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I WASN'T going to mention the weather, but it is undoubtedly due to the endless wet and wind that the garden looks a good deal more thrashed than it should do in December. That mid-month dusting of snow transformed it for a day and a bit, then rendered it even more brown and soggy.
Lea Gardens is famed for its shelter; it has indeed been accused of having "all the shelter", implying that there was none left for all the other Shetland gardens.
I have been living in Shetland long enough to remember 23 years of lifeline ferry service from P&O and the last 15 years from NorthLink.
In all these years the winter weather is on and off much the same with the odd extreme period, so why year on year is the NorthLink service getting so progressively unreliable?
This weekend is not an extreme weather event in Shetland or Aberdeen waters but all the boats are tied up or delayed on the busiest weekend of the year.
I know some of this is down to unnecessary and counter productive levels of health and safety that now make many things in life almost impossible to do.
I also know, from acquaintances who know about ships, that the vessels on the Northern Isles routes are not suited to the conditions or Aberdeen Harbour. But these factors alone do not explain why NorthLink gives up at the slightest bit of wind and lumpy sea, with the excuses from the boardroom more akin to operations on a sunny day in the Mediterranean.
So can anyone explain why one year in the NorthLink calendar gives us a lifeline service with more delays and cancelations than in several years put together of the former P&O service?
Are the ships so useless? Is NorthLink so scared of being sued if someone falls over on a rough passage? Does NorthLink save money by not sailing?
Whatever the reasons, it’s imperative come the next contract, that the local communities of both Orkney and Shetland have a say in what service we need and not the rigged sham that saw NorthLink and then Serco take over.
The Ocean Endeavour is assisted on her way out of Lerwick Harbour by the pilot boat Knab. Photo: Stephen Gordon
Another of the accommodation vessels used by Shetland Gas Plant workers, the Ocean Endeavour, left Lerwick Harbour today.
The departure of the cruise ship leaves just the three barges, the Sans Vitesse at Victoria Pier and the Bibby Bergen and Kalmar at Holmsgarth, left in the town.
The cruise ship Gemini and the barge Bibby Challenge, housing mainly BP workers, remain based at Scalloway.
Preparation for the Ocean Endeavour‘s move began at 2pm, with the harbour tugs Kebister and Knab both involved. After a period of manoevring she finally headed away under her own steam at around 2.30pm.
The Ocean Endeavour was on her way to Portland in Dorset for orders. After that her destination was unknown.
A SMALL group of invited guests gathered at the war memorial at Lerwick's Hillhead on Friday morning to witness the unveiling of a commemorative paving slab in honour of Lieutenant William Bruce.
Bruce, the only person in Shetland's World War One Roll of Honour to be awarded a Victoria Cross, died in the trenches in France 100 years ago to the day.
Air con, alloys, tow bar.
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