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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse - April 2008

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Double Summer Time

There have been noises that some people want to put the clocks forward an hour all year round, to put the UK on a par with mainland Europe. One local paper has taken it upon itself to spearhead this move.

Personally, I think that is a daft move. The reasons for that are related to our extremely short days in December. Although I am not denying that there will be longer hours of daylight in the afternoon, I don't want to think of a sunrise at 10.15 am, thank you.

Don't forget children go to school between 8 and 9 in the morning, which would be in total darkness. When they go home in the afternoon at present, at around 3.30pm, there is at least some measure of daylight.

Anyone got any thoughts on this issue?
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 11:27

Railing about railings

Stornoway is one of the few places in Great Britain to have held on to its cast iron railings. Elsewhere in the country, they were taken away during World War II for use in the war effort.

A new exhibition, which opened in Museum nan Eilean today, will highlight this aspect of local history. Three years ago, I went on a guided tour of the various pieces of ironwork. They have all been catalogued on this webpage. It is high in graphics content, and will take time to load, particularly on a slow connection.

Stornoway doesn't just have cast-iron railings, its guttering and downpipes are also made of it. Most of it was made in the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, which had a catalogue full of moulds. The difference with wrought iron is that no piece is the same in wrought iron, as it is hand-crafted.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 22:15

Stornoway Sunday

What does Stornoway look like on a Sunday afternoon in April?

Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 12:04

Service charges

The above picture shows the public toilets in Perceval Square in Stornoway, embellished by the Christmas Decorations last December. In recent times, the square has echoed to the sound of jaws slamming to the floor as those seeking relief from a call of nature read a statutory notice from Comhairle nan Siar. The Town Fathers announced that spending a penny would now cost thirty-five pennies, rather than the twenty it costs at the moment.

Shocked islanders came close to losing control of their bladders and nearly unanimously voted the idea down the pan. Flushed with embarrassment, the Comhairle hurriedly announced that there had been an error and that the price hike was in fact going to be just five pence, not fifteen.

I think it's taking the p to charge people twenty-five p to take a p.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 12:53

Around Arnish

And that is purely the area around the lighthouse and the Fabrication Yard, nothing personal regarding this blogger.

Last Friday afternoon, I went for an amble from the Fabrication Yard to the lighthouse - I hope the sheep that was entangled in fencing wire at the lighthouse was tended to. Afterwards, I went over to Tob Leireabhat, a small inlet about a mile south of the Fabrication Yard. Very pretty. I visited it in 2005, at a time when I made more frequent forays into the island's interior. Here are some pics.

Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 21:34

North Lewis Windfarm

The planning application for the North Lewis Windfarm has been refused by Scottish ministers, on the grounds that it is in breach of European directives on wildlife habitat.

Developers LWP are bitterly disappointed as the project would have created "hundreds of jobs" in Lewis and in Scotland generally.

The Energy Minister has affirmed his commitment to renewable energy projects in the Western Isles, restating his belief that the area has a vast potential in that field.

I have never hidden my negative view of the North Lewis Windfarm, because it's simply too big, in all respects. I am NOT opposed to windpower as such, and hope that smaller projects (such as the ones proposed for Tolsta, Point, Ballantrushal, Galson and Horshader) will make a valuable contribution to the local economy as well as ecology. I also believe that now is the time to actively pursue a policy towards marine-based projects (like the tidal generator being developed at Shader, Barvas, as well as the Pelamis wave-power generator).
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 11:22


In the wake of the rejection of the planning application for the North Lewis Windfarm, Western Isles Council has protested that it acted in the best interest of the islands. Even though the vast majority of people were opposed to the scheme, the Council steadfastly held firm to its convictions and attempted to force the scheme through.

It is of course a local authority's duty to keep an eye on the greater picture and endeavour to do the best for its area. However, the primary reason for rejection for the windfarm was in evidence from 2004 onwards, when the planning application was launched. It is therefore far from the islands' interests to have millions of pounds squandered on a planning application which was fatally flawed from day one.

From my personal perspective, it is breathtakingly myopic to put one's eggs all in the one basket (that of wind energy), and not take a broader view. I had an inkling of hope in the wake of the announcement by the Scottish Energy Minister that he was rejecting the application, when the Vice-Convener announced that he was disappointed, but that a wider view would now be adopted in its renewables policy. Not so, I have to note.

On May 13th, a public inquiry will be launched into the Eishken Windfarm application, in which the Council is reported to be scathing about the RSPB - which is not allowed to speak at the inquiry. The Eishken Windfarm is in close proximity to a designated National Scenic Area. Following a number of amendments, the Council has approved a scheme of 53 turbines.

There is yet hope for those who are opposed to the idea of windfarms in Lewis. If an interconnector is not deemed to be viable now that the North Lewis scheme has fallen through, the other two windfarms (Park and Eishken) will not be able to be built.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 21:27

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