Thursday, 30 September 2021

Lews Castle and a cemetery with a view

After breakfast was served in my room, I went out for the day. I decided I needed a day off driving, so chance to get some walking miles to add to my challenge total. First a look around the Ferry Terminal and the town, the bits I had missed the night before. As luck would have it, a big boat was coming in from Ullapool. Look at that, what a beauty. It is said that when the sea is rough and the smaller ferries are unable to make the crossings, this one carries on.  

Next was the castle, as seen from a distance the previous night. There seems to be water everywhere in Stornoway. I walked alongside the river and found a footbridge to cross it, which led me into the woods around the castle. Looks rather splendid doesn't it. 

I walked all the way around it and found the entrance to get in. I looked through the glass doors, and decided not to go in. I hadn't booked, and I don't have a smartphone to zap the square code thingy, I don't want to be tracked and traced, and I don't want to cover my face. I am quite happy just to take photo's of the outside.

Around the back is a modern building which houses the museum. I am not that interested in museums, so I didn't go in there either. 

What I did do was have a lovely walk through the woods. This little cottage is so pretty with it's colourful garden decorations. It looks like it is occupied, what a nice place to live. 
You can see this monument and statue from a distance but to get close up was impossible. It was surrounded by ordinary spiked fencing and temporary Heras fencing.
It was time to walk out of Stornoway and get some miles in, so off I went along a long road heading towards the airport. I hoped that I might see some aircraft coming in or leaving. I came across Sandwick Cemetery. It stretched a long way out towards the sea. The weather was fine, and I was ready for a bite to eat, so a stroll around the memorial stones and a sit down seemed a good idea. When I got further into it, I saw that it also occupied the land next to it on the other side of the wall, and was in fact double the size which I thought it was.  

A little stroll around Sandwick village and I thought it was time to turn round and head back. A couple of miles up the road I saw a brown tourist sign for a Memorial. Only one mile so I thought I would take a look. I was beginning to feel a bit weary by this time but thought, I'm here now so I will make the effort. I'm glad I did. It was very emotional to stand overlooking the spot where 205 soldiers lost their lives at this point, when their yacht, the Iolaire, hit the rocks and went down. They were returning from war on January the 1st 1919, and they were in sight of Stornoway Harbour. The story is tragic. You can read about it here.    
Seats to sit for a few minutes and reflect. 

The names of those who lost their lives are forever embedded into the flagstones.  
The spot where the boat went down. 

I was glad of a comfy room to go back to after that long walk. Plenty more photo's to follow. Don't forget, it's check in day tomorrow for the International Walking Group. I have yet to add mine up. Thanks for popping in. Catch ya tomorrow. Toodle pip.   ilona


 Three cheers for the Audiology Department, my hearing aid has winged it's way back to me, courtesy of Royal Mail, fully repaired with a new tube. That's a relief. I thought they might have put in a pack of batteries, but no matter, I can get them from our village Medical Centre. 

I have a video uploading, so I'll put that out later. Tatty byes for now,.  ilona

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

A bimble around Stornoway before bed time.

There was still an hour or two of daylight left after I checked in at the Guest House. A chance to have a bimble. A few minutes to walk to the harbour and town centre. A magnificent lifeboat. I would love to look around the inside of one of those. Maybe they could sell guided tours for a donation. 

Errrrr, I have no idea what those signs are about. 

A Stornoway Herring Girl, celebrating the Herring Fishing Industry. 

Zooming in on Lews Castle, across the other side of the water. I must go and see that close up tomorrow. 

The Town Hall. 
Clock Tower at the front of the college. 

I got chatting to two ladies who were washing up in their campervan. They were parked for the night, waiting for the ferry in the morning. They very kindly gave me their well used map as they wouldn't be needing it any longer. Some must see places are circled on it. I found this map useful. As you can see there aren't many 'A' roads on the islands. Only one circular route, most of them were out and back type roads, and very narrow at that. Lewis is the biggest island, with Harris tagged on at the bottom. 
Further down at the bottom are the Uists and Benbecula. After a ferry crossing I went as far down as I could before driving back up again. I didn't have time for another crossing to Barra. 
Here is a good site to explore Stornoway from the comfort of your home. 
I'll stop there and continue tomorrow. More exciting stuff to come. It's a sunny start to the day and I have more work to do in the garden. Click on a picture to bring up a slide show. 
Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip.   ilona

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Don't panic

 I follow Truck and Driver on the twiiiteratta, just to keep in touch with my previous life. I used to buy all the truck magazines religiously, a habit which has been dropped by the wayside. Now I dip into a few online. 

Of course I am interested in the current so called crisis of fuel shortages, and watch with amusement the panic buying. This crisis was manufactured, as with every other crisis which kicks people's arses into action. Rumours spread like wildfire, a bit like Chinese Whispers. The trouble is that the clamour to get whatever there is a shortage of creates a tsunami of brain fogged individuals to follow each other like lemmings. This is what creates the shortage. People are so easily manipulated. 

The downside is that those who really need petrol and diesel, like the emergency services, health workers, key workers that keep the country and the economy moving, can't get it because the pumps are either blocked with two hour queues, or they have run dry completely. Tell someone there is a shortage of something and immediately everyone needs it. 

I had a little smile to myself when reading Truck and Driver tweeeets. Truck drivers are chipping in with their experiences. 

Car drivers blocking the lorry diesel pumps to fill up their cars. Oh dear. A pump designed to fill up a large HGV tank delivers the fuel at a much greater speed through a much wider nozzle. I can see some spillages.

Car drivers should not be filling from HGV pumps (maybe unless they can prove they are key workers?) during this nonsense. There's a safety issue here too, bet there's been a few folk covered in diesel

According to the AA, many more misfuel breakdowns are occurring because people are desperate to put anything in their tank. 

Report that the AA is inundated with misfuel breakdowns as people are just putting "any fuel" in out of desperation inc Adblue Folk have utterly lost the plot. Well, hope they started the engine and ran it, that'll keep them off the road for a while. 

Panicking people are screwing it for everybody. 

A tanker driver tells me this morning that now even they are struggling to get fuel. He said motorists are now queuing at HGV pumps, and he’s running low on diesel. Goes without saying that if even the tanker drivers can’t get fuel, we’re up the proverbial creek.

I didn't have any problems getting petrol while on holiday, and I used quite a lot for the 2,200 miles that I covered. No queue's no shortages. I did a late Aldi shop on Friday night, calling in at the nearby filling station at 10.15pm to fill up my quarter of a tank. Then it all kicked off. There is nowhere urgent that I have to go, so that will last me a few weeks. 

Notice a pattern here? Tell people that there isn't enough toilet paper and everyone wonders what they are going to wipe their arses with. Tell everyone that they won't be able to do anything or go anywhere without a health certificate and they will clamour to get jabbed. Ping everybody on their not so smart phones demanding that they isolate. Makes me wonder what the next scare tactic will be. 

Going to spend the rest of the day outside in the garden. More holiday pics later. Toodle pip.   ilona


A lot of lorry drivers are paid through an Umbrella Company, and not directly by the companies they work for. The biggest company, Giant Pay, has just reported that they have been the victim of a cyber attack, and that a lot of drivers have been left unpaid this month. A couple of notes from Sky News web site. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes here than we are being told. 

Rebecca Seeley Harris, a former adviser to the Office of Tax Simplification, told Sky News that the IR35 tax changes moved the responsibility for making tax assessments to the client, which drove a lot of employers to move their payroll to "umbrellas" such as Giant Pay.

Ms Seeley Harris, who is campaigning for the fair regulation of the umbrella industry - which sits between the contractor (the driver) and the client (for instance, Tesco) and invoices the client on the contractor's behalf - warns that it is largely unregulated at the moment.


 Good Morning. Howzit going for you? Can you speak up please, my hearing is reduced by 50% because I have only one working ear. My hearing aid broke into two pieces on Saturday morning, so I have had three days of limited communication with the outside world. 

The system does not allow me to drive 15 minutes to the Hospital, climb three flights of stairs to the Audiology department, hand it over to a technician for repair, and insert it back into my ear to restore the sound entering my head. 

On checking the NHS web site I have followed their instructions. Place it into a jiffy bag, one that has already been used I might add, take it to our pop up Post Office in the church, where the nice man put it into his sack to be picked up by a Royal Mail worker. 

So now I wait for it's return. I hope it wings it's way quickly to the hospital, and that someone will quickly get on with the job of re tubing it and posting it back to me. 

For now I have to tell everyone I meet that I can't get into a conversation with them. I already keep my distance by raising my voice so there is no need to stand close to anyone. Now my hearing is severely restricted I am beginning to feel really isolated. 

I did a six mile walk on Saturday, it just wasn't the same when I couldn't hear the birds twittering and the breeze blowing through the trees. There was also the uncertainty of anyone approaching from behind. I need to know this when out alone. When one of the senses is compromised you have to bring the remaining four into play. Stop and turn around to look all around. Stop at the kerbside, look both ways to make sure it is clear before stepping into the road. Normally I would be able to hear any oncoming traffic. 

Watching videos is still possible, but cumbersome. I balance one of the speakers on my shoulder next to my good ear, held in position with either one hand, or when that begins to ache I hook it into the snood around my neck. 

With my hearing being impaired the tinnitus is more noticeable. I have a constant hissing inside my head. I need the aid to block that out. 

I hope they repair it quickly. I shall be watching for the post each day. 

More holiday pictures to come, and don't forget we are approaching the end of the month, it is check in time for the International Walking Group on Friday. 

Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip.   ilona   

Monday, 27 September 2021

The Calanais Standing Stones.

I got off the boat at Tarbert at 11.30am, and went to the CalMac office to buy a ticket to travel to the Uists. I was planning to go over on the Sunday and come back on the Wednesday, but because they didn't have room for me I changed it to Saturday and Tuesday. Then I set off  to drive north. I had two nights booked at a B & B at Stornoway, but didn't need to check in till later. 
Although it was a bit overcast and misty there was still some nice scenery to view. I find the most difficult part about driving through Scotland is the confusing road signs. They are in Gaelic with a smaller English translation below. It's hard to make a quick decision on which turn off to take. Several times I had to stop, turn around and go back because I had missed a turn.   

Here is some information about the Stones. Apparently they have been there for over 5000 years. It's a popular visitor attraction. 

I was ready for a walk, so when I had inspected the stones I went off down a quiet road nearby for an hour. 
I arrived at the Tower Guest House in Stornoway at about 5.30pm, and checked in. The landlady greeted me at the door wearing a mask. I apologised that I had forgotten to cover my face. She said don't worry, I have got mine on. We walked straight through the house, out of the back door, and into the garden, where she unlocked a door in an separate outhouse which could have been a converted garage. It was a lovely room. 
She said that she would be bringing my breakfast to me on a tray. I was a bit disappointed at this because from the pictures on the web site I was quite looking forward to sitting in a dining room full of olde worlde character.   
The view from my window. Note the shopping trolley, Tesco is not far away. My car was parked on the road just outside the back gate. I expressed concern that it was on double yellow lines and I didn't want to get a ticket. She said don't worry it will be alright, we don't have traffic wardens here. 

After I had a bite to eat it was still light so I went a walk into town and to look at the Ferry terminal. I'll post some photo's of that tomorrow. If you want to make the pictures bigger, click on one of them and you will get a slide show. 
Thanks for popping in. Catch ya later. Toodle pip.   ilona

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Uig to Tarbert on a CalMac Ferry

There was time for a look around the Ferry Terminal at Uig before bedding down for the night. Finding where I had to check in the following morning. 
There was a boat in so I watched it load up and get on it's way. 

Next morning it was my turn. I joined the queue to get on. 
And we're off. I stayed on the outside deck most of the time on all four ferries. 

And here we are arriving at Tarbert. There is a lot of work going on to update and modernise the terminal. It's amazing how they manage to reverse the boat exactly onto the ramp. 

The first thing I did at Tarbert was to go to the CalMac office and buy a ticket for the second crossing, Harris to North Uist, which I had planned to do in a few days time. 
More pics and videos coming up, if you are still awake, ha ha. Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip.   ilona