Friday, 27 October 2006

First gale of the season

<![CDATA[ Ferry Isle of Lewis tied up in the daytime, a sight normally reserved for Sundays only. The Western Isles got off relatively lightly in Thursday's bad weather. Throughout the morning and part of the afternoon, a northeasterly gale force 8 blew. It rained, but the effects of that were exacerbated by the force of the wind. Calmac had decided not to run any ferries at all to Ullapool. A northeasterly wind blows be directly across the path of the ferry, and would have made it very uncomfortable and risky.

Today, Friday, the weather is wet and windy, although the force 7 was less than yesterday and there is a ferry service. Needless to say, though, the ferry is running more than an hour late as a result of the conditions. There appeared to be a large degree of panic-buying going on in the supermarket, judging by the huge queues at the check-outs. Longest I've ever seen, outside the Christmas period.

I was surprised to note the extent of the flooding in Kirkwall, along Junction Road and other places in the town. I know Kirkwall fairly well, following a four-week sojourn there in September 2004. I wish all in that town and elsewhere in Orkney, Shetland and mainland Scotland luck with the clear-up of the mess. ]]>

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Turbine overboard!

<![CDATA[ The German registered vessel Lass Moon put into Stornoway this morning, carrying windturbines for a small project on the Arnish Moor. The only problem was that several parts of the three turbines destines for the site along the Lochs Road were lost overboard in adverse weather. The Lass Moon was transporting the turbine sections from a fabrication yard in Denmark.

These turbines have seen the North Sea twice over, as their fabrication was commenced at the Arnish Yard early this year. After the yard's operators, Camcal, got into financial difficulty, the partly finished turbines were transported to Denmark for completion. Gales in the North Sea and North Atlantic caused some of the turbines to wash overboard.

This means that the proposed date for commissioning the windfarm on the Arnish Moor will have to be put back from next month into 2007. Its operators, Forest Invest Management, have expressed disappointment at this setback.

Below picture shows the Lass Moon passing the Arnish Lighthouse on its way into port at 11 a.m. this morning.


Monday, 16 October 2006

Winter Timetable

<![CDATA[ A reminder for travellers in the Western Isles that buses and ferries revert to a winter schedule, starting on Monday, October 23rd. Bus services will be slightly less frequent than during the summer period, although the only major decrease in frequency (within Lewis and Harris) is noted on the Stornoway to Tarbert and Leverburgh route.

Passengers for the early ferries at Tarbert or Leverburgh will be required to book a taxibus service before 17.00 hours the previous day at Stornoway Bus Station. The fare has to be booked in person and paid for. The first scheduled bus to Harris will not leave Stornoway until 12.30 (p.m.) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, this will be at 10.00 (a.m.).

Bus timetables are available free of charge from Stornoway Bus Station as well as Tourist Information Centres. The timetable can also be viewed at the Comhairle nan Eilean Siarwebsite, for both Lewis & Harris and the Uists.

Ferry timetables can be obtained from any ferry terminal, TIC or from the Calmacwebsite. ]]>

Friday, 13 October 2006

Sunset images



Poisonous playpark

<![CDATA[ A playpark on Bayhead in the centre of Stornoway was closed on Thursday after preliminary investigations found elevated levels of heavy metals like lead in the soil. Council official stressed that this was a precautionary measure and that the risk to users of the playpark, children up to age 6 and their parents, was minimal.

Apparently, the site of the playpark used to be a dump. Further investigations will have to reveal how serious the pollution is.


Tuesday, 3 October 2006


<![CDATA[ Just wanted to share some pictures of Ness, taken just over a week ago.

Cross Church

Port Sto, between Eoropie and Butt of Lewis Lighthouse

Rock formations off the Butt of Lewis

Dunes at Eoropie Beach ]]>