Orange Storm Clouds over Islay

It has been raining most of the day, in fact it has been raining most of the month or should I say winter? This winter is the worst according to some locals who have lived here all their lives. I tend to believe them! However, I don't want to sound depressing as we had a few sunny days, although they were scarce. This afternoon I went to Gruinart and did the Woodland Walk, which was enjoyable despite the rain! I saw Roe Deer, Hares, Barnacle Geese and Swans to name a few. What I also saw were snowdrops and one flowering daffodil, the first real signs of spring.

When I came home this afternoon there was a sudden orange glow on the horizon after a heavy rain shower and for a few moments the views over Loch Indaal and towards the west were very spectacular. The sun came through and the light was quite dramatic. A colourful end to a grey, wet and rather windy day. Below the "orange" skies over Port Charlotte and Loch Indaal.

Tag: winter spring weather

Storm Henry Will Bring Further Disruptions on Monday

Calmac issued the following press release: With the arrival of Storm Henry, adverse weather conditions are predicted to affect Scotland's west coast and Caledonian MacBrayne is advising passengers to check ahead on the company's website, social media feeds or app for disruptions across the network. Gusts in excess of 70mph are forecast for many areas across the 200-mile network.

"Storm Henry is set to present significant operational challenges," said CalMac's Operations General Manager Ross Moran. "As with any adverse weather, we would ask passengers to consider whether their journey is absolutely necessary and to regularly check for route disruptions across the network. Our website, Twitter and app all provide continuously updated travel information - our customer services team keeps these channels absolutely current and they all provide the best and latest details of our operations. "We are committed to working as hard as possible to deliver optimal service cover, but with such adverse conditions predicted, widespread disruption is likely."

Despite the tail end of Storm Gertrude continuing to deliver difficult conditions yesterday (Saturday), Caledonian MacBrayne's crews battled the elements to run 260 sailings from a scheduled 373 - a total of 69.7 per cent. With a brief lull in the weather today (Sunday), CalMac has delivered additional or amended sailings to Barra, South Uist, Coll, Tiree and Colonsay in an effort to keep these communities connected.

Update 3pm: With the adverse weather forecast for Monday 1 February ALL Sailings are now cancelled on the Islay Service

Find more handy tips in our Ferry Check article

Tag: travel calmac ferry

Tuscania and Otranto Disasters on Islay in 1918

The loss of the British troopships SS Tuscania, torpedoed in the North Channel by UB-77 on 5 February 1918, and HMS Otranto, which sank near Machir Bay after a collision with HMS Kashmir on 6 October 1918, brought the Great War directly onto Islay’s shores. Each ship was carrying thousands of young American soldiers sent to fight on the battlefields of Europe towards the end of the First World War. Many were saved after heroic rescue missions, but sadly hundreds perished.

The preface to a souvenir album of the SS Tuscania Disaster, containing poignant photographs by Bowmore photographer Archibald Cameron, expresses the community’s feelings and actions: “A shudder of horror went through the hearts of our fellow islanders, as in the grey dawn of morning they found the shores strewn with the bodies of the unfortunate victims ... The bodies were tenderly collected and every means taken to procure their identity. Large crowds gathered from all parts of the island to pay their tribute of respect to the memory of the fallen.” Continue reading....

WW100 Scotland Commemoration on Islay

Jenny Minto writes: The impact of the Tuscania and Otranto tragedies in 1918 on Islay cannot be underestimated. The illustration below shows just a handful of the places and people affected by these major incidents in February and October of that year. They show how the whole island worked together to ensure that those who survived were treated with kindness, and those who were lost were treated with respect.

WW100 Scotland has selected Islay as the major commemoration for 2018. We need to start thinking and planning how we as an island want to commemorate the tragedies. Some suggestions already put forward at the meeting in December include: a Tuscania and Otranto Trail, memorial services at each of the graveyards, recreating Archibald Cameron’s photographs and a procession of the Emergency Services through Bowmore. Continue reading....

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