Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Thursday, 22 January 2009

The Skies Above Dalmore.

Back in the 1940s and 1950,the romantic or the delusional might convince himself that the sun always shone on Dalmore,but the pile of wellies and oilskins behind the closet door would suggest otherwise. What I am certain of is that the air was pure and extremely clear,albeit tinged with the aroma of peat smoke. That is not the case today,despite appearances .
On warm summer days I would lie down on the long grass of the Creagan,a small mound behind our house at No.5. Lying on my back,with my head on a pillow of buttercups and clover flowers,I would look far into the blue heavens,blue as far as one could see except for wisps of cirrus or high stratus clouds. What really entranced me were the long white trails which crossed Dalmore very high up, and headed out across the Atlantic. These were the "jetrails",the vapour trails,caused by the first transatlantic jet-engined airliners on their way to America. Later,when I worked as a student at Renfrew Airport,I discovered that the Isle of Lewis was directly below the flight path of planes from London and Continental Europe. These early "jetliners" like the De Havilland Comet came into service in 1952 when I was 11 years old,and I was one of the first to see them. Now there's a thing! When the "plane spotting" was over,I would drift off in a beautiful sleep in the warmth of the sun, with the gentlest of breezes caressing my face.
On a clear night,just before sunset,I sometimes made my way to the highest point on Beinn Dhal a' Mor(directly over our house)to witness a wonderful spectacle of lights,because from that vantage point,it was possible to see four different lighthouses each with their distinctive sequence of flashes. Towards the west,and in the near distance,was the light at Luimishader at the head of Loch Carloway,and much further west and on the horizon,the flashing light on the Flannan Isles. Turning in the other direction,it was easy to make out the lights at the Butt of Lewis and Tiumpan Head. For me it was a real thrill,and my mind was engaged with the light sequences that identified for me the different lighthouses. While we are talking about the night sky, I will always remember the glorious sights to be seen in the sky above ; the firmament of stars and planets in the Milky Way,the "shooting stars" and above all,the spiral galaxies of our infininite universe. Since these days I have never again witnessed such spectacular skies in Dalmore(or anywhere else),which can only be due to the pollution spreading throughout the entire atmosphere. As things are now,I might not even be able to see the four lighthouses from the top of Beinn Dhal a'Mor.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog a short time ago and I wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your stories. They are so interesting. It will take me a while to go back and read them all.


Donald John Maclennan said...

Wanda. Just to say how much I appreciate your comments about my stories of Dalmore,my Hebridean birthplace. You lie on the other side of the Atlantic,in North Carolina in the USA. Thank you.