Lewis Lines introduction

Lewis Lines contains all the diary entries from the former AOL Northern Trip blog. This 2004 edition shows the entries for 2004. Lewis Lines 2005 is the 2005 mirror. Northern Trip was discontinued on AOL in October 2008, and moved to this site on Blogger.

The diary is presented in reverse chronological order, but the first entry can be found here.

Friday 31/12/04

Got this idea that my Hogmanay is going to be spent in front of the telly. Have not really organised anything, much to my shame. Saw one couple getting off the Stornoway bus outside the Cabarfeidh Hotel with a suitcase. Might have been an idea. Anyway, the library still hasn't got its Internet back, so after a coffee and a paper (Press & Journal is my rag)I went for a walk up Willow Glen to the War Memorial. It's bitterly cold today, made worse by a biting northwest wind. Willow Glen is a nice park. The War Memorial towers above the town as you approach it from the south. Views very nice, over the town, Point and Tolsta. Returned to town via the hospital and the Co-op. Need to buy 4 days' worth, again, as there is no busservice until Tuesday, January 4. Caught the 12.30 bus on Bayhead, to walk from Balallan to Kershader. Thumbed a car, whose driver promptly ignored my request to be dropped off at Kershader - he overshot by 7 km and dumped me on Eishal Junction. Driver drove at excessive speeds. Although it was nice and sunny, the wind was still cold. Fortunately, an elderly crofter pulled up beside me as I was trudging back, and I returned to Kershader at 2.25. Nothing gained by the lifts! Nice ceilidh on the telly before midnight, with Karen Matheson from Capercaillie.


Thursday 30/12/04

Time for another amble on the moors. Weather quite reasonable - it's dry! Set off along the road towards Habost, from where I headed south along Abhainn Ealaidh to the loch. Some of the stones had been washed off the weir. Proceeded across the fence and further south under the hill at the southern end of the loch. Once past the watershed gained sight of the next loch, Loch na h-Inghinn. Made short shrift of that, and headed up to higher ground at its southern extremity. Had a slightly obstructed view west towards Loch Sgiobacleit, but a nice prospect of Gravir, 2 miles to the east. After lunch, at 1.15, I came across Loch Tobhtaichean Amlaidh. A look at the map showed me that it was just under 4 km to Kershader across the moors; the road route via Gravir is 10 km. Headed northeast along the southern bank of Loch T.A. towards Loch nan Eilean. The jaunt along the shores of the latter loch was convoluted and punctuated by sharp ups and downs. These occasionally necessitated detours to avoid steep drops. Just after 2pm, I finally gained the hill at the loch's northern end. Decided on a slightly different return to Kershader, via the waterbutt. Take a bearing on the square block on the hilltop and keep ploughing through the bog. You will get there. Then keep to the left, and there is a track straight to the hostel.

Tuesday 28/12/04

A Saturday busservice in Stornoway, gratefully used by several people. It was bitterly cold with a steady procession of sharp hailshowers. With each shower, the streets were swept clean of shoppers. A thick layer of ice was left on the roads and pavements. The sun shines quite innocently in between. For lunch I decided on a break in routine, and go into restaurant HS-1, an annex to the Royal Hotel on Cromwell Street. A very acceptable chicken tikka baguette with soup of the day. Big chucks of chicken, seas of tikka. Yummy. Suitably fortified set off for the shopping, to head back on the 2.20 bus. Had hoped to take lunch at An Lanntair, in the town hall, but that's been shut down.

Christmas 2004


Just the pre-Christmas shop to be done in Stornoway. Joined dozens of others ploughing through the Co-op on MacAulay Road. There is no busservice in Lewis until 28th, so need 4 days' worth of food &c.


Strong winds and hail and snow showers made it too cold to walk.


Had a lazy day in ...


Lashing rain and gales today

New Year 2005

Just to reassure readers that I have not abandoned the journal. Stornoway library cannot provide me internet access as their server is down, and they are also waiting for a fibre-optic cable. Net result, I'm nearly a MONTH behind. Bear with me - I've got a riveting account of the January 12th hurricane, where unfortunately 5 people perished as they tried to flee the floodwaters in two cars. The sea washed the vehicles off the causeway, linking the islands of Benbecula and South Uist. It's the depth of winter now, and the weather is barely suitable for outdoor pursuits. I can cope with wind, rain, low temperatures and snow on their own. Not in combination.

Greetings from the Heathery Isle, Isle of Lewis.

Festive period 24/12/04 to 05/01/05

Happy New Year and hope everybody had a nice Christmas.

I've not been very busy at all over the festive period, in between running up and down to Stornoway for supplies every other day or so, and not going out because of inclement weather. On Christmas Day, it was very cold with wintery showers. Now, I don't mind the cold, but with a strong wind, that's asking for hypothermia. On average, the weather comes in three day cycles:

- gales, with rain and relatively mild temperatures (10-13C)

- showers, wintery and low temperatures (3-8C)

- quiet days with moderate temperatures (7-9C)

The wintery showers consist mainly of hail, which can be painful if driven along by wind.

Walks consisted of the odd hike across the moors south of my current base, Kershader. I'll give further details once the computer in Stornoway library is back on-line. This comes from the library in Tarbert, Harris, 40 miles south of Stornoway.