Thursday, 26 January 2006


<![CDATA[ Stornoway Town Centre on Sunday afternoonIn Lewis, the Sunday is still very much the way it used to be: nothing moves. After 10 a.m., those going to church move around the town, and after lunch people go for a walk in the Castle Grounds. Until about 10 years ago, the swings and roundabouts in the playpark at Bayhead were chained on Saturday night, to be unlocked on Monday morning.
It is not possible to leave the island by any other means but by plane. Ferries do not go on Sunday. Not to Ullapool nor to Uig in Skye (from Tarbert, Harris) or to Berneray, North Uist. Strangely enough, it is possible to sail from Lochmaddy (North Uist) to Skye on a Sunday. Other islands off the West Coast also have a Sunday service from Caledonian MacBrayne. Notices abound requesting people to respect the Sabbath, which is fair enough. The issue of transport is likely to see some changes coming in fairly shortly, I would imagine. One of the local councillors is going to work to have some Sunday ferry services going, if only to give islanders the opportunity to move about any day of the week.
In the 1980s, when CalMac wanted to start a Sunday service from Tarbert to Uig, the local fishermen threatened to blockade the Harris port. But I think that now that there are flights from Stornoway Airport, and ferry services from North Uist to Skye (i.e. the mainland, by virtue of the toll-free bridge), the advent of Sunday ferry services is not far off.
Whilst fully respecting local sentiments to keep Sunday quiet, it is no longer possible to completely ignore developments elsewhere. There is already one small shop open in Stornoway on Sunday, doing a brisk trade by all accounts. I can foresee one of the supermarkets opening on Sunday in the near future. Are there also going to be Sunday bus services - if only during the summer? ]]>

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