Thursday, 28 February 2008

Look back - 2005

Three years ago, I was in the middle of walking in all corners of the island. On this day in 2005, I experienced a sharp change in weather, which we're only too used to up here.

Today dawned nice and bright. At the breakfast table, I look out over the harbour, Goat Island and the derelict yard at Arnish, with the lighthouse to the left. If it’s late in the morning, the freight ferry Muirneag will come sailing past. Had lunch in the town, sitting on a bench under a bare tree. Starlings were chattering in my ears whilst I gobbled up my pizza. I had this notion to go to Ness today, so I jumped on the bus at 1pm with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. Spirits sank as soon as I crossed the Barvas Moor, because the cloud increased rapidly and the rain began. On arrival at Rubha Robhanais, it was chucking it down. Tried to cut across immediately behind the village fencing, but this was too wet. So, I had to walk along the coastline there. This requires caution, because the cliffs are fairly high: up to 100 feet. Crossed a bridge to the small island reserve of Dun Eistean, dire warnings regarding arctic terns, which nest on this islet in the summer. Hobbled down the track to Port of Ness. Went down the village street to the harbour. Children have constructed a wooden lighthouse and there is an art gallery, which, surprisingly, is open today. From the beach, fulmars (a type of gull) can be seen sitting in pairs on the grassy cliffs above, occasionally diving down on me. Rain and wind make it a miserable and cold afternoon, so I jump on the schoolbus at 3.30, rather than wait for 3 hours for the later bus.

2008 notes: The fabrication yard at Arnish is no longer derilict, although since then, new owners have come and gone bust. Rubha Robhanais is the Butt of Lewis, the northern cape of the island. The wooden lighthouse in Port of Ness has since been moved to the Eoropie Dunes playpark, 2½ miles away.


  1. Fulmars...I don't think I have ever seen one of these except in a bird book Guido.
    You must know the island inside out now with all the re-search you have been doing.  I'msure you were glad to get a warm inside the art gallery.  I love looking round galleries.

  2. I don't think I would feel comfortable walking by 100' cliffs in that type of weather.  You actually boarded a school bus??  Geesh, if you were to try to do that here you would most likely be arrested!