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Any news from the west?

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:41 am
by cpedw
WHAM are trying to get information about facilities in the Western Isles. There have been several pontoon developments in the last couple of years and the old scheme of a month's ticket for all W.I. moorings (excluding Stornoway) seems to have been withdrawn.

If you were out that way this year, what did you find? Was there access to toilets, showers, water, fuel electricity, WiFI, groceries? Which of these facilities did you want to have available? Were the charges reasonable?

Does this post pass Marisca's questionnaire quality test?

TIA for any responses.

Derek

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:50 pm
by marisca
It's not my critical faculties you have to assuage, rather it is that retired pedagogue Ken McCulloch whose career was based on telling students how useless their questionnaires were.

Castle Bay - pontoons new and shiny, water only available on the breakwater (why?), toilets/showers coming soon but was the Youth Hostel when I was there. Red diesel from garage. Prices don't reflect the missing facilities. The old anchoring space has gone with a risk of Calmac conflict if you do use the hook. Wifi if you walk to the office Portacabin.

Stornoway - Portacabin toilets and showers - usually clean until the Clyde training youths get in there. Pontoons now have free power, Wifi comes and goes - call Ch12 to get the server rebooted; diesel on pier and Fisherman's Co-op is there far all your needs (whether you knew you needed it or not).

Carlingmill Bay - pontoon with water. Too many park on it for too long and some "forget" to pay. love child Oban cooncil have now put idiotic parking restrictions on the whole town including the adjacent road.

Rockall - ask Geoff et al!

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:27 pm
by Burst Boiler
Lochboisdale - decent pontoons with water and power. Nice shower block with good laundry. WiFi range doesn't reach all pontoons. Small cafe in a portacabin. Diesel supposedly available by giving cans to "Donald" who fills them, but after three days of asking him and being assured they would be at the pontoon tomorrow morning, didn't get anything. Its a reasonable walk into the village and hotel, but the co-op is at the junction with the main road and too far to reasonably walk. Hire car from village will drop the car at the marina, worth it to explore the area.

Lochmaddy - smallish t-shaped pontoon set up, maybe max 8 boats can be squeezed in. Nice little shower/toilet portacabin. Use visitor WiFi at calmac lounge. Short walk to hotel, and arts centre has nice cafe during the day. Village shop is walkable and well stocked. White diesel tank at marina office, who will lend 20 litre can but only manned 1 hour per day. Garage for white diesel is walkable and open regular hours. Also a few visitor buoys available.

Tarbert/Scalpay - both run by same guy (Fred). One long finger at Scalpay takes maybe 6 or 8 boats. Power and water on pontoon. Showers in the old community centre. Nice but expensive food at scalpay bistro. Red diesel potentially available from fish pier. No shop but bus into tarbert a few times per day. Tarbert - maybe a dozen or so finger pontoons behind a substantial concrete breakwater. Half a dozen fore and aft mooring buoys (although people seemed to only be attached at the bow). Showers and laundry at marina portacabin. Water and power on pontoons. Short walk into town with pubs, hotel and shops. Fred was doing 3 nights for price of 2, even if the 3 night are spread across Scalpay and Tarbert.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:38 pm
by DaveS
To add to the above:

Lochboisdale has a new harbour on the south side of the loch with pontoons, electricity and water on pontoons. Shower block with free showers and laundry facilities*. All included in berthing charge. Only drawback is the 1 mile walk to the pub.

* In July the free facilities were being made extensive use of by "travellers" so installation of a coded lock is anticipated.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:17 pm
by Telo
Scalpay north harbour pontoons: toilet/shower provision, water and electricity on the pontoons. Diesel available by arrangement. Community managed cafe/restaurant is very busy in the evenings and needs to be booked in advance. No shop but there are buses to/from Tarbert. There is a small submerged reef inside the harbour on the approach to the pontoons; care needed.

Fred Taylor, who's doing a great job with the Scalpay and Tarbert pontoons, is a very interesting guy and well worth talking with.

The Tarbert pontoons and moorings look fine but we didn't use them or the facilities.

https://www.isleofharrismarina.co.uk

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:33 am
by mm5aho
Further on Castlebay:
One fellow Rival (Rockall trip) anchored where the moorings used to be, and discovered that the remnants of the old moorings were left there on the seabed, and fouled his precious anchor (not even a Knox, so unsure why "precious", and he would not abandon it. Meantime a ferry approaches, says he blocking slip access, and goes round for another pass at it to consternation of all who like to moan. Why did they leave the seabed littered with old mooring gear?
The pontoons were not quite finished but operational. (eg some water not yet connected). There's no facilities yet, and the "office" is a decrepit portacabin. We were directed to a hostel for showers to find that was duff info, they are not open to boaters. Redirected to the Sports centre to find them not open, and to come back later. Later we went and they were OK, and very low priced. Asking about shopping we were directed to the old town centre, and so would have walked past the Coop hidden in the trees very close to the pontoon (maybe its his uncle runs the shop?). Diesel at the shop near the Lifeboat parking place, including red diesel. A stolen shopping trundler for transport.

Lochmaddy
Same as last year. Good pontoon, reasonable facilities, though limiting with one male one female shower/toilet if its busy. White diesel available at restricted hours right at the facilities.

Port Ellen.
New facilities in what looks like a terraced house near the bank are wonderful. Showers, washing machine drier, coffee, books, WiFi, very nice. Very receptive to suggestions.

Rockall
A bit bleak yet. The locals seems to just excrement everywhere, attendant didn't show up while we were there, light not working, messy seaweed and slime growing on the main path. Generally a disappointing place, and considering that it takes a couple of days to get there from anywhere, hardly worth the trip unless you have some other motive.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:54 am
by marisca
I feel Geoff and I are being a bit unfair to Castlebay. They have invested in marina facilities with the 1st stage being the pontoons and breakwater. It is costing a lot and, yes, there are mistakes - electricity boxes right at boat bows, water only on the breakwater and then there is the ninja Co-op. There is space and a plan to provide the all-mod-cons facilities that modern cruisers expect, it just hasn't happened yet. My previous visits involved anchoring (all the visitor buoys were occupied, mostly by local boats) and dinghying ashore under the Calmac linkspan to the harbour slip. I can't remember feeling deprived at the lack of showers, electricity, wifi, dancing girls or anything else and the garage for diesel was a lot closer.
Where I see a problem arising, as it has elsewhere, is that local boats will occupy most of the berths and because it is a safe space there will be more of them. Thus the moans about space availability will start from those expecting Solent marina style facilities. I understand the desire for a revenue stream but ..................

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:33 pm
by pagoda
As Marisaca points out

----Where I see a problem arising, as it has elsewhere, is that local boats will occupy most of the berths and because it is a safe space there will be more of them. Thus the moans about space availability will start from those expecting Solent marina style facilities. I understand the desire for a revenue stream-----

This problem is a plague pretty much everywhere. Disregarding electricity/water/showers etc. New berths or moorings will inevitably be soaked up by some locals. Some places more than others. On our trip round Ireland this summer we found about 50% of all visitor moorings occupied full time by mainly small local motor/inshore fishing boats. Even with custom made mooring strops! Where visitor/ temporary landing pontoons exist- they are often padlocked up and in use by "fishing trip" motor cruisers on a fully commercial basis. We have seen yachts turned away from a vacant pontoon berth by locals. They just wanted to go shopping - locally but gave up. We found a vacant space on one occasion and got an earful of moaning when a boat came back to "their own berth" late in the day. Public free to access visitors spaces considered private! (We didn't move and they rafted up overnight further along). I cannot see any way of this sort of local boat behaviour being moderated without a lot of angst being generated. Any ideas??

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:20 pm
by marisca
I don't actually see the problem being the locals using the facilities. In fact I am very much in favour of them doing so. It is more the expectations of visiting yachts, raised by publications extolling the number of pontoon berths, that are affected and instead of a safe haven at the end of a day it becomes an afternoon race (à la Tobermory) to get a berth before they are all gone. I reckon all new pontoon developments should include sufficient swinging moorings for the locals (paid for by visitor revenues) and ideally leave a good holding patch for those who prefer to anchor.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:01 pm
by mm5aho
I support local boats using these new facilities.
I have a vague memory somewhere of seeing a locals price list (unsure where, but this year. Possibly Lochmaddy?) where I figured that a local could keep a boat there for a year from about the price of a visitor berth for a few days.
But there should be some local advantage for local boats.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:39 pm
by mm5aho
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcmQb1MUxsM
This video is of boats on moorings at Gourock.
On Sunday evening coming ashore Phil noticed a nearby boat's mooring strop had come off the stemhead fitting and was lying over the toerail. We stopped and I climbed aboard and reset it and set the pin that holds the strop in.
He's a great guy noticing stuff like that.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:26 pm
by pagoda
mm5aho wrote:I support local boats using these new facilities.
I have a vague memory somewhere of seeing a locals price list (unsure where, but this year. Possibly Lochmaddy?) where I figured that a local could keep a boat there for a year from about the price of a visitor berth for a few days.
But there should be some local advantage for local boats.


I don't mind locals having some of the newer local facilities, but it fair cuts down your options when you discover there really aren't any useful visitor spaces left. Or all the deep berths are full of tiddly little motor boats? More swinging moorings I would find more useful than pontoons.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:32 am
by aquaplane
I may have said this before.
The cash/grants for the Oban transit marina was intended to get footfall in the town to spend money.
Local boats tied up with folk sat at home spending money where they would anyway isn't going to increase the local economy one jot.
The bloke at Campbeltown thought he was doing well filling the place with local boats paying for all year and optimising income for the pontoon, until he was told that's not what the pontoons were put in for.
What pisses me off is subsidies/grants going in to promote tourism and increasing local cash flow, and locals blocking places so there is no increase in cash flow.
Also filling the good anchoring spaces with fee charging moorings is offside. Croabh.
Not been out West yet, but most of the draw is the quiet anchorages, with the occasional mooring/pontoon/shop/pub combo, not no anchoring option to get to the pub/shop.
I have to pay for my mooring, other folk shouldn't be subsidised. Don't think this is the bottom line.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:54 pm
by mm5aho
I should have said "I support SOME local use" or words to that effect. I don't agree with locals hogging it, and filling the facilities.

Re: Any news from the west?

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:36 pm
by NorthUp2
mm5aho wrote:I support local boats using these new facilities.
I have a vague memory somewhere of seeing a locals price list (unsure where, but this year. Possibly Lochmaddy?) where I figured that a local could keep a boat there for a year from about the price of a visitor berth for a few days.
But there should be some local advantage for local boats.


That will be Mallaig- but they have a tame millionaire to subsidize the marina and village!