Saturday 23 September 2023

Who Is Responsible?

Over The Sea To Skye  Part 2

The normal itinerary for the fbbs excursion on the Friday (over a week ago - already!) would be by boat from Mallaig to Armadale then A851, right onto A87, across the bridge and on to Eilean Donan Castle.

The ferry crossing was OK ...
... but rain clouds were looming.
At the first  spatter, Mrs fbb fled inside, but fbb hoisted his hood and held fast. After a short patch of unimpressive drizzle the non-rain passed by and the terminus at Armadale was approached.
The Skye peninsula on which Armadale sits is the least moutainous part of the island ...
... but the driver thought the party deserved better and so went off piste and drove further north to Sligachan where you could see the Cuillins.
The coach parked in the southbound bus stop lay by but there really was insufficient tine for a detailed explore. But there were times on display.
As fbb awaited departure a couple of service buses sped past - there were no passengers to board or alight. 
915, 916 and 917 are variations on the Citylink theme whist 52 and 54 are, these days, in the hands of Stagecoach.

A Citylink 917 passed, scheduled at 1320 but running late followed almost immediately by a Stagecoach 52 at 1345.
So next stop for the fbbs was Eilean Donan Castle. 

In passing take a look at the old A87 out of Kyle of Lochalsh ...
... replaced by the new A87 in green with the old road demoted to yellow. 
The Castle is at Dornie ...
... where the road bridge was only constructed and opened in 1940.
Before that crossing was by ferry and you had to be brave to take your car on board.
Facilities did improve, but not a lot!
But it was a turntable ferry! Just about!

Dornie has now got a new bridge as part of on-going road improvements.
The line of the older construction is shown in red. As the fbbs had "done" Eilean Donan Castle on a previous visit, fbb had plenty of time to explore the bus stops which served the village of Dornie ...
... and the castle.

Once at the top off the footpath ramp, fbb observed a pedestrian underpass to/from the village ...
... and, SHOCK HORROR, two brave passengers waiting for a bus to Portree.
There are two, honest. you can see at least one extra foot. These two young American ladies were returning north to their stay in Portree and were confidently expecting a bus at 1508; or was it 1515?
There was nothing at the shelter on the other side of the road either.
Citylink 917 duly arrived at 1517, nine minutes late. The two young ladies boarded happily.
There are now definitely two heads!

As fbb was setting off back to caff, car park and coach ...
... two agitated passengers rushed upramp clutching luggage and gesticulating wildly.
Forunately, the driver spotted them, re-opened his door and doubled the number of boarding passengers.

Once again fbb asks, why is there no information at the stop? Who is responsible? If fbb were the boss of Citylink he would be out with screwdriver, angle grinder, jack hammer etc, opening up the frames and making jolly sure the timetables and a map were in place.

But didn't the old man say that there was information?

Indeed there was.  "Round the back" in a gloomy recess of the Eilean Donan Castle Gift shop were some Citylink timetables.
The gloom was such that the detail was too tricky for fbb's eyes and beyond even the wonders of his phone camera. fbb could not be certain that the timetables were up to date. Some unease in the American's conversation suggested that, perhaps they did not show the time correctly. Likewise the hurried arrival of the second pair of passengers suggests some discrepancy.

Eilean Donan are to be congratulated for attempting to put right the wrongs of Citylink; but whichever way you look at it, Citylink or Highland Council or the First Minster of Scotland and his chums deserve a thorough beating with a cromach for their poor service.

But we end on a more cheery note (and with apologies for some ghastly spelling mistakes in the lyrics - see Cromak and Coolin) with a song!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 24th September 

1 comment:

  1. Happy memories of learning and singing that at school all those years ago!