Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sunday ferry

It is reported that Calmac will start operating ferries with fare-paying passengers on board out of Tarbert, Harris, as of 23 October next. At the moment, the MV Hebrides leaves Tarbert empty on Sunday morning to sail to Lochmaddy for the two runs to Uig, Skye; returning empty in the evening. The company has applied for permission, likely to be granted without difficulty, to carry passengers on the Tarbert - Lochmaddy (and vice versa) run on Sundays. The crossing to Skye would be conducted from Lochmaddy. The return trip, in the evening, would also be done through Lochmaddy.

As the ferry is already running at any rate, it only makes sense to let passengers on as well - that’s what the boat is there for in the first place.

Whilst respectful towards those who genuineful feel that Sunday should be a day of rest, I am pleased that there will now be a 7-day ferry service out of Tarbert. To quote Calumannabel from a few years ago: “Is that the sort of thing you were after?” Answer: yes.
It is probably too much to ask for a bus on Sundays.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Well, that was a hair raising Monday and no mistakes. The Met Office had put out an amber alert for us all, to be on our guard for 70 to 80 mph winds and lashing rains.

Well, to be true, we had a fair bit of rain in the morning. But otherwise, it was a beautiful early autumn day, with warm sunshine and winds never getting above force 3 in Stornoway. The only indication that something was not quite right was the barometer: 974 mbar is very low. The thermometer pulled a long nose at the forecasters by rising to 17C, which is very pleasant at this time of year. It even tempted me outside - except that the midges were also having a field day.

It’s nice not being the windiest place in the country - just for once.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Of cars, brollies - and buses

Today, another scheme from our elected representatives in Sandwick Road, Stornoway to save the planet. All employees of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) will be encouraged to give up their cars, and as a reward they will be issued with umbrellas. That way, council employees will be able to walk to work dry.

I have found an umbrella an unfortunately useless accoutrement in our climate. Yes, it frequently rains here. But it also blows hard quite a lot. I once came across a gentleman who tried to put up an umbrella in a force 8 gale. He nearly flew to his destination.
So, people should use public transport, if they’re coming in from out of town. Well, that means taking the bus. I am the last person in this island to knock the bus services, but really, there have been reductions in the buses in recent years. The town circular is now more a triangular short hop, and some buses don’t come even though they’re timetabled to do so.

Quite a few hare-brained ideas on public transport are thought out by people who graciously plonk their posteriors in luxuriously heated plush carseats, that they will not give up for any umbrella. So why should anybody else?