Saturday, 2 January 2010


Following the news in the islands from a distance, I can only conclude that the council's new gritting policy should be scrapped. It is a disgrace that roads in the island remain more akin to an ice-rink than of the Queen's Highway. I am reading stories from South Lochs, where a lorry bound for Lemreway is stuck 4 miles away at Gravir, vehicles won't venture past Garyvard and even the bus won't go there.

It is the council's responsibility to keep roads in Lewis passable to all motorists, and the recent reductions in gritting hours is lunacy. I hope that as soon as more grit comes in (apparently, they're running out) these false economies will be reversed. I will take the liberty to remind readers that the Comhairle's failure to keep roads passable has cost lives in the past. Do we need to have another fatality to get things moving in the Sandwick Road area of Stornoway?

One other aspect, which has me gritting my teeth from afar, is the fact that pavements are a hazard to pedestrians as well. It has come to my attention that some of the pavements in the Newton area of Stornoway were gritted by a private citizen.

C'mon guys, get real. Grit those roads and do it now.


  1. I agree arnish,that it is the councils duty to keep raods clear and pavements gritted but growing up in scotland in the 50's+60's in the local communities farmers would help keeping the roads cleared and home-owners would keep the pavemements in front of their homes clear and safe. okay elderly people maybe can't but what happened to youngsters helping out their neighbours,or is community spirit dissapeared even from lewis?

  2. I am one of those lucky people who can't get out much at the moment. This morning in sunny south Lochs the snow has frozen as has the ice and slush on the UN-GRITTED roads. If the routes into Pairc were open today we would be a magnet for skiing and ice dance enthusiasts. Someone could make a fortune selling tea trays and puffy jackets. Sadly some people are reliant on things like the grocery van and home carers coming to visit but at the moment only very robust four wheel drive vehicles and Husky dog sleighs can make any headway up the steep paths we have here.

    Taddoe, we were just talking this morning about clearing paths outside one's own property. Three words 'elf and safety. Some clever dickie has decreed that if you start shovelling snow and ice outside your own front door and someone falls over, the private individual is liable to be sued and not the council/local authority. This is why no one clears their own bit. Community spirit has not disappeared but we are fed up paying money into the dark bottomless pit of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for absolutely no return. It is of no interest to us that they overspend or screw up their own accounting systems. As always it's frontline services that get hit first rather than some of the other airy-fairy departments that soak up cash. Go into Stornoway (if you can) and the roads are an inch thick in freezing salts. This current edict on winter maintenance has been dreamed up by someone with the IQ equal to or less than of a member of the Jedward fan club. Frankly I would sooner see Jedward looking after the infrastructure on the island than the current bunch of wasters.
    Thank you. (and no swearing!)

  3. Gritting? What is that? Oh yes! That's when we go out with shovels and spread our own drive chips over the ice rink of the road.
    Mmmm! could have fun on it if I could still fit on a biscuit tin lid like I did as child :-)

  4. Lady gargar:what happens if someone slips and hurts himself in front of your place and you haven't cleared it??Will they council then turn on you? Its sounds ,like,sadly your local goverment is as bad as our local/national goverment,just out for what they can get without any thought for their constituancy. sorry,not living on lewis i should keep my big mouth shut!

  5. Hebrides News reports also that there have been cutbacks in gritting activity by the Council in an attempt to SAVE MONEY ... £50k savings here and £15k savings there mean that roads outwith Stornoway will remain deadly for the rest of the cold snap.

    As the article comments, the WORSE the weather gets, the MORE MONEY the Council SAVES. More power to their effing elbows. That was sarcasm. sorry for swearing, but it was only a little one, and I'm just wondering exactly what I pay council tax for ...

    I just spent 30 mins in the (stationary) queue just before the site of the dreadful fatal accident Arnish reports above ... The main (and only) road into Stornoway was due to open again at 4.30pm today, but didn't. I had to go back. Don't know what time it eventually opened.

  6. I did a 65 mile round trip to get to town the roads were terrible the pavements in stornoway were sheet ice. I wonder if the cut backs on gritting have now cost a young 24 year old man his life.

  7. Breasclete Mick, you may well think that. I couldn't possibly comment :-(

  8. Road Salt has little effect in consistently and continuing low temperatures. One has to drive according to the conditions especially restricting speed. We would all do well to keep our traps shut until the facts are known.
    The Island roads have tragically claimed many young lives and our sympathy extends to all affected by this event.

  9. Observer, see my following post on this subject.