Orcadian Andrew Banks sought to develop a ferry service between Gills Bay and St. Margaret’s Hope on Orkney, and all kinds of obstacles were put in his way. Lord George Robertson’s foreword sums it all up in the highly acclaimed book “Pentland Hero” by Roy Pederson. It was a scandal, a true story of how the Orkney Islands were betrayed by the very government which were paid to help such enterprise. The story continues. The route between Thurso and Scrabster is still heavily subsidised, and Mr. Banks has never received a penny of public funds. The author met Mr. Banks on several occasions. An honour indeed to meet such a public spirited and dedicated man, determined to good for his community. Governmental skulduggery does not come into it. It was all designed to crush his dream of a better and more economical service for the public.
A parallel outline of a is now been sketched out by the author of this blog who had the audacity to have the idea of the North Highland Way between John o Groats and Durness as a sustainable tourism, multi use route. She was ridiculed, browbeaten and threatened by public services, including Police Scotland. Eventually she had to leave the country. She still fights her corner from beautiful Ireland, with the Irish firmly behind her. Like Mr. Banks, she will never kowtow to the authorities, and will expose them yet again for what they are – uneducated, narrow minded, no idea of public services, no idea of environmental protection, no idea of consultation or democracy, just a determination to suppress a project just because the author would not provide the feasibility study and business plan free of charge. They said they wanted to “assess” is without even having read the specification. For goodness sake, the “Enterprise” Council don’t even know what a “dormant company” is.
The story is not one of a lifeline services to the remote Orkney Islands nor a potentially life threatening situation for the people of St. Margarets Hope if Mr. Banks ever does stop the service, but one of a government determine to prevent private enterprise while supporting Venture North and the NHI with public money.