Saturday 30 January 2021

Silent Night

Once again, I sit at my desk at Roskhill, looking out on a dark, still and silent landscape as the fading light from the already set sun once again paints the sky in impossibly beautiful streaks of yellow, orange and blue.

The first strange month of 2021 has almost ended. Government-imposed coronavirus rules and restrictions have meant that throughout the entire month, we have been almost no-where, met almost no-one, done what feels like, almost nothing. 

It is such an alien feeling. Humanity here is almost at a standstill while we wait for science to save us from any further spread of this so infectious of diseases.

We are told that another whole month, and maybe more, will have to pass before anything much - for human life here in Britain - may change.

But the sun will keep on rising and setting. Time continues inexorably. Snowdrops are already in flower by the garden shed, and spring's yellow bounty of bright bobbing daffodils are busy thrusting their leaves through the almost frozen soil. Next will come the bluebells. 

Planet Earth will not stop turning, and every new dawn brings us a little closer to our hopes for the human future - to meet the friends we miss, to hug the ones we love.

But for now - it's another silent night on Skye.

Friday 22 January 2021

Winter Skye

 I imagine that winter affects the landscape and the people, plants and other animals within it, in much the same way in every remote region within the UK. You don't have to be on Skye to experience boggy ground, stark, dead vegetation, or buffeting winds, or the seemingly incessant need to don an extra fleece and waterproof clothing for every foray outside of the cosy comfort of your home between the end of August and the beginning of June. (Actually, on Skye, you may need the waterproofs and extra layer all year round...)

However, Skye does have a trick or two which I reckon places our location a notch or two above most others.

Trick number one - The half-hour weather-reversal. One minute - storm clouds, howling winds, driving rain... Thirty minutes later, blue sky, calm and dry. Of course - it can also reverse the other way round.

Trick number two - Rain here, dry there. 'Here' and 'there' may only be a couple of miles apart. 'Here' can have rain all day, while 'there' remains dry all day. Same applies between November and April if you replace the word 'rain' with 'snow'.

Trick number three - All the weather at once. It is not at all unusual to be getting soaked in a rain shower while the sun continues to shine brightly. The bonus here is a dazzling rainbow.

Trick number four - Weather? What weather...? Skye can put up such an astonishing range of cloud formations you are so busy looking at them, you don't notice the weather at all.

Winter Skye? Yes please.

The photos below are a teeny sample of the winter pics I have taken from and around Roskhill over the years. I promise - they are all reproduced here exactly as the camera saw them. 

(On a PC - clicking on any photo will open a full-screen gallery).

Friday 1 January 2021

Do You Believe In Omens?

Exactly one year ago, almost to the minute, I wrote a blog post describing my first dog walkies of the new decade. I think it was the most eerie morning sunrise I have ever experienced. The post is here: 

First Light 2020

We all know only too well how the year panned out.

This morning, 1st January 2021, Cupar and I walked the same route as on the last 1st January. Today, everything was absolutely normal. To the west, a nearly full waning moon lit-up a pale blue sky, casting a creamy white light on the tops of the few puffy clouds. To the east, the slowly rising sun was beginning to edge the horizon with orange, while straggly grey clouds hung overhead, and a cold northerly breeze blew over the silent moor.

Nothing was weird or strange. All was calm. Now, a couple of hours later, I sit at my desk with the sun up, the sky now bright, and the reeds quivering gently in the field beyond our garden wall. My thoughts are to the overworked doctors, nurses and professionals who must be so exhausted of coping with the demands of their jobs during the long, weeks and months that the world has been suffering the coronavirus pandemic. My thoughts also to the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to the terrible disease. 

Let us hope that the peaceful, normal dawn of 2021 is a good omen, and heralds the dawn of real hope that we will all soon be through this most demanding and challenging period of our lives, and we can soon begin to return to living as we have lived in the past, allowed again to visit much-missed friends and family, and - perhaps most important of all - giving them all a big, warm hug.

Let us hope for a happy New Year.