Western Customs

Volcanic ash from Iceland is affecting hundreds of flights today and with many of Scotland’s airports closed for the time being, our thoughts go to the first time we flew back to the mainland from Stornoway airport in the Western Isles.

From our experience travelling all over the world filming, it is generally the arrival, and not the departure, process at an airport which can be intimidating, invasive – or in the case of Malawi perhaps even hostile! Whilst our film crew had absolutely no problem entering the Western Isles via Stornoway airport, and indeed our arrival had been nothing but warm and welcoming, leaving the island of Lewis was a slightly different matter. In fairness, we had been warned by our client and people we had met during our time filming on the islands so when the inevitable happened we shared a little laugh and willingly obliged…

Apparently, if there are ‘foreigners’ leaving the island, and by that we mean anyone who does not live in the Western Isles, their unfamiliar names leap out from the passenger list and are announced in the departure lounge to make their way to customs to witness having their baggage searched prior to boarding the aircraft.

Anyone with a surname beginning Mc or Mac may slip under the radar but true to theory our names were announced and our film crew were summoned to security!

Rumour has it that this is a form of entertainment for a somewhat under-stretched security team!

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