Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Warning: adverse weather may affect everything

If I'd closed my eyes when I was sewing the trimming onto the knitted blanket yesterday, or to some extent this evening, I wouldn't have known if I was in Edinburgh or Iona: the rain was splattering against the windows, the wind was howling and - outside - travel links were rapidly becoming non existent. This first picture shows the stormy waves by Traighmor.

In Iona, the ferries were disrupted, not just the Fhionnphort to Iona one, but also the Oban to Craignure one and some of the others to the more remote islands. I think that a good benchmark for the weather severity is if the Oban to Tiree and Coll ferry is running. Here is a photo showing the sea looking towards Fhionnphort. The ferry didn't run this day - or the day after.

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh the Forth Road Bridge was closed (of course - it always is whenever there were extremes of weather, though they are very good about opening it for shortish periods). The tv news showed gruesome pictures of it flexing in the stormy winds. But, which is far more unusual, the airports in Edinburgh and Glasgow were closed, even Waverley Station was closed, which made transport even more challenging then usual. The tv news reported that about 850 trees were blown down throughout Scotland and that's not counting the lorries or bits of roofs making a break for it and there were about 15,000 homes which had their electricity supply disrupted - I found later that it took up to four days to get the electricity reconnected.

Back in Edinburgh, I had to venture out, to get to work for the first day back. The wind speeds were horrendous - I found out later that a speed of 102 miles per hour was recorded at Blackford Hill in the south side. I only had to go a mile or so to work and every step was a struggle. The wind seemed to want to force me into the road, which I didn't really want at all - I rapidly adopted a crab like scuttle next to the walls, as far away from the road as possible and my hat blew into a puddle.

Caledonian Macbraynes managed to get a couple of ferries running, much to my admiration and the transport links gradually got back to normal.

The islanders take advantage of the aftermath of storms to gather seaweed as fertiliser for their gardens (plus it helps prevent the top soil blowing away). The picture below shows an islander down near the jetty collecting seaweed for her garden. All the boats have been brought on land to prevent storm damage - a remarkably sensible precaution, considering just how horrible it has been!

Living in Scotland in the winter certainly makes people philosophical. There are some green spikes in the ground showing that the bulbs are beginning to grow, as a harbinger for spring and, really, I can't wait until the weather is calmer and warmer.