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BBC Scotland's Craig Anderson reports
"Some passengers said it was their worst experience afloat"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 16:18 GMT
Sea sickener for ferry passengers
Passengers disembarking
Passengers disembark from the ferry
More than 100 relieved ferry passengers have made it back to dry land after a 40-hour ordeal in the North Sea.

Those who boarded the St Clair ferry in Shetland on Sunday were expecting a 14-hour sailing to Aberdeen.

But the atrocious weather forced the closure of Aberdeen harbour and turned it into a two-day trip which ended on Tuesday - at a different port.

Some of the passengers described it as their worst ever experience on board a boat.

It was very rough on the first night and a lot of us were particularly ill

Ferry passenger
And there was no respite for others, who missed appointments and did not even bother getting off the boat before making the return journey.

One woman said: "We spent most of our time in our beds. We haven't eaten or drunk anything but we're all right now we are on dry land."

Another passenger said: "It was very rough on the first night and a lot of us were particularly ill.

"We just got into out bunks and just stayed there until the next morning."

High winds

A third added: "The crew did everything they could to keep everybody happy. It was just the conditions were so bad."

The P&O Scottish Ferries vessel left Lerwick on Sunday evening, only to find that Aberdeen harbour was closed by high winds.

The vessel waited outside the port for 10 hours on Monday before leaving for Invergordon in the Cromarty Firth.

It eventually docked at Invergordon with the help of a tug after two unsuccessful attempts.

Ferry docking
The ferry docked more than 25 hours late
Most of the passengers then caught the train to Aberdeen to continue their journey.

But some missed the appointments they had set out for and stayed on the ferry, immediately making the return trip to Lerwick.

As Scotland was battered by snow, ice and strong winds for the second day, there were also hazardous conditions on the roads.

A train was derailed on the Inverness to Edinburgh line at Blair Atholl, leaving 40 passengers stranded for three hours.

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06 Feb 01 | Scotland
Snow and ice misery continues
06 Feb 01 | Scotland
Passengers stranded in derailment
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