Friday, 25 July 2008


Now that 75F may not seem much to some, but it was warm today in the Hebrides. The sun was out, and everybody mentioned how warm it was. I took myself off by bus to Ness, 25 miles north of Stornoway on an errand: to continue photographing wargraves. To this end, I went to the old and new cemeteries of Ness. The downside of the nice weather was the plague of flies which greeted me the moment I left the village of Swainbost, where I alighted from the bus. The fares had gone up, so I'm now paying £4.60 for a return (about $9) covering a 25 mile stretch.

The old cemetery is a wee bit messy, full of stones, flies and dead rabbits. I'm not blaming the bunnies for the flies (they were omnipresent), but it did not help. The gravestones in that churchyard are the hide-outs for snails, measuring almost an inch across. I found 8 gravestones in addition to the ones I had already located in April 2007 related to the Iolaire disaster. A short hike up the hill brought me to the new cemetery, where 8 military graves were found. At one point I feared I was photographing the flies rather than the stones. I beat a quick retreat and went to the beach, which lies half a mile away. Eoropie Beach is famous - see the pictures - and very busy this afternoon. Many young families taking advantage of the nice weather.

Beyond the beach I trudged round the headlands to the Butt of Lewis lighthouse and back to Eoropie village. The bus appeared at 6.20pm to take me back to Stornoway.

Another feature that struck me today was the wealth of wild flowers that turned the area above the shoreline into a sheen of yellow. The machair is a habitat, unique to the islands. It is created when sand is blown onto peat. Peat is acidic and not conducive towards growth of many plants. However, the finely ground shells in the sand neutralise the acidity, leading to a wide variety of multi-coloured flowers.

I have uploaded the pictures, but you'll have to call back for the annotations tomorrow.


  1. ceilisundancer25 July 2008 at 22:25

    Interesting about the peat and shells in the sand, allowing for wildflowers to grow.  Enjoy the bit of warmth.

  2. I looked at the photos and they are beautiful.  That cemetery seems so isolated and lonely.

  3. I wonder why the rabbits died? Off to look at your pictures. Helen

  4. I didn't realize how much I missed seeing Stornoway dear friend until I saw the pictures you had taken. I've always understood why this country takes your heart away. (Hugs)Indigo

  5. Lovely pictures...I love the black face sheep and the lighthouse pictures the best. I can't remember if I asked you before, but do you folks dig for clams when the tide is out?  They really are good!  Linda in Washington

  6. Good Morning...hope your weather is continuing to be nice and warm..Just got back late last night from Edinburgh after a horrendous journey south plagued by traffic jams !!  never mind good to be back. Even nicer was getting to have another look at the photographs from the island.. Is it possible for me to "bag" a few..I make a cards that I sell for church funds and it would be so nice to use some of your lovey island scenes.  Glad that your safely back.  Love Sybil x

  7. helmswondermom28 July 2008 at 05:40

    I'm so sorry you're having to put up with a lot of flies with that warmer weather.  I was wondering if you'd be out searching for Iolaire graves as soon as you got back to the island.  It must be nice to be back there.

  8. The photo's are lovely Guido. I love the bog cotton/ cotton bog...also the beaches....... oh how i wished near enough to just drift along down onto them.
    Hugs Jayne