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Ferries service yell.Unst

yell unst whalsay

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53 replies to this topic

#41 Mr.Brown

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 01:58 PM

Thanks for that George. I have just had a look & the last scheduled ferry runs from Toft & Gutcher are comparable to bus timetables for at least some areas. There seems to be an option for one more later ferry run (from each side) if there is a booking made before the closing time of the office. They don't seem to need a minimum number of bookings for this. To be honest when it came to working out the other timetables to Fetlar & Unst I got totally confused! I guess if you are using them regularly you soon learn when they are. Do you really think there are so many isles folk that would be in the sort of employment where they could be called out to the mainland in the middle of the night? Even if there was a fixed link right now would you want to be travelling even from the south end of Yell down to the town. I give you that if it is someone that is employed at Sullom Voe then maybe. I don't know if there are jobs there where you need to be "on call", if there is somebody in this situation I hope they join in the conversation. I would think a regular night shift would fit in with the ferry times though.

#42 George.

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 04:33 PM

 I give you that if it is someone that is employed at Sullom Voe then maybe. I don't know if there are jobs there where you need to be "on call", if there is somebody in this situation I hope they join in the conversation. I would think a regular night shift would fit in with the ferry times though.

 

I can think of one person off hand that has a house in Yell, works at Sullom and is regularly on call. I don't know how they deal with the problem when, and if, it has ever occurred but calling the ferry out to allow them access to Sullom will take a lot longer than driving across a bridge or through a tunnel. The use of a bridge or tunnel means that only one person is involved in response to the call-out, as opposed to the skipper and his crew that also have to turn out to sail the ferry. For all we know, there may well be people that do similar jobs that live further afield. If they are in Unst, two ferries, and therefore two crews, will have be called out and the extra time that is involved has to be dealt with. By who, and at what cost, I dread to think. Regardless, it's you, me and the people around us that have to pick up the tab.

 

I am also stunned that Iceland, Faroe and Norway have built so many tunnels and bridges to allow their people access across their land, twenty-four hours a day, every single day of the year. They enjoy a very similar weather to us but they haven't used it as an excuse to keep the few ferry skippers and their crews in a job, as Shetland seems to have.



#43 Mr.Brown

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 05:24 PM

Fair points George but I think it would have to be a tunnel if it ever happens because as I mentioned in an earlier post, high winds can cause closure of bridges. If you find out how that Yell man deals with the on call situation post it (if he doesn't mind). It would be interesting to hear.

#44 George.

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 07:41 PM

I agree, Mr.B. Tunnels would probably be better but cannot always be considered, therefore bridges are the next option. Neither tunnels nor bridges need to open and shut according to the timetable The S.I.C spent a long time investigating how they could put a tunnel across from Lerwick to Bressay, and there was an S.I.C information bulletin about it. Not much use to the people up north but very nice for themselves. Pity they don't appear to be considering doing what needs to be done.


Edited by George., 25 November 2017 - 07:42 PM.

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#45 Mr.Brown

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 08:52 PM

Another related issue did occur to me. Speaking of jobs that would go, the ferry folk have already been mentioned! I think that the council would see it as an opertunity to try to close the secondary schools, probably using the excuse of combining them with Brae high school. If they succeeded in that not only would there be teachers jobs gone & I doubt if they could all be absorbed by Brae, but there would be all the class room assistants (there are some even in secondary schools). Also the canteen staff, school cleaners & janitors jobs x 2 schools. I really don't think this is far fetched, I've heard one of our local councillors saying if he had his way he would shut them all (except for Lerwick)! A lot of people choose these sorts of jobs because they are local & they fit in with family commitments like maybe having younger children in the local primary. I would never be in favour of closing any of our schools, I think our children are deserving of having some choice (smaller or larger school). Not all kids thrive in the same environment, my own & my now grown child's experience has me totally convinced of that. I firmly believe we should consider all our schools as an investment in Shetland's future & not just a tax payers burden. So sorry George, I'm still on the side of feeling that a fixed link could do more irreversible harm than good!

#46 George.

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 09:42 PM

You may well be old enough to remember when kids that were a few miles away stayed in dormitories all week to give them access to shools, Mr. B.They don't have to do that at the moment but you never know, that may return. With tunnels and bridges it would be more difficult for that to be enforced upon people because it would be easier for them to get to Brae or Lerwick, wherever, in bad weather. I'm sure that you would agree, it would be good for the kids and their parents for the children to be going to a local shool that teachers that live elsewhere can have access to their job. Without that access, it means that the teachers have to live on the same island. I'm sure that you would agree that would be destructive to their education.



#47 Mr.Brown

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 11:21 PM

Oh yes George I'm definately old enough! But as I recall there were an awful lot of those kids farmed out to any household that would take them & the S.I.C. paid a fee for this. That was as well as 2 fairly large hostels filled to capacity. Those kids were from 3rd year (approx. 14yrs old) upwards & this was in the late 70's. We did however have the option that is still available (for now) of staying at our local & obviously smaller secondary school. It maybe wasn't a great alternative then as subject choice was very limited but at least there was an alternative. Ironically now that the local secondary schools have been vastly improved & get the results to prove it, they are constantly under threat of closure. I know also from friends a bit older than me that some of them went to secondary school in town (the Central school too), from the country areas for all of their secondary education. But again they did have an alternative choice in a local junior high. However our recent councils have demonstrated that they will take every opertunity to close schools & I am certain they are determined to whittle it down to two high schools (Lerwick & Brae), max. You & quite possibly others may think this is totally fine, acceptable even desirable but I will never be convinced it is. The only way the council could repeat that scenario these days is if they built more hostels as "disclosures" or whatever they are called now are legally required for anyone unrelated to look after or care for children under the age of 18. I guess I have strayed a bit from the original thread but fixed links will inevitability have knock on effects & it is a question of how positive they will be on balance. I am still afraid there will be more lost than gained for the islands. I am very interested in reading all the points of view posted but I know that if I chose to live on any island it would be for the fact that it is an island. I actually would love to live on any one of our islands but it wouldn't be practical for my circumstances at present. I think maybe by the time I have the opertunity I will have to choose between Foula or da Skerries. Wouldn't mind that though!
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#48 whalsa

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 11:41 AM

Well, where to start with this one. Interesting to read all the views here, even if I don't agree with all of them. 

Mr. Brown, as for your query about workers at SVT (and SGP) I can tell you that I work at the gas plant, 12 hour shifts on a 2 weeks on 3 weeks off rota. Due to the ferry timetable I cannot travel back and fore from Whalsay to work so I have to stay in the Moorfield Hotel when on shift. If there was a fixed link in place then it would be a ~20 minute commute for me. There are at least another 7 people from Whalsay in the same boat and I am aware of workers from Unst and Yell who have to do the same. 

I find it interesting when people talk about commuting they always speak about Lerwick. This is neglecting the fact that there are huge numbers of jobs based outwith the town (SVT, SGP, salmon farms, etc). If you drive from Lerwick to the North in the evening you will see probably as many cars coming towards Lerwick than going away from it. 

From a personal perspective, staying out of the isle when on shift is not ideal but it is far preferable to the commute I used to do on the Whalsay ferry, that turned a 9 hour working day into at least a 12 hour one. During the winter the ferry can be going to Vidlin for weeks on end, taking nearly an hour each way. I know for a fact that putting up with this daily hassle is a prime reason for young working folk leaving, especially combined with the high cost. 

 

I am not going to debate the merits of ferries vs tunnels but the sad fact of the matter is the Council cannot afford to continue funding the service we have at the current level, let alone replace the ageing fleet. This is a dire state of affairs which will render all these debates irrelevant if it cannot be sorted out as there will be no communities left to save. We need to get sufficient funding from Holyrood first before we can start seriously considering the future of these vital transport links. 

I would also like to defend the ferry men here, they do a fantastic job for their communities and I do not like to hear sweeping statements attacking their character. I know ferry men who are in favour of fixed links, even if it cost them their jobs, because they think it the best way forward. I also know some of them believe the opposite, possibly citing similar reasons as people here have touched on. 

The outer isles are a vital part of Shetland, both economically and culturally, and it is a disgrace things have been left to get to this stage. 


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#49 CrashBox

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 01:05 PM

I'm a newbie to Shetland, having been here since 2013, but I've learned that many Shetlanders from outside Lerwick/Scalloway seem to believe there is a Lerwick-centric culture within SIC, which if true is very worrying and sad. If the councilors are seriously following that course, then what's to say the Scottish government won't, at some point in the future, turn around and make the same decision about Shetland as a whole? And not just Shetland, but the Western Isles too. And many other remote communities on mainland Scotland. Where could it end? Everyone living in the central belt?*

 

The decision makers at SIC should not only cherish the outer-islands but do everything they can to promote social cohesion within those communities, which includes an improved physical connection (ferries/bridges/tunnels), whichever is the best option for each island, but also improved digital connection via fibre-optic broadband. By future-proofing the outer-isles and remote areas of Mainland, we future-proof Shetland as a whole. I can't understand why successive local administrations couldn't grasp this very obvious issue and deal with it, especially when they have recently been offered assistance by a (Norwegian?) company to provide the finance and build of tunnels. I'm sure fixed links would see an increase in traffic and make the islands' economy stronger.

 

*That's a bit of a piss take, but hopefully you'll get my drift.  :cool:


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#50 whalsa

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 01:12 PM

I'm a newbie to Shetland, having been here since 2013, but I've learned that many Shetlanders from outside Lerwick/Scalloway seem to believe there is a Lerwick-centric culture within SIC, which if true is very worrying and sad. If the councilors are seriously following that course, then what's to say the Scottish government won't, at some point in the future, turn around and make the same decision about Shetland as a whole? And not just Shetland, but the Western Isles too. And many other remote communities on mainland Scotland. Where could it end? Everyone living in the central belt?*

 

The decision makers at SIC should not only cherish the outer-islands but do everything they can to promote social cohesion within those communities, which includes an improved physical connection (ferries/bridges/tunnels), whichever is the best option for each island, but also improved digital connection via fibre-optic broadband. By future-proofing the outer-isles and remote areas of Mainland, we future-proof Shetland as a whole. I can't understand why successive local administrations couldn't grasp this very obvious issue and deal with it, especially when they have recently been offered assistance by a (Norwegian?) company to provide the finance and build of tunnels. I'm sure fixed links would see an increase in traffic and make the islands' economy stronger.

 

*That's a bit of a piss take, but hopefully you'll get my drift.  :cool:

Your point is no piss take, by attempting to force the SIC to use its reserves to pay for basic services which they should be funding this is exactly what the Scottish Government are doing. Another example is "per pupil" funding models for education. Rural areas will always suffer under such methods. Some would say your scenario is already well underway. 

 

As for the Norwegian offer, yes the offer is there but the SIC would need a ~£20M down payment (for the Whalsay option, could be different for other routes), if we were to take this from our reserves then that would have a huge knock on effect on other services. 

Your point about fibre connections is very true, especially in light of the potential satellite centre development in Unst which would require fibre broadband. 


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#51 Mr.Brown

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 06:04 AM

Hi Whalsa & everyone else. Certainly didn't mean to imply that anybody travelling out with the islands would automatically be employed or seek employment in da toon, I brought that up as it had already been touched upon. I am very interested to read your view "W". As I have said before, I think the opinions of island residents are the most relevant in this subject & that they should all get an opportunity to put them forward. I don't claim to know what the majority would be in favour of. It certainly needs to be discussed thoroughly & officially though so that if fixed links go ahead that problems can be prevented as best as possible.

#52 BigMouth

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 12:20 AM

Whilst my views won't be popular, I will put them forward.  We continue to live a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget.  According to this link:

 

https://www.whatdoth...and_air_servicethe annual cost of running the Papa Stour Ferry Service for the financial year 2016/17 was £360,118.

 

I believe that there are 8 residents on Papa Stour.  The cost of running the ferry is £45,000 per resident per year.  Life in the isles may be idyllic, it's certainly eye-wateringly expensive for the rest of us.  If you want your schools etc. out in the sticks or your fixed links then luxuries like the ferry service for the good folk of Papa Stour, and many other little treats are going to have to go.  The alternative is to kid yourselves otherwise and continue with the status quo.


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#53 Mr.Brown

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 01:07 PM

Well my views maybe won't be popular either but if we really want to economise then why don't we just all centralise to the town & perhaps Brae & just keep expanding both until they accommodate all of us. That would no doubt be a saving, at least in the long run! My real point is that where do we draw the line at effectively making it impossible for people to live in the area they choose, maybe where they grew up, have family in & possibly have land they work? I don't pretend to know how often the ferry goes back & forward to Papa Stour (I'm sure somebody will enlighten me) but if we are going to talk about them in particular, maybe it is feasible to cut down the timetable & still provide enough access to the mainland. If there are only 8 residents then it surely wouldn't be beyond the capabilities of the S.I.C. to have a meeting with them all to work this out. To the best of my knowledge the residents of this island are not requesting a theatre or leisure centre or the likes, just the basic necessities of limited travel to the mainland & a primary school teacher when there is a child/children resident. As I said where do we draw the line? We all complain about the cost for us to get to mainland Scotland & would gladly see this cut. But the tab has to be picked up somewhere along the line & if the mainlander's took the attitude that we should either pay up or move south then we would not be too impressed!
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#54 CrashBox

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 06:40 PM

......... why don't we just all centralise to the town & perhaps Brae & just keep expanding both until they accommodate all of us. 

Yep, and that could be expanded to "Let's empty all the islands around Scotland AND the Highlands, and centralise everyone to the central belt and make Glasgow and Edinburgh contiguous because it'll save money having everybody in one place"  :P

 

Seriously though, when you look at Unst, all the tourists like to make a beeline for it, to visit Hermaness and see Muckle Flugga. So there needs to be a population there to provide the services that the tourists will need and expect.  Nobody will go there if there are no shops, cafes, and accommodation. That would hit Shetland as a whole. It'll be a disaster to de-populate it.  


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