It is now confirmed that the Sunday ferry service will be a permanent timetable alteration from this weekend.
This from earlier in the morning.
Cal Mac are expected go ahead with a "one off" Sunday sailing from Stornoway to Ullapool on Sunday to take festival goers at the Hebridean Music festival back to the mainland. A press statement to that effect is due around 1pm today after a series of meetings with the local council and the local branch of the Lord's Day Observance Society.
Using the Heb Fest event as cover strikes me as another lame excuse by Cal Mac, as poor as the "human rights" legislation charade that brought Sunday sailings back onto the agenda this year. The move shouldn't be allowed to rebound onto what is a very successful and important festival and a part of the cultural and economic summer of the island.
Cal Mac, if they want to introduce Sunday sailings, should find the courage to do so openly, not sneak them in. The real question for Cal Mac this Sunday is not will they take festival goers off the island but will they take traffic back to Stornoway from Ullapool?
I have to say that on Lewis last weekend it didn't feel like the last Sabbath to me, although it would have been a good time to start a Sunday sailing as it seemed that every Free Church Minister was on holiday off the island. Never mind, the lay preacher was just as good.
One older gentleman I spoke to, a church elder and a businessman, saw the Sunday sailings as an inevitability but not one he would endorse. Neither did people think there would be the kind of hysterical reaction from the majority of church members that some of the loudest voices of opposition have been predicting.
The ferry will sail on Sundays, almost everyone accepts that now, just as there are Sunday flights which make connections for exiles like me that bit easier. Most islanders will have mixed feelings, they know which part of their religious heritage they are losing and they also know that has to be weighed against what they will gain.
One islander summed it up for me a long time ago : "I'm dead against Sunday sailings, I'll be the first to use them."
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