View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 17 December 2009


On Boxing Day last year, 21-year old Simon MacMillan went to a dance at Daliburgh in South Uist, about 90 miles south of Stornoway. At 3 a.m., he went home in a minibus, with about a dozen other young people. He was due to get off at the junction at Ardmhor, in the north of South Uist, but never reached home. Tales from other passengers, many in a state of inebriation, suggested he had instead alighted at Liniquie, 3 miles to the west, and 3 miles past his destination.

Simon was reported missing the next morning. For about a fortnight or so, searches by individual islanders, the police and other emergency services went on in the area for him. Loch Bi, which is a large tidal loch adjacent to Ardmhor and Liniquie, was searched over and over again. After the emergency services had given up, Simon's body was finally recovered from the southern shores of Loch Bi, 4 miles south of Ardmhor.

Nobody knows for certain what happened that night, and it is inappropriate for me to relay local speculation. All I can do is restate my sympathies to the MacMillan family and friends on their loss. RIP Simon MacMillan.

Strike off

The High Court in London has ruled the strike by cabin crew at British Airways, slated for December 22nd to January 2nd, illegal. That comes as a huge relief to myself, who is due to travel on the 22nd, and to about a million others, whose Christmas holidays were on the line.

Thursday 17 December

A quiet, overcast morning, but with glimpses of sunshine peeping through the clouds. By far, we have the best weather in the country. At 7C, we're doing rather better than most, it's mainly dry.

Left high and dry are the passengers that were due to travel with Flyglobespan as of today. The company has gone into administration and all flights are off. That leaves 4,000 people stranded abroad. About a quarter of those will be repatriated under the ATOL regime, which safeguards the interests of people, booked with an operator that goes bust. The others have to book flights with another operator. Fortunately for them, the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet have jumped into the breach. Flyglobespan is the second Scottish low cost carrier to go down; if memory serves, earlier this year, Zoom went down.

Here in Lewis, those in favour of and opposed to plans to refurbish Stornoway Town Hall have finally sat down round the table to talk things over. I'm always pleased to see that, as megaphone diplomacy doesn't work, it tends to lead to entrenched positions.