Last day of the month, and the weather this morning is bright and fairly sunny. It was lashing down with rain overnight, but it looks pretty cheerful out there. A bit nippy in the wind, but 10C is not bad. Noticed yesterday that the sun rises at 8.50am and sets at 3.40pm. The busdriver was so overwhelmed by my changed destination (Tarbert) that he let me do the run to Balallan for free. Had to wait there for 20 minutes for the Tarbert bus. Glorious journey that, can not get enough of it. At Tarbert, another wait until the little Scalpay bus materialized. Got to the island, via its new bridge, at 11.45, which gave me just over an hour until I'd have to get the bus back in order to maintain my northbound connection. Scalpay is a fishing community, with all the houses strung out along the one main road (which does have some branches). Quite cute really. The road to Scalpay leads past the start of the walks along Loch Lacasdail and to Rhenigidale. Until recently, the latter settlement could only be reached on foot. It's a 3 mile hike across the hills. Returned to Tarbert at 1.15, where I just nipped into the library to update this journal.
The weather today was quite bright, but the instability was plain to see. A magnificent anvil, topping a showercloud, was visible at around 1pm, and a real downpour turned up just as the bus back north was about to leave Tarbert at 3.45. The driver decided that he'd better not risk the long journey through derilict wilderness back to Stornoway (all of 37 miles / 60 km) on a half-empty tank, so he stopped off at Ardhasaig, just outside Tarbert to fill up. God. As we crossed the mountains, darkness began to fall. Lights of other vehicles coming south along the A859 blinked, as did the warning lights of the workmen who are busy doubling the single-track road. Would you believe that there is still a total of 2.5 miles of single-track road on this main road? Oh, it's good fun. Reached Balallan at 4.30, in time for the connecting bus into South Lochs. The southbound bus turned up a few minutes later, disgorging loads of secondary school kids from Stornoway, all heading for home in South Lochs. Checked out the local news at 6.30, to get more background info on the community buy-out in this area. Currently, the land is owned by a private individual who doesn't do a lot apparently. Under new legislation, approved just this June, a community can mount a hostile buy-out, i.e. buy the land from the owner without his consent. Very controversial. Pairc Trust now has 6 months to submit a proposal to the Scottish Executive (this is the devolved Scottish government) who can then approve. They have to prove that they can do better than the landowner. Not difficult, if the present one does nought. I wish them luck.