The BBC Alba series A Reir na h-Aimsir, which looks at how weather affects us, was this week in Lewis, looking at how traditional blackhouse architecture has been adapted for a new house in Brenish, amongst other things. There’s a trio of well-known Uig bodachs on local weather lore at about the 22-minute mark.
To view only until 7 April from this link, or to download (both options for UK viewers only.) In Gaelic with subtitles.
Edit: no longer available from the link but here’s the transcript (actually the subtitles) from the Uig weather section, with Iain Macdonald (Iain Toby) Islivig and Finlay Maciver (Fionnlagh Beag) Carishader.
Iain: There have been big changes since I was young. We hardly get any snow now. You can see the changes in the weather from the birds and the sheep. The loch in our village has a path and even if the weather is good, if you see the gulls gathering on that spot a change would come in two days. The sheep also have their way.
Finlay: There’s a few round here and if they heard the sound of the shore, they could tell what was coming. It would be from different beaches. I think if you heard Bosta beach, it would be frosty. If you could hear Cliff, it would rain but on Berie beach would bring good weather. There’s Bowmore near Brenish and if they heard that sound it was rain for that one for certain. They didn’t want to see St Kilda at all because that was a sign of rain two days later.
Iain: The south westerly wind is the rainy wind here. There was an old fellow up our way who had a funning saying for a south westerly wind.
Finlay: They always looked toward the Monday after the old new year [12 Jan] and around midnight they looked to see which direction the wind came from. If it came from the south west it would be the predominant wind for the rest of the year. Then there’s St Swithin’s Day.
Iain: You would get rain from six weeks then.
Finlay: That’s what they said, for 40 days.
Iain: It was all true. What was the date again Finlay?
Finlay: Was it not the 15th of July? I think that’s St Swithin’s Day.
The St Swithin’s Day tradition is common throughout Britain. I expect there is more weather wisdom to add to this – any contributions?