Monday, 31 December 2012
Island at the Edge-Colonsay- Facing the Abyss?
The news here is that as part of the medium term plan documented in the Ferry Review we are to have a dedicated boat for Colonsay from 2014, the Loch Nevis.
Wow, one would think, 7 sailings per week with our very own dedicated boat! The Loch Nevis is a super boat, but, and this is a big BUT, her capacity is only a quarter of our wonderful LOTI (Lord of the Isles)!
Which means, if you wish to come to Colonsay and bring your car, you might not be able to because, during our short season, a very, very busy period we can see up to 43 cars disembark from the ferry, and the Loch Nevis can only hold 14 cars! Whereas our wonderful current dedicated boat, LOTI, holds 56!
Now, then, it doesn't take much to do a wee calculation. If the Loch Nevis only holds 14 cars (or 2 articulated lorries) the actual capacity for vehicles on this boat becomes even less.
On every boat that comes to our Island at the Edge, Maclennans van brings our much needed shop supplies, including the post. The bin wagon arrives too, that drops the capacity to possibly 11 cars. Then on a Wednesday, we get an additional courier, Derek Wilson, (although in the summer months, we may still have the Finlaggan) but at the beginning and end of our season and over the winter months, this would drop the capacity to 10 cars.
Another fact is that the Loch Nevis is slower than LOTI, this would therefore make the crossing to/from Oban longer. By my calculations up to 30 minutes longer. So how does this equate to the idea we can have shopping trips to Oban?
But, Loch Nevis can carry 190 foot passengers, this can only mean increased business for 'Archie the Magnificent's' Bike Hire, and a raft of very fit visitors - having to walk everywhere.
Most non self-catering accommodation does offer transfers to and from their businesses and we also offer car hire. The positives are there is always a way around things.
Loch Nevis may be economically viable during the winter months although pre-booking would be paramount for those wishing to bring their vehicle.
As reported in the Oban Times Colonsay Community Council chairman, Mike McNichol said.
"We are delighted with the additional sailings and having a dedicated vessel, which will be very good for Colonsay during the winter months. However, we are concerned that the vehicle capacity of the Loch Nevis, which we believe is just 14 cars, will have a severe impact on island life and tourism during the peak periods of Easter and Summer. Currently we regularly have 30 cars plus trailers with boats, etc in June and July. The Community Council will hold a public meeting early in January to see what our community thinks about this plan and how we should react"
Will this decision put our wee island further into the Abyss and further 'out of reach' for those wishing to visit us.
We would love to hear all your comments on this! I will keep you posted.