-> 2010 -> Linkspan Refurbishment in Port Ellen, Islay

Diluain, 22/Feb/2010

Linkspan Refurbishment in Port Ellen, Islay

Islay News in stencil

In last night's Islay Blogging Roundup I mentioned the Port Ellen Linkspan entry on Elliott's Islay Sea Shipping blog. What I didn't know at the time was that some pictures were on their way to me from Islay over the wonder that is the internet, quite possibly just as I was writing that sentence. At least for some of the pictures the photographer picked better weather than Elliott, here they are in all their Islay winter sunshine glory:

Picture of a large mobile crane lifting a linkspan

The Caledonian Maritime Assets News page provides some background (but not enough to completely stop my curiosity about what's happening here, more about that below):

The refurbishment will comprise of steelwork repairs, raising the level of the linkspan, as well as an extensive mechanical overhaul and lifting rope replacement along with painting.

The linkspan will be lifted from its current location for the works, scheduled from 15th February – 9th March 2010.

Work on site to refurbish the linkspan at Port Ellen will be undertaken by George Leslie Ltd and Napier Bros Ltd.

Certainly some lovely weather there to take out the linkspan and temporarily place it on some big concrete blocks. The empty space it left behind at the ferry berth:

Picture of the concrete bed under where a linkspan usually sits

Another view of the linkspan high and dry. Doesn't look too bad in this view, it seems?

Picture of a linkspan taken out for maintenance

Now here's the bit I don't really understand:

We've all been told the new ferry won't fit the existing pier and linkspan. I assume the work undertaken at the moment won't remedy that. There have also been all kinds of rumours about a redevelopment of Port Ellen pier and ferry terminal, whether it will happen or not. Assuming the redevelopment will happen why spending money on this refurbishment now? Or is this a coded message, ‘forget about the redevelopment’?

Or am I missing something? With the limited information I (and probably most others) have this leaves it open to all kind of speculation…

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