I’ve been following the efforts of CalMac to maintain anything like a normal service to the islands over the last two days of gales and storms. Yesterday there were no ferries to Islay at all, and the 0700 from Kennacraig this morning was cancelled. CalMac did attempt to run the 1300 to Port Ellen, though, but had to turn back due to the weather. They then cancelled the 1800 crossing which means that 0700 tomorrow will be the first crossing to the island since Wednesday. That would have meant two nights on the island even had I managed to get across on Thursday morning. Instead, we’ve been dodging bits of tin flying off the office roof and driving round and through floods on the road here in Argyll. Finally, the wind seems to be moderating and we can get some sleep without worrying about the roof/windows/cat being blown to bits.
Mind you, the folk I really pity are those who tried to get to Coll or Tiree yesterday; the ferry sailed but couldn’t dock at either island and had to return to Oban – eight hours plus on the ferry in stormy seas to end up where you began. That wasn’t the worst of it – the ferry put in an extra sailing today to try to get people out to Coll and Tiree, only to be unable to dock at either island and to return again to Oban. There will be some people who, when they finally get home again, will have spent twenty hours on the ferry getting there – just remember that next time you get all romantic about living on an island in the Hebrides.
To quote from the CalMac website today, The 0645 hrs sailing from Oban today has failed to dock at either Coll or Tiree and is heading back to Oban – arrival time in Oban will be approximately 1600 hrs. Next sailing to be advised in due course. Well, at least they tried …