1 EAGLETON NOTES: August 2016



Wednesday 24 August 2016

Transocean Winner

In my last post I said that I'd show some pictures of the oil rig that ran aground on the Island a week or two ago. I should say that if you want to know about the recent drama then Googling the name will supply you enough information to keep you reading for a week. The principal question is why an oil rig (albeit a very small one by oil rig standards) was being towed around the Hebrides in the open Atlantic when there were gales forecast. 

The evening was overcast and by the time we got to the end of the walk it was almost pitch dark. Most of the photos were taken in marginal conditions.

Well here are the oil rig pictures preceeded by some of the terrain we yomped over to get the pictures.

First sight of the rig
About half way there with a few more valleys to cross
I'd forgotten about the 'over the next ridge there's another ridge' when hiking it's so long since I did any.
We had to go round some of the bogs keeping to the higher ground
Lazy beds from an old township long abandoned.
Strangely there's signs of an old building on top of the stac as well as the cairn.
At last the rig hoves into sight.
One of the tugs standing by.
Gaz capturing a wonderful wide-angled photo with the vessel, the rig and the beach.
Supplies just dropped onto the helideck.

Friday 19 August 2016

A Sense of Achievement

I woke this morning to a wonderful misty morning:

I spent the day preparing doors and windows etc for painting and, because the afternoon was so perfect for the garden, did some gardening too.

Gaz had brought me some wood in his vanmobile this morning and suggested that we might go for a walk this evening from Garenin to Dalmore to get some sunset shots of the oil rig stranded at Dalmore. I'm sure you'll have heard of it: when it happened I had messages from all over the world telling me about it or asking if I could see it.

That's a sort of walk I haven't been able to do for quite a few years: rough, boggy, hilly terrain.

The evening came and I was tired and it was raining but we (Gaz, his Father-in-Law and I) decided to set off for Garenin on the other side of the Island anyway.  When we got to Garenin the rain stopped. We walked. We returned to Garenin a couple of hours later. It started raining and did so until we were home again.

Walkmeter is a wonderful app which I have on my iPhone. As we left Garenin I set it going. This is the information it provided (the link for the full information and map is here).  

Okay so people do walks like that every day and think nothing of it but it's so long since I have been able to do it that for me 3.31 miles over that sort of terrain was a real achievement and a great advertisement for modern orthopaedic replacements and the skills of those who perform the operations. It is, after all, only 17 weeks since I had a new knee.

So as I type this sitting in bed wide awake and having the occasional sip of cognac I feel a great sense of achievement (but not even a twinge of pain in my knee!).

The oil rig photos? My next post.

Wednesday 17 August 2016


I've been home for a week. Anna came up with me from Bishopbriggs and, despite the poor weather until Monday, we managed to have a good time drinking plenty of coffee as we did our crosswords at The Woodlands and various other coffee shops in Stornoway. On Monday we spent the afternoon in the garden trying to bring it under control after the wet 'summer' which had encouraged rampant weeds whilst I was away. Tuesday morning at the crack of dawn I took Anna to the ferry for her journey home. What a fantastic morning and day we had. I spent most of it in the garden and the evening preparing the living room for a makeover.

So I have not spent as much time in Blogland nor on Facebook recently. I'm hoping to catch up soon. However as I'll be working in the garden on good days and decorating my living room as well as, hopefully, being some use out at Grimshader my Blogland exploits may be limited to coffee breaks (like now) when the temperature is 21℃ and I need to be indoors out of the heat!

Tuesday's sunrise around 05.30
Livingston Daisies love the sun too

Thursday 11 August 2016

Thankful Thursday: Walking

Last night I arrived back on Lewis from a few weeks away visiting friends and family. In the process the Nighthawk and I have covered nearly 2,000 miles and seen enough motorway traffic to do me for years to come. Travelling in England in the school holidays is a dreadful experience. So a Thankful Thursday post would be quite enough if all I said was that I'm glad to be back safe and sound with all those miles behind me.

However the real reason for this post is to be thankful for all the steps that I have walked and walked easily and free of pain. CJ and Partner-Who-Loves-Tea and I strolled around stately homes and Welsh towns and Chester city. When I arrived back in Glasgow Anna suggested a walk along the canal. Well to be exact, before someone points out that walking on water is not one of my fort├ęs, along the canal towpath which has been given a tarmac surface and is used by cyclists as well as walkers.

It is the first 'routemarch' that I've managed for years and I managed it without any pain in my knee. It was a wonderful experience and gave me the confidence a few days later to walk from where we had parked to visit friends, along pavements into Glasgow city centre and back against the clock. Until my knee problems I'd have thought nothing of such a walk. Now I can do it again without any thought.

So today I'm very thankful, once again, for the surgeons and team in the National Health Service Western Isles Hospital who have so improved my quality of life.

Forth and Clyde Canal

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Lenticular Clouds

Lenticular clouds are a common sight in New Zealand and I've blogged about them before on my NZ blog. However I've never seen them before in Glasgow. Yesterday in the early evening they started to form and I suddenly became very aware of the 'small sky' syndrome that I suffer from when in cities. Being used to the big skies of Lewis it's hard to realise that one's view of the sky is so restricted. Nevertheless I did manage to get a couple of photos taken a good while apart of lenticular clouds over Glasgow.


Saturday 6 August 2016

Human Family

I heard this poem on the television this evening.  I'm not sure of the significance because I wasn't actually watching the television but just heard the words and Googled them. I had to share them.

Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I've sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I've seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I've not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England's moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

You can listen to her reading this poem here.

  © by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

Thursday 4 August 2016

The iPhone as a Camera

Adrian commented recently on one of my posts that "It looks great but a pity you used a camera phone and not a camera. Age comes to us all."  I wasn't clear what age had to do with the price of tripe because I would have though the youngsters rather than oldies like me would be the phone camera generation. I suspect, though, that Adrian has a misconception about modern camera phones. I use my iPhone as a camera all the time: usually for matters of record and for things I want to share with family and friends via WhatsApp, Telegram or iMessage or the like. Most of the time, though, I use my Canon bridge camera or my Pentax K-3.

I'm not suggesting that a phone camera will produce the best photographs but then many of the photos I take with my K-3 don't come up to Adrian's exacting standards (or even my less exacting ones).

However here's a selection which demonstrate what is possible using an iPhone even with my limited abilities.

Flats in central Wellington, New Zealand
Probably the Ground Beetle Carabus clathratu. Grimshader, Isle of Lewis
Glowering clouds over the mouth of the sea loch at Grimshader
The tip of my Parker ball point pen
A Diptera. I wouldn't even know where to start trying to identify which one
The same Diptera
Can anyone guess, or does anyone know, what I photographed in the last image? It's not something obscure. I'd be surprised if readers don't use them frequently. 

Wednesday 3 August 2016


Someone recently asked what my favourite city is. I don't have one specific place but Chester is certainly one that holds fond memories and has played quite a part in my life. It is also a beautiful old walled city. I've blogged before about the beautiful old buildings so today I'll just mention that, on Monday, CJ and I went to Chester and decided upon a whim to visit the Chester Cathedral Falconry and Nature Gardens. I've been to a few falconries in my time and I've not been a great lover of birds in captivity. 

However the visit to the falconry (CJ's blog is here) changed my view considerably. It was quite clear that the falconer, Sophie Pegg, had an amazing rapport with the birds. Instead of being poor unhappy captives I saw the birds as rescued or reared and, if a bird is capable of happiness or contentment, then the birds we saw seemed to be content or happy.

I thought  that I was pretty knowledgeable about raptors and, perhaps even vultures. However the talk that Sophie gave was not just entertaining for the children and parents but also for the relative oldies like CJ (sorry CJ) and I. It also completely altered my view of vultures. They are amazing and, of course, necessary creatures.

Sophie with the vulture named Tinker.

I also managed a rather fetching head of a Golden Eagle.

Monday 1 August 2016

The Wales of Our Youth Revisited

Yesterday, Sunday, my brother CJ, aka Scriptor Senex, and his partner-who-drinks-tea went to Wales. Between us we have spent a lot of our lives in that country and I have particularly fond memories of youthful visits and stays. 60 years ago North Wales wasn't the half hour drive from Liverpool that it now is. River crossings (by tunnel and bridge) were a greater barrier and, of course, there were no motorways and cars were slower. None of us live in Liverpool now and the journey from the family's home on the Wirral into Wales took no time at all.

Many of our visits both for annual holidays and Sunday trips were to the area near Mold and Pantymwyn and Loggerheads in North Wales. It was accessible from Liverpool by bus and we could walk along The Leete (which until now I thought was spelt Leet) between Loggerheads and Pantymwyn or up Moel Famau.

I've walked up Moel Famau many times but my maternal Uncle Eric surpassed that to see the New Year in one year (I think they used to have a bonfire on the top) by riding his motorbike up the mountain. That was probably the late 1920s. Now there is a wide properly maintained track up the mountain: in fact there are many.

We stopped at the top of the Old Bwlch Pass:

The path up Moel Famau from the top of the Old Bwlch Pass
The Old Bwlch Pass looking down into the Vale of Clwyd with the town of Ruthin in the top right of the picture
There seemed to be as many cyclists as cars on the road
but sheep definitely outnumbered the people
Moel Famau ('the mountan with the pimple on the top' we called it) from the road between Ruthin and Denbigh.
The remains of the monument on the top of the mountain which was built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of George III in 1810.
Photographed by CJ from the same place as the previous photo was taken.