by Angela Rees - 15:51 on 25 February 2010
(OOH I've just looked up the date of my last entry - so much for my New Year resolution!!)
Well it's finally arrived - winter that is. Today we have had a day of SNOW. So what? I hear you cry, hasn't this been the coldest winter for 30 years? - but this news must come as blessed relief to all my friends and relations down south. They've been on the receiving end of a constant smug litany of what a mild winter we've had on Fair Isle! 'Snow? - how dreadful! Freezing temperatures? - how awful... no, no, its been pretty sunny up here.'
Today though, we have winter - ah, but what a winter! I am an unregenerate lover of Fair Isle in all of it's weathers. As I keep on saying to everyone, it's never boring here. Spring is beautiful, Summer's fabulous, Autumn's wonderful but Winter (now it has arrived), Winter is awesome!.
Looking out at it from the lighthouse was simply not enough and so taking advantage of the weather and the fact that I am temporarily guest free, I togged up in my winter gear and set off for the top of Malcolm's Head . I was glad that I did. There was something magical about the stark beauty of the newly monochrome landscape and watching the falling snow as it outlined the air currents at the cliff edge. The kittiwakes were still there riding these self same currents - I've often thought that they must be doing this for the sheer fun of it but today their pleasure was almost palpable. There was no reason for them to be gliding and soaring in the middle of a snow storm, particularly when they could have had the relative shelter of some ledge, but there they gleefully were.
There was something special too in standing in the middle of all that beauty and knowing that the island was, for that moment, set apart from the rest of the world - in the words of that old Flanders and Swan song, 'no-one departs, no-one arrives'. (Ok, in the event of an emergency an Air-sea rescue helicopter would indeed arrive but I try not to think about that - it spoils the illusion!) So, at that moment, within a huge circle some 50 miles wide there were only some 30 other people and right in the centre of this in a somewhat smaller circle about 2 miles across there was only me, some sheep and those kittiwakes - wow!!