Islanders take ferry campaign to SNP Conference

A group of people from South Uist, Benbecula and Eriskay who are living or studying on the Scottish mainland are to show their backing to the campaign for the reintroduction of a direct ferry service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig by holding a demonstration outside the SNP Spring Conference in Glasgow this Saturday.

The demonstrators are to give their full support to the ‘Missing Link’ campaign being driven by the four community councils on South Uist with support from the community landowner Storas Uibhist.

Protest organiser, Josie Burgess said: “Far from providing a ‘lifeline’ service to and from South Uist, the Scottish Government, through the frequency, timing and sheer length of the crossing to Lochboisdale, seem to be doing all they can to make it as difficult as possible to allow people to travel home to South Uist.

“It is currently, for example, impossible for us to travel home for a weekend visit. Over a weekend that would involve a return journey time between Glasgow and Lochboisdale of over twenty hours - that’s almost a whole day spent travelling - just to get home for the weekend!”

She continued: “A journey via the Skye Lochmaddy route is also outwith most students budget - because of the timetabling at he moment, if we were looking to get home that way, we would have to spend a night in Skye - extra travelling time and additional overnight costs which students in this day and age can ill afford.

“That’s why we are giving our full support to the Missing Link Ferry Campaign - and we hope that by making this point clear to the SNP Government leaders and to conference delegates, we can help drive home the message that a new Lochboisdale Mallaig service is essential if South Uist is to have a future - and we demand that they recognise this and include the reintroduction of a daily service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig in the Ferries Review.”

Missing Link Group Chairman Stephen MacAulay welcomed the students support for the campaign: “This is a very welcome contribution from our fellow islanders. Often these students and others are prevented visiting Uist because of inadequate and lengthy ferry links. The kind of travel problems that they are highlighting perfectly demonstrate why the Lochboisdale Mallaig service is so urgently required.”