Monday, 28 January 2013


The British government have announced that HS2 will produce tens of thousands of jobs in the UK economy. On their Number10gov twitter account, the tweet reads: is a ‘catalyst that will help secure economic prosperity & support tens of thousands of jobs’ says PM

HS2 is also the postal code for rural Lewis, an open goal in this context.
Well, it’s good to finally see some recognition of the contribution made by the men and women of the rural parts of this island. Whilst not negating the similarly worthy contributions from the folk of Stornoway (HS1), it is particularly rewarding, after so many years, decades and centuries of neglect from Westminster, wilful or otherwise.
We can now look forward to the construction of some proper infrastructure, with HS2 being the high speed rail link, running from Butt of Lewis station in the grounds of the lighthouse down the west coast machair, or parallel to the A857, to Barvas Junction, where a low-speed spur runs over the moors to Stornoway. HS2 continues southwest to Carloway, where a subsea tunnel will take the line to Miavaig and Timsgarry Central. After rounding the bay, the line is expected to pass through Mangersta Outer, Islivig and Brenish. Another tunnel will take the trains under the outflows of Lochs Hamnaway and Tealasbhagh to Huisinish, from where HS2 will run down the fifteen miles to Tarbert Central.
HS1 meanwhile will also start at the Butt of Lewis, and speed south along the east coast of the island to North Tolsta. Hugging the line of the main road into town, the line will cross the Cockle Ebb from Tong to Steinish, and enter the town of Stornoway along the line of the Sandwick Canal. Stornoway Central will be located on the seafront, outside the ferry terminal. In order to mitigate the inclines that are met upon leaving Stornoway in a southerly direction, the line will retrace its course as far as Tong, then veer off to the west and south, gradually gaining height through Laxdale. HS1 will then run fairly straight across the moors towards North Lochs and South Lochs, crossing Lochs Leurbost and Erisort by bridge. Finally issuing along the shores of Loch Seaforth, the line will then make for the Harris Hills. The Clisham range will be tunnelled under, meeting the HS2 at Ardhasaig Junction before making for Tarbert Central.

Ach well, we can but dream…

Monday, 14 January 2013


Best wishes for a prosperous and healthy 2013

Where the vagrant prince
once refuge sought -
he was declined
yet not betrayed

The old farmhouse
on the peninsula
just off the moorlands
overlooking the town

Were it to return
it would be suspended
many feet
in the air

The tranquil loch
laps the shore
by the side of the road
under the monument

A path runs on its banks
to a remote
yet beautiful
quiet inlet

The lighthouse beyond,
at the peninsula’s end,
signalling the entrance to
the harbour bay

Its light never reached
to where many were once lost
although but a mile away
at the reefs of the Beasts

Heavy industry thunders
shrieks and grinds
cutting and welding
for oil, wind and wave

A revolving door
closed open shut
not reliable for
the island’s future

Not for that
will the diaspora return
Not for a phantasmagora
dreamt up in a distant room

The island remains
Its people come and go
Twice a day, and at night
past Arnish Point