Jonathan: After two named storms – Barbara and Connor – in quick succession, and a week indoors, the wind died down today, and at last we could get out for a proper walkies with Tilly! It’s been good to get out with the dog under blue skies – and be driven home by a violent hail-shower! So, We’ve made do with a there-and-back walk up the old track to the hill gate below the rocky slopes of Coire Bheinn. It’s lovely to see the wild birds busy finding food, their hunger after days of storm making them bold, darting by our feet: Wren, Redstart, Blackbird, Thrush, Rock Dove … A pair of Lapwing silently wheeled and dived – apparently for no reason other than the sheer joy to be free to do so after days couped up in whatever shelter they can find. An owl quartering the fields e and a Buzzard perched on one of the new power distribution poles. Fence wires are decorated apparently with raffia, fluttering in the breeze: in fact they’re short lengths of dead grass torn away from the ground by the storms.
Over the years we’ve been here, we’ve learned to expect – and be prepare for – power cuts during and after storms. For the first few years here, those cuts could come several times a day, though mostly for just a second or two, a few minutes … and occasionally for hours: in fact it didn’t even need to be windy, or even Winter! Back then, the network was old and not very resilient. In recent years, a lot of work – a great deal of money – has gone into not only replacing poles and lines, but also adding parallel or higher voltage distribution lines, automatic switching, telemetry. This autumn, there’s been swarms of engineers – most over for the mainland for a few weeks at a time – working hard to complete £3.5m of upgrade before their Christmas holidays. And they made it, too! So, we’ve only had two power outages this past Autumn and Winter, and those were as new lines were prepared for energizing. Well done, everyone!