View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 19 September 2014

Tuesday 16 September

Hurricane ‪Odile‬ has hit Baja California head-on, and there has been no update on the BajaInsider website since midnight local time, 10 hours ago. The airfield at Cabo San Lucas has stopped issuing weather reports twelve hours earlier. I just hope all are well over there. Odile reportedly carried winds of 110 knots / 130 mph at landfall, and is the strongest storm to hit the peninsula since 1948. The system will now slowly weaken as it drags the length of the peninsula, 1000 miles or 1670 km. Odile will turn up at the US border, in southern Arizona, on Friday, no longer a tropical cyclone but certainly a very wet area of low pressure.

Two days of campaigning left in the Scottish independence referendum. I take the liberty of echoing HM Queen Elizabeth II - people should think very carefully about their future. Without attribution I'll say this: If you feel passionately that Scotland should be independent, go for it. Shout it from the roofs, plaster the streets with your views. It's a free country. If you feel that Scotland should stay part of the UK, shout it from the roofs and plaster the streets with your views. That's the beauty of democracy. Thursday's the day. 18 September 2014. Speak then, or be forever silent. There will not be another chance. Not to rejoin the UK, nor to go for independence at a future date.

I went on a boattrip today from Maraig (Maaruig) in North Harris. A small powerboat took 5 passengers, including myself, on a two-hour tour of Loch Seaforth. This showed a close-up view of South Pairc, a derelict area of the island which is normally only accessible after a lengthy walk from the nearest road. Weather was dry, but with variable amounts of cloud. Fair bit of splashing going on, which prompted the skipper, from the Scaladale Centre, to slow down his craft.

Before setting out from Maraig, I had nearly 3 hours to spare, which I filled in by walking up the path towards Urgha. At the highest point, above the Laxdale Lochs, I had a lovely view of said lochs. A group of mountain bikers turned up, who were doing a circuit from Tarbert to Maraig, round to Reinigeadal and back to Urgha via the postman's trail.

More pics here

P9160296 P9160293 P9160285 P9160275 P9160266 P9160261 P9160251 P9160250 P9160241 P9160235 P9160231 P9160228 P9160226 P9160219 P9160221 P9160213 P9160204 P9160199 P9160196 P9160186 P9160182 P9160173 P9160168 P9160160 P9160157 P9160150 P9160148 P9160144

Monday 15 September

Hurricane Odile made landfall near Cabo San Lucas, at the southern tip of the peninsula of Baja California, at 0445 GMT this morning (that's around 9pm local) with maximum sustained winds of 110 knots or 130 mph. The storm will pass along the entire length of the peninsula, and will finally die at the northern end of the Sea of Cortez, which separates Baja from mainland Mexico. I expect that the southwestern USA will see a lot of rain from this system at the end of the week. 

Sunny but not windless in Stornoway. Mercury up to 16C, so another lovely day in store. And it'll carry on like that through the week, until Friday. I think - and hope.
I do not understand this. It is well known that Stornoway gets 18 ft tides at the equinoctial high tides, so that should have been factored into the design of the pontoons...

P9150117 P9150120 P9150127 P9150126

Sunday 14 September

Four days left of the referendum campaign. I remember the day when there was 500 days of it left. I remember an on-line buddy in Australia bemoaning the fact that he was having to endure six weeks of electioneering, upon which I mentioned the 420 days left my end. I am pleased to spot this headline that Alex Salmond will spare us another referendum if it's a no on Thursday. Irrespective which side you're on, there is a good deal of polarisation going on, people being set against each other, falling out. Once this is over, we'll have to have reconciliation in Scotland. I hope it happens.

A third man decapitated by ISIS in Iraq. I have no words for that, other than to say that Islam is abused by those 'people' for political ends. Islam is not about murder. It says 'you shall not kill' in that religion's holy book as well. Those who seek to justify murder under the pretext of their religion have abandoned their religion.

P9140095 P9140097 P9140102 P9140109

Saturday 13 September

Bright and sunny today, but very hazy. Visibility down to a mile or two, can only just make out the hills behind Arnish. Humidity remains high, 77%, but the temperature leaves little to be desired, 18C / 64F is good for mid September.

I wonder what the guys from these islands who fought in the Great War for Great Britain would have made of the Scottish independence referendum that is due to be held on Thursday.

The reverend Ian Paisley has died at the age of 88. Dr Paisley was a leading figure in the protestant side of the Northern Ireland troubles, and it took about 30 years before he made a constructive contribution towards their resolution. Yes, he latterly worked with Sinn Fein's Martin Mcguinness, a turn-around that is to be commended. I wish to be spared the near-tearful tributes from the BBC's political correspondent Nick Robinson. Focus on the man's career. That contains enough reasons not to go overboard on the personal aspects of Dr Paisley.

Went for an amble in the Castle Grounds, round from the Golf Club to the Water Wheel, then back via the Castle College. Autumn is definitely on the way.

P9130093 P9130090 P9130089 P9130086 P9130082 P9130078 P9130075 P9130073

Friday 12 September

Another benign autumnal day, with plenty of sunshine, 18C on the thermometer but feeling cool on account of high humidity - 77%. It's also quite hazy as a result. with visibility not more than a few miles. Went into town earlier, and found the Yes and No campaigns busy trying to convince voters to back their side in the independence referendum. After today, only 5 more days of this stuff.

P9120047 P9120055
P9120058 Cruiseliner Hebridean Princess arriving at 10.40pm

Thursday 11 September

It's the strangest of days, ever so bright and sunny, and the airport reporting 18C / 64F. Yet, I can't feel that warmth, there is a chill on the wind and I notice on the weather report that humidity is relatively high, 73%. Curious.

As I type this, it's a little under 160 hours until this blasted referendum starts. Bring it on, never mind the outcome, let's have an end to all this vile bile from BOTH sides. I'm heartily fed up with it.

The 9/11 commemoration in New York and Washington was carried more or less live on CNN and BBC, but only for a couple of minutes. The Pistorius trial, Obama's speech on ISIS and the Scottish referendum very quickly took over again.
P9110039 P9110045 P9110042 P9110046