when the helicopter had to come all the way from Stornoway to rescue somebody who wasn’t lost

4 Dec 2012
I’m fairly ignorant of the facts of the episode this afternoon when the helicopter had to come all the way from Stornoway to rescue somebody who wasn’t lost. I hope, Hugh you will not cause this to be published if I have got it too wrong.
But it does seem irresponsible to me that someone has frivolously called in the sea rescue service in the middle of the day without checking if there was any need.
It rather smacks of crying, “Wolf,Wolf.” and may reflect on Scorraig’s good name and also, possibly and more importantly on us when there is real need.
For every time she shouted, “Fire.”
They only answered, “Little Liar.”

Wheelie bin politics

A message from Bill Burstall to Highland Council Katrina Taylor regarding the new refuse bin system in operation at Badluarach Jetty:-

Hello Katrina,

First of all many thanks for supplying the two domestic sized green wheelie bins which are being well used on the Scoraig peninsula  (IV23 2RE). I have already had cause to ferry them and empty them into the  large bins at Badluarach (IV23 2RA) so there was clearly a need there. The only problem was that all rubbish was going into the green bin  and therefore to landfill, where much of it  could have gone to recycling.  If you were able to deliver two blue bins (240L) I would bring them to Scoraig and that would encourage people to separate their litter at the Jetty area there. I would continue to undertake to deliver the bins to Badluarach by boat when full at no cost to the council as before.

Secondly, and of greater  concern,  is the reduced service of emptying the green bins (1100L) at Badluarach . Prior to the new arrangement we had four bins emptied once a week,  we now have only three being emptied every other week,  a reduction in capacity of   62.5% or nearly 2/3rds.

Whilst I appreciate that in an urban domestic environment this capacity would be made up by the emptying of the blue bin on alternate weeks, the situation is different for the residents on the Scoraig peninsula who tend to have  proportionately significantly less recyclables in their household waste. Here most paper is either burned or composted, drinks from plastic bottles are not consumed to  the extent they are on the mainland due to the logistics of  transporting liquids across the loch to the house, and similarly tinned foods  are not such a staple of our diet due to their weight compared to dried foods.

We appreciate the introduction of the Blue bin at Badluarach and it has filled up quite well in the two weeks since its introduction ready for emptying this Wednesday. However at the same time the three green bins which would normally  have been emptied weekly  are already full to capacity, and not due to be emptied until next Wednesday.

I am greatly concerned that when residents of the peninsula make the effort to transport their separated rubbish across  the loch and find the green bins full they will have little choice but to  place it in the wrong bin ( thus contaminating the recycled bin and condemning it to landfill once again)  or leave it beside the bins at the top of the jetty where the weather and vermin will scatter it to the four corners of the coast.

I would suggest therefore that you consider increasing the number of green bins at Badluarach to at least 6 in the expectation that this will significantly reduce future flytipping and littering. This would still represent an overall reduction in capacity, leaving us with 7 bins in total being emptied a fortnight instead of 8 as before the introduction of the new scheme.

Sincerely,  Bill Burstall,   Scoraig Sea Taxi, (the ferry service between the Scoraig peninsula and Badluarach Jetty).  Tel; 07747630249

Silting at Scoraig pier

Extract from an email from Bill to Tony Usher and Highland Council, with photos of the pier at low tide.

Hi Tony,
Herewith 4 pictures of the Scoraig pier at 1530hrs on friday10th Feb
2012.  This was about half an hour after LW  (0.5m).  The Barometer was
reading 1025  which isn’t particularly high, ( high pressure can make a
big difference to low water levels just as low pressure can contribute
to very high tides), and 0.5 is not a particularly low tide,  we expect
0.3 next moth and 0.2 in April.

Since the piers on both sides of the Loch were improved/extended in the
1980’s they have both suffered from a gradual silting up and therefore
become less serviceable, but for some reason the weather in December of
last year caused a build up of nearly a foot of sand and stone on the
Scoraig side,  seriously restricting access for 2 hours either side of
low water springs.The pier at Badluarach suffered from similar silting
up but not to the same drastic extent.

There is quite a lot of enthusiasm amongst the community for further
extensions to the pier, but there are obvious problems with this in the
current economic climate, it would be well worth investigating dredging
as an alternative.

Cheers Bill