Never have I actually conscientiously observed clouds rushing so fast across the sky than on January 4.
I arrived just after quarter past five and from a short lived safety of the gate saw Lough Foyle most magnificently bathed in moonlight, squeezing through between the clouds. The strong winds confined me to the gate, which at least partially prevented me from getting thoroughly wind shaken at such early stage but there was no visible sign of the beam reaching into it until half an hour later.
The beam gloriously and despite the odds made it’s entrance into the inside of the monument at 6.26 pm and stretched approximately to one and a half metre within the next twenty minutes. The light appeared as last December on the south/right side of the gate. Shortly after 6.49 pm clouds hopelessly moved in, tripod, including camera and photo bag for weight, got blown over twice, once even in the perceived shelter of the gate and just like a month earlier I had to leave prematurely, wind rattled and cold. And of course by the time I got home, both winds and clouds had dispersed, leaving me wondering how far the beam would have extended if conditions would have been more favourable.
Nearly three meters as I found out two nights later on January 6. I reached the monument at eight, having waited for the sky to clear, and with winds at ease on this occasion. Being somewhat late the light had already entered the monument, shining through the gate at an angle and in a straight line. For the next half an hour the partial but nevertheless magnificent beam could be seen inside and started then to retreat. Clouds moved in instead and I left this very special place, noticeable uplifted.