Dark Skies

If I spent time praising the good weather of January last time, I need to start by describing the storms that February has brought with it. The skies have been dark with rain and winds have been gusting in excess of 80mph. So far this month it has been quite difficult to achieve anything much at all outside other than to repair damage that the storm, or more specifically the high winds have caused.

I mentioned last time that the roofing felt of the shepherd’s hut had become a casualty of the weather and we spent a comical afternoon earlier this week attempting to fix a tarpaulin to the top of the ‘hut, similar to that of the shed the week before. The shepherd’s hut apart from a damp interior has suffered no further damage I am glad to report.

Nicely tacked, and although this looks calm, it wasn’t!
Karen both thoroughly enjoyed the task and this photograph.

The woods have seen trees uprooted and many branches have been snapped. Another job of clearing to be added to the list once the winds have calmed, which isn’t in sight at the moment. In fairness the woods needed some attention and the damage has only prompted us to get in and start looking at what is required.

Some examples of branches down
Last week this was a clear path through the woods at the rear of the Old Manse

I started writing the post before the weekend and before the third storm to hit us, Storm Franklin, appeared. The tarpaulin on the shed roof is no more and that was three hours spent in vane!! I know that Kintyre Firewood reported gusts of 90mph at Machrahanish so it comes as no surprise. I wont show pictures of more fallen branches but ivy has acted as a sail and brought part of a stone dyke with it into one of the hazel trees. A perfect excuse to coppice the first of the three though – be brave as the local gardening expert told us!

The Ivy pulled some stonework down with it
More Ivy removed to prevent further damage to the wall
Initial pruning of the Hazel tree
And after advice from Achamore Gardens, now coppiced down to a foot

The bad weather has allowed me time to indulge another passion, or at least some administration thereof. I belong to a talented group (them, not me) of stargazers on the Isle of Gigha. The Island has virtually no light pollution and registers a 2 on the Bortle scale (I hadn’t heard of it until months ago either). And the name of the group, Dark Skies Gigha.

The dark skies of Gigha

The group has been very active, especially for a small island community, and has attracted official recognition to being a Dark Sky Discovery Site in the last month. Also as a recognised Scottish Charity we are seeking funding and opportunities to link up with Glasgow University. No doubt, much more on this to come!

Fantastic recognition for this small isle

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