Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cheers, Abigail. Storm surfing in the Shetland Isles


Well, it's still pretty breezy, but the Rayburn is on, I have a decent single malt within grasp, and some sturdy hurricane soup bubbling nicely. Steak pie and the last of the garden tatties, possibly a wee glass of Claret later. There is, after all, no more Scottish drink (discuss).

Flights have been getting in, the boat is probably going to sail north later, bringing with it the desperately needed supplies of sun dried tomatoes and organic orange-oil flavoured chocolate. I have cleared the dogshit from the doctor's hoose garden, and it's warm there too. So Dr Luke and his family should be OK when(if) they arrive tomorrow.

I think I will close this blog entry here. Abigail was over-hyped and fed into a media too keen to exaggerate scary natural phenomena its practitioners don't really care to understand. I'm growing increasingly fed up with the poor grasp of simple things like geography, spelling and wind speed possessed by my former journalistic colleagues in print and broadcasting.

Anyway, have a good night. And cheers.


Here's the Shetland Times story as of a wee while ago: Power cuts overnight, mostly caused by lightning. Gusts up to 68 mph on Unst (kinda average day, then!) First flight just landed (from Aberdeen) at Sumburgh. Bet that was fun. All Scatsta flights cancelled, limited service on internal ferries

Much more entertaining is this, from the entirely serious Da Bonxie...
Meanwhile, Dr Luke and family are heading for Aberdeen and the boat should be in Shetland sometime tomorrow afternoon. I've just been up to the house they're coming to, and the central heating is working! Thanks Ross. This is the view from the lounge window.

Now, excuse me, I'm off to kill some mice. Or rather, one mouse. Ever seen the movie Mouse Hunt? It's happening right now, in Hillswick.

From the NorthLink website. Check in as normal at Aberdeen. They'll sail 'at earliest opportunity'.
M.V Hrossey
  • M.V Hrossey arrived in Aberdeen at 02:40 and is scheduled to depart at 19:00 sailing for Lerwick.
  • Due to on going weather conditions the departure time will now be delayed with the intention to sail at the earliest opportunity that sea conditions allow.
  • ETA in Lerwick will be Saturday afternoon.
  • Exact time will depend on departure from Aberdeen.
  • Passenger and Car Check-in opens at 17:00.
  • Final Passenger and Car Check-in is 18:30.
  • Car drivers are recommened to check-in at least 1 hour prior to departure.
  • All passengers are reminded to bring their booking reference with them for check-in.
  • For further information please call 0845 6000 449.


Bluemull Sound ferry (Unst-Yell) now running 'normally'.

Friday 13 November 8.55am. Hillswick, Shetland
West Ayre this morning from a safe distance

Not as bad as anticipated, by any means, but still pretty hairy outside, particularly on the west coast. Both the Yell and Unst ferries are off, No planes have arrived in this morning, and there's water slopping over our armouring into the garden as the tide is very high. If the wind veers round (which it will at some point) in combination with a high tide, we could be in for flying beach stone/flooding action. Trevor's latest says this:
13/11/15, 08:30 is 5.9C (-3.7), rain today 0.14in, pressure 29.56in (Rising), wind W 23.5mph.
High tide at the garden wall
But Met Office forecast has gusts up 67 and steady winds of around 37. Add 10 to both of those figures for exposed lumps of the Zetlandics. All Shetland schools are closed, but the Hillswick surgery is open...Took the dog out for a dauner, though, pretty uncomfortable but the West Ayre is spectacular (sorry about the picture, doesn't capture it). That's an iPhone from the surgery garden.

NorthLink says the Hrossey got in to Aberdeen at 2.30am but tonight's sailing 'could be delayed', with an announcement later this morning.

Heating problems at the house Dr Luke and family will be staying in, so the Emergency Plumber Act is being invoked. At least the power is still on. For the moment...

22.00, Thursday . I'm going to venture out briefly with the dogs and then head to bed with a copy of Alan Furst's Midnight in Europe (comfort reading). Oddly, having told Susan that strong winds rarely cancelled flights, I notice that the Orkney-Shetland plane is coming up as 'diverted to Inverness due to strong winds' which may have been more in Orkney than Shetland, as the last Flybe/Loganairs from Edinburgh and Aberdeen got in. 

12/11/15, 22:00 is 9.2C (1.5), rain today 0.19in, pressure 29.50in (Falling quickly), wind SSW 20.2mph.

Wind gusting a good bit higher than that outside, but actually, it's not too bad at the moment by Shetland standards. Though I am glad I'm not on the Hrossey heading sooth! Night night...

18.04 Hillswick. Susan safely home. Wind now getting up. I have a bottle of Duvel, the thinking man's Superlager. NorthLink tweeting 'disruption' tomorrow. What, on Friday 13th? 

@NLFerries: **Advance warning of disruptions** Fri 13th Nov 2015 - Northbound Hrossey sched dep AB-LE 1900. Due to forecast may be rescheduled later dep

Meanwhile, the glass is, as they say, falling...
Shetland Weather 12/11/15, 18:00 is 8.9C (0.2), rain today 0.13in, pressure 29.72in (Falling very rapidly), wind 23.3mph.

...and earlier today, here's the very definition of No Fun: The Hrossey off Sumburgh, heading south into the gathering lumpiness...

15.45, Sumburgh
SIBC Radio news saw Ian scathingly pointing out that Abigail for Shetland will be no more than a gale...storm? What storm? We'll see. The council have closed all schools, colleges and daycentres for tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'm at the airport and Susan's flight looks like being on time...just had Dexter out for a run at West Voe beach. Breezy but perfectly pleasant.

11.20 am, Hillswick

Hearing that the Friday boat north may go after all (this via Susan from random Shetlanders met at Union Square in Aberdeen, which is really a kind of Zetlandic shopping embassy). Meanwhile...

Shetland Weather 12/11/15, 11:00 is 7.3C (4.5), rain today 0.13in, pressure 30.03in (Rising), wind 3.7mph. #Weather #Shetland via @tpw63

9.35am, Thursday, Hillswick

Shetland weather (thanks to @tpw63 - follow him on Twitter)

Shetland Weather 12/11/15, 09:00 is 6.6C (3.1), rain today 0.13in, pressure 29.99in (Rising quickly), wind 5.4mph.

The Met Office is predicting a steady rise in wind speeds from about 15.00, with gusts of  around 60mph by 21.00, all day tomorrow and Saturday morning.

NorthLink confirm that tonight's northbound Shetland ferry will leave Aberdeen at 15.00 and ONLY go as far as Orkney. It won't go on to Lerwick and will return to Aberdeen on Friday.

No decision regarding Friday's northbound sailing but I've been told it's unlikely, which means Saturday is probably going to be the first boat north.

Susan is in Aberdeen now, having travelled down overnight on Tuesday for a one-day course. She has to be back by Friday and was booked on tonight's boat. I've cancelled her booking and she's on the 15.00 flight to Sumburgh, which means she'll leave the car in Aberdeen at my daughter's flat, and we'll pick it up next week, when we're both supposed to be south. Hoping for the best from hassle-hit Flybe, and will be watching the Sumburgh arrivals page... 

Meanwhile, our newlong-term locum doctor and his (very young) family were due to travel north on Friday's boat. Just had a call from him in the deep south of England, as they head off on their journey to Aberdeen. Have advised them to re-book for Saturday. They've got relatives in the Lake District they can stay with tonight and tomorrow.

So, the immediate questions here are: will Flybe manage to get Susan home today? What needs secured outside? Where's the safest place to put the cars? What would P&O have done? (Answer, almost certainly attempted to keep to schedule and hammered through unless sheltering in Scapa Flow became a necessity. But those old Baltic ferries were built for this kind of thing, unlike the flat bottomed miniature cruise ships we have now).

No comments: