As I write, Storm ‘Frank’ is wreaking his wrath over our island. Once again, we are experiencing winds that will blow you over if you are not fleet of foot, and floods of horizontal rain are battering relentlessly against the windows. I’ve just been out with Cupar for his late night ‘walkies’. It is as black as a pot out there. Without a torch, I would have to rely on Cupar’s nose to find the way back home – and we are only walking 400 yards on the local road!! Thankfully, we made it safely back home… Storm proof clothing is pretty effective, at least for a 10-minute dog-stretch, and my waterproofs are all now set out to dry, ready for their next outing. Cupar is stretched-out, steaming, by the stove.
‘Frank’ is our sixth storm this winter. Each storm has brought huge amounts of rain, and winds at times gusting to more than 70mph. This kind of weather does not make a line in the national news or weather programmes. Here, it is considered too ‘normal’ to be ‘news’ – though in fact we would not normally expect more than a couple of storms of this ferocity each winter…
However, neither the storm-force wind nor torrential rain is a threat to life here – not human life anyway – though I have spotted a dead sheep on the nearby moor – poor thing. Tonight, we experienced our first extended power cut of the winter – but even this lasted only a couple of hours. Almost all the electricity supply across Skye comes via overhead lines supported on wooden poles, so occasional line breaks are inevitable. However, the power-line guys do an amazing job of fixing faults in the very worst of weather. Big thanks to you, guys!
Our local river has a relatively small catchment area, and the rain that falls here gathers quickly and then rushes to the sea through a deep gorge, so we are not at risk of flooding. Our buildings were designed and built to cope with the wind. We may lose the occasional roof tile, and chimney cowls may not survive too long, but mostly our houses are secure. Our trees are amazing. We have some mature Sitka Spruce on the side boundary of the Barn garden, and a small woodland of Sycamore, Beech, Larch, Scots Pine and
Sitka on the edge of the
river gorge. Somehow, all the trees hang on through every storm, rarely losing
as much as a branch. Mostly, I think they are growing close enough together for
their roots and branches to inter-twine, so they support each other. Together, they afford
the Barn some useful shelter, which I am sure is why they were planted!
So, we shall go to bed tonight with the wind howling round the house and the rain beating on the windows - yet again. And then, I suspect, all of a sudden, everything will go quiet. The weather changes so quickly here. Within 15 minutes a raging storm can became a peaceful winter night. Never know - I might even get a decent photo of tomorrow morning’s sunrise…!!!