Apr 14 2014

arnish

Harbour works

Filed under Transport

On 8 September this year, the new ferry MV Loch Seaforth will arrive in Stornoway. She is due to take over from the current vessel, MV Isle of Lewis at a later stage.  As the new ferry is larger, and has a greater capacity for vehicles, the marshalling and carparking areas around the ferry terminal have to be enlarged. Works will commence, and those involved in the construction (like the contractors, Calmac and police) ask the public for patience. This article on the Stornoway Gazette website will outline the impact in the interim.

The main points for the next few weeks:

  • Staff and long-stay carpark has closed
  • Carpark at pier no 1 will be closed from 18 April
  • Ferry will dock at pier no 1 from 5 May

Detailed plans are on display in Stornoway ferry terminal, in the bay to the left of the entrance from the carpark.

No responses yet

Mar 12 2014

arnish

Lews Castle

Filed under Uncategorized

For quite a few years now, Lews Castle has lain derelict and unusued. The building was in state of disrepair, but is currently being refurbished. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have been in the process of getting a private sector operator to take on the running of the Castle as an accommodation provider. Also included in the Castle project is a section for the Western Isles Museum (currently closed).

The Chief Executive of CnES has penned a letter to Hebrides News, outlining the current state of affairs.

I am very pleased that this iconic building is finally going to be put to good use. It has always saddened me to have had to tell visitors that you can’t enter the Castle. As of next year, we will be able to.

No responses yet

Mar 08 2014

arnish

Pairc buy-out: vote suspended

Filed under Uncategorized

Whatever next, in this saga. Because an amicable deal could not be reached before the deadline of 7 March, the vote among the residents of Pairc has been called off. If no deal can be reached, the hostile buy-out bid will be resumed. Should it be possible to iron out those final glitches, then a new ballot will be organised. I think it is ominous that the deal could not be finalised ahead of yesterday’s deadline, and completely in character for the way this buy-out bid has progressed, or failed to progress more to the point.

No responses yet

Mar 04 2014

arnish

Pairc buy-out

Voting is underway among residents of the Pairc Estate in the South Lochs area of Lewis, to determine whether they wish to accept a deal with current landowner Barry Lomas. The result of the vote will be known on March 13th. I have written extensively about this case, and it only remains for me to conclude that although the road has been hard, long and dirty, it would appear that the community of Pairc now has ownership of (most of) its land within its grasp.

No responses yet

Feb 26 2014

arnish

Interconnector

Filed under Uncategorized

The Energy Minister in the Scottish Government visited Stornoway on Monday to attend a summit on renewable energy in the Scottish islands. He stated that the interconnector (between Grabhair and Dundonnell) was his personal top priority, and that having the interconnector in situ would help to alleviate fuel poverty. Excuse me? Are we going to get reduced rate for electricity? I don’t think so. And my position on the community benefits of renewable energy schemes is well known; beads and mirrors from the developers. I’m not saying that a million pounds is to be sniffed at, but it is derisory in comparison to the money that the developers are going to pocket from revenues from the electricity, as well as from subsidies from government. Windfarms may bring a little benefit to the islands, but many tourists come to the Hebrides for the wilderness aspect. Having industrial sites, like the one already present on the foothills of the Barvas Hills, or the one proposed for the electrical substation at Grabhair, will seriously detract from that. Tourism is the mainstay of the islands’ economy - it would be foolhardy to dice with that.

One response so far

Feb 26 2014

arnish

Ferry tales, ferry woes

Filed under Uncategorized

The ferry service from Stornoway to Ullapool (and back) has been having a very bad winter, and not just due to the bad weather. A stormy period of two months came to an end in early February, but that is pretty much par for the course here. What is not, is the litany of mishaps that has bedeviled the boats.

It started when the MV Clipper Ranger crashed into pier number 1, and required a spell in drydock to repair her buckled plating. Her replacement, the MV Hebridean Isles, suffered a similar fate, but the damage to that boat could be fixed at Stornoway in a day. Meanwhile, the MV Isle of Lewis, was in drydock at Birkenhead for three weeks for its annual overhaul. Upon return to the run, she encountered a very rough crossing last Friday morning, and upon arrival at Ullapool, her rudder was found to be faulty. That could not be fixed locally either, so at the moment of typing, she is being patched up prior to returning to drydock in Birkenhead. The replacement vessel is the MV Isle of Arran, a much smaller vessel and local rumour has it that passengers are shipped on the Arran whilst their vehicles go on the Clipper Ranger. Allegedly.

Isle of Arran

Hebridean Isles

No responses yet

Feb 01 2014

arnish

Flooding

Filed under Uncategorized

This morning, a 5.5 metre high tide overtopped the quays at Stornoway and flooded part of the town centre. North Beach was well under water, and police had closed Cromwell Street, North Beach Street and Castle Street. Some intrepid people even got their surfboards out.

P2017357 P2017349 P2017346 P2017339 P2017331 P2017327

No responses yet

Feb 01 2014

arnish

Clipper Ranger

Filed under Transport

Our new freight ferry, the Clipper Ranger, suffered a mishap last Tuesday (28 January), when she lost all power whilst manoeuvering to dock at pier no 1 here in Stornoway. As a result, the impetus of the ship carried her forcefully into the pier. Then she bounced off the fendering and drifted in the harbour, narrowly missing running aground in the Castle Grounds.

The damage to the ship necessitated it being patched up prior to it being taken to drydock in Liverpool for repairs.

For the time being, the MV Hebridean Isles is taking freight back and forth to Ullapool

No responses yet

Dec 29 2013

arnish

Pairc buy-out

After ten years, the community buyout of the Pairc Estate in South Lochs finally appears to becoming a reality. With the contribution of several hundred thousand pounds by public bodies, the Pairc Trust has now the funds available to take over the estate from present landlord Mr Barry Lomas. The way was rocky and unpleasant, but it is the result that counts. Whether the proposed windfarm will ever be built is dependent on the interconnector, and I recently learned that it could be quite a few years before that comes about - if at all. The winds of change are blowing through the renewables sector, with increasing numbers of people realising that windturbines are not as green as they are made out to be. Also, their output is not reliable, and requires back-up generation through other sources like nuclear, shale gas and the like. I don’t think the interconnector will come about - but only time will tell.

I wish the community of Pairc luck and sagacity with the acquisition of the land, and trust they manage it more in the interest of their residents than the outgoing landlord did.

2 responses so far

Nov 27 2013

arnish

Christmas lights switch off

Filed under Uncategorized

On Thursday 5th December, there will be no Christmas lights in any of the streets of Stornoway. Only the Christmas tree in Perceval Square will be lit as a token gesture to the fact that the year is nearly over. After we lost some of the inter island flights and primary schools, we are now facing the dullest and most dismal prospect in years. Christmas spirit? Well, the only spirits around this year will be the ones in a bottle <chokes>.

Hey, AL, don’t be such a misery guts. Santa will be in his grotto in the former WeeW store, the pipeband will play for a quarter of an hour in the town centre and the shops are open late that day. December 5th? That’s the eve of the nameday of St Nicholas, Santa Claus. Ach, I’m sure everybody will have a whale of a time.Here are a few pics from Xmas decorations from years gone by…

2005-12-04P0584 2005-12-04P0582 2005-12-04P0583 PC094696 PC094693

One response so far

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