Rather than post several times on the main Blog , i thought i'd start a bit of a discussion here (if that's alright with you Ron ?) .
Being a regular visitor (i hope 3 times a year constitutes regular....) to the Isle , the ferry service occupies a great deal of our thoughts when visiting , mainly i hope the ferries are running ! Twice this year when we've been going over the ferries have been on reduced service , once we managed to get moved onto a different one and the other time we were on a ferry not affected . I don't know how the good people of Islay cope at their end with what's been going on i would be going mad with what has happened !
Anyway down to what has been discussed over on the blog.......
The Name !
I know the nameshouldn't matter but there is something romantic (is that the word?) about getting on a boat that is named after something associated with where you are going . On the poll i voted Isle of Islay but if it does come down to the 4 names Cmac said Finlaggan would be my choice , How about "Queen of the Hebrides" as a suggestion ?
Oban - Port Askaig Route !
Again down to personal choice i would not want this route ! We enjoy our drive to Kennacraig , if we are early we stop off at Tarbert for a coffee , a look at the Gallery , we've even picked up shopping at the Co-op on our way to Islay . Oban is not one of our popular places , it's a while since we went over to Mull but we always found it to be a bit too touristy (too much tartan and shortbread tins......Sorry Oban !) . I don't know the difference in Miles from Glasgow (the way we approach the Ferry....) to both places but it always seems easier to get to Kennacraig for us . So keep both the ferries departing from Kenna to Islay !
I'm sure the Ileachs are looking forward to having a guaranteed two ferry service running in 2011 more than us visitors are ! One thing i think they should look into , and i know the locals have been suggesting this at meetings , is having an extra run instead of one of the ferries sitting idle at Port Ellen during the day . This would surely ease the pressure on the existing timetable during peak times !
While routine ferry trips are to Islay people a means of transport like any bus or train, the sea crossing in the ferry is part of the 'Islay Experience' to visitors. In a sense, Islay begins at Kennacraig. In Islay we become patient/resigned about ferry delays or changes, whether due to weather conditions or other occasional hindrances. This may come as a surprise to mainlanders or visitors from abroad, but It's all part of the 'joys of island life' On any island, not everything is available at the moment it's wanted.
Re the possibilities of an Oban route ; have the proposers considered the poor condition of the road to Oban, and the extra driving miles along a twisty narrow road where so many motor accidents already happen (and more accidents would happen while drivers are rushing to be in time for the ferry !) ? Probably more ferry traffic for Islay/Jura approaches the Kennacraig ferry terminal from the south rather than from the north. Has anyone done a survey to get facts on where travellers coming to the ferry port have driven from? Driving north through Argyll to sail south to Islay (making a longer sea crossing) doesn't make any sense, IMO.
Excellent suggestion Gordon to start a topic here, thanks, can't think of a better place
I have done some homework and calculated the travel times involved from Glasgow to Islay (Port Askaig) via Oban and Via Kennacraig. Here are the figures:
Glasgow to Port Askaig via Oban:
Car from Glasgow to Oban: travel time 2:40 hours, distance 160 km.
Ferry travel time Oban to Colonsay 2.20 hours. Port Askaig to Colonsay 1.10 hours.
This brings the total travel time to six hours and ten minutes
Glasgow to Port Askaig via Kennacraig:
Car from Glasgow to Kennacraig: 3 hours.
Ferry travel time Kennacraig to Port Askaig 2:00 hours
This brings the total travel time to 5 hours exact.
Apart from the longer travel time of one hour and ten minutes I think there is something else to say against this idea and it is for an economic reason. My wife and I just had a lively discussion what would happen with a town like Tarbert and the surrounding area when all the Islay visitors no longer visit their town and stay in their B&B's. I think it would be a big blow for them, it will put many people out of business and Kintyre will see less visitors. I know that people sometimes stay for one or two days in Kintyre before or after they come to Islay, this won't happen when the ferry leaves from Oban.
But then again, when the government can save Â£38 million, like councillor Douglas Tott said, it will be hard to predict how the ball will roll. I'm afraid that in these financial tough times this could prove to be an easy win!
There is however one thing that is strongly against the Oban to Port Askaig route and that is the weather. I'm convinced that ferries on this route will be more often subject to cancellation or disruptions due to the unsheltered waters it has to sail in. Right now ferries from Kennacraig to Port Ellen can divert to Port Askaig and cancellations don't happen that much. From Oban there is no diversion possible. Take a look on the map and you'll see what I mean.
And on a personal note, I wouldn't like to travel via Oban, I'm not to keen on the town and I guess like many others we are kinda used to our Glasgow to Kennacraig drive. Let's hope this doesn't become another nostalgic topic real soon.
And for the name? I thought Finlaggan was a fine name and Isle of Islay could be great as well although I also feel that the name doesn't matter that much. When the ferry service is reliable, has enough capacity and runs from Kennacraig I don't really care what they call it although I wish for the people on Islay that they name the ferry MV Isle of Islay
In the meanwhile people keep voting in the Poll and when there are more than one hundred votes I will send the information to the Ileach and CMAL
It's been a while since I logged in even though I check for news almost everyday. Thanks Ron for this beautiful web site. Joan and I have really enjoyed reading all the histories and events of this beautiful island on your site.
I voted Isle of Islay because of the island's rich history. Scottish Clan history goes back a long ways with early beginnings on Islay with the formation of the MacDonald and Mac Dougall clans under Somerled. I think it deserves the title and there is no better way to recognize Islay as a major player in Scotland's history.
Hello to all the folks on Islay.:D
Today, we are off to a Ceilidh in Penticton, for a day of dancing, socializing and eating.
Hi Henry, thanks very much for your contribution and good to see you back in the forum.
I also have an update. The name Queen of the Hebrides has been added to the poll as a name for the new Islay Ferry.
Another interesting fact to mention is that Councillor Douglas Tott resigned last Tuesday after the first meeting of the new community council. I'm sure we will hear more about the reason of his resignation but I bet it has something to do with his correspondence with the ferry review.
Hi Ron ,
Glad you liked both my Suggestions !!!
I think the "Queen of the Hebrides" has a nice ring , it doesn't name it directly after an Island but we all know what it is !
I never gave it a thought but i've just went on the AA site and done the route planner.......
Glasgow - Oban via Crianlarich 97.5 miles Time 2.09 hours .
Glasgow - Oban Via Inveraray 101 miles Time 2.14 hours
Glasgow - Oban Via Lochgilphead 125 miles 3.10 hours
Glasgow - Kennacraig via Tarbert 106.7 miles Time 2.22 hours .
Ok it's a slightly longer route but my heart would sink at having to do that drive up the top of Loch Lomond , done it once recently when the A83 was shut due to a road accident , still gives me nightmares......
Something else came into my mind , if we were made to go to Oban , do you think Richard at Loch Fyne Whiskies would be chuffed at loosing his passing trade of people going to and from the Islay ferry ? (Presuming everyone takes the direct route via Crainlarich....) i can hear Richard now.........
I'm glad i'm not the only one that doesn't like Oban !
Strange he's resigned though........
I too was very surprised to read in the Ileach that a member of the Community Council had suggested that the new ferry should only run from Oban to Port Askaig. It's not a sensible idea, for all the reasons you give, Ron. And incidentally, I think your estimate of 3 hours 30 minutes for the sailing time from Oban is generous - don't forget there's also at least 20 minutes to add for docking and departure at Colonsay. Hence the 3 hours 45 or 50 minutes which the summer timetable gives for the Oban - Port Askaig Wednesday sailings. And then there's the winter weather......:?
And incidentally, I think your estimate of 3 hours 30 minutes for the sailing time from Oban is generous - don't forget there's also at least 20 minutes to add for docking and departure at Colonsay. Hence the 3 hours 45 or 50 minutes which the summer timetable gives for the Oban - Port Askaig Wednesday sailings.
That's indeed something I had forgotten. It would be strange for the ferry NOT to dock at Colonsay and in that case it would make the travel time one hour and thirty minutes longer than on the Kennacraig route, at least!
The Maggie is one of Ealing studios lesser known comedies. A wily old skipper of a Western Isles 'Puffer' and his motley crew lead all who come into contact with them a fine old time! Many scenes on Islay!