The storm arrived on schedule, and as the gale roared across the ocean it whipped the sea up into a frenzy, creating huge, overtopping waves which crashed and tumbled over each other as they raced to batter the shore. Although Algy enjoyed watching the spectacle, the weather was undoubtedly harsh, and maybe just a wee bit dangerous for a fluffy bird, so he pressed himself tightly against a sheltering rock and kept as low to the ground as possible. From time to time, frantic swirls of snowflakes whizzed around him in every direction, driven by sudden, huge gusts of wind. There was no doubt that it was not a fit day out for man nor beast, and before very long Algy decided that it might possibly be wiser to retreat to a more sheltered spot while he still had the chance…

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The first big storm of the winter built up over the Atlantic Ocean and swept in with considerable force across the churning sea, covering Algy’s little beach with a seething mass of white spindrift.

Although he had to hold on tightly to the rocks to avoid being swept away, Algy was fascinated by the strange mass of foam, which was in constant motion although it seemed almost solid. The spindrift built up in mounds which were changing shape continually, and was then whipped up into the air again in chunks by the roaring wind and hurled inland. If it had not been almost impossible to stand or fly in the gale, Algy would have tried making a foam snowman on the sand…

The first big storm of the winter built up over the Atlantic Ocean and swept in with considerable force across the churning sea, covering Algy’s little beach with a seething mass of white spindrift.

Although he had to hold on tightly to the rocks to avoid being swept away, Algy was fascinated by the strange mass of foam, which was in constant motion although it seemed almost solid. The spindrift built up in mounds which were changing shape continually, and was then whipped up into the air again in chunks by the roaring wind and hurled inland. If it had not been almost impossible to stand or fly in the gale, Algy would have tried making a foam snowman on the sand…

In some parts of Scotland it was the windiest day on record for the summer months, and although conditions on the west coast were not quite as bad as on the mountain tops inland, it was a very stormy day indeed for August – more like the late autumn or winter than summer holiday time…

But Algy was determined to reach the lighthouse despite the gales, as his assistant was signing copies of his books there today, and so he battled valiantly against the storm. At times, however, he found that he could make little headway against the wind, and by the time he reached the Black Rocks he was utterly exhausted.

Algy and his assistant would like to thank the brave people who also battled today’s gale-force conditions and torrential rain to visit the lighthouse today 🙂 A true Scottish holiday experience!

[Oooops! Accidentally deleted this shortly after posting it, so re-posting.]

Oooops! Algy’s stupid assistant accidentally deleted this post from yesterday, so Algy said she had to post it again…

It was still blowing a gale, and the waves were taller than the rocks on the beach, but at least there were some periods of brightness between the driving showers of rain mixed with hail (a West Highlands speciality).

Algy tucked himself down behind a rock, and out of the corner of his eye he watched a group of oystercatchers who were sheltering in the lee of the next rock along. Each time a gust of wind swept through between the rocks the birds went tumbling and flapping across the wet sand, but each time they quickly recovered their balance, and took up the same positions again.

Algy tried to make his way back to his nest, but the storm force wind was much too strong for a fluffy bird. He dropped quickly down among the wet rocks at the end of the beach, and leaned back exhausted as the spray hurtled over his head. The sea in the wee bay beside his home was like a churning cauldron, and the surface of the water had turned entirely white, all across the bay. He had never seen anything quite like it before.

Algy was beginning to find the storms very tiring. The light effects were undeniably spectacular at times, and so were the waves, but an Atlantic storm was so much bigger than a fluffy bird, and trying to battle against a severe gale was simply exhausting. Algy leaned back wearily against a sheltering rock and closed his eyes, just listening to the sounds of the wind shrieking past and the waves crashing on the rocks all around him.

Storm Gertrude had officially passed over, but in Algy’s opinion the weather was not exactly improving. The human households around his home had been without power for 15 hours, while sleet, hail and snow was driving in from the ocean and across the hillsides on severe gale force winds from the north-west. It was not a fit day out for man nor beast. And for those who were not enjoying this storm, another one just like it was arriving on Monday…

Birds don’t require electricity, of course, but even birds like to keep warm and fluffy, and that was becoming increasingly difficult.

Keep your heads down, everybody… here comes another blast!

At midwinter, in the shortest, darkest days of the year, the Atlantic gales continued to rage. Algy took cover in the shelter of the rocks and watched the sea seething and churning all around him. The air was thick with mist and spray, and the world had turned entirely grey; it was hard to remember the lovely colours of spring and summer now. For many weeks past, the wind had almost never stopped howling, and the rain had almost never stopped pouring – if you can call water travelling horizontally at high speed “pouring”.

But Algy knew that the world would turn again, and if he could just find a sufficiently sheltered spot to protect him from the excesses of the winter storms, the days would soon start to get longer and lighter, the flowers would begin to peep out from among the grasses on the dunes, and eventually it might even stop raining and blowing quite so vigorously…

Happy Midwinter, everyone, and if you should happen to live in a stormy place, as Algy does, he hopes that you have a nice, warm, cosy spot to shelter in xoxo

It was blowing a gale again, and the sea was getting very agitated. Algy clung onto a rock, watching March go out like a lion with a huge mane of sea spray… just the way that it had come in.

Although it was spectacular, Algy felt that maybe it would make a nice change to experience some different kinds of weather, for the sake of variety if nothing else…  some calm, warm, sunny weather perhaps. The sea just laughed at him 🙂