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News from Mallaig Harbour: June 2020

By June 30, 2020News

Not much has changed from last month, although this last week (up to 29th May), there has been a bit more activity. Our staffing remains the same, as there is not enough work for all staff to be on-site, and Audrey, Pimmy and I are still working from home as much as possible. We are trying to keep the office staffed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am until 1pm.

The fishing fleet has been trying to get back to sea. Again, May has been an amazing month of weather which they have missed out on. Some of the boats have a limited market for their catch, and the Caralisa in particular has been enterprising and selling the majority of their catch locally. Lots of people have been enjoying fresh prawns and monkfish! We’ve turned the ice machine back on, and on one day sold the entire 12 tonnes it holds, which is a positive sign!

The CalMac essential lifeline timetable, which means no sailings to Skye, no calls from the Lord of the Isles, and sailings to the Small Isles only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday is operational at least until the 14th June. We did have a visit from the Lord of The Isles on 18th May, and we are expecting her back for a couple of days the first week in June. There is a new skipper aboard who is taking the opportunity to familiarise himself with the Harbour entrance. Although there are no passengers on board, it was nice to see her – a wee reminder of how things should be at this time of year!

Western Isles Cruises are also operating a lifeline timetable, with one sailing to Inverie on a Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Their music videos are a highlight to the week – have a look on their Facebook page if you haven’t seen them! There’s an amazing amount of freight which has to be taken over – and even we are seeing lots of deliveries at the Harbour Office – we’re grateful to the Posties and Delivery Drivers who are keeping everything moving!

As of 29th May, Scotland has entered Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s Routemap for recovery. As a result of this, we have changed the guidance associated with the Marina, and are allowing LOCAL TRAFFIC to use the pontoon in line with Government advice. The Shore facilities remain CLOSED, and we are not yet ready to welcome visiting vessels back to the pontoons. We have aligned our guidance very much to the RYA guidance, and published full information on the Marina website, The key points are:

  • At the moment access is for LOCAL boat owners only – we are not ready to welcome visiting yachts or other vessels. Guidance is that local means within about 5 miles.
  • Government guidance is NOT to stay away from home overnight – or to visit other communities. You may anchor for a break, for example lunch, but must not go ashore as this will break the 5 mile rule and could put communities at risk.
  • Be aware that handrails and water taps etc. will not be sanitised after every use so take precautions by washing your hands / using sanitiser.
  • The Shore Facilities are not open.
  • Allow for Social distancing on any of the pontoon walkways.
  • Observe Government guidance about meeting up with other households

We’re also asking people, in line with the RYA, to be Considerate and Conservative: be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and local communities. Do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services, and please ensure that you are able to cope with the conditions before leaving the Harbour. We’re also very aware that the Small Isles and Knoydart are not ready to welcome visitors yet, so we are reminding people of that.

By the time you read this, my first anniversary of working for the Harbour Authority will have passed. It’s been a quick year, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to grips with everything that goes on around the Harbour – I am lucky to have a great team around me, both in terms of the staff and the Board. There have been several new challenges for me throughout the year – not least those associated with Coronavirus – but I am looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring.

Also by the time you read this, we should have been celebrating the third annual Marina Day – which would have been Saturday 6th June, and last year marked the end of my first week at work! Unfortunately there will be no barbecue or bucking bronco this year, but hopefully it will be back next year.

The 8th June is World Oceans Day, ( and this year’s theme is ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’. Whilst there are no ‘physical’ events this year, there are a lot of resources online, including resources for children – so it’s worth taking a look.

Finally, our boats have continued to rise to the challenge of supporting the #clapforcarers each Thursday evening. We’ve managed to video some of these, and if you haven’t managed to experience them in person, you can see them on our facebook page (you don’t have to have a Facebook account to see them!) Once again, we are grateful to everyone working hard around the Harbour, and indeed throughout the wider community, to keep things moving.

Jacqueline McDonell

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