An Unnamed Storm

As anticipated in the previous post the ferry did not sail to either Coll or Tiree today. Yesterday was breezy but today Tuesday the 8th of March is stormy. March came in a like a lamb but today it has felt much more like a lion.

Close to Scarinish Harbour

It was a storm with no name. As we sat down to breakfast we could see the waves breaking over the headland. Undeterred we set out around 10:30am for a walk around the township of Scarinish where we live. The wind was from the South-East, with a speed of 43mph and gusting to 54mph.

First of all we walked down to the pier. Perhaps earlier on the waves might have been breaking high over the wall of the pier approach but by the time we arrived it was just reaching over the wall and no more. Don’t be fooled, it was wild in the bay. There was a swell running and it was plain to see why the ferry made no attempt at the crossing. Tiree’s pier is one of the most exposed on the whole CalMac network.

Next we retraced our steps and then headed across the Machair towards Scarinish harbour. It was a case of heads down and holding onto one another. It was impressive and most of the photographs were captured in the vicinity of the harbour and the lighthouse.

It is strange how you see the waves breaking high and then when you try to photograph them, they don’t co-operate. It is then that your exposed fingers get so cold and the coldness seeps up your hands.

Although out at sea it was wild with the waves rolling in one after another, in the harbour itself it was much calmer. The fishing boat that was tied up was sheltered from the worst of the sea conditions.

It was time to head back home for a warming cup of coffee. For much of the way home we had to ensure that we restrained ourselves against being blown home or over! How we appreciated the coffee.

Over lunch and into the early afternoon the wind steadily rose until it reached a peak of 68mph at 5:00pm. It wasn’t just the gusts, the wind speed itself was at 48mph. The gusts were powerful enough to blow over breeze blocks and our car rocked back and forth as if it was at sea.

Wild water

About 4:15pm we had set our for an appointment at Crossapol. In these conditions you have to be so careful opening your car door, ensuring that it doesn’t slam into your legs or ankles. Thankfully we had been warned about the danger not long after we arrived on the island.

After keeping the appointment we noted that the grey skies were beginning to break up. It made the sky appear even more stormy. There was even a hint that the sun might make an appearance in time for sunset.

We stopped to photograph the sky over the NATS station (the Golf Ball) on top over Ben Hynish. It brought a touch of drama to the stormy sky.

With the wind from the South-East there was no spindrift at Baugh beach. Nevertheless the air was filled with spray. The bay itself was shades of grey with white waves relentlessly rolling in.

The area behind Baugh beach and Balephetrish is known as ‘The Reef’. It is here that the airport is situated. (It was n’t just the ferry that didn’t make it – neither did the flights from Glasgow Airport.) The Reef was gradually taking on a very different appearance. The South-East wind was blowing the sand over the dunes and onto the Reef. You could see it blowing over the road and on our way to Crossapol it almost covered a stretch over the road completely.

On our return journey an earlier period of rain had dampened down the sand for the time being. In front of us the sky was still black but in the rear view mirror the sky was beginning to take on a watery orange glow.

Instead of returning directly home we decided to take one last look down at the pier in Gott Bay. It was not long after low tide and the waves were still rolling in. In the shelter of the pier approach it was relatively calm. The wind was not quite as strong!

The Reef – with its wind blown sand.
Glebe House, Gott Bay

We were just in time to witness the sun setting. The wind has started to strengthen once again and is expected to peak around 2:00am. Whatever the weather crofters and farmers have to care for their livestock. For some this is lambing time and there are also young calves about. The weather may be exciting for some, but for others it makes their work even more demanding. This is life on Tiree – sunshine and storms.

This is’Life on Tiree’

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