News from Mallaig Harbour: September 2020

By October 13, 2020News

August has seemed a much busier month now that lockdown has eased a bit, with more activity around the Harbour, and the Marina welcoming a number of visiting yachts throughout the month. We’re still not able to welcome as many yachts as we would in a normal year, but it’s been nice to see the masts bobbing about in the Harbour again. All our staff are now back at work, and we were able to help Simon celebrate his big birthday on 14th August, by having a ‘socially distanced’ slice of cake with him!

We’ve also been busy with celebrities passing through – Romesh Ranganathan took the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale, during filming for ‘The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan’, to be broadcast around Christmas. It then felt like the whole village came to a standstill on Wednesday 26th August, as we welcomed two teams of celebrities who were rowing the length of Britain for a new ITV series ‘Don’t Rock the Boat’. The two rowing boats arrived on the pontoons late on Tuesday evening, after a few changes to the schedule because of the weather. The picnic area at the top of Cameron Avenue was taken over by the film crew, and those celebrities who weren’t rowing, while another crew filmed those celebrities who were in the boats from the pontoon. Audrey and I presented those on the pontoons with a miniature each of ‘Mallaig Harbour Water’ as a souvenir, and although the production crew weren’t very sure about the rowers setting off with whisky in their dry bags – the rowers themselves were determined it was coming with them on the boats! I’m sure that there will be better photographs elsewhere this month, but I have included some of mine. We were asked not to give away who was on which team, but, in no particular order, those who left rowing from Mallaig were, James Cracknell, Denise Lewis, Victoria Pendleton, Kimberly Wyatt, Fleur East, Jodie Kidd, Adam Thomas and Jack Fincham. For both days of filming, the weather was beautiful, so hopefully it will showcase the area at its best!

As well as celebrities, there has been a lot of wildlife around this month, so much so that I could watch the dolphins playing in the Harbour from the office window at lunchtime on 25th August!  

One of the advantages of lockdown has been that many meetings and training events, which would normally be too far to travel to, have been held online. I was therefore able to attend the British Ports Association (BPA) AGM ‘virtually’ this month, and undertake some Health and Safety training organised by the BPA as well. Throughout lockdown the BPA have provided support and guidance, and have lobbied the Government on behalf of Ports, so it was great to have the opportunity to attend the AGM.

We were also finally able to hold interviews and appoint new Board Members. We’re very grateful to Allan Henderson and Johnny MacMillan, who should have finished their term in March, but agreed to stay on until we were able to recruit new Board Members. Both Allan and Johnny have served three terms on the Board since it was reconstituted in 2012, although both have longer associations than that with the Harbour. During their time as Board Members they have made significant contributions to the operations and the development plans for the Harbour, and both will be missed. We’re delighted to have appointed two ladies to replace them, Niki Robertson, who is based in Mallaig, and Shona MacLeay, who is based in Fort William but has worked on a range of Harbour Projects throughout the Highlands and Islands. This means that we now have a perfectly gender balanced Board, with four males and four females (excluding me!).

Our next Board meeting is Friday 11th September, and we had hoped that we would be able to have an open AGM and invite members of the public to learn more about our development plans. However, restrictions still in force mean that this will not be possible – we’ll try again in mid -November. In the meantime, some of you may have seen in the Oban Times on Thursday 27th August, an advert for a public meeting to be held via ‘Zoom’ on Thursday 5th November 2020, starting at 7pm. Mallaig Harbour Authority intends to apply to Scottish Ministers for consent to construct extensions to the Ice Quay and Outer Breakwater Quay. This is effectively to provide more quay space in the area of the Outer Breakwater which is rock armour at the moment. This development was included in the Masterplan, but as a later phase. We are awaiting detailed drawings from our Engineer, and as soon as we have these, we will share them on the website and on Facebook.

The public meeting will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to consider and comment upon the prospective application. Full details on how to join the event will be displayed at https://www.mallaig-harbour.com/news/ , 10 days prior to the event. If you wish to be emailed event details, please contact:  consultation@affriclimited.co.uk. If, having seen the proposals, you wish to make representations on the proposed development, please contact: Fiona Henderson, Affric Limited, Lochview Office, Loch Duntelchaig, Farr, IV2 6AW, consultation@affriclimited.co.uk by the 12th of November 2020.

 Jacqueline McDonell

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