Thursday, 10 January 2008

Shock news: January weather can be iffy in Scotland

It was a wee bit windy last night and this morning, though the blustery weather has mainly blown over now. However, the usual transport disruption has occured. Ferries to most of the islands have been disrupted, either cancelled or delayed. Here's the Calmac online ferry status as of early this afternoon:


And, of course, there have been problems on the EXPOSED Forth Road Bridge as per usual, and it's been closed to traffic. Initially, to all vehicles bar cars, and eventually to all vehicles. From the BBC news website today:


I really hate to point this out to the powers that be, but we have this thing called "Winter" where it gets a bit breezy. January is a particularly bad time. Three years ago the Outer Hebrides took the brunt of a hurricane-force storm. Lives were lost, and damage occured to the EXPOSED causeways. And widespread weather-related transport disruption is not uncommon, even in mainland Scotland, in the "winter".

It's all the more disappointing, therefore, that the Scottish Executive decided, with some dubious reasoning and more than a hint of behind-the-scenes lobbying by special interest groups, to replace the Forth Road bridge with another bridge (last century technology), rather than go for the much cheaper, more reliable and weather-proof option of a tunnel. If the predictions of an increase in volatile weather (climate change et al) prove true, then there will be more days per year when the current bridge and its replacement (4.2 billion pounds cost at the moment, inevitably to rise) will be closed. As has happened before [here][here][here][here][here][here][here][here][and here].


The replacement should have been a tunnel. Bad weather in Norway = so what? Progressive, forward-looking major cities such as Sydney and Stockholm go for the tunnel option, rather than the bridge option (also, incidentally, building their weatherproof option at a fraction of the cost of the replacement Forth road bridge).

Anyway, it's a good thing that the same numpty's who made this decision aren't in charge of determining the materials to be used in the bridge, as they'd probably choose something like cheese or whatever the most aggressive lobbying group wanted.


  1. I can confirm the chaos round the Forth Bridge. Hubby got stuck for an hour on the M9 trying to go from junction 5 to 6. No warning signs till he got on the motorway! It must have been pretty wild on the islands cos it was wild in Central Scotland.

  2. Totally agree, tunnels are the way to go, as your local community newspaper (Am Paipear) has been saying for some time now - particularly when it comes to the options for a link between Uist/Berneray and Harris and (if it ever came to pass) between the islands and the mainland. I heard some clever chap in Berneray put them onto the idea ;-)