We're up to 17C / 63F, but with a wind blowing at force 5 (20 mph) from the south. I'm now using a different camera, after my usual one broke down on Friday. The cover for the battery and memory card compartment had come away, and I was unable to reattach it. As a result, vast amounts of dust were sucked into the camera as the lens was extended and retracted, and that seems to have jiggered up the workings for the zoom. Sent it off for repairs.

Lovely walk through the Castle Grounds, over Strawberry Hill, this afternoon. It was fairly busy (not on the hill, by the way), sunny and warm. Even with the brisk wind, it still felt like summer. How about 19C / 66F? This year's highest temperature, so far :-)

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Saturday 7 June

Bright, sunny and warm in Stornoway. OK, 15C / 59F isn't all that warm, but it certainly feels like it could get a little warmer as the afternoon goes. on.

Went for a walk round the harbour, and it was pleasantly busy and colourful.

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Friday 6 June

Afternoon all, it's a brighter day, and much drier, than yesterday. Watching coverage of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944 - hat off to all involved, including those who didn't come back.

Camera has decided to develop another fault. I do have the use of another, but it's not nearly as good. The faulty one is going off for repairs.

Very interesting evening at a talk regarding the connection between Flanders Fields [WW1] and the Isle of Lewis. I was mentioned by name by Dominiek Dendooven from the In Flanders Fields institute in Ypres, on account of my work on HMS Timbertown. Went to the talk in blazing sunshine at 7pm, only to emerge into the gloom of haar three hours later...

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Thursday 5 June

Afternoon all from Stornoway, where the weather has pulled a fast one: it's raining today with visibility down to just over a mile. Perfect time to crack on with the Carloway section of the Roll of Honour.

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Wednesday 4 June

Midday in Stornoway sees the sun peeping through a frosted glass-like ceiling of cloud, never a good omen. There is a chilly wind, making a mockery of the 14C on the thermometer. The starling chicks have fledged, and the parent birds are run ragged trying to keep them in grubs. The blackbird chicks have hatched as well, and their parent birds are also run ragged, keeping them in worms!

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Tuesday 3 June

Brightening up here in Stornoway, although some showers seem to be possible. Am watching the heavy-lift ship preparing to lift a large platform on board, which is to be taken to the Irish Sea for use as a weather station for a windfarm.

My WW1 Roll of Honour transcript is progressing apace, and I have now reached the two-thirds mark. The parishes of Stornoway and Barvas have been done. Tomorrow I shall proceed with the parish of Uig, more specifically the townships of Carloway, Borrowston and Gearrannan. Images from the Roll are included on the site; portraits of individual servicemen and -women will be added later.

It's a brilliantly sunny evening here, but with a keen breeze. We managed 15C / 59F this afternoon, but the mercury is dropping away.

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