Stormy weather batters Bute

LIFE on Bute began returning to normal on Tuesday morning after the high winds which struck the island, and the rest of the country, on Monday.

Homes and businesses at the south end of the island were without power for a spell late on Monday afternoon; Janis Haig, from St Blane’s Hotel in Kilchattan Bay, told us their power cut had lasted from 3.30pm until around 7pm, while roof panels were blown down at a number of the island’s farms.

Only two ferries departed Rothesay on Monday - at 6.25am and 8am - and both were diverted to Gourock instead of Wemyss Bay.

Although the situation was reviewed at 2pm and 4pm, the worsening conditions meant neither MV Bute nor MV Argyle moved from their berths for the rest of the day after returning to Rothesay.

And though normal service to and from Wemyss Bay resumed on Tuesday morning after the strong winds abated slightly and changed course from south-westerly to westerly, travellers’ journeys on Tuesday were still disrupted by the suspension of the train service between Wemyss Bay and Glasgow due to overhead wire problems, with replacement buses running between Wemyss Bay and Paisley Gilmour Street.

The Rhubodach-Colintraive ferry service was put on amber alert on Monday afternoon, warning passengers that sailings were liable to disruption or cancellation, but in the event MV Loch Dunvegan continued operating until the close of service at 9pm.

It was a different story on Tuesday morning, however, when a technical problem with the ship meant there was no service on the route until 8am.

Bute residents who tried using alternative routes to reach destinations on the mainland on Monday afternoon faced a struggle even after they reached Colintraive; CalMac’s Dunoon-Gourock route was suspended all day, while there were no Western Ferries sailings between Hunter’s Quay and McInroy’s Point after approximately 2.30pm.

The long way round by road was little better, with the A83 blocked by fallen trees at numerous locations including Inveraray, Ardgartan and Arrochar.

Back on Bute, BBC Radio Scotland’s travel bulletins were reporting early on Tuesday morning that both the B881 to Kilchattan Bay and the unclassified Bruchag road were blocked - though many listeners on the island could not receive the information due to a fault at the Rothesay transmitter (actually located at Toward), which was unable to send analogue radio and TV signals to the island.