Monday, 22 August 2016

The Kelp House

The Kelp House on Rathlin is a bit of a landmark.  Disused since the kelp industry on Rathlin disappeared in the late 1930s, it sits on one side of Church Bay.

The Kelp House on Rathlin Island, via HP5+, ID-11 and Ilford RC Warmtone paper.  Probably not the ideal paper for this subject matter, but I was on a bit of a mission after doing a few portraits for The Brother to take back to Chicago with him. As usual it got left to the last minute.  The print has a bit more zing to it than this scan, which looks pretty awful (on my monitor at least).

The talk on Rathlin was of the new ferry which is arriving soon.  Our lovely host Hilary was telling us that the island had been offered a choice of 3 ferries - two that would have been OK with the existing harbour and a third that was too big for the harbour and would require a new jetty.  Naturally enough, they chose the larger one.  According to Hilary, in the 20 years that her and Alan have been on the island visitor numbers have remained pretty static, so there was really no need for a bigger ferry.  It's like a lot of things, I suppose - if you're offered something bigger and supposedly better, it's hard to say no, even when it doesn't make much sense.

I think the ferry is actually ready, but they've hit problems with the bedrock when driving the piles in for the new jetty and so are 3 months behind schedule.  Mind you, Hilary and Alan take their boat over to Ballycastle at 6am every morning to pick up the workers and were able to tell us that there are very few days when all of them actually turn up.  The ones that do didn't seem too animated to us - there wasn't much evidence of work going on the 2 days we were there.  But then we heard that they couldn't work as they didn't want to disturb a couple of seals that were nearby.  My guess is that there might well be seals nearby most days and my other guess is that these guys are getting paid whether they work or not.

As we got back into Ballycastle there was a large tug from Greenock moored up.  Apparently that had something to do with the new ferry...and was now sitting in Ballycastle marina tied up doing nothing.  That's doing nothing, but costing £3500 per day.

It's all a terrible waste of money.


  1. Oh... seems like the wasting money industry has reached on-shore these days. A few years back I would say the tug must have been on-hire to one of the big oil companies by the way it sounds

    1. I'm sure we don't know the half of it, Roy. The worst always seems to the government, who like to spend our hard-earned cash on Big Projects, many of which never get completed.