Air / Bus / Rail / Ferry Services News
Serco NorthLink Ferries is continuing to maintain vital transport links over the autumn and winter period - following the opening of its 2021 booking system at the start of October. The service remains aligned to the Scottish Government's Strategic Framework, and while passenger and car volumes are down significantly year-on-year they have shown further signs of strengthening over the last few months.
The company behind the world-leading tidal-stream prototype power plant in the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound is set to start manufacturing a new-style turbine that is hopes will reduce the project's generating costs. Simec Atlantis Energy (SAE) and a privately-owned specialist engineering firm from Spain's Bay of Biscay coastline have jointly been conducting 'research and development' (R& D) on the project for almost a year and are now ready to give it the go-ahead.
A new generation of younger local folk look set to take over the reins of running Gills Harbour Ltd, the local company that owns and operates the busy little port on the shores of the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound that holds its AGM this Saturday (10.10.20) morning at 10:00 am. The influx of younger blood comes after two key directors of the group that had run 'Canisbay's Peoples Port' both announced their retirement from office, whilst another Gills Harbour Ltd (GHL) office-bearer has declined to seek re-election.
An 'old friend' returns to Gills Bay after an absence of manymonths. The 2,400 tonne 70 m.
Here is the Normand Cutter, the Norwegian-owned offshore construction vessel that has been the base for works on Simec Atlantis Energy's (SAE's) MeyGen site in the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound, off Gills Bay during the current neap-tide sequence, that has lasted most of the week commencing 11.08.20. Picture by retired C of S Kirk Minister the Rev Lyall Rennie, who lives at Lower Warse, Canisbay, on the shores of Gills Bay..
Four-legged friends can now travel with their owners between the Scottish mainland and Orkney and Shetland - thanks to new pet-friendly cabins on NorthLink Ferries passenger vessels MV Hamnavoe, MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey. Each ship has two pet-friendly cabins available which have en-suite facilities, side-by-side lower twin bunks and tea and coffee making facilities.
PSO To Protect Wick Flights Could Take Up To A Year To Put In Place. Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, is urging the Scottish Government to look seriously at interim measures to save Wick air routes after being told state aid for services could take up to a year to put in place.
Serco NorthLink Ferries has been operating a revised service during Phase 1 and 2 of lockdown, which has provided travel for key workers as well as essential islander and freight connectivity between the Northern Isles and mainland Scotland. During the period 22 March to 30 June, passenger numbers across all routes were 6,010 in comparison to 112,416 over the same period in 2019, representing a reduction of 95 per cent.
Trips to Orkney in the Pentland Venture ferry have been cancelled for this year. With two months already lost operators have decided the losses would be too great.
Serco NorthLink Ferries continues to request that travellers stay at home and help to save lives as the company was forced to refuse travel to 23 passengers since 22 March. As part of the national effort to deal with the current public health crisis, NorthLink Ferries has been monitoring passengers' reasons for travelling, which are captured during the booking process, and denying travel to or from the Northern Isles to those who disclose non-essential reasons.
A new temporary timetable has been introduced by Serco NorthLink Ferries, designed to continue to provide a lifeline service between mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles whilst reflecting travel demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. In line with advice from the Scottish Government and health officials, restrictions have been implemented in recent weeks to allow only necessary travel, resulting in a significant reduction in passenger numbers.
Stuart Garrett, Serco's Managing Director of NorthLink Ferries, said: "The wellbeing of our passengers and staff is always our top priority and since the outset of COVID-19 we have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety. We have followed relevant guidelines and advice from the Government and health officials and continue to do so.
Wick John O'Groats Airport has been hit hard with the news that Loganair is to axe the flights between Wick and Edimburgh Bookings had already dropped in the last year and the Cornavirus has made things worse. The service will cease at the end of March.
The John O'Groats Ferry Pentland Venture entering Wick Harbour this afternoon 5 March 2020. She has just returned from a 3 week Maintenance Period in Fraserburgh which included a fresh coat of paint..
Flybe's franchise partner Eastern Airways has flights to Wick from Aberdeen and would have been in danger if the company had gone bust. Flybe has agreed £110m rescue deal.
With expert guidance from the crew of Pentland Ferries "Alfred" this lorry safely loads onto the ferry at Gills Harbour, Caithness, today (9 January 2019), for her crossing to St Margarets Hope. Sea swells were evident, making the job even harder & causing the ferry to be delayed.
The MV Hamnavoe is due to be in dry dock from 13th to 26th January 2020 (inclusive), and there will be additional north and southbound calls into Kirkwall by the MV Hrossey and MV Hjaltland. During this time the MV Helliar will provide a replacement service on the Pentland Firth route.
Pentland Ferries' new £14-million vessel, mv Alfred is almost ready to make its first trip from St Margaret's Hope to Gills Bay on Friday, 1st November 2019. The new ferry arrived on 9th October 2019 after completing its journey from the shipbuilders in Vietnam for the final fittings to be carried at Kirkwall after quick call at St Margarets Hope where local children had a chance to get a glimpse of it.
Scotland's most modern + environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient ROPAX ferry ship rge MV Alfred, arrived AM today (Wed 09.10.19 at St Margarets Hope. The boat went round to Kirkwall immediately at the end of 9,000+ miles voyage from the Strategic Marine yard near Ho Chi Minh city (ex.
Serco, the international service company, has been selected as preferred bidder to continue managing and operating the lifeline Northern Isles Ferry Services for passengers and freight between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, providing essential access and supplies for the islanders. The outcome of the tender was announced by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands to The Scottish Parliament this morning.