View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday 17 July

Quite a nice if slightly cool day, with sunshine and some clouds about. Went over to Borve to try out the revamped Borve House Hotel, formerly the Borve Tavern. The building has been extensively refurbished, and makes a very smart impression. Food and service excellent as well. After a brief visit to Ness returned to Stornoway at half past five - to find our ferry service in a state of collapse.

The regular vessel, MV Isle of Lewis, had a break-down this morning, and limped into port some two hours late. It was unable to complete the remaining two crossings of the day, leaving hundreds of people stranded on either side of the Minch. Worse than that, it also had 200 people on board who were on a non-landing cruise. They are now having to be put up in Stornoway, where there is not a spare bed to be had due to the Hebridean Celtic Festival which is underway at the moment. The replacement boat, MV Isle of Arran, is steaming north but will not reach here until tomorrow morning as it has to come all the way from Kennacraig in Kintyre. It will then carry out three crossings, which will finish at 3 am on Sunday morning. Due to the backlog of traffic, the first Sunday sailing will probably turn into two sailings this Sunday. Talk of devine retribution was firmly swept under the carpet.

The Hebridean Celtic Festival is an annual music and culture festival in Stornoway, centered around the Big Blue Tent in the Castle Grounds. Several headline acts take place in there, with fringe events elsewhere in the town. I last attended it in 2005, as the performers in subsequent years did not appeal to me. This year, Capercaillie's Karen Matheson was billed, but tickets for her show were sold out before you could catch your breath.