Title picture: Cloudscapes, Stornoway, 1 February 2017

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Saturday 5 July

Morning all from Stornoway, where the day started so promising - only for the cloud to bubble up into downpours. Already had three since 10 o'clock. All in a Hebridean summer's day's work.

The showers disappeared to the north, and we are left with a sunsoaked and breezy afternoon. It is pleasantly warm, about 17C / 63F (which is warm by Outer Hebrides standards), so I went for an amble in the Castle Grounds, to discover another path that has been (re)opened around Strawberry Hill. My previous forays in the area were punctuated by much bog slogging, back breaking and knee wrenching, but that is all now replaced by a good path, which joins onto the other path, coming from Marybank, near the quarry. Very good.

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Friday 4 July

Very wet and windy this morning. There is a delay on the ferry from Tarbert to Uig today, 90 minutes which are likely to continue through the day. That route has been particularly busy, with delays due to volume of traffic common. Our service is on the "three a day" schedule today, which sees a final arrival at 2.45 am.

There are now regular warnings about elevated levels of algal toxins in some of our lochs. Today, it's Loch Erisort. Shellfish taken from Loch Erisort could make you quite ill.

In the afternoon, went on a brief visit to the Ravenspoint Centre at Kershader, 22 miles from Stornoway by road (12 miles as the crow flies). It plays host to a small museum, cafe, shop and hostel. I stayed there for a number of weeks during the 2004/05 winter. The museum is small but lovely, full of the gadgets of yesteryear. A portable pulpit, anyone?

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Thursday 3 July

Force 6 from the south today, with occasional spots of rain. Cruiseliner Discovery is in for another visit, anchored off Sandwick. The tenders taking the passengers ashore are fair bucking in the swell, can't be nice for them.

In response to this letter on Heb News: I know this is a problem, and there are discussions on-going to increase capacity on Calmac routes. What this lady is arguing for is an "Air Discount Scheme" for islanders using Calmac ferries. The down-side of any increase in capacity is what to do during the winter months. It is not economical for any company to have assets lying unusued (i.e. just sitting there costing money). Tourism, finally, is a mainstay of island economy, and needs to be encouraged. Without the £50m it brings into the coffers of the islands, we would be in very dire straits indeed.

Wednesday 2 July

Strong winds today, with quite a bit of rain blown along. A complete turn-around from yesterday, also with regards to the temperatures, which have gone down to 13C / 57F. But after 2pm, the sun came out. The wind dropped somewhat and the mercury is back up to 16C / 61F. Quite nice, really!

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Tuesday 1 July

Afternoon all, it's bright and sunny in Stornoway, with the mercury already at an impressive 17C / 63F. We could well see 20C later. Better take advantage of it; tomorrow will see a change in the weather, more wet and windy conditions. It must be hot when shoppers in the supermarket comment that "it's nice to come into a bit of cool".

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Monday 30 June

The St Kilda swim has had to be abandoned, when the swimmers started to encounter 5-7 feet of swell. They could handle it, but the support kayak could not be launched from the support boat, so for safety reasons, the swimmers took to the boat and proceeded to St Kilda to rest up, before returning to Harris on Wednesday.

Another celebrity has bitten the dust: Rolf Harris was found guilty on a number of charges of indecent assault. Like Jimmy Savile, he took gross advantage of his young admirers, and on Friday he will learn his fate. At 84 and in failing health, he will most likely die in jail.

In the afternoon, I was watching the lifeboat hurrying to the aid of a small fishing boat that had suffered engine failure off the lighthouse. The lifeboat took the craft safely back into port; later in the evening the Tom Sandersen  was back out again.

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Sunday 29 June

Isles FM, our local radiostation, has been off air since last Tuesday, after a powersurge or lightning strike. However, I still get the carrier on the 103.0 MHz. Engineers are due round on Monday to sort out the problem.

At lunchtime, the St Kilda swimmers took the plunge from Huisinis, Harris, to commence their 60 mile swim to St Kilda. They hope to arrive there on Tuesday, weather, waves and creatures permitting.

A tragic road traffic accident at Strombane, North Uist, killed the local manager of a haulage firm last night. Everybody in Uist knew William K. Morrison. RIP.

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