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Wednesday 28 July 2010

The Coal Boat

I was in Stromness yesterday and the "coal boat" was in the harbour. As Orkney is an island community most fuel has to be transported here, and usually in large quantities. So oil, pretrol, diesel and coal arrive via sea (as do newer technology fuels such as wood pellets). The coal boat is huge, and lies just in Stromness Harbour where lorries line up to be loaded with coal from the large scoop. I got to town at 8.50 am and they had been loading lorries for a while and were expected to continue loading until about 9pm in the evening! The lorries belong to local suppliers of coal who will take the loose coal back to depots and then bag up for sale on to customers. Of course for folk on Graemsay this means the coal then gets delivered from the local supplier to our own ferry to come to the island. So by the time it arrives it's pretty well travelled! Our petrol, oil and diesel comes up on the conventional ferry and as you can imagine additional transport costs add to the cost to the customer. Petrol prices in Orkney and Shetland are the highest in the UK, same for diesel and oil (for heating).

Lorries waiting to load at the harbour


  1. it's hard to imagine that size lorry on your island - they seem so out of place despite their obvious need

  2. Hi KF - thanks for dropping by! Actually that size lorry *can't* get onto our island! Our pier isn't designed to let cars/lorries roll off, so everything is winched on and off. The coal will arrive in large sacks on wooden pallets and be craned onto the pier, then folk have to get it to their house themselves!

  3. only if can afford to live on an island. Maybe after retirement i might be able to manage to afford living on island.
    Sian, nice post, i really enjoyed reading it.

  4. Hi Man&Van - Thanks for the comments. Actually, although some things are dearer than living in the South of England there are less "temptations" to spend money - fewer shops (OK I shop online sometimes), fewer restaurants, and other leisure pursuits that eat up the money!

  5. Really nice. It was quite hard to imagine that size lorry on your island. But honestly i enjoyed readign it!


    Man and Van London

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