I am starting with this lovely image of the Skye Bridge, because its area features in the grounding of MV Blackfriars at Kyle of Lochalsh, a mile east of the bridge. More of that in a second. Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Sunrise at 9.15, sunset at 15.35. It's a nice sunny day, but colder than the 10C it was yesterday. At 9 a.m., SYY reports 6C. Rain- and hailshowers come clattering by at regular intervals, but they don't deter the birds from bathing in the resulting puddles. Starlings, finches, sparrows and thrushes all continue to spatter in the middle of all the hailstones. Mrs B goes out at 10.45 for a nativitiy play in the High Church. It is reported that the oil tanker MV Blackfriars ran aground at Kyle of Lochalsh at 9.20 pm last night. She was running in ballast, heading for Pembroke, South Wales. Conditions were said to be windy, southwesterly wind force 6 to 7.. This morning, the tanker manages to refloat under her own power at high tide, at 10 a.m.. She is presently tied up at Kyle for an inspection. The vessel, which measures 1,570 tons, is not thought to have spilt any of her 13 tons of fuel oil. Blackfriars hit rocks before, in 1999, in Wales. The map below shows the area around Kyle where the tanker went aground. I hope the seals on Eileanan Dubha didn't get too bad a fright. Last time I was there, in October 2004, the place was heaving with seals.
Map reproduced with kind permission of the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, copyright 2005.
Found an image of the stranded tanker. And there is this ludicrous story of the cats' home in Dundee that was invaded by mice. Have a laugh on the BBC site, which includes a videoclip. The mice of course never went into the cats' cages. Went into town at 2pm, and bought an interesting book from 1960 about William Lever, later Lord Leverhulme, the owner of Lewis and Harris between 1918 and 1925. Also cashed in the Coop dividend voucher, all of £2. Last night, guests had been expected to arrive, but they went to the wrong B&B. They were up from Benbecula to visit relatives, but the list of B&Bs they had received from the hospital gave the wrong address with Mrs B's phonenumber. So they turned up at another B&B, which of course wasn't expecting them. To add insult to injury, although the other place did take them in, they were searched twice by police, because a mobile phone had been reported missing at that establishment, from the very room that family were in. When I walked back from town, I noticed a long line of vehicles waiting to board the ferry. This was at 2.45, and I thought they'd either missed the ferry or the boat was late. It was late, as it came round Holm Point just as I walked up Newton Street. One of the lorries contained a reindeer troup from Rossshire, who had taken part in a Xmas party at the Newton and Sandwick Community Centre last night. Showers continue on and off all afternoon. Have a nice and lazy evening.