Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I see that Caron has attempted to give you tour of Argyll and Bute, Alan Reid's constituency (pictured left). It's geography can read a bit like a Whisky tour comprising both Islay and Jura the two bigger islands to the South, Mull the biggest island to the north plus the northern isles of Coll and Tiree, Colonsay between Islay and Mull plus little Gigha just off the Mull of Kintye and Bute at the mouth of the Firth of Clyde.
Now some island life facts. You can only get to Jura after first visiting Islay and Tiree after first visiting Coll. There is no direct mainland ferry service to either.
Looking at the Caledonian MacBryne timetable lets try and get Alan Reid from Cardross to Tarbert of Jura and back as quickly as possible. There are two ports on Islay Port Ellen in the south and Port Askaig in the North East from where you catch the ferry to Feolin Ferry.
First the time according to RAC Route Planner from Cardross to Kennacraig by road takes 2hrs 37 minutes.
Monday to Saturday there are three services across that wouldn't necessitate and overnight stay after doing something. The 0700 and 0945 from Kennacraig to Port Ellen and the 1300 from Kennacraig to Port Askaig, these arrive at 0920, 1205 and 1505 respectively. CalMac require a 45 check in for a car before boarding. Therefore Alan would have to leave Cardross at 0338, 0623 0r 0938 to get there.
For the first two you'd have to make the 21 mile traverse of Islay to get to Port Askaig. This road isn't dualled so for safety the 1000 crossing may be out. Therefore Alan should get on the 1030 or 1300 crossing to Jura. It is then 24 miles along a single car width road with passing places from Feolin Ferry to Tarbert. These are not roads to be taken lightly. It would require at least 45 minutes to get along there and that is if the road is clear. So the Earliest we could get Alan to Tarbert would be 1115.
Having got to Jura taking the 1530 Ferry back from Port Askaig would require leaving Tarbert by taking at the latest the 1620 ferry back to Islay, safer making the earlier 1425 to account for weather. Giving him only the option of capturing the 0700 Ferry to make this one back with just about 2 hours in Tarbert.
So instead lets head for the 1800 from Port Ellen instead back to Kennacraig arriving at 2020. But CalMac need you to book in a car 45 minutes before which means having to get the 1645 Ferry from Feolin Ferry (leaving Tarbert no later than 1600) then driving the 21 miles across Islay in the 25 minutes from when the ferry is scheduled to land. Far safer to catch the 1610 to give you an extra 35 minutes to allow for sheep, tractors or distillery lorries. This means the leaving Tarbert at 1525.
Don't forget there is still that 2hrs 37 trip home so for maximum of 4hr 15 minute in Tarbert on Jura Alan Reid would have to leave Cardrossan at 0338 and get back home at 2257. Therefore an 19 hour 19 minute day of which 15 hours and 5 is travelling for just over 4 hours in one of the far flung corners. Michael Beckford you are welcome to try and do just that one trip if you have an issue with Alan Reid claiming an overnight stay in a B&B whilst utilising time and money to do a tour.