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Sunday 27 November 2011

Stormy night....

That WAS a windy night!  A maximum gust was recorded on one of the hills on the Orkney Mainland of 130mph at 6am this morning!  Highest average windspeed was 83mph. I have to say I did feel snug in my old stone house with it's stone roof (2 ft thick walls deaden a bit of the sound). Though it was scary hearing the storm raging outside and I feared for the modern extension to the house with it's "picture window"! The old Orcadian builders were very sensible - gable ends to the prevailing wind with no windows in them; small windows set well into the stone and near the eaves. Thick walls and strong stone for the roof.

I've only been out briefly and there seems to be no damage to the house. The hens all survived as did Charlie the Barn cat. Button of course slept through it all curled up on my bed ......sigh..... I woke up several times during the night and put on the radio to drown out the sound! Fortunately no power cuts for us on Graemsay, though others in Orkney didn't fare so well.

The photo above shows water breaching the sea wall at Sandside Bay and washing onto the road and fields. This was the result of a high tide this morning combined with a northerly wind.  We often get seaweed on the road, and some spray but this was something else!

Thankfully the wind dropped during the day, though it is forecast to get back up again tonight. Hopefully not to the level of last night.

However the wind didn't stop the island party going ahead in the hall. More of that tomorrow - I need to censor the photos to protect the not-so innocent ;-)

Meanwhile here are some photos taken at Skaill Bay (near Skara Brae neolithic village) this morning by Davy Sinclair of Stromness.

The tower at the top of these cliffs is at Marwick Head - where all the sea birds roost in summer to raise their chicks! Just as well they would have headed off by now....


  1. The sound of high, strong wind makes me very nervous. I live in a prairie province where it is almost always windy, and we don't get a lot of tornados, but we do have some "plough winds" go through and what they can do is pretty incredible, twisting heavy steel grain bins and such. It's said that back in the days of the early settlers, sometimes the pioneer women would go insane from the hard work and isolation combined with the sound of the winter wind howling for days at a time around their little sod shacks.

  2. Wow, that really was quite a night, Sian. We got away just in time on Friday - after Thursday's gale and before the weekend's dreadful weather. It was very wet and windy here in wales last night, but nothing like you've been having and today is much quieter. Hope the same is true for you.

  3. you are so brave:) i cant imagain my self surviving after such a windy night. here we dont have even a rain yet.
    your blog is an ispitation for me. about being brave and auch.

  4. "and such" i wanted to say.
    my english is not so good.

  5. Brings it back to me seeing the sea like that. I've seen the North Sea loking really angry when a north easterly comes in. It is interesting isn't it how its oft the modern houses which gat damaged and the older one's stay solid. Those old buildres were 'canny'

  6. We've had some quite high winds on Skye too, tho' not 130mph! After a quiet sunny day yesterday, we're back to rain and strong wind - definitely dreich!

  7. It certainly looked as if the storm was worse up where you are and your comments confirm that.It's nice to be snug inside and safe.The next wave of weather has now arrived here this time a lot of rain so far.

  8. SG - oh goodness I've heard about plough winds and they sound mega scary! And yes I can imagine many a pioneer woman going insane. The wind sounds like a screaming banshee and goes on for days.

    Perpetua - Glad you got away safely before the worst hit!

    Yuliya - not brave at all I assure you! But fortunately extreme weather doesn't last long here. Though it IS scary and I AM scared! I love your blog too - you lead such a different and intersting life to me. :-)

    WR - I love my "new" conservatory but in the wild weather I fear for te windows. And yes the builders of old really knew their trade and how to build houses against the wind and the weather. Stone houses are not built to be watertight (impossible against horizontal rain) but they ARE designed to let the water out again once it's in. Very clever!

    Leslie - ooh yes often you get te worst of it "out West".

    CP - yes I saw on the weather map it was headed your way..... stay safe and cosy too!

  9. My word, those photos of the waves blowing *over* Marwick Head are jaw-dropping! The gale kept us awake on Saturday night but we never get anything like the winds that Orkney does. I'm glad you and the cats and the chooks got through that safely!