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. It was a storm with no name. As we […]
On Wednesday afternoon we had good reason to go to Baugh and so we took the opportunity to park at Crossapol and have a walk along Baugh beach. The forecast for the day was for cloudy conditions and it has been more less accurate. It was a calm afternoon thus the title ‘Calm Crossapol’.
Unlike the Island of Coll, on Tiree there is no long drive to reach a beach. On Tiree in many places you can just step out of your car and onto the sand. ‘Balmy Baugh Beach’ sounds great but there is no way that description would suit the beach today. However, it was certainly mild.
Baugh beach has rocky bookends, but the beach itself is composed from Tiree’s famous white shell sand. This afternoon it was low tide and the sense of expanse is enhanced – not that it needs enhancing.
The waters around the island are shallow and the beach itself is gently sloping – the slope being almost imperceptible.
Oyster Catchers (apparently misnamed) love Tiree and most people on Tiree love oyster catchers. In fact Tiree’s St Ayles Skiff is named ‘An Gille-Brìghde’. For those who do not have the Gaelic it means ‘The Oyster Catcher’. And the colours of this popular Tiree bird are reflected in the paintwork.
Tiree has a resident RSPB Officer and for those with a love of bird life Tiree has much to offer. Migratory birds often use Tiree as a convenient stopping off point. Sitting out in the Atlantic birds that have been blown off course sometimes make landfall on the island.
This afternoon the breaking waves were not deafening. Often it can sound as if an express train is hurtling along the beach. It is not an unplesant sound but it can be incessant.
Although it was a calm afternoon the waves kept breaking. It was fascinating watching the display and this made you wonder what it might be like with a gale force south easterly wind.
Turning round to walk back towards the car how different it was. Ben Hynish was under a blanket of dark grey cloud. This was a black and white world.
The oyster catchers with their black and white plumage were on what was now agrey beach and only their orange bills gave a hint of colour.
As we continued back towards the car the ominous grey clouds dominated the land and seascape. It was like being in another world. Yet. . . .
A glance backward – east along the beach – everything was very different. Blue predominated and as a result the long dune was reflected in the thin layer of water slowly draining towards the tide’s edge.
Creaklin’ and a Rattlin’ – that about sums it up for this weekend. The rafters creakin’ and moanin’ as the slates on the roof go a rattlin’. Yes! It was Storm Aiden followed by the remains of ex-Hurricane Zeta on Sunday. Didn’t we know it.
Friday had been a ‘Ray of Sunshine’ in what otherwise had been a mainly grey week. On Friday evening the wind began to steadily rise. In the small hours of the night the wind was gusting to at least 66mph and the gusts officially topped out at 74mph at 3:00 in the afternoon. It was not just the gusts, the underlying speed was consistently strong.
Looking out of the window the car was rockin’ and rollin’ as it was buffeted by the wind. Any wheelie bins that were not secured took off, while some strained on their tethers. Would the cranes still be standing on the pier?
At one point in the morning there was a sudden squall. It was not just the intensity of the wind, it was the sheer volume of rain. Anyone driving in the squall would most likely have had to stop. Visibility was almost nil. The last time I remember such rain, was when we were living in Oxfordshire and the conditions led to accidents on the M4 and M40.
After lunch the wind started to ratchet up another notch or two. Just after one electric power went down, on Tiree, Coll and Mull. On the Isle of Mull a line had come down and someone had to climb a pole when the wind was at its worst. There may well have been secondary faults as on Tiree power returned at different times. Our supply returned about 6:30pm but for others it was two hours later.
A visit to the pier revealed a Gott Bay that was like a boiling, seething caldron. There was no sign of any waves breaking high in the air over the pier as is often the case. But don’t be under misapprehension, it was a wild scene with frequent intense showers that soaked you in seconds.
A later visit, about an hour before high tide, revealed a similar picture. The main difference that wind, which had swung round to a westerly direction, was leading to the waves almost over topping the pier. The waves were certainly breaking over it.
We were grateful that there was time in the evening to prepare for the ‘Sunday Gathering’ hosted by Tiree Baptist Church on the Zoom platform. We were even more thankful that we had power when the ‘Gathering’ went out live on Saturday morning. For those unable to Zoom in at that time, a recording is to be found on YouTube with a link from the church’s Facebook page.
It was another noisy night with Creakin’ and Rattlin’. The idea was to sleep, but any time we woke you were conscious just how rough it was outside. Happening to look out the window in the morning, we observed that we had suffered some storm damage. Although at present the house seems to have come though unscathed, our shed had lost several boards.
On Sunday afternoon we thought that we might have a change of scenery. We were thinking about walking but decided against it as the wind was gusting up to 59mph. Instead we went for a short drive in the car. We headed to Crossapol to watch the waves driving in relentlessly and powerfully onto Baugh beach.
From Crossapol we drove to Kenovay and Balephetrish. From the point just before the road drops down to the bay, we could see the spray and spindrift from waves reaching higher than the nearby houses.
There is often seaweed on the beach at the Kenovay end of the bay, but today it was piled high. Evidence, if it was needed, of the stormy conditions in recent days. Shipping may not like the skerries that lie off Tiree, but they afford some protection to the island.
Going back to Saturday evening. Between a gap in the scurrying clouds we could see the full moon. It was called a blue moon and not for the reason you might think. It is the fact that this was the second full moon in the month and not because the moon turned a shade of blue.
Sean Batty, the weather forecaster, stated, ‘The last time we had a full moon on Halloween was back in 2001 – which was also a blue moon – and we won’t see another one until 2039.’ From what he says, to witness a Full Moon on All Hallows evening is a rare occasion.
We don’t know if it was the fact that the Scottish Government told children to stay at home this Halloween or it was the fact that it was a wild evening, but we had no children call at the door. In guidance issued a week ahead of 31 October, people were told guising (going door-to-door in fancy dress) and parties were not encouraged. Instead, people were asked to have safe Halloween celebrations at home
Tomorrow the weather forecast is for calmer conditions. Although there is an alert out for possible disruption or cancellation to Monday’s sailing, the drivers of the remaining floats from Friday’s livestock sale will be hoping that the ferry safely berths. No doubt there will be others in a similar position.
The Creakin’ and Rattlin’ has quietened down a little. Nevertheless, there is something dramatic about such conditions, especially when you have the visibility, no matter how poor, to look out on a seething cauldron.
Bay, Birds, Breakers, Baptist Church Premises, Ben Hynish and Balemartine, Baugh bathed by this evening’s sunset. It is Tuesday morning. Indeed a beautiful November day. And while some engage in seated exercise at The Baptist Church I take myself off and enjoy a walk around the crofting township of Baugh. Hearing the breakers on the […]
Beautiful Baugh. Colourful Crossapol. Take your pick for both names are appropriate. Baugh Beach is often referred to as Crossapol Beach. This afternoon we had a difficult decision to make. ‘What beach were we going to walk along?’ On Tiree you are spoilt for choice. A good example of the action at Colourful Crossapol We […]