Sunday, 9 April 2006

Sunday ferries - 3

<![CDATA[ MV Loch Portain (courtesy Calmac), the Berneray to Leverburgh ferrySo, the first ferry ever to sail to Harris on Sunday has docked at Leverburgh this morning. Those opposed to it would have been in church, attending the local communions. Those in favour radiate an air of quiet satisfaction. Twenty passengers came off the ferry from Berneray, not a bad complement out of season at any rate. I wonder how many will be on this route later today, having crossed from Uig (Skye) to Lochmaddy first.

The latter crossing has been in place for 17 years, yet the most vitriolic critics of Sunday sailings (as seen through the letters page of the Stornoway Gazette) seem to reside in the Uists. It could be argued that Caledonian MacBrayne does not deserve star prize for sensitive handling of a delicate situation, it could have been done more elegantly. However, in previous posts on this subject, I have set out that it was inevitable that this was going to happen. The Skye ferry is one reason, Sunday flights from Stornoway Airport the other.

I join the more moderate critics in expressing a hope that the gentle Sunday way of life in these islands will not be destroyed. Judging by the situation in Skye (admittedly joined to mainland Scotland by a bridge), I am quietly hopeful that it will not.

I keep getting remarks from islanders (and expats on the mainland) who would welcome a Sunday ferry on the Ullapool to Stornoway route, to allow people to visit the island over the weekend. This is as yet being ruled out by Calmac. Another way this could be facilitated is by having cheaper airfares. It costs only

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