“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,”

The wind (detail) – Giovanni Battista Polo
(public domain in the US)

For the last three days Zyphrus has roared and the horses of Poisedon have reared over the reef as the tempest raged…………

A full-blown North Atlantic gale is best described as a tempest stirred by the wrath of the gods. On the headland the storm force winds have a deep bass roar and as the gusts gather strength the sound waves roll into deep shuddering thuds. The rain arrives in icy squalls, falling as hard and heavy as a curtain of artillery shells, accompanied by a staccato rhythm of aqueous shrapnel.

Below the cacophony of the discordant air there is the constant surging rhythm of the sea. As the waves break over the rocks in an agitated fury of spindrift, a vapour of salt is released to etch the land with a desiccating, deadly frost. Beyond the reef the horizon undulates as the border between sea and sky is breached by white horses riding the storm tide.

Eventually Iris arrives to restore harmony painting an arc of serenity to heal boundaries between the sea, sky and land. As the warmth of the rainbow suffuses the monochrome storm wracked landscape  a thread of sunlight gilds the clouds. Another storm passes, the ancient rocks of Ardivachar slumber on and island life resumes.

3 thoughts on ““Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,”

  1. I clicked onto your post and my reading was suddenly accompanied by the crash-bang-woosh of fireworks, the perfect sound effects for the content! Such timing! The wind must have changed for it to be an icy squall, as up to now it has been blowing from the SW and here it still is although only gently.Have you been pretty isolated while it has raged? I must check back on your blog to see how close your croft is to the sea – oh, and could you help me pinpoint it on a map?

    • Happy New Year Cathy. We are on the coast on the north-west tip of South Uist and have water just about on 3 sides. The new house is on the headland and on the west side is about 1500m from the sea, the cottage is at the base of the headland where the beach starts and is about 800m from the sea. the photographs are deceptive we are not quite at sea level, the cottage is about 6m about mean high tide and the new house about 12m. Fortunately we are protected by a large off-shore reef and kelp forests which dampens the swell. If you have an OS map the grid reference is NF7446. You can find us on Google maps if you search on Croft Garden Cottage. The maps and satellite photos are not up-to-date as they don’t show the new house but you can see the cottage with its walled garden. I’ll do an Ardivachar post at some stage with a “here be dragons map”, but now it’s not raining and blowing only half a gale so we’re shed moving (contents not building).
      Icy blast a bit of poetic license as the wind began in the SW and moved to W and is now a very chilly NW. In mitigation when the wind is gusting at 70+mph the rain feels icy and bites and stings as it hits you – ok a bit feeble, but it wasn’t soft and warm. Ferries were tied up for a couple of days and some flights were probably cancelled. When it the wind gets above Force 8 we tend to stay indoors mainly because it’s difficult to stay upright. It’s also impossible to open or close the car door without wrenching a shoulder and there is also the risk of flying debris. So we sit at home and hope that when the power goes down, it won’t be for too long. It’s not too much of a problem particularly as I now know that the house, cottage and polytunnel can withstand a good blow.
      Sorry this is a mini-post not a reply – off to find my wellies and brave the great out-doors.

      • Thank you for the brevity of your reply – much appreciated. I trust you haven’t been blown off the edge of the world since then

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