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Last updated at 13:04 BST, Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Stornoway starts Sunday sailing


20 July 2009

The first scheduled Sunday ferry has sailed from the island of Lewis to the Scottish mainland. Supporters say it will boost the island's economy but a small protest group said that Sunday should remain a holy day.

Huw Williams

A protester holding a banner

A protester in Stornoway, Scotland


Click to hear the report:


As cars lined up in the ferry terminal car park, protestors gathered in silence behind a banner. It read: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy".


And as the vehicles rolled on to the boat the group of around a dozen joined in singing a psalm, and in prayer.

(Man speaking)

There are many throughout these islands who still hold thy day holy.

They see Sunday sailings as a breach of God's commandments. But the ferry company, Caledonian MacBrayne, says it could be accused of breaking equality and human rights laws if it didn't run ferries seven days a week. Campaigners for the service say it will be good for tourism and the development of the island and offer local people freedom to choose when they travel. Passengers boarding the vessel explained why they support the service.

(Male passenger speaking)

People who object to it don't have to use the ferry service on a Sunday, do they?

(Female passenger speaking)

Well I think people have to move with the times, you know.

(Crowd cheering)

As the ferry left Stornoway a crowd of several hundred gathered to cheer and clap and wave to those on board. Almost everyone agrees that seven day a week sailings will change Lewis. The question is whether the gains will be worth the loss of a distinctiveness which may now be gone forever.


Click to hear the vocabulary:


a banner

a poster or sign that people hold to display a message in a public place

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy

(this is a religious quotation) Remember to respect the holy day in the week for religious worship (for example, Friday for Muslims, Saturday for Jews or Sunday for Christians) only, not for work or play (or here, for operating a passenger boat service)

a psalm

a religious song

a breach

an act of breaking (a law or rule)


ten very important rules of behaviour from a first part of a holy book, the Bible

run ferries

operate passenger boats


boat (or here, ferry)

move with the times

keep up with modern technology and modern ways of doing things

the gains will be worth the loss

the advantages will be more beneficial than the disadvantages


uniqueness, to be easily recognised because it is different from other things

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