Late winter snow flurry causes disruption to isles transport

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It may only have been a covering of wet snow for most, but last night’s arrival of wintry conditions led to several problems with transport links in the isles.

Sumburgh Airport was forced to close this morning after persistent snow showers prevented several flights from taking off and landing.

An expected arrival from Orkney was cancelled, and three flights which were due in from Aberdeen were delayed.

The morning’s service from Edinburgh was also held back while regular attempts to clear the runway were made.

In departures, an Inverness flight was called off, while flights to Aberdeen and Edinburgh were also disrupted.

A statement on the HIAL website read: “As conditions are constantly changing, HIAL advises all passengers to contact their respective airlines before setting out on their journey and allow extra time to travel and check in.”

Flights from Tingwall Airport to Papa Stour, Foula and Fair Isle also faced disruption.

And there were problems with oil-related flights, as well. Scatsta Airport saw a delay in the first fixed-wing flight of the day arriving. A number of helicopter flights were disrupted because alternative landing sites – which must be provided in case the preferred pad becomes unavailable – could not be guaranteed.

On the roads, the council’s fleet of 22 gritters and snow ploughs were working across the isles.

The deepest snow was found in Unst, where the island’s single snow plough was working to clear the overnight falling.

The good news is the council still has plenty of supplies of grit at its disposal, following a winter that, while cold and often miserable, has been largely snow-free until now.

Meanwhile, the familiar problem of tidal conditions at Aberdeen Harbour mean tonight’s north-bound sailing of the Hjaltland to Kirkwall and Lerwick may be delayed.

The ferry is due to leave Aberdeen at 5pm, but NorthLink said it may not now depart until 8pm. That would mean the boat arriving at Orkney at 2.30am tomorrow and in Shetland at 8.30am.



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