Friday, 28 April 2006


<![CDATA[ This week, we're having a new moon. The combined forces of sun and moon therefore bring about a spring tide. A level of 5 metres is pretty high, but as the weather is quiet at the moment, today's high tides passed off without incident. The low tides were the lowest I have seen so far in Stornoway (not been observing for all that long), but they did help to reveal a small piece of the town's history.

This unsalubrious image shows the Inner Harbour. My interest focuses on the set of stepping stones which sit in the middle of the flow of water, towards the bottom of the picture. This water is actually NOT salty, it's the outflow of the Willowglen Burn. Until the policies of the Castle Grounds were established in the 19th century, residents from Lochs and Harris would arrive in Stornoway by crossing the Inner Harbour via these stepping stones.

The low tides also bring a dangerous temptation at the outflow of the Newton Basin, on the eastern side of Stornoway. From the picture below, you might assume that it's possible to cross to Goat Island, in the distance.

Picture below shows a close-up, taken a month ago, of what might have appeared to have been a safe passage from Newton Street to Goat Island.

This afternoon, the situation was similar and two youngsters were seen riding across the sand towards the crossing. Their bikes sank into the quicksand of the outflow, and they could only just make it back safely with bikes and all, without being stuck in the quicksand. ]]>

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