Thursday the 2nd October 2008 was foul, foul, foul, from lunchtime onwards. The ferries to the islands which sailed out in the morning, were all cancelled for later return sailings. The storms were too harrowing.

A plucky mature couple who had taken refuge at tea time in a local café for hot drinks and warmth were intending to go look at the raging sea before heading back to the safety of their accommodation. The mean hoteliers weren’t turning on the central heating for another half an hour…in those cold stormy conditions!! The rest of the tour party were aimlessly wandering around town to pass the time on their one bleak free day, in the wet and chill, rather than sit in the indifferent conditions of their hotel. They were due to have a two nights sojourn on a boat on Saturday (today) sailing to the Northern Isles. Oh dear. I did try to reassure these people it was going to be good and that all boats on this end of the North Atlantic had extra ballast in them anyway for additional stabilisation. They should be sailing as stable as a boat on a pond. I have never sailed the route and wondered if using a bouncy castle as a metaphor might be more like it.

On Friday 3rd October, there was a covering of snow lying on low lying mountains which the weathermen call ‘hills’. It looked pretty and glittered with the bit of sunshine that there was.

Today, 4th October, the Northernmost areas of Scotland have the coldest temperatures in the country, not much above freezing and an icy forceful wind blowing. And those poor visitors are out at sea on a boat to visit the Northern Isles. At least they should be warm on board and their cabins should be cosy. It will have been a memorable holiday tour for them.

Our trees haven’t got the message yet that Winter has blown in and the leaves remain a deep green.



  1. i know that conditions such as these aren’t much fun to endure but i can’t help feeling envious…it all sounds so dramatic, windswept and romantic…perhaps i’ll be fortunate enough to experience it all for myself one day.

  2. It is dramatic, windswept and, depending on your personal tastes, could be romantic. For me, it can be related to the stormy, taciturn, ‘Heathcliffe’ character in Emily Bronte’s work, and the bleakness she describes of the Moors. It is strange though, to have such weather conditions while the trees aren’t bare, most of them have not even been on the point of turning into Autumn colours.

    In Pompey I was privy to major sea storms, including the night Edward Heath’s boat went down with all hands lost. The Esplanade was a no-go area for two or three days. You must see some storms yourself within your own environment. It is a softer landscape down in Hampshire.

    It is a different view here, for a start there is an horizon that is seventy-five per cent sky. The visual effect changes the aspect. Some people go to the North Pole to see the kind of panorama that already exists in the U.K.

  3. we do have some decent storms down here, which i love, but the landscape isn’t bleak enough to make it truly magnificent.
    i like the idea of witnessing a massive storm somewhere remote and relatively uninhabited, perfectly free to witness nature’s fury.

  4. Your description of the global view of nature’s fury is evocative.

    Here, apart from going to the harbours (sea shores would not be a good idea in a storm) you can wander through sand dunes of some height and view a storm or two that way. Or, go even higher and look down on events unfolding. Less dramatic than the depiction of Turner’s Storm At Sea, but pretty close to it, I would think. Exposed cliff tops might not be advisable.

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