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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse - August 2008

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No Sunday Sailings

Once again, Calmac have denied the residents of Lewis and Harris the opportunity of a direct mainland ferry link on a Sunday.

I invite any intrepid soul in or out of the islands, to take Calmac to court over this issue. Such a challenge will be successful, as there are planes flying in and out of Stornoway airport. Furthermore, all other islands in the area of Comhairle nan Eileanan Siar have a Sunday ferry service, but not Lewis and Harris.

It is possible to travel to the mainland by taking a ferry from Leverburgh (Harris) to Berneray, driving 10 miles to Lochmaddy and taking another ferry to Uig (Skye). Takes all day.

With all due respect to those who object to a Sunday service on religious grounds, I hold the opinion that it is more important for islanders to be able to come home for the weekend, and return to their place of employment in time for work on Monday. The current system is a recipe for depopulation.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 23:55

Weaving loom in action

Visited the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village on Friday, and found the Hattersley loom in action. This piece of kit is used to weave Harris Tweed. Better look sharp about watching it out there or on here, as the industry appears to be in terminal decline.

Watch the video from this link.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 19:03


Following the approval of part of the Eishken Windfarm, the focus is now shifting to the interconnector and other infrastructure required to bring the electricity, generated by that windfarm, to the mainland.

The village of Gravir, in South Lochs, has been earmarked by Scottish & Southern Energy as the place where powerlines will leave Lewis and go subsea towards the mainland. This entails the erection of a large electricity substation, pylons and other edifices. The villagers of Gravir have expressed their vehement opposition, but indications are that SSE will press ahead with their plans. These, curiously enough, relate to the Pairc Windfarm which has not been approved (yet).

The owner of the Eishken Estate has offered to take the interconnector into Loch Shell, which has been declined by SSE. Another alternative route, from the Arnish substation just outside Stornoway, has also been discounted, as this makes it necessary to erect a large pylon-line.

I wonder whether the Comhairle, in rubberstamping these schemes, have considered the implications of the infrastructure, associated with windfarms. We have to assume they did.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 18:24

NHS Western Isles

Former Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles, Mr Dick Manson, has formally left the employment of the Health Board, two years after being spirited away on secondment to another section of NHS Scotland. For that period, he remained on the payroll of the NHS Western Isles, although the costs of his salary were met by NHS Scotland. Mr Manson's secondment has ended, and so has his link with the Health Board. By September 5th, Mr Manson will take up another position in NHS Scotland, without having faced disciplinary action in Stornoway over allegations over bullying and mismanagement.

NHS Western Isles has gone through 6 CEO's in two years. Let's hope a period of stability has set in, allowing some substantive progress to be made in reducing the colossal budget deficit and reestablishing staff morale, and confidence of staff in senior management.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 10:36

Arnish Fabrication Yard

Work is resuming at this site of heavy industry, a few miles south of Stornoway and about a mile from the lighthouse after which this blog is named.

A European manufacturer of windturbines has granted a contract to Arnish, which would see it producing one turbine a week for a variety of projects across Europe. This is good news for employment in Lewis, although employee confidence in the Yard has plummeted following the collapse of two previous operators; at one point, the Yard had to ship one of its products away to Denmark for completion as it could no longer finish the turbines in question.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 10:41

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