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Transport / Delight for islanders as council reinstates Monday Papa Stour ferry sailings

The ferry berthed at Papa Stour. Photo © Philip Cornwall (cc-by-sa/2.0)

THE PAPA Stour community is said to be “delighted” after Monday sailings were reinstated to the island’s ferry timetable.

It comes after meeting between the community and council representatives earlier this month.

The issue has been on the minds of residents ever since flights to and from the island stopped in 2020.

There was hope that Monday ferry sailings – axed from the timetable as part of isles-wide cuts around a decade ago – would be reinstated as a form of compensation for losing flights.

Community councillor Jane Puckey recently spoke to Shetland News about the effect Papa Stour’s limited timetable was having and said Monday sailings were “desperately needed”.

It meant, for example, that there were no mail deliveries between Saturday and Wednesday.

Jane Puckey. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

Currently there are only sailings on the Snolda, to and from West Burrafirth on the Shetland mainland, on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays .

But following the meeting with the community Shetland Islands Council has confirmed it will reinstate a sailing to and from Papa Stour on Mondays from 4 July.

The island only has a permanent population of seven, but there are a number of crofters who travel back and forth.

“I”m absolutely delighted for all the residents and crofters who rely on the lifeline ferry service for work, bringing in supplies and transporting livestock,” Puckey said. “No more struggling to make a ferry booking.”

Shetland West councillor Liz Peterson, who was elected in May, also attended the meeting and she said it was “very positive” and well-attended.

“This is so important for the Papa rural community, as It is now easier for the folk of Papa to get to and from their work, and it allows more frequent transport of goods, on and off the island,” Peterson said.

“These are things which people living on the mainland of Shetland take for granted.”

Shetland Islands Council’s transport operations manager Michael Craigie said the additional sailings will be in effect a trial, which is being supported from extra funding given to the local authority from the Scottish Government for ferry services.