Sunday Sailings From Tarbert?

The spectre of a(nother) Sunday ferry crossing from these islands has raised its head. This time sailing out of Tarbert and, needless to say, the usual voices of opposition have thrown their Sunday hats into the ring.

The local chairman of the Lord’s Day Observance Society has pitched in with some waffle about people who moved to the island to escape “the hustle and bustle” of travel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Well, I’m pretty sure that wherever they stayed before nobody held a gun to their head and said “Get on that bus and travel now!” Of course not. They would have been free to come and go or to “hustle and bustle” (or not) as they pleased.

It is also suggested by the LDOS rep that the introduction of a Sunday ferry would be a “further erosion of traditional values”. More like a further erosion of the church’s increasingly tenuous hold over the island’s population! Which I suspect that is what really bothers them.

Next the local Labour hopeful chimes in with a call for a referendum of the people of Harris in which they may say if they want a Sunday ferry from Tarbert or not. Hang on! Why should the residents of Harris get to decide this? What if I, or any other resident of Lewis, want or need to take the ferry out of Tarbert on a Sunday? I’m sorry but, despite the blatant electioneering, this isn’t a referendum issue. Especially as:

  1. the ferry in question already travels unladen out of Tarbert each Sunday;
  2. there is a precedent for a Sunday ferry out of Harris, in the form of the existing service between Leverburgh and Berneray in Uist;
  3. residents of Harris can currently travel up into Lewis and catch the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool on a Sunday, and;
  4. most importantly, it is about ensuring those in the islands have access to the same level of service and opportunity as the rest of the country.

The reality is if you don’t want to travel on a Sunday because of your personal beliefs then you shouldn’t travel but you should learn to leave those that want to travel to get on with it, whether they share your beliefs or not. It is that simple!

And if you need a further reality check you should read about the view of a former opponent of Sunday sailings from Harris.


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