BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2010We've left it here for reference.More information

21 April 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

Arnish Lighthouse

BBC Homepage
»Island Blogging
Western Isles

North Uist
South Uist

Argyll & Clyde Islands
Northern Isles

House Rules

From the BBC

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Open and shut (repeat at leisure)

The Arnish Fabrication Yard is yet again to be mothballed. As an acquaintance put it this morning, it's now got more mothballs than a wardrobe. It's getting tedious. This is the third time that the Yard has been put on a care-and-maintenance basis, but listen up, folks: this time it's not a company failure. Hurray.

According a spokesman from the Yard, there is a dearth of orders for renewable energy components (such as turbine towers). Even if an order came through today, it would take three months before the Yard could swing into action. The heavy demand for base materials for renewables means that delivery times are long. Right. So, there is such a demand for renewable energy components, yet no orders. Correct. The planning process is putting a spanner in the wheels. Two projects are being considered at present, which the Yard has bid for.

I think everybody is now fully convinced that if you want secure and long term employment in the engineering sector in Lewis, the Arnish Fabrication Yard does not appear to occupy top spot in the listings for reliability. As I indicated in my first paragraph, this opening-and-closing pendulum is once again in full swing. Previously, the closures were due to company failures, with tens of millions of public money going down the drain.

The irony of this whole situation is that the Fabrication Yard, and the work for the Lewis Windfarms (if and when they are given final approval) was supposed to be the salvation of the island economy. It was one of the reasons for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to approve the North Lewis and Eisgein windfarm projects.

Talking of windfarm projects, it appears that the Eishken estate owner is trying to undo his earlier reduction in windturbine numbers for the Eisgein project by submitting piecemeal applications, each below the 50MW threshold above which Scottish Ministers would have had to give approval. Now the local authority can do it all by themselves. And judging by previous experience, the rubber stamp will take centre-stage in proceedings. I have made my dismay at this tactic clear in an earlier post.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 12:23


The mothballing was known about months ago so your one-side, snide and mocking blog is not new information. And your facts are wrong - again. Tens of millions of pounds have not been lost. Much of the public investment is still there, that's how the place re-opened so quickly. It reopened to finish off an order. Previous failures were caused by exactly the same problem of a bad dearth of windfarm planning applications coming through. The other firms went to the wall trying to subsidise island jobs. Please tell what windfarm yard in the UK is reliable for maintian jobs at present. I think everybody is now fully convinced that if you want secure and long term employment in the engineering sector in Lewis, the Arnish Fabrication Yard is our best bet. I don't know where you heard the stuff about Eishken and piecemeal applications but it sees to be speculation rather than fact. He made one small application a couple of months ago so to secure rights to the interconector but your blog that he is to put in a lot of small applications (up to the original size?) to beat the government's approval seems to be a product of rumour rather than fact

Seumas from Glumaig

Not mothballed, but reduced to a team bidding for new work. The yard could be restarted at a day's notice, but delivery of materials to commence work would take 6/8 weeks. Just as well, as it will take that amount of time to prepare the yard for the materials arriving. It's sad you seem to glory in the loss of jobs to justify your anti-windfarm stance. If Arnish got the work from Lewis Wind Power would you still try to keep us unemployed? Or would you try to maximise the benefit to the local economy?

Jimmy from Lewis

As a retiree here, Arnish Lighthouse seems determined to mould the islands to his desired model, rather than to live in the community he has joined. Isn't that what too many (temporary) incomers do?

Angus from stornoway

At least he doesn't write a bitter anonymous blog trying to undermine the democratically elected MSP (not very sucessfuly, I might add). Your next mission, Mr. Nicolson, should you choose to accept it, is to actually locate a single sane human being who has ever actually enjoyed working at Arnish...good luck...this turbine will self-destruct in five seconds.

Droch Isean from Lewis

This blog is now closed and we are no longer accepting new posts.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy