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Hebridean journal

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Thursday 14th June 2007

After another night of poor sleep rewarded by wonderful skies the sun gradually began to peep over Upper Bayble at 4.31 a.m.

Half an hour later it had still to work its way through the clouds but the effect was magnificent. Fortunate are they who live with views like this.

And by 6.15 a.m. the prospect of another sunny day was evident.

By 9.50 a.m. the mountains of the mainland were as clear as they had been all fortnight.

The peninsula of Point is separated from Stornoway by the Braigh, a narrow strip of land running between Broad bay on the right and Loch Braigh na h-Aoidhe on the left.

This is looking from the Braigh across to the mainland on the left, the Shiant Islands in the middle and South Lewis on the right.

This is the Lewis War Memorial to the dead of Two World Wars, so situated as to be seen from all the parishes from which they came.

We called at the Ferry Terminal to get my ticket for tomorrow and while there I photographed the wooden model of a Lewis chess piece.

Then it was once more back across the Braigh.

But then GB took a diversion and we had a look at Broad Bay from Aignish. In the distance can be seen Tolsta Head.

And across the Bay in this photo can be seen the highest point of North Lewis – sorry GB , I’ve forgotten its name.... Please e-mail ‘Forgettenitall@beenthere/’.

We then crossed over the main road to the Swordale side from whence the mountains of Harris could be clearly seen.

Would you let your child moon at a tourist like that?

Again we can see the mainland, the Shiant Isles, and South Lewis.

On a day like today the mainland doesn’t seem so far away from Tigh na mara.

After another lovely day the sun finally disappeared at 10.25 p.m., leaving a clear sky and the promise of another fine day for the island.

But there was still enough light for a final view of the bay before our departure on the early ferry tomorrow.

At 10.45 – just as I was heading for bed – GB called me out to the garden again to see Mr Tiggywinkle. Sadly the Hedgehog is not such a romantic character as he may seem, and certainly not a boon to the island. It was imported fairly recently by man. spread like mad and is damaging the native wildlife – particularly by taking the eggs of nesting birds.

There are, in fact, only two definitely native land mammals in the whole of the Western Isles, red deer and otter. The rabbit, blue hare, hedgehog, brown rat, black rat, feral cat, polecat and American mink were all introduced by man. (The origins of voles and mice are uncertain.) There are claims that the Stornoway castle grounds are home to bats. In addition, there are farmed animals such as sheep, cattle and a few pigs.

The decision by Scottish Natural Heritage to cull the hedgehogs on Uist has caused a furious reaction across the world. SNH claims there is no alternative because the hedgehogs are eating the eggs and the young of rare wading-bird populations, but critics say that they could have been relocated to the mainland. Charities have stepped in to rescue the hedgehogs, and a campaign called Operation Tiggywinkle has offered islanders #5 for each hedgehog they hand in. So far, the cull has not been a huge success. SNH officials have managed to kill only about 30 hedgehogs.

Night night!

Posted by tigh-na-mara at 12:01 AM BST
Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007 3:45 AM BST
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