Travel disrupted – but Shetland escapes worst of stormy weather

Travel to and from the isles has been slightly disrupted because of the poor weather, although Shetland has faired better than the mainland which has been battered by severe gales.

Tonight’s northbound ferry sailing will miss out its scheduled stop in Orkney. Instead Hrossey will sail straight for Lerwick after leaving Aberdeen at 5pm. The Hjaltland is due to sail from Lerwick to Aberdeen at 7pm.

On the freight side the Helliar is expected to sail south from Lerwick at 6pm, while the Hildasay is in drydock.

At Sumburgh the scheduled Flybe flight from Edinburgh, which had been due to arrive at 11.30am, was cancelled because of high winds in the capital. A midday flight to Glasgow was also delayed.

This morning the Met Office upgraded its amber warnings to red warnings, after it became clear wind speeds in west and central Scotland were higher than originally anticipated in many places.

But while parts of the country have been hit by storms, Shetland is expected to escape the worst of the gales, although the weather will be poor, with rain possibly turning to snow on high ground later in the week.

Meanwhile efforts are still underway to secure 12 salmon cages containing around 1,000 tonnes of fish which were set adrift near Unst at Christmas.

There are concerns the 30-metre wide cages could be dangerous to navigation in the area, although efforts are underway by owners Meridian Salmon Group to track down the wayward pens.

The coastguard were told the cages had gone missing on Boxing Day, when staff spent the day trying to locate the cages.

They were spotted by the rescue helicopter a day later around 24 miles east of Unst. Two wellboats were called to carry out a recovery operation, but the weather was too severe for it to take place.

Mark Warrington, managing director of Meridian, said: “This is a serious situation for the company but we pay tribute to the dedicated work of the site staff for all they have done in trying to recover the pens in atrocious and dangerous weather conditions.

“We are also very grateful to the Shetland coastguard for their assistance in helping locate the pens. We are in constant touch with the coastguard and are keeping the Scottish government informed as the situation develops.”


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