—> 2012 —> Ensuring a Good Journey to Islay

Diluain, 20/Feb/2012

Ensuring a Good Journey to Islay

Islay Links in stencil

When I started thinking about this entry I wasn't sure where to put it, into ‘Islay News’ or into ‘Islay Links’? In the end I decided to go for the links, as ultimately it's about two links for you to click and if you agree to take action on them. Both are related to the journey to Islay, first along the A83, then the ferry crossing to Islay, in this case Port Ellen:

To start with road to Kennacraig, the A83. As regular users will be all too aware it has all too frequent problems including closures leading to long detours. While there have been some improvements after some recent resurfacing works in some areas there are still some serious problems. These include in particular the risk of landslides and subsequent landslides near the Rest and be Thankful. A website Support the A83 Campaign has been set up which includes an Online Petition to Sign for the A83.

Moving on to Islay, where the work in Port Ellen to prepare the pier for the MV Finlaggan is commencing. Yesterday a friend sent me this picture of the Danish registered dredger M/V Grete Fighter at work:

Picture of a dredger at work near Port Ellen pier on Islay

While the work is commencing and should hopefully soon be complete and see the reoping of Port Ellen for the ferry, that route is in danger: Those of you who weren't busy with Christmas preparations might remember the Islay, Jura and the Draft Ferries Plan entry I wrote back in December. My suspicions were quite right:

The second part won't go down well in Port Ellen I suspect, namely shifting more of the crossings from Port Ellen to Port Askaig (or in other words, keep them in Port Askaig once Port Ellen reopens).

A lot of concerns have been raised, among others by the South Islay Development (SID) community organisation. One argument which makes a lot of sense to me is the potential impact on tourism: There are a lot of accommodation providers as well as tourist attractions (three distilleries to start with) within a relatively small radius, very attractive for foot passengers and/or cyclists. This isn't really the case for Port Askaig. Adding 20 miles across Islay to their journey is likely to stop many tourists from staying in Port Ellen or coming to Islay in the first place.

This leads me to the second online petition, you guessed it, the Save Port Ellen's Ferries petition. You might want to sign it if you want to preserve as many ferry crossings to Port Ellen on Islay like this one as possible.

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