Ferry arrivals and sailings have again been disrupted by the weather with tonight’s sailing of Hjaltland to Aberdeen leaving two hours ahead of schedule at 5pm. She is expected to get in on time at 7.30am tomorrow.
Hrossey arrived late in Aberdeen at 9.15am today and is scheduled to sail for Lerwick on time at 7pm with car check-in starting at 5pm.
Inter-island ferries were on schedule with the exception of the Skerries ferry Filla which was once more cancelled owing to the weather, meaning Skerries had been cut off from a ferry service since last Monday – eight days in a row.
SIC marine superintendent for ferries Kevin Main said that it was the longest disruption to the Skerries service in years and that hopefully the Filla would be back in operation tomorrow depending on the weather.
“Paramount is safety, and that is what we are weighing things up against,” said Mr Main.
He added that the skippers of the Filla, which is based in Whalsay, used their local knowledge and consulted with people in Skerries as well as taking extensive forecasts from the coastguard in making decisions whether to sail.
Unfortunately, the south-easterly gales had been the worst possible direction for entering the North Harbour with the sea cutting across the entrance. There had also been enough motion at the pier and linkspan to make lying there inadvisable.
Fair Isle had also been severely hit by the weather, especially as the Good Shepherd is one of the smaller ferries crossing one of the worst stretches of sea. The Papa Stour service has seen less disruption owing to the direction of the wind.
The disruption to the north boats meant that supermarkets in Lerwick had been unable to get supplies between Friday – the last sailing from south – and Tuesday.
According to Tesco manager Paul Clelland, most customers had been kept abreast of the situation via social media and stocked up at the weekend. “We did a pretty good job of giving them a heads up,” he said.
There was little fresh produce by Monday, although the store had never entirely run out of fresh goods, he claimed.
The Co-op had meanwhile been kept supplied with fresh bread by Sandwick bakery.
Diggers have been in action clearing seaweed which had been washed onto roads in various places throughout the isles.
Several machines were used to tackle seaweed on the Dalsetter road and the North Isles JCB was called out a couple of times, with the road at Brookpoint in Haroldswick worst affected by weed and small stones.
According to North Mainland team leader Brian Wood, the problem was not as bad as last year when seaweed had built up two feet deep at Haroldswick and blocked the road for days. Rock armouring laid down over the summer to prevent erosion at the head of the voe had gone some way to protecting the road. Some 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of boulders had been taken from the Sandison’s quarry for the purpose.
The roads department was also called into action to clear seaweed in Skerries, Northavoe in Yell, and Uyeasound. All the roads affected were exposed to the south-east and near the sea. At this time of year, as well as the storms, there is a lot of dead seaweed, said Mr Wood.