Snow and harbour trouble cause disruption to travellers

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The snow and Aberdeen’s notorious harbour problems are continuing to disrupt Shetland life, particularly for travellers.

None of the islands’ schools or colleges opened to pupils and students today, causing extra difficulties for some working parents although bad roads in places prevented some people getting to work anyway.

There have been no reports of serious accidents over the weekend but the police warned drivers to slow down and be prepared for getting stuck.

The NorthLink sailing of the Hrossey from Aberdeen at 7pm on Monday faces a possible delayed departure until Tuesday morning. If the sailing is put back NorthLink expects the ship will only arrive in Lerwick at 6pm on Tuesday.

Passengers intending to sail on the trip are being told to check in as normal. The Hjaltland and the freight ship Clare are not affected and expect to leave Lerwick as scheduled this evening.

Flights to and from Shetland, while still suffering delays of up to two hours this morning, were at least taking place following widespread cancellations over the weekend. However Edinburgh remained badly affected by heavy snowfalls which knocked out its flights.

Scatsta’s oil-related flights to and from Aberdeen were also hit by two to three hour delays today.

The snow has caused countless other problems for travellers, including for fencer Chris Rocks, winner of the SRT/Shetland Times sports awards, who was unable to fly in on Friday to receive his prize at the ceremony.

After two days of no newspapers only the Press & Journal newspaper made it north this morning.

As well as the schools and colleges being closed the council has shut the Erik Gray Resource Centre and cancelled all youth clubs.

On the roads in Shetland the gritters have kept traffic moving in most areas. With a number of minor accidents continuing to occur, police said motorists should slow down and ensure they are properly prepared in case they become stranded in the snow. They advise people only to travel if necessary and to take warm clothes, a blanket, a hot flask, food and to make sure mobile phones are fully charged.

Air temperatures this morning reached as low as -4.4 degrees C on the council’s weather station in Sandness where the road temperature also fell to -4.1C.

Fair Isle weather forecaster Dave Wheeler said snow showers would become more frequent for a time later today with a frosty night in store as fresh or strong easterly winds ease light north-easterly overnight. Tomorrow should see scattered showers and light winds.

On Friday, NorthLink warned of possible disruption to its sailings for a whole week from Sunday up to and including Friday 3rd December due to forecasts of strong east-north-easterly to east-south-easterly winds which build up swell in the harbour entrance channel.


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