Sunday, 31 May 2009
Monday, 25 May 2009
When you're reading and writing on-line, conducting discussions and what not, you have to bear in mind that it is a real person you are talking to. Reading words on a screen tends to make you lose sight of that, quite literally. You don't hear their voice, or the inflection in the voice; you don't see their facial expression or general body language. It is ever so easy to take things the wrong way. Or to write in words and phrases that are disproportionate to the discussion in hand.
When someone leaves a nasty comment out of the blue - just delete it. Particularly if they have not commented before.
Let's not lose what has been built up over the past five months, since the BBC pulled the plug on the original Island Blogging site.
In the meantime, the ferry (MV Isle of Lewis) was not going anywhere for most of the day. Its problems with the bowdoor continued to plague it. After staying shut all week last week, the visor was now open since at least yesterday afternoon. By 4pm, it finally sailed for Ullapool for the first time today. With some mighty fed up passengers on board, judging by what was hanging around the ferry terminal two hours previously. The second ferry, incidentally, is MV Muirneag, our cargo ferry.
A restored fishing boat, the Reaper, arrived in Stornoway yesterday evening at 6pm, after a rough voyage up from Grimsay (in the Uists). Today, the museumship had an open day, and all who were interested could come aboard and have a look. Knowing my luck, I came at low tide, so the gangway was quite a steep step down. The boat, 107 years old, was in great condition and a pride to those who maintain and crew her.
The other fishingboat, the Jean Claude Coulomb, was in such a blazing hurry to get in and out for a crew change that I could not get a picture of her.
As I type, the tanker Border Heather is approaching the port, which completes our boatful day.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Mike Bill from Humber Coastguard said,
This sad loss [of a 17-year old on the coast near Humberside, AL] highlights the dangers of tombstoning and pier-jumping and our sympathies are with the family. Coastguard figures show this is the ninth coastal death in just two years but hundreds of incidents happen every year and many end in severe permanent injuries.
We advise people never to tombstone or pier-jump. Jumping from height into water is dangerous because water depth alters with the tide and it might be shallower than it appears, submerged objects like rocks and structures may not be visible, the shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim, plus strong currents can sweep people away.
This activity is becoming increasingly popular and although we realise we cant stop everyone who wants to participate in this activity, we urge people to use common sense and consider the advice on offer:
Think before you jump:
• Be aware of the depth of the water. Remember tides go in and out very quickly – it may start off deep enough but can quickly become shallower
• Be aware of hazards in the water. Rocks, groynes or debris under the sea may not be visible through the surface
• Never jump from any object into the sea while under the influence of alcohol or peer pressure
• Consider the risk to others. Young children may be easily influenced by the behaviour they witness.
(End of quote).
Further advice can be obtained from this page on the MCA website.
We do not need road-maps
to be sure of our direction.
No green lights gee us up to go
No red lights halt our progress
Only the passing-places where we greet
stranger and neighbour with a wave
Yet there are times we long to be snared
in a snarl of streets and bye-roads
Caught in a confusion of choices
Bewildered by the breadth of highways
To drive in the knowledge our journey
will not end on a pierhead
Or terminate on a sandblown track
Leading to a rusty cemetery gate.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
I am bemused by the assertion that Calmac's legal advice has not been published. I have seen it printed out on several local blogs, which to me means it has been published, if not by Calmac. The letter, which I'm checking on as I type, is pretty clear.
I am considering relocating to the Arnish Gun Emplacements, getting food in from Tesco's by special tender to Downie's Harbour and chartering MV Lochnevis to bring me guns and ammo. This is High Noon at the Ferry Corral, and it's every man for himself. Where's my helmet?
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
On the Arnish peninsula, just behind the lighthouse from which this blog derives its name, stand a couple of gun emplacements. They look out over the Minch south and east of Stornoway Harbour, and have stood idle since World War II came to an end in 1945. Below is the view from Charlie's Monument, and in line with the gun emplacements in showing the ferry passing the Arnish Lighthouse.
It worries me to read that the Lord's Day Observance Society are applying for planning permission to restore the gun emplacements. Particularly following Calmac's announcement that they will institute Sunday sailings. Is this what is meant by gunboat diplomacy?
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Source: BBC Highlands & Islands
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Apparently, before Calmac can start Sunday sailings, they have to consult with the community in this island to weigh up opposing views. Tomorrow, senior personnel from the company are to meet the local council in Stornoway. They will, according to reports, also meet with the Lord's Day Observance Society, who are opposed to sailings on a Sunday as it interferes (in their perspective) with the Sabbath.
I gather that following the halving of fares after the implementation of Road Equivalent Tarriff last year, demand for the service has increased dramatically, leading to capacity problems. Another reason could well be the current economic recession and the unfavourable exchange rate between the Euro and pound sterling, which make overseas holidays in Europe expensive for Britons. Therefore, holidays at home are becoming more attractive.
The full story is on Hebrides News, to which I would like to refer for detailed information.
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Switch on Akismet if you haven't already done so.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Sunday, 3 May 2009
The islands are referred to as The Outer Hebrides by the Ordnance Survey (and you would be right in thinking that’s where you live)
As a UK Parliamentary constituency it is referred to as Na h-Eileanan an Iar - however as a Scottish Parliamentary constituency it is The Western Isles - however for Local Government purposes it is referred to as Na h-Eileanan Siar.
This I find ridiculous. Why, in the name of the wee man, can't this muddle be brought into line. Gaelic, English, and even in the Gaelic there is disagreement. So, I am going to be bold here by asking our MP, MSP and Council Leader to join forces and push for a change in the law that will give our beautiful islands one name for all occasions. Which one, I don't care.
Saturday, 2 May 2009
It is reported by local news website Hebrides News that there is a point of disagreement between community body Pairc Trust and the council. The argument centres on the amount of compensation to be paid to the community by developers SSE for constructing the windfarm. The Trust states it has not reached agreement with SSE, whereas the council has gone forth and published figures on the distribution of £7.6m that SSE have put on the table for community benefit.
It is most deplorable that such appears to be the case. Before a decision is taken on approving the windfarm or not, the amount of community benefit should be clearly defined, on order that a proper balance can be drawn up. If it isn't, any such decision is not on terribly firm ground. It confirms my impression that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will have its windfarms at any cost. Apart from the measly compensation, the job prospects (one other possible pro for any such development) do not exactly rank at the top of the scale. We were promised 400 jobs at Arnish in 2005, when the Lewis Windfarm Project was still on the cards.
The Scottish Government have the final say on the Pairc Windfarm.
Below picture is courtesy Flickr-user yobrokkin; it shows the western end of the area of South Lochs where the Pairc Windfarm is projected to be built.
Friday, 1 May 2009
There is a blue-green algal bloomnow occurring in Loch An Tuimpan, Point (at Portvoller). Swallowing the water or algal scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects. Contact with the water or algal scum can cause skin problems. It is a sensible precaution for you, your children and your animals to avoid contact with the scum and the water close to it. For further information, contact the Social and Community Services Department, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Stornoway, Tel No. (01851) 709396
The Scottish Government has given the Health Board a loan of 3.1 million pounds to wipe clean the slate. NHS WI has managed to break even in recent times. The money is due to be repaid over six years, starting in 3 years from now.
I sincerely hope this is the closure of a dark chapter in the island's health service history, and that we can now move forward, without having to look back too much.
Source: BBC Highlands and Islands