The whole of the west coast of Scotland enjoys big scenery and regularly delivers great seascapes, sunsets and interesting cloud formations and Skye is no exception. You don’t always need the amazing scenery to set off what you see in the sky as dramatic cloud formations quickly develop yet seem to go again just as quickly on a good breezy day.
As these recently shots taken from the garden at Springbank Cottage in Elgol, Isle of Skye, show from sunrise to sunset with clear skies in between you have to keep casting round the sky to see what’s developing. According to the The Cloud Collector’s Handbook – an official publication of The Cloud Appreciation Society – there are 46 different cloud types so there’s plenty of variety to look out for.
It is the seemingly endless variability of cloud formations that both fascinates and frustrates when trying to identify what you are seeing in the sky with what “the book says” a specific type of cloud should look like.
The cloud classification system identifies 27 cloud states across three height levels, low, medium and high, plus 19 states that are characteristic of some of these cloud states. What makes cloud watching so interesting is that clouds can, quite quickly alter their characteristics which means that they move from one modification to another.
Another terrific source of help in identifying your cloud is The Met Office’s Pocket Cloud Book which very clearly explains how clouds get their names and shows what each should look like. It also gives some idea of how clouds develop and why.
Of course not every day in Skye delivers such a wealth of entertainment in the sky. The occasional dreich (voted Scotland’s favourite word a few years ago) day with mist to the door has been known to happen but the none of the books are very good a telling you what type of cloud you are in when you are actually in it!
Both of these books are available to use by guests staying at Springbank Cottage, Elgol, Isle of Skye self catering holiday cottage as part of our environmental activities facilities intended to offer our guests a lot more than is usual for a holiday cottage. You might not see all the different types of clouds in these books but at least you’ll know what you are looking at.