The return of the wintry weather has again forced school closures and disrupted travel, as well as scuppering plans for the arrival of NorthLink’s newest freight vessel.
Three schools, Uyeasound, Baltasound and North Roe, were closed today due to heavy snow in the north.
Police reported that roads in Shetland were “badly affected” by snow, with one or two inches lying on some routes. They described conditions as hazardous and urged drivers to take extra care and ensure that they are adequately prepared for their journey, or even postpone travel until conditions improve.
One car went over on its side on the Fladdabister straight. Police said no-one had been injured and no other vehicle was involved. The tape was around it purely to let the public know officers had attended the scene, a spokeswoman said.
The council’s road services said all 23 gritters were out working and the recent delivery of a boat load of salt should ensure roads are treated when required for the next few months.
Flights in and out of Sumburgh were affected by the snow, and although early flights yesterday were able to arrive and leave, the position deteriorated as snow continued to fall during the morning. The second arrival from Aberdeen, due at 10.50am, was cancelled, and the 11.15am arrival from Edinburgh was delayed, as were departures.
Scatsta Airport was also badly hit, with no offshore helicopter flights or fixed wing planes operating in the morning. A spokeswoman for Bristows said it was hoped flights would be able to go out in the afternoon, however.
Meanwhile the first voyage to Lerwick of the Helliar, the ro-ro vessel with which NorthLink has replaced the 37-year-old Clare, was thrown into disarray by the adverse weather and “technical issues”.
The Helliar had been due to arrive in Lerwick Harbour at around 8am today, but eventually abandoned the attempt and returned to Aberdeen.
The 122-metre ship, which began service with NorthLink this week, made her first appearance at Aberdeen at 8am on Wednesday. She had sailed up from Birkenhead where she had been undergoing modifications at the Cammell Laird shipyard.
The original plan was for her to depart for Kirkwall and Lerwick at 3pm on Wednesday but the call to Kirkwall was cancelled and she set sail for Lerwick at 6pm.
However bad weather saw her still sheltering off Orkney at 9am this morning and the weather, coupled with “technical issues”, prompted a decision to return to Aberdeen, where she was due to arrive around 9pm.