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Saturday 9 December 2017

Winter storm....

Photo courtesy of Mick Braddock
The first Winter storm was early this year arriving early December. Often we don't get the worst of the wind till January or February.  We've just seen Storm Caroline off now and she was somewhat feisty.  Winds in some parts of Orkney recorded at 145 mph at some points.  It was a North Westerly gale too which wasn't pleasant. 

Schools were closed, and ferries cancelled.  Well .... mostly!  The Hamnavoe ferry which sails between Stromness and Scrabster set off in the morning and because the wind was so strong and from the North it was unable to dock back in Stromness.  In trying to dock, with the help of a pilot boat and tug it managed to "glance off" the Pole Star, one of the lighthouse board ships.  The Hamnavoe then had to seek shelter in Scapa Flow where it was calm enough until the next morning.  23hours folk were on board! There were few folk on board so the passengers would likely have been given cabins and were no doubt warm and cosy but not the same as getting off the boat when expected! 

Our own wee ferry did a couple of the morning runs before cancelling the rest of the runs of the day. Above you can see the vessel coming into the Graemsay pier. Mick was down collecting post and took the photo. SO glad I didn't need to be on it!

We lost power for about 6 hours, but it came on at 5pm so wasn't too bad. The electricity linesmen were out working in the most atrocious conditions!  I was fine. I have a gas hob (hotplate) on the cooker so I could eat and have hot drinks.  The underfloor heating stays warm during the day anyway and Button was warm!  The phones were off for a couple of days but they are back now too.

I'd been out to give the hens lots of extra rations and Charlie the barn cat too. I didn't think I'd get out on Friday as the wind was due to still be bad, with added sleet showers and I was afraid of flying debris.  I've been out today and they are ALL fine with food left over!

Anyway here are a few photos taken of the Thursday storm, from the shelter of the hen house!

Looking towards the normally sheltered harbour of Stromness.

Looking West - towards Canada!

Looking towards the West Mainland where the sun sets in the summer...

This was the weather forecast for Thursday... "Sunrise" and "sunset" times were immaterial as it barely got light all day.

And at high tide the waves were crashing over the links (sand dunes) and onto the "main road" on Graemsay.  No damage to the road but lots of seaweed thrown about.

The seas around Graemsay are usually fairly sheltered, even in a storm.  Other parts of Orkney had spectacular seas...  this was Kirkwall Harbour (photo courtesy of Kirkwall Lifeboat station).  This too is normally a sheltered harbour!

So that is the first Winter storm by.  Time to replenish supplies and enjoy the respite from the gales while it lasts!


  1. Glad you all made it through the storm. I saw some video of the waves crashing against the shore and on to the road. Perhaps you won't have a storm in February since you have had this one. Wishful thinking I know.

  2. I'm hoping that we avoid storms in January ~ we are moving to our new house in Stromness w/c 22nd!