The weather in the west coast over January has shown no shortage of doom and gloom, with what seems like an infinite supply of grey clouds, rain and icy winds. This week, in particular, heavy rain and thunderstorms have dominated, leaving many unwanted new water features in their wake.
However, the week ahead shows some promise with things drying up briefly as we reopen our doors to the first flock of guests in the New Year.
Today: Following yesterday's thunder and lightening, heavy rain is due to continue accompanied by strong southern winds
Monday: After a wet and windy night, the rain will continue throughout the morning before gradually dissipating into light showers with sporadic dry patches and brief intervals of sunshine.
Tuesday: The worst of the weather seems to have cleared, leaving most of the morning and afternoon calm and dry with temperatures remaining comfortably above freezing.
Wednesday: Is projected to remain unchanged, with more cloud and tolerable temperatures.
Thursday: Things are projected to take a bit of an icy turn today, with the morning and afternoon remaining dry and some light rain showers showing face in the later half of the evening.
Friday: It looks like the rain will be making a re-apperance bringing with it strong windsupwords of 20mph
Saturday: More rain and wind to follow, ending the week on a bit of a tenebrous note.
So it seems the weather is remaining true to its Scottish stereotype. Though, we at Eriska are not disheartened - after all it is a vast improvement onpervious years - and will take full advantage of our time indoors.
For those joining us at the end of the month, get ready to relax with your feet up by the fire with a good book and a glass of wine. But don't worry, the wellies are aplenty for those wishing to brave the outside.
The days are starting to get longer-
Or so I thought yesterday morning when it was dry and bright and certainly seemed to be dawn earlier than a week ago but then we reached this morning and it is back to the old expected weather with dark until eight. anyway the weather for the New Year celebrations cannot be any worse than it was for Christmas. Several nights of worry that the power would go out and one 4 hour session of darkness was not the ideal Christmas present but at least we survived without too much damage.
So the New Year must be better- or at least we have our fingers crossed for it to start and continue well! 2013 has however not really been bad overall. It was a very dry calm start to the year with mild conditions - a long spring which helped everything in the garden to get out of the ground and then a long warm summer- never too wet and certainly never too hot - so when we have had a month of miserable weather to finish off the year we should not be surprised not aggrieved.
So what can we expect this week?
Today: After a dull start it wil quickly improve and we can expect a generally dry Sunday. Some sunshine but then becoming wet, windy during evening- hopefully once all our New Year guests have arrived safely.
Monday: Showers at first mostly dying out. Just a few continuing on higher ground otherwise mostly dry with clear periods and lighter winds. A colder night with ground frost.
Tuesday:After a wet and windy night it will become dry and bright with some sunshine. Still a few light showers over higher hills.
Wednesday:Hopefully dry start will continue and we will get the annual Golf Competition run before it becomes cloudy later in the afternoon with wet and windy weather during evening.
Thursday: Again the morning will seem brighter but a showery afternoon will start early- a really good excuse for enjoying a long lunch and resting in preparation for the 2014 ahead.
Friday: A cool dawn but the day starts bright with a few showers but rain spreads north later. Breezy throughout.
Saturday:Rain, heavy at times, and strong to gale force winds with more showery weather to follow, heavy and thundery in places, and wintry over high ground.
Each year we seem fixated by the possibility of a White Christmas.
We have now been open for Christmas at Eriska for 20 years and in that time we have "enjoyed" only two occasions where we had a white Christmas. Although the most memorable will remain the first Christmas we opened for the festive period. The guests all arrived on the 23rd and as I went out to the shops for the morning papers on Christmas Eve it started to snow. by the time I returned to the hotel the car was leaving tracks in the snow which was by now lying on the ground. It continued snowing all day and that night it froze with a deep freeze so that we all awoke on Christmas morning to a crisp frozen white landscape, it was cold enough to walk on top of the snow without breaking the surface although as the sun came out and the clouds cleared the crust defrosted enough to make snowman buidling comeptitions a possibility.
Maybe its old age or imagination but I remember this being the perfect weather and probably the conditions we all dream about when we demand a "White Christmas". However since then we have had one white, but some stunning blue skied christmas mornings- always worth pointing this out before people highlight the odd year where the wind has blown the rain has poured and they have been forced to enjoy christmas from inside behind the windows with log fires blazing and an endless supply of mince pies and malt whisky- Christmas can be tough- imagine forced to relax!
Anyweay whether we are cynical or simply beleive the forecasters it looks like Monday and Tuesday are going to be a bit wild. The met office website has even taken the trouble to place a yellow warning over the whole of the UK,
Whilst this looks a bit simplistic it is probably part of their campaign to get everyone home early and safely over the next 24 hours! At least or team only have half a mile to travel to work so weather we have to offer them a boat, kite or simple lift in the car I am sure they will make it in to help with the festivities. So what can our guests look froward to this week?
Today: After a disturbing night with great llightening and thunder today seems like calm after the storm. We may even see sunny intervals and showers but there is the threat of snow on higher ground.
Monday: Further showers, these perhaps merging and becoming heavier through the day an certainly inland showers of snow on higher ground and occasionally wintry at low levels. Hail and thunder especially into the evening as the wind start to pick up
Tuesday- Christmas Eve- Further sleet and snow showers continuing these giving slight to moderate falls in places more especially over higher ground. Gales pushing in form the south east so possibility of tree damage as this is an unusual direction of wind
Wednesday- Christmas day- Starting dry then rain, preceded by snow on high ground, this may be heavy on hills but we should miss it and the wind will start to subside and will seem much milder.
Thursday- Boxing day- Winds easing on Boxing Day, sunshine and scattered showers.
Friday: After a cloudy start to the day it will clear to show a dry and bright, but gales and rain will push back in at night.
Saturday:Dry at first before turning wet and windy across all areas later in the day and probably the last of the wind and rain for the year!.
Is a White Christmas Guaranteed
I have to admit a bit of pity for the poor television weather reporter this morning who was being pushed and encouraged to predict the weather - not for today, nor tomorrow or even the week ahead but for the weather on Christmas day- ten days away.
Given the accuracy of current forecasting and the variable and changing climate it was little surprise that he managed to avoid the question rather then set himself up to be pillared next week when his- lucky guess- would be mocked. It is amazing that given the fact that we can send a probe to the moon- or at least the Chinese still can- and we have powerful computers to work on building models that can predict the future of a drug or medicine- that we still cannot plug in the variables today and find a matching weather pattern ion the past which will allow us to plan ahead.
Anyway I suppose thats what makes each day different- as I show guests round Eriska and take them into our new sports hall I often remark that it is our answer to predicting the weather tomorrow and indeed whilst it is not the heaviest used facility it does give everybody the opportunity of a game of tennis or badminton whatever the weather outside and whatever the time of year. the latter point is extremely important at this time of year as we approach the shortest day next week and the nights close in- at least by this time next week the days will be starting to get longer and summer will be closer well at least spring will be closer!
So what really is ahead for this week given our experience of the weather forecast over the last 40 years of being here at Eriska?
Today:having had a particularly wet and windy week it looks set to continue today although we have woken to a dry and bright morning it is not set to last!
Monday: Rain spreading east after a bright start. Windy.
Tuesday: Bright start with some sunshine, then clouds increasing with rain spreading by midday, reaching the area during the afternoon, with some heavy bursts. Southerly winds strengthening, gales over the Isles.
Wednesday: Any rain soon clearing then mainly dry with clear spells for a time then clouding over with showers later. Windy at times.
Thursday: Sunny spells and blustery showers, most frequent on the higher grounds , some heavy with hail and thunder, wintry over higher ground.
Friday: Sunny spells and showers then windy with outbreaks of rain overnight
Saturday: Turning much colder with snow showers and severe gales over the weekend
Weather forecasts are not always right!
You can understand how after last weeks storms and winds when the forecaster on television prepares us for "substantial rain on the west coast" we start getting our wellies on and gaze to the heavens. However with the mild weather and calm conditions outside it is as ever difficult to believe what the forecasters tell us- until it is too late!
Sometimes we must wonder how we managed before we had wall to wall satellite coverage to keep us up to date on climate and weather forecasts but in reality were we ever any worse off than when we simply stood outside felt the breeze, looked at the clouds and put on an extra jacket or wore a wide brimmed sun hat- probably not! Anyway what do we thing is ahead for this week?
Today: Cloudy with outbreaks of rain, some heavy, especially over higher ground as the rain pushes in from the west.
Monday: A generally cloudy day with occasional rain, but becoming heavier and more persistent in morning and spreading across the mountains where rain will also be heavy at times in the afternoon.
Tuesday: A wet end to the day, but the rain will gradually become lighter and more patchy through the night. Staying mild and breezy.
Wednesday: Generally cloudy with outbreaks of rain at first but mostly dying out in the morning with brighter conditions developing and a little sunshine in the afternoon. Still mild and breezy.
Thursday: Mainly dry and bright with some sunshine at times, but also rather cloudy.
Friday: Some rain at times but still remarkably mild with south or southwesterly winds.
Saturday:It will be mostly cloudy with rain, locally heavy, accompanied by strong winds and gales through the night into Sunday.
How times have changed over 40 years!
When I was talking with some guests last night and reminiscing on years gone by they mentioned that they had always enjoyed discussions with my father. In particular they remembered him circulating the diningroom at breakfasts and giving his weather forecast for the day ahead. Oh how times have changed as today we simply print out a forecast form the BBC and place it on every bodies breakfast table. There are however three reasons for this- firstly I am not as good a forecaster as my father and would inevitably get it wrong, secondly we believe guests are slightly more reserved and would prefer to find the forecast in their own time and finally there are more interesting things to both tell guests about the area and about the world than simply Eriska's forecast and now with the plethora of indoor non weather dependent facilities on site there is less importance on the day ahead and the potential weather.
So why- I hear you ask- do we continue to forecast the weather ahead- again it is good for those who area bout to visit us to grasp what clothes to bring and what to expect, and it keeps those who like to know what we are up to up to date with all on Eriska. Like last week when heavy gales were reported on the west coast we can assure you that the wind lasted strongly for about an hour and then passed and the rain was as predicted by our forecast as nothing more than expected for this time of year.
So what can we expect for the first week of December?
Today:As I walked down the hill today it was remarkably mild, the wind had disappeared and the sky seems clear so the rest of the day should remain dry with some sunshine.
Monday: A mainly dry bright day with variable cloud amounts but this breaking to allow some sunny intervals, best across coastal hills
Tuesday: Mainly dry with some bright or sunny spells. It will be cloudy over northern hills with more persistent rain later. Freshening southwesterly winds.
Wednesday: Cloudy with outbreaks of rain with stronger winds pushing in and brining the temperature down
Thursday: Drier, brighter but colder .
Friday: Again windy with rain, turning to snow, especially on higher ground, before clearing later in the day.
Saturday:A band of rain will spread southwards during the weekend giving snow over high ground but clearer, colder and windy conditions will follow from the northwest with showers, these falling as snow.
The festive season is almost upon us and at least we are thinking about the festive period given the celebration across the pond of Thanksgiving- well at least it gives us an excuse to trial run the Roast Turkey on the trolley and get us thinking of cranberry sauce and roaring log fires. So after a week of colder conditions should we expect snow and ice or mild and warm conditions this week?
Today: After a cold night it will be clear skies so dry with some sunny or clear intervals.
Monday: A dry day with variable cloud and some sunny spells though some pockets of freezing fog may last well into the morning. Frost at first and returning to some areas soon after dark.
Tuesday: Dry with variable cloud and some clear spells. These will lead to a touch of frost especially in glens
Wednesday: A dry bright day with some sunny spells, though with a few freezing fog patches lingering into the day. Perhaps some light showers over higher hills.
Thursday: Cloudier with some rain for a time, turning milder and breezy. Mainly dry though some patchy rain is likely in the evening.
Friday: Strong winds and rain will push in through Friday, with colder air and blustery showers following, some of which will be wintry in the north.
Saturday: Through the weekend, most areas will remain dry with variable cloud and sunny spells by day, and frost and fog by night.
The countdown to Christmas seems upon us.
However it is still over 4 weeks till the shortest day and the depth of winter so it is good to see that is still quite mild although I suspect that is about to change. The majority of the leaves are off the trees and we are certainly through the worst of the leave clearance. It is also a wee window for us to start cutting back paths and trees with less foilage to clear and still reasonably firm ground to work on.
We have also had a dramatic eduction of work on the golf course with the grass now controlling itself and the winter works program underway which we have to balance progress with potentail damage to the course as the water table certainly rises and the sraisn have to work hard to keep the course playable. So will this week be a week of work on course or a week of work off the course?
Today: After a cold start to the night the cloud cover has brought up the temperature and it is now a dry and bright morning but will begin clouding over with rain tonight.
Monday: A mainly dry bright morning with some sunshine after the clearance of early fog and frost. Clouding over during the afternoon with outbreaks of light developing towards the west coast by dusk.
Tuesday: Cloudy with outbreaks of rain, this rain becoming persistent and heavy at times
Wednesday:Cold and sunny with wintry showers, these mainly across higher hills with a chance of rain or snow.
Thursday: Another cold night will give way to mostly dry and bright weather at first but with scattered showers
Friday:A cold night with dawn greeted with showers will be a wintry combination of rain, sleet and snow, maybe giving locally significant snow accumulations over higher ground, and perhaps even to lower levels at times.
Saturday: Slightly more mild with dry conditions and a light breeze ushering in a more settled period of weather for the last week of November
Every day is different, every view different, every sight different- Simply- it's the West Highlands of Scotland!
This could not be more true than this weekend - yesterday torrential rain with a modest respite in the afternoon and today wall to wall blue skies, snow crisply lying on the mountain tops sparkling in the sunshine and not a breath of wind. Anyway whilst it is one of the problems with living here it is is also the reason why we choose to be here as every morning is different, every dawn unique and every sunset- or not as the case may be- one on its own!.
So what is different about the week ahead:
Today: After a cold and frost start it will be a stunner- No more need be said!
Monday: It cant last for ever so warmer night as cloud rolls in but bringing patchy rain in the morning, becoming drier and brighter.
Tuesday: Outbreaks of rain clearing from the west in the morning to leave a drier afternoon with some sunshine.
Wednesday: Windy with blustery showers leading to even more snow on hills. More wind and rain followed by a risk of gales.
Thursday: After a wet and windy night we will awaken to blustery showers on Thursday, mainly from the west.
Friday:Cloud, rain and strong winds will continue into the weekend
Saturday:It will begin to turn colder and remain unsettled with a mix of cloudy periods and rain or showers, which may be wintry over high ground.
This week marks a stark change in the West Highalnd Seasons
Its often amazing how the climate seems to remain the same and then suddenly overnight we flip into a completely different season. So it has been this week as we started with a mild - if damp - Monday and this was soon followed by torrential rain- stories of 6 inches falling in 45 minutes do not seem implausible- and strong winds so that today when we awaken - the leaves are off the trees, the temperature is almost 10 degrees lower and the mountains of Kingairloch and Ben Cruachan have white snow caps adorning them- winter is truly here!
Strangley it seems later than usual and this woudl not be a surprise as the summer seemed to continue longer than normal and this has pushed autumn into November. The Deer Rut and stalking was certainly later and whilst I am hearing stories of a great month on the mountains with fantastic images of Rutting Stags it does play havoc with my plans for collecting leaves in October and we still have a lot of raking and burning to do now to get tideied up for Christmas
It is one of the stregnths of Scotland the ever changing weather and certainly one of te attractions compared with places that never seem to alter seasons- fortunately its one which we appreciate even if its also one we seem to continually complain about! So what is in store for this first week of winter!
Today: Bright with sunny spells and scattered showers today although be warned that the showers will be fierce!
Monday: Bright with sunny spells, but also scattered showers, mainly over higher ground at first, but developing further east during the afternoon, perhaps the odd heavy one later over Eriska. Fresh or strong west to northwesterly winds slowly easing.
Tuesday: Showers will become more isolated and confined to coastal areas , with long clear spells inland, leading to fairly widespread frost over rural parts as the winds fall light.
Wednesday: A few showers continuing , otherwise a dry and bright day with lengthy spells of sunshine for most parts. Light west to northwesterly winds.
Thursday: Rain clearing to showers then bright with sunny spells and showers in the evening.
Friday:After a dry night some heavy and prolonged periods of rain. Windy, risk of gales
Saturday:Rain will soon clear leaving clearer but showery weather for most of the weekend. It is likely to stay largely unsettled thereafter with showers or longer spells of rain, locally heavy.