By Marcus McAdam
On the morning of the 20th of this month, a partial solar eclipse will be visible from all of the UK, with north west Scotland seeing the maximum effect. I’ve witnessed a couple of solar eclipses in my life, and can honestly say that they were the most amazing natural phenomena I have experienced. I remember the first one I saw in France in 1999, and although my expectations were high, I wasn’t prepared for the insult on the senses which were to arrive just before and during totality. I remember when the Sun was covered by around 95%, the light became softer and a little diffused, unlike anything I had seen before. The temperature suddenly started to drop, and the birds started to roost - it was mid morning. Then just before totality, bands of shadows raced across the landscape, each one becoming noticeably darker. I had assumed that as the Sun was progressively covered by the Moon, that it would simply get gradually darker, like someone dimming the lights, but it was far from that. It was more as though someone was turning off lights one at a time, with definite and sudden steps in the approaching darkness. Then the most amazing part, which to this day still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I think about it - a wall of darkness came rushing towards me from the west.
Read more: Solar Eclipse Preview
By Marcus McAdam
Winters here on Skye have a reputation for being dark, wet, windy and miserable affairs, but I think this does them a little injustice. I moved to Skye in 2009 and all the locals said that if I made it through my second winter then I’d be here for life. It’s a well know local philosophy - a newcomer to Skye gets through their first winter by assuming it must just be a really bad year. When the same thing happens again the following year, they pack up all their belongings and run as far as possible to warmer and gentler climes. However, my experience is slightly different, in that out of the six winters I have spent here on Skye, three of them have been wonderful. I simply choose to forget about the other three!
Read more: Exposing for the White Stuff