Enhanced ferry services for west coast from Summer 2016

[Updated below 00.15 23rd September] Transport Minister, Derek Mackay has just announced an enhanced ferry service provision for the west coast Clyde and Hebridean network for and from the summer of 2016.

The Minister says: ‘This enhanced timetable offers a number of improvements: proposals include increasing capacity on certain services, offering more sailings and reorganising vessel deployment to get the most from our ferry fleet.

‘It will also help manage the expected increase demand from the full roll out of Road Equivalent Tariff [RET], which gives island residents and visitors access to significantly reduced fares.

‘We have also placed an order for two new major vessels and their delivery in 2018 will represent further enhancements to West Coast ferry services.’

Specific proposed enhancements are to be:

  • A daily direct return service between Oban-Barra with a dedicated vessel, delivering a considerable increase in capacity.
  • A daily direct return service between Lochboisdale-Mallaig using a dedicated vessel.
  • An additional 50 weekly sailings on the Oban-Craignure route, with additional vessels supplementing the MV Isle of Mull. This means Oban will become a commutable destination from Mull for the first time.
  • 10% more sailings on the Mallaig-Armadale route.
  • Over 30% increase in capacity on services to Coll, Tiree and Colonsay.

The absence from this list of Islay is immediately noticeable – suggesting that this is a destination clearly seen as well catered for with no need for increased summer seasonal  capacity.

Drew Collier, CalMac’s, director of operations, Drew Collier says: ‘The two vessel service on the Oban-Craignure route, serving Mull, will balance off the additional capacity issues we would expect due to Road Equivalent Tariff [RET] fares being introduced on this service.’

The key material change that has made this major revision of vessel deployments possible is the availability of the MV Isle of Lewis, now surplus to requirements with her service on the Stornoway-Ullapool route taken over by the new superferry, MV Loch Seaforth.

While there will be protest in the Western Isles at her departure, it looks as if the Isle of Lewis will be deployed as a second boat on the Oban-Craignure service to Mull. Being able to overnight one boat at each port will make possible what is to become the first ‘fully commutable service between Mull and the mainland’ – a definite boost to the local economy of Mull.

The doughty MV Clansman will become the dedicated boat mentioned by the Minister, serving the run from Oban to Barra; with the elderly MV Lord of the Isles [LOTI] the dedicated boat deployed to the Mallaig-Lochboisdale service. LOTI is the next vessel to be replaced after MV Isle of Arran and the Hebridean Isles – whose successor are the two new major boats currently being contracted by CMAL to Ferguson Marine at Port Glasgow.

The promised 30% increase in capacity for Tiree, Coll and Colonsay may be delivered by additional sailings; while the 10% more sailings on the Mallaig-Armadale route will be done by sailing the MV Coruisk more frequently.

It will be immediately noticed in Campbeltown and Kintyre that while the parallel pilot service run between Mallag and Lochboisdale in South Uist is clearly being given the go-ahead with a dedicated vessel and a daily sailing, there is still no mention of the fate of the three year pilot, now concluded, between Ardrossan and Campbeltown.

The timetable for this pilot summer service was laughable in its complete inattention to facilitating incoming traffic to Campbeltown but supporting lifestyle in Kintyre by offering convenient outward services, including a return-in-a-day service everyFriday to enable local residents to do their weekly shopping in Ardrossan or, from the Ardrossan railhead – in Glasgow.

The carrying figures for this service over its first two years [the 2015 carryings have yet to be released, with the coming weekend, 27th September, the close of this season and of the pilot period] were:

  • Passengers: 2013: 9,824; 2014: 11,343.
  • Cars: 2013: 1,950; 2014: 2,236.
  • Coaches: 2013: 3; 2014: 12.
  • Commercial vehicles: 2013: 12; 2014: 31.

Ignore the first year – any new service has a warm up period.

In 2014, however, the better of the two initial years’ performance,  its carryings were achieved in seven individual sailings a week over a 20 week period – a total of 140 sailings. The Isle of Arran’s capacity is 448 passengers and 76 cars, making 25 sailings – not the actual 140 – capable of carrying the full numbers carried in that season – of passengers, cars, coaches and commercial vehicles. This is just under 81% overcapacity.

Ardrossan-Campbeltown [with one weekly call at Brodick in Arran from the Kintyre end] – is not a lifeline service.

  • The A83/A82 trunk road carries road traffic including a 4 hour five a day return service in each direction between Campbeltown and Glasgow in the summer season [otherwise 4 returns a day in each direction’;
  • The are two 45 minute daily air returns between Glasgow and Campbeltown, morning and late afternoon each day, Monday to Friday, year round.

Yet what is not a lifeline ferry service – and, as it has been timetabled, an arguably useless and indefensibly expensive one, is run at pub;ic expense in a three year pilot with no trialling, year year, of the impact of revisions to the timetable. The timetable that has been operated is informally known as ‘the Semple timetable’, in commemoration of the local councillor who virtually dictated it, thinking only of the lifestyle of residents and not at all of the economic development that is crucial to this beautiful but remote peninsula.

Reason and financial responsibility would dictate that this pilot will not be continued – but, with the Scottish Election in ay 2016 and a possible second referendum on independence a very live issue, pr prediction is that this pilot will become a permanent service – and that this is being kept for a single special vote-grabbing announcement in a strategic moment.

This prediction is supported by the fact that the Mallaig-Lochboisdale pilot is continuing to permanent service – despite having even worse carrying figures than Ardrossan-Campbeltown.

This is an interesting case, though. There are long standing cultural links between the South Uist and Mallaig, through what had been the traditional ferry route to the mainland until it was discontinued earlier.

It is also the shortest route and therefore the most cost efficient. There is no persuasive financial or lifeline case to be made for having two ferry routes  between Lochboisdale and the mainland. The logical thing would be to discontinue the much longer passage from Oban – but this is highly unlikely to be done for political reasons.

Update 00. 15 23rd September: The online Island News is carrying here the local response to the news of the confirmed Mallaig-Lochboisdale Service and it is understandably ecstatic. Donald Manford, Councillor for  South UIst and Barra, is quoted as saying: ‘It’s absolutely marvellous news.  We have been pursuing this ambition to have a dedicate link between Lochboisdale and Mallaig since it was axed 14 years ago, and for a dedicated service between Castlebay and Oban.’

Asked by the Island News what stopping the service between Lochboisdale and Oban would mean, the councillor said:  ‘There have been a vast amount of well-attended public meetings on this and the consistent response is that the community would rather have Mallaig as their mainland port of choice.’

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Related Articles & Comments

  • on the Ardrossan-Brodick two vessel route summer 2016 until new major vessel will be in 2018

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith September 22, 2015 3:08 pm Reply
    • Even with the two boats some Arran businesses are complaining of reduction in bookings as customers perceive they cannot rely on getting the ferry; RET is not in any way a panacea.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      db September 23, 2015 10:23 pm Reply
  • MV Isle of lewis stern ramp didn’t move at either Oban or Craignure linkspan, it change stern ramp, a two vessel route on the Oban-Craignure route.

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    Scott Smith September 22, 2015 3:49 pm Reply
    • Not sure what your comments actually mean Scott?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Dunoon Lad September 23, 2015 12:06 am Reply
  • I suspect smoke and mirrors are evident here – the announcement was made by a Government minister after all. Capacity may be increased by using a bigger boat, not increasing the number of sailings which wouldn’t be of much benefit to Colonsay for instance. The devil is in the detail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    keith stanger September 22, 2015 4:47 pm Reply
  • I haven’t the slightest doubt the number of passengers and vehicles using the Ardrossan – Campbeltown route can grow substantially over the years ahead .
    I regularly meet people on the Ayrshire side who are still unaware the service is running .
    The continuation of this ferry should be above petty party politics ,the people of Kintyre are unanimously in favour of the service continuing not because it provides a day away as newsroom would have us believe , but because people in the area see that tourism and increased visitor numbers are one of the key pillars which can revive our weak town and surrounding communities .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    Regularflyer September 22, 2015 5:49 pm Reply
    • In the camping and caravanning world that I occasionally inhabit (I tent), the Ardrossan – Campbeltown link has been mentioned and appreciated by those who used it. A better service and more publicity might make this more viable.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      Jade September 22, 2015 10:32 pm Reply
    • As noted the scheduling was awful, making visiting from the central belt to Campbeltown far harder than vice versa.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      db September 23, 2015 10:27 pm Reply
  • 81% overcapacity doesn’t appear to be a very good basis for the continuance of the Campbeltown-Ardrossan service. However you look at it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    Arthur Blue September 22, 2015 7:42 pm Reply
  • Isle of Lewis said: get ready to sail on the Ullapool-Stornoway relief route and while Loch Seaforth goes for overhaul. what does that mean

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    Scott Smith September 22, 2015 10:19 pm Reply
  • Newsroom I can’t figure out the logic behind how you have worked out which ferry will be allocated to which route?

    Where are you getting a vessel to provide increased capacity to Coll & Tiree if the Clansman is to be the dedicated Barra boat and the Loti running from Lochboisdale to Mallaig?

    Maybe I’m missing something in your research but wouldn’t it be more obvious that the Isle of lewis is the barra boat and clansman doing inner isles and colonsay plus maybe extra mull runs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    jonny September 22, 2015 11:06 pm Reply
    • Mull is not just getting extra sailings – it is going up to a two boat service in its first fully commutable service – and the Isle of Lewis is the spare boat.
      We may be wrong but it is an obvious logic.
      Since Tiree, Coll and Colonsay are dealt with together in the Minister’s announcement – together to get a 30% upgrade in service, that would suggest that Clansman may no longer route to Barra via Coll and Tiree but a different vessel may serve these three islands together for some additional weekly sailings.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      newsroom September 22, 2015 11:58 pm Reply
      • We’re talking about the Transport Minister here and his new “stakeholder” pals spread over all the ports. He promises a lot, whether he can deliver is the question.
        I wonder if he plans to do the Mull commuter runs with juggling the Barra and the Tiree, Coll and Colonsay vessels. That’s what they do just now, without the Mull runs, but there is another difference in that the Isle of Lewis is faster than the present vessels. If the Isle of Lewis overnights at Craignure, she could do the early bird run to Oban and then do a round trip to Castlebay in about nine hours letting her do an evening run to Mull to get in position for the next morning. The afternoon commuter run would need to be done by the Clansman, which would probably require some timetable shifts. I can’t see them doing overnight runs to Barra, it’s not what the tourists want and they need them to fill the capacity of the vessel. I imagine they will market the Barra route at tourists who want to do the Hebrides spinal route coming back to the mainland at either Skye or Ullapool.
        There might be a method in the madness.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        Murdoch MacKenzie September 23, 2015 9:35 am Reply
  • Sadly MV isle of Lewis didn’t come to mull in summer 2016. Nobody can tell the truth about the mull vessel. MV isle of mull on the oban-craignure route. Summer 2016 the two vessel route continue on the Ardrossan-Brodick route.
    MV isle of Lewis home sweet home at stornoway don’t you think

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

    Scott Smith September 23, 2015 1:24 am Reply
  • TS can be very imaginative with figures .

    Calmac visited Tiree two weeks ago and indicated that Tiree would have a dedicated summer-service vessel from 2016 . By inference it would be the Clansman 7 sailings/week as opposed to the current 5 sailings/week . The Lord of the Isles currently performs the other two sailings /week

    This proposal will increase Tiree capacity by 30 % for only 2 sailings /week and not as TS press release suggests, yield Tiree a 30 % over-all increase in capacity .

    Indications are that The Isle of Lewis will be put on the Mull run to meet TS’ Ferry Plan obligations prior to the CHFS tender. One thing for sure ,she will not be languishing , semi- redundant in Stornoway next summer.

    As a consequence there will be no back -up ferry to ameliorate any network chaos as a consequence of a ferry break down. With an ageing fleet, and 3 significant breakdowns this summer causing network chaos, next years summer service may not quite work out as TS/Calmac hope

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    robtrythall September 23, 2015 8:21 am Reply
    • Aye! I think it crossed my mind in a past thread that it may be that the Isle of Lewis will become the main vessel on the Craignure route once she has been tidied up and maybe get some extra passenger capacity added (don’t know if that is feesible at her age?). This would then mean that the Isle of Mull does the early commuter run from Craignure and the daily Barra run. I’m sure they have worked something out but as you say breakdowns will be a problem. I can see some overnight runs as they try and catch up.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie September 23, 2015 9:52 am Reply
  • MV isle of Lewis said it heads off and for her annual 2016 overhaul the winter of 2015/16 her stern door will be either move or not. During summer 2016 MV isle of Lewis will be on the Oban-Castlebay route and while MV lord of the Isles on the mallaig-lochboisdale route.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Scott smith September 24, 2015 1:55 am Reply
    • It may well be that the Isle of Lewis might not get any major changes done and that she will be used as she is to cultivate a new tourist route to Barra and the Western Isles Spinal Route. She seemed to slot in well on that run when helping out in the breakdown shuffles this summer.
      Her problems with carrying trucks will need to be taken into consideration when justifying the expense of major structural changes.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie September 24, 2015 7:23 am Reply
  • The expense of major structural changes for what

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Scott smith September 24, 2015 8:29 am Reply
    • Mostly the moving of the stern door and the ramp but she also might need extra passenger accommodation if she was to take on the Mull route. The Isle of Lewis can carry a lot more cars than the Isle of Mull, 123 against 70, but the Isle of Mull can carry 962 passengers against the Isle of Lewis’s 680. I don’t know if the higher passenger carrying capacity is really necessary on the route though as she will likely be restricted to about 10 or 12 coaches with a massive reduction in the number of cars, I’m sure they will have done the sums.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie September 24, 2015 11:23 am Reply
  • MV isle of mull and MV isle of Lewis on the Oban-craignure route next summer 2016. What does that mean I thought

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott smith September 24, 2015 11:40 am Reply
  • wait and see where they are planning to deploy the coruisk

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    hebisles September 24, 2015 3:29 pm Reply
  • and maybe i said

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith September 24, 2015 3:34 pm Reply
  • Think you’ll find Isle of Lewis doing Oban Bara, clansman doing Coll tiree and some mull Isle of mull doing mull and colonsay and coruisk being the second vessel on the mull run

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Obanbay September 24, 2015 6:34 pm Reply
  • Heb Isles and Oban Bay,
    Where does the idea that Coruisk will leave Mallaig – Armadale come from?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Murdoch MacKenzie September 24, 2015 7:22 pm Reply
  • The Coruisk will serve Mull along with Isle of Mull and occasionally Clansman.
    There are a whole host of issues. Not least the loss of the Clansmans Thursday schedule meaning residents of Coll would not be able to access services for the day on Tiree- the dentist for example

    Do you know what the proposed schedules are for Mull, Colonsay, Coll and Tiree.

    Mv Iske of Leeis will sail solely from Barra to Oban and Lord of the Isles Lochboisdale to Mallaig with four rotations from Mallaig to Armadale. Mainstay on that will be Lochinvar which you loose from Tarbert to Portavadie, I presume to be replaced by new build Catriona.

    Meanwhile, Gigha has no investment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    David September 25, 2015 7:49 am Reply
    • While I don’t dispute that Coruisk could do runs to Mull, it’s the bit where you have Lochinvar taking over at Mallaig to Armadale that does not add up. Calmac are being asked to provide a 10% rise in the number of crossings to Armadale. Seeing as Coruisk does 14kts against Lochinvar’s 9kts I cannot see how that would work. Coruisk also has twice the capacity of Lochinvar but the main difference is that one requires a linkspan and the other requires a slip.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie September 25, 2015 9:02 am Reply
      • Sorry David, I did not read your comment properly. It would make sense for the Lochboisdale vessel to be used for Armadale outwith her probable 8 hour daily allocation to Uist.
        I’m still not sure about how the Lochinvar will work with the linkspan at Armadale, especially at this time of year when it can sometimes be a bit exposed.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Murdoch MacKenzie September 25, 2015 9:49 am Reply
    • David, does the slipway belong to the Gig ha community?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Richard September 25, 2015 9:04 am Reply
  • Gigha slip is Argyle and Bute Council.
    This all seems configured to get the second Mull boat. Lochinvar would use the Linkspans like Lochnevis does. I’m guessing coach traffic would go on LOTI.
    The pinch will come on Lewis and Harris with the Loch Seaforyh having to provide service by itself. On two passenger carrying rotations a day and limited availability to Lewis, those communities may find difficulty making bookings.

    Gigha really needs a bigger ferry than a 12 car Loch Class and also an overnight berthing structure in the village which could extend the working day. Over £26 million was spent at Raasay when you add the cost of piers, harbours and the vanity hybrid ship

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    David September 25, 2015 9:43 am Reply
    • Cross posted with you earlier. I can see what you mean now re Mallaig to Armadale.
      Regarding Lewis, there is still a lot of space in the Loch Seaforth time table. She has a very slow turnaround at the moment that I am sure could be shortened but the four runs a day, this was promised for the Isle of Lewis, looks as far away as ever. With adjustments to the timetable she should be able to get another three or four return crossings a week in. That’s another 572 cars there and 572 back.
      It looks like the Gigha timetable is at full stretch, so expansion is required if bookings are proving difficult. A bigger, or a second vessel would be the only answers.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie September 25, 2015 10:28 am Reply
      • The Loch Seaforth’s schedule /timetable is a scandal ..two trips /day (2 1/2 hrs ) plus one nite time freight trip ie 3 trips/day with 1 hour t/around(the slowest t/round in the Calmac network, is gross mismanagement of resources.

        Why this ferry is not running 4 trips/a day requires the fullest explanation from Calmac and Scottish Govt

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        robtrythall September 25, 2015 11:10 am Reply
    • Surely the priority for Gigha is to ensure that the Tayinloan berth is protected from getting clogged with beach material & seaweed in heavy storms.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Robert Wakeham September 25, 2015 3:09 pm Reply
  • MV Loch seaforth heads away for her annual overhaul 2016 while MV Isle of Lewis relief on the Ullapool-Stornoway october-november 2015 back over 3 weeks

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    Scott Smith September 25, 2015 10:22 pm Reply
  • MV isle of Lewis heads away and for her annual 2016 overhaul.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Scott smith September 27, 2015 1:19 am Reply
  • MV Isle of Lewis will be the dedicated Oban – Barra vessel next summer. The timetable is already known locally. She will arrive into Oban at 1215 or 1245 every day and then depart Oban at 1440 every day arriving into Castlebay at 1925. The IoL will also be getting her ramps adjusted this winter during her overhaul. Possibly MES replaced too.

    The LOTI will be the dedicated Mallaig – Lochboisdale vessel. Again, the Summer 2016 timetable is already circulating locally. She will leave Lochboisdale at 0630 every morning, arriving into Mallaig at 1000. She will then perform the bulk of the Maillaig – Armadale roster on Mon – Sats before leaving Mallaig at 1810, arriving into Lochboisdale at 2140. I strongly suspect MV Coruisk to be deployed as the second vessel on the Oban-Craignure route for next summer and possibly the following year until the new tonnage is built.

    Looks a dead cert that there will be no Oban – Lochboisdale connections for the next couple of Summers and question marks around the Thursday service between Tiree and Barra.

    A significant issue with this change is how dangerous cargo is transported from mainland to Barra and vice versa as MV IoL has fully enclosed car deck. Either severely restrict passenger numbers (very unlikely) or send dangerous goods via Mallaig and Lochboisdale and over Sound of Barra service (more likely).

    Not sure that’s a great outcome for businesses on Barra and wonder what tourists will think of the Uist people giving up their Oban connection (which they have been demanding). Personally, I would not have dedicated ships. I would have used the fleet flexibly out of Oban and Mallaig (OK, I know only the LOTI here). I don’t understand the desire of the South Uist people to give up the Oban connection with 6 daily train and 5 daily bus connections to Glasgow (where 80-90% of the traffic is heading/coming from). They say they will get to Glasgow / Central Belt quicker. In their cars, possibly, if they are driving at 80mph. Using ferry and public transport, no way. The train takes 5:15 hours, two hours longer then Oban and less frequent. I think a more flexible daily service with L’boisdale direct to Oban say 4 mornings a week would have been a better outcome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Michael Dowds October 5, 2015 2:43 pm Reply
    • Many thanks for this.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      newsroom October 5, 2015 8:04 pm Reply
    • The proposed Tiree summer 2016 timetable drops the Thurs Oban -Tiree – Barra route.

      The Isle of Lewis being dropped as the 2nd dedicated ferry on Oban Craignure contradicts Transport Scotlands “ Vessel Replacement and Deployment Plan (VRDP) ” only published last Friday!!

      The plan stated :
      32.The additional vessel for Oban-Craignure summer service commences in summer 2016 with the re-deployment of MV Isle of Lewis to the route pending conclusion of work to assess her operation from the two ports.

      85. In parallel with the above but with delivery by March 2016 is the work required to operate MV Isle of Lewis on the Oban-Craignure route. Vessel modifications will be required to both vehicle ramps and some berth work is likely to be necessary at Craignure

      Re the modification work required at Craignure the VRDP states the foll:-
       Required to support deployment of MV Isle of Lewis
       Anticipated extent of work – Moderate to major

      One can only assume that the modifications required at Craignure cannot be completed in time , or possibly the required funding is not in place?

      Note Transport Scotland press release states:-
      An additional 50 weekly sailings on the Oban-Craignure route, with additional vessels supplementing the MV Isle of Mull.

      Note ref to “ vessels” ie more than one ..so the Clansman – Coruisk cocktail looks like Craignure’s 2nd ferry for Summer 2016

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

      robtrythall October 6, 2015 10:09 am Reply
  • Anyone seen the draft Mull timetable for Summer 2016? Just interested in seeing the enhanced service.

    Also, still can’t understand the overwhelming desire of the South Uist people to go to Mallaig everyday instead of Oban with its much better public transport connections and better local facilities. I really don’t think they’ve fully understood the potential impact on themselves and tourists (who bring a lot of money into the local economy. And I say that as someone with Barra and South Uist connections and travelling back and forth for 40 odd years……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    Michael Dowds October 17, 2015 8:19 pm Reply
    • I hear what you’re saying Michael re South Uist to Mallaig as against Oban. The first thought I had when I read of the new service was if they had considered the savings through RET.
      I know that there was a lot of clamour for the Mallaig connection over the years but RET certainly moves the goalposts.
      It would be interesting to find out what the driver is, maybe the small boat fishermen linking to the Mallaig market. If it’s to help working people locally then I can’t fault it.

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      Murdoch MacKenzie October 17, 2015 8:59 pm Reply
  • Well! Well! Well! The company flagship the Loch Seaforth is now requiring drivers to be ready to board one hour before the sailing time. This is due to traffic congestion at Ullapool and Stornoway where arriving cars meet head on with unboarding trucks.
    Of course, they will not have realized that if they shortened the turn around to half an hour the cars would already be in the boarding lanes when the ferry discharges. This is what normally happens with the smaller efficient ferries.
    There is hardly a week that passes that they don’t come up with more guff.
    She is heading for the dry dock on October 26th, maybe they will extend the stern ramp to double width and speed things up a bit. I wouldn’t bet on it though.

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    Murdoch MacKenzie October 18, 2015 5:53 pm Reply
  • I’m led to believe the original plan always was for the Loch Seaforth’s stern ramp to be widened once the new linkspan song at Ullapool and Stornoway were completed, so loading times should be improved once this happens.

    I’ve also seen the draft Mallaig – Armadale timetable for next summer. The LOTI will actually be the ‘secondary’ vessel on the route with the Lochinvar performing the majority of the sailings. LOTI will do four runs on Mondays to Saturdays. The proposed Sunday timetable isn’t going down too well with the people of Sleat with all sailings performed by the Lochinvar and an early last Sunday departure from Mallaig at 17:00. I don’t think this will be the final version following the consultation. There will be a need to balance linkspan / pier availability with the Small Isles services but there would appear to be scope for the LOTI to do a few of the Sunday runs instead of turning around within 20 minutes and heading back to Lochboisdale at 10:30 (on the Sunday). A late afternoon departure would seem more sensible allowing Uist people to go to Fort William for a few hours and allow connecting public transport services to make it to Mallaig from the Central Belt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Michael Dowds October 18, 2015 9:10 pm Reply
  • Thank you to those who have added detail, as I haven’t been able to find drafts of the timetables anywhere. It would be interesting to see the full Mull timetable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Stuart October 22, 2015 6:27 pm Reply
  • And the winter timetable is avalable now.in january 2016 MV Hebrides will be on the Ardrossan-Brodick run and while MV Caledonian isles goes for overhaul

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    Scott Smith October 22, 2015 9:36 pm Reply
  • Apparently all the relevant Community Councils and various Ferry Committees have the draft Summer 2016 timetables. Some have posted them on their websites and Facebook pages but it’s not been easy to find that many. Would have thought it might have been a good idea for Calmac to seek views by having them on their website.

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    Michael Dowds October 22, 2015 11:34 pm Reply
  • And Motor Vessel Isle of Lewis goes for overhaul for some ramps bow and stern, this winter, either this year or january-february 2016.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith October 22, 2015 11:51 pm Reply
  • Isle of Lewis had said early 2016 it will cover for northink ferries on the orkney and shetland, while goes for overhaul. so MV Isle of Lewis overhaul was either this year or february 2016

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    Scott Smith November 4, 2015 12:10 am Reply
    • She has not done a lot of work this year so they might leave her to the Spring, although I’m not sure how the passenger regulations work. It may be a time limit between dry dockings. She was there last January if memory serves.

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      Murdoch MacKenzie November 4, 2015 11:54 am Reply
  • Calmac summer 2016 will be next year

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    Scott Smith November 4, 2015 8:12 pm Reply
  • Summer 2016 was MV isle of Lewis on the Oban-castlebay route meanwhile MV Lord of the isles on the Mallaig-Armadale/Lochboisdale route don’t you think

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    Scott smith November 5, 2015 12:51 am Reply
  • A very draft timetable for Craignure – Oban summer service was published in November’s Round&About for those interested. Still subject to change, though and consultation continuing. If anyone wants to see it, reply here and I will scan it and send to Lynda – it is a full A4 page though so she may not be able to publish it. Coruisk is the main alternative to the Isle of Mull with the Clansman providing two services a day.

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    Jade November 5, 2015 9:28 am Reply
  • Let’s hope that the extra traffic generated by the additional ferry services to Mull will lead to improved roads, that may in turn lead to Tiree, Coll and Barra being served by a more efficient ferry port at Ulva. For this to be a success we need a bridge at Dunollie and a fifteen minute service across the three mile crossing to Mull. This would be dependent on a harbour being feasible at Loch Don, or better still a tunnel direct from the mainland to Mull. Oban is the plug hole that most of the ferry money goes down and needs to be by-passed at some stage.

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    Murdoch MacKenzie November 5, 2015 10:39 am Reply
    • I suspect that the creation of a ferry terminal at Ulva might be no more popular locally than the notion of an ‘overland’ route to Jura & Islay was to people in the Tayvallich area.

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      Robert Wakeham November 5, 2015 12:28 pm Reply
  • well sir since july 2015 and isle of lewis will have the supply of a Marine evacuation system

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    Scott Smith November 5, 2015 8:38 pm Reply

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