Monday, 13 December 2010

Road Wars

For some months now, access along the peninsula has been hampered by the work being carried on the 'mainland' side of the Corran Ferry. While the temporary pontoon system put in place by Highland Council has worked well for cars - though it has limited the hours the ferry can operate - it has prevented trucks and buses crossing at Corran. The result has been a greatly increased journey round the head of Loch Eil for Gordon and the Shiel bus, adding some 45 minutes each way, and problems with deliveries down the peninsula, particularly of coal and heating oil.

The last we heard was that the works are nearing completion and on time, so the ferry should be operating normally again as of Friday 17th December, just in time for Christmas.

But the real battle down the peninsula's roads has been with black ice. Despite last week's thaw much of the road system remains icy, and this has been made worse by frosts over the last three nights. There has been some local criticism of the gritting efforts by Highland Council with reports at last Monday's Community Council of gritting lorries travelling along the roads with orange lights flashing but no grit coming out of the back.

Patches of black ice are now widespread. On Saturday, at the bridge over the river at Ard Daraich near Clovullin, a couple of miles short of Corran ferry, there were three accidents, one car ending up on its roof.


  1. Has anyone done an ambulance time trial from Strontian in the current conditions? After January, it could the sort of thing you will need to know. Remember, with no emergency cover locally, the longer the ambulance takes to arrive, the sooner you will need to call. Previously, you might have adopted a "wait and see if it goes away" approach to illness, but with an ambulance 45 minutes away in ideal conditions, you are already pushing the limits of the 'golden hour', so the 'precautionary principle' should apply in any potential medical emergency - you need to assume the worst before it is too late. And if that arm, leg or back pain, shortness of breath or bout of indigestion later turns to be simply that rather than the early symptom of a heart attack, well, it's better to be safe than sorry, isn't it?

  2. I am not aware of any time trails being carried out - though the local drivers of the ambulance will have a pretty good idea. That said, I totally agree with your main point - that, if in doubt, with no District Nurse to give us advice, we'd best play safe and phone 999.