Today was the official opening of the Port Askaig Pier and buildings and it will mark the end of a long period of reconstructions on Islay's ferry port. The reconstruction works were intially due to start in 2001 and were supposed to last three years. With a first delay of two years they finally started in July 2003. The costs back then were estimated at Â£5,500,000 for the outlined design. Now, with the project being finished, the costs are somewhere around Â£13,700,000 and the total project time is almost nine years. The reason for today's post however is not to complain about project costs and delays but the memorable fact that Princess Anne officially opened Port Askaig this afternoon. Earlier she was in Largs where she opened a new pier for the Ayrshire seaside town. Princess Anne had a busy schedule today. After the opening in Largs she was on Islay and also visited the Jura Care Centre Group at Craighouse. Later on she visited the Tarbert Conservation Initiative. Continue reading.....
The Argyll and Bute Council issued a press release and I have included some of the interesting bits below: Islay residents turned out in force today to welcome HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, to the island to open a multi-million pound pier redevelopment. They joined senior Councillors and officials as HRH The Princess Royal toured the Port Askaig facility and spoke to those behind the project â€“ as well as residents and other users â€“ before unveiling a plaque to mark its official opening. The occasion marked the culmination of one of the most complex recent infrastructure projects undertaken by Argyll and Bute Council, which has taken nine years from inception to completion.
Councillor Walsh said: 'Without this redevelopment, Islay would have lost one if its mainland ferry terminals due to an inability to handle the volumes of traffic and the structural failure of the old linkspan. In addition, Jura would have lost its vital ferry link due to the failure of the ferry aligning structure. 'With the redevelopment of Port Askaig, Islay now has a modern port facility capable of dealing with mainland and Jura ferry traffic long into the future. This is a wonderful day for the island, and Iâ€™m delighted that HRH The Princess Royal is here to enjoy it with us.'
The beautiful images are kindly supplied by Mark Unsworth of Islay Studios at Bridgend.
Princess Anne and Mr Peter Ward, Principal Engineer and Project Manager
HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne