Saturday, 2 November 2013

Ferry tales

Our old freight ferry Muirneag sailed from Stornoway on 3 October to reach her new home in Turkey a fortnight later. On approach to Istanbul, she passed the Dardanelles, site of a bloody 9 month battle in 1915 which claimed half a million lives. Twelve of these were of men from the Isle of Lewis. I wish her well in her new life in the Black Sea.
Our new ferry Loch Seaforth is taking shape on a shipyard in Germany, and is expected to take over from the Isle of Lewis in July 2014. On Monday 11th November, the Pier & Harbour Commission will have an open day at the Stornoway ferry terminal for displaying their plans for the new ferry terminal. As the Loch Seaforth is larger than the Isle of Lewis, reclamation works will have to be undertaken to accommodate all the traffic. I’m wondering why this is only now being thought about, 8 months before the new ferry comes into service.
And although the Loch Seaforth is supposed to take the overnight freight runs as well, the relevant report on Hebrides News mentions that the linkspan on Pier #1 is to be refurbished - to take a future freight service. A prudent measure. During the summer, the ferry to Ullapool sails three times a day on Wednesday and Friday, leaving Stornoway at 6.00 am and completing the service at 1.45 am. Leaving just four and a bit hours to do the freight run which takes 8 hours back and forth. Well, I’m sorry, but even in the Outer Hebrides, a day only has 24 hours, not 29.

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