View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tuesday 30 April

Today, the Netherlands got itself a new monarch. King Willem Alexander took over from his mother, Queen Beatrix. She had reigned for 33 years. After the instrument of abdication was signed at 10 am local time today, he swore the oath of allegiance at 2pm, thereby formally becoming king. He is the first male monarch in the Netherlands for 123 years. His eldest child is a girl, so if things go as planned, a queen will once more rule in Holland later this century. The celebrations were closed by a water pageant on the IJ river, just outside Amsterdam, earlier this evening.

Here in Stornoway, meanwhile, a cold wind blew up into a gale this evening. The overnight freight ferry Muirneag is once more not running. This will mean no supplies in the shops until well after lunchtime. We should not complain, however. The lifeline ferry to Orkney, MV Hamnavoe, is laid up with a broken crankshaft, which will put it out of action for at least a month. The Shetland ferry, MV Hjaltland, calls into Kirkwall four times a week, but is a lot more expensive, as it sails from Aberdeen. The alternative is a smaller private ferry, the Pentalina, which runs from Gills Bay in Caithness to St Margaret's Hope in South Ronaldsay, Orkney. Coming at the start of the tourism season, the Orcadians are crying blue murder.

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