Comment posted Western Ferries signs contract with Cammell Laird for new Dunoon-Gourock ferries by Robert Wakeham.
There seems to be a political sickness on the lower Clyde that is responsible for a lot more than just the Dunoon – Gourock ferry saga.
The very poor performance of the SPTE is one symptom, and the apparent muddle over how to organise publicly funded ferry services, with the Scottish and European authorities trying to navigate their way through a legislative minefield is another symptom. Fragmented responsibility for landing facilities just adds to the problem, as does the apparent inability to provide easy transfer between passenger rail and ferry services at Gourock. Will all this ever be resolved unless there’s a really effective passenger transport authority for the area? Who else but the Holyrood government can take the initiative (and show that they really can govern)?
Robert Wakeham also commented
- Not arrogance – just astonishment that you’d wish to defend such a poor arrangement, and I wonder if the boarding system for the current ferries is any easier? ‘Struggling’ could well be right.
- Ferryman: If you think that my criticism of the boarding arrangements to the streaker service is ‘some kind of fetish’ you’ve no real idea of what a decent passenger ferry should be like. You’re right that I wasn’t a regular user of the service, and for that I’m very thankful. If you were – as a passenger – it beggars belief that you’re so ignorant of just how bad the boarding facilities were by any reasonable current-day standards.
- Calmac was shackled by having primitive boats, from a passenger point of view – and although the cafe was a nice feature (but not really necessary for such a short run, while undoubtedly helping to make the passenger service uneconomic) the boarding arrangements were astonishingly bad, compounded by a steep exposed stair down from the upper deck to the lounge. I wasn’t a regular user of this service, and it seemed to me that the boats – however seaworthy – were nowhere near the quality of what passengers could reasonably expect. (and don’t get me started on the dismal facilities at Gourock for passengers transferring between boat and train)
- Ferryman, I think that there very clearly is a ‘minefield of legislation’. The sheer laboriousness and cost (in money, time, and damage to the ongoing provision of fit for purpose ferry links) of the processes involved by the Holyrood governments over recent years in their attempts to reconcile the operation of the publicly owned and managed ferry system with European competition rules point to this. There’s a risk of being so fixated on the Dunoon – Gourock saga, which has been hamstrung by the historic failure of the traditional route to change to match demand, that the bigger picture is being missed. You don’t mention SPT; count yourself fortunate if you don’t live on the Rosneath peninsula, and if you look further afield there are clearly huge potential disadvantages in ‘balkanising’ the Calmac routes, whatever the advantages of introducing private initiative – and ‘cherrypicking’ remains another obvious problem.
- Ferryman, why didn’t you address this in the ‘other post’? Changing the subject is not replying to DunoonLad’s comment.
Recent comments by Robert Wakeham
- McGrigor supports small scale hydro schemes but is concerned about lack of grid connectivity
If not ‘bitter’, then how about ‘negative’, ‘petty’, or just plain miserable?
Effective ways of providing energy for this country is an increasingly fraught subject, with government commitment to ‘green’ power leading to the perception that our politicians are swimming with sharks, and a proliferation of wind farms that are good for some sectors of the local economy but which are a major cause of price inflation.
And the Kintyre / Arran power emergency this spring served to highlight the fact that large scale wind generated electricity can be likened to a rough single malt – no use unless it’s blended with other spirit to make it palatable.
I live in hope that SSE’s Sound of Islay tidestream power project will prove more user-friendly – as are the hydro power plants described by Jamie McGrigor, as far as I can gather.
Here in mid Argyll we’re being shown the next windfarm proposal – 25 turbines for Electricite de France above Brenfield, which would form a backdrop to Ardrishaig, and would be so close to the recently unveiled proposals by E.ON for up to 24 turbines above Inverneill as to be semi-detached.
That’s up to 49MW plus up to 90MW, that would all presumably have to be ‘blended’ with power from elsewhere to make it digestible, and if anyone thought that ‘fast breeder’ only referred to a type of nuclear reactor, just look at the emerging cluster of wind farms south of Ardrishaig.
- Argyll Flyer spotted going into Ardmaleish yard on Bute this afternoon
Doesn’t the SPTE have a remit to co-ordinate public transport provision here? – maybe I’m imagining it, or maybe they’re just pretending, or maybe they’re only really interested in Strathclyde bus services and the Glasgow subway (on the basis that only a tiny proportion of voters use the Gourock ferries, and politics is all)
- 31 hour shout Tobermory Lifeboat’s longest ever, ending in joint operation with Oban lifeboat
The Oban Times reported on 6th June on the MAIB report on a similar incident last July when a small container ship rammed the Isle of Bute, and apparently legal action is ongoing.
- Refloated cargo ship MV Fri Ocean escorted to Lynn of Lorne – and on into Oban
Not being a mariner, I wonder why – in this day and age of almost universal use of radar (and GPS?) for navigation – ships don’t seem to be equipped with a proximity alarm, a bloody great klaxon fit to waken the dead, that is triggered if the boat closes with an identifiable hazard.
It would have to be capable of deactivation in harbour areas and, eg, places like the Corran Narrows – but would surely be invaluable, especially at night.
Maybe it would be seen as a dangerous threat to the need for proper watch keeping.
- Auchindrain in crisis: facing paying off its two permanent staff
Considering how all the wind farm developers are so keen (and can clearly afford) to provide substantial funding to help local community ventures, this is surely a prime example of an exceptionally good local cause with national significance.
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