Cruise Arrivals


‘Almost all roads impassible’ warns Orkney police chief

A glimpse of the road conditions this evening between Kirkwall and Stromness. (Anita Hutchinson)

Do not drive, and find an alternative bed for night if you have to — this is the advice from authorities this evening, amid severe blockages on Orkney’s roads.

Almost all roads in Orkney impassable tonight due to drifting snow, according to the Orkney Local Emergency Coordination Group (OLECG).

OLECG has issued a plea to drivers to stay off the roads — and for those who are not already at home to find alternative accommodation.

Those who have friends and family arriving by Northlink Ferries this evening have been urged not to travel in to Hatston to meet them from the ferry. Instead, you are encouraged to contact them with a view to finding alternative accommodation in Kirkwall.

While the council’s roads teams have been working hard all day — alongside the community — to keep roads clear, heavy snowstorms and high winds at teatime quickly made conditions too dangerous to continue work and therefore all roads operations have been suspended until tomorrow morning.

Chairman of OLECG, Chief Inspector Scott Robertson said: “The situation on Orkney’s roads is extremely serious.

“As an example the Kirkwall to Stromness road is almost completely blocked at various parts — but almost all roads in Orkney, on the mainland and the isles are the same. I cannot stress this more strongly — do not travel tonight.

“If you are already away from home find alternative accommodation – we are already seeing on social media people coming forward with offers of beds for the night, but we hope most will have friends and family they can stay with.

“If people are unable to find accommodation please reach out to the Orkney Islands Council Facebook page, who will gather details of those who are stuck.

“I must pay tribute to the key workers who have been working tirelessly — those on our roads and those out caring for our most vulnerable people, their tenacity and dedication is outstanding — it has been a long few days for them.

“We’re currently working with Northlink Ferries on arrangements for those who will arrive in Orkney tonight and will update on this in due course.”

All schools — including nurseries, Willow Tree Nursery and Orkney College — are closed tomorrow (Friday) as are the main Council offices in Kirkwall and Stromness, and community centres, libraries and museums.

No waste collections will take place and the civic amenity sites are also closed.