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MV Coruisk now at work on CalMac’s Isle of Mull service

MV Coruisk [above] yesterday began her new role as the second vessel on CalMac’s Oban to Craignure ferry route.

Her deployment increases the capacity pf the service for the Isle of Mull and makes the mainland commutable for islanders for the first time.

As of 25th March 2016- yesterday – a 07.00 sailing leaves Craignure daily from Munday to Saturda; and there are sailings from Oban to Craignure on Mull  at 17.05 and 18.20 daily seven days a week.

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  • She might fit in well there. I only travelled on her once at Mallaig and it was a wild morning at the back end of her season before last. She managed to keep to the timetable and was quite stable and did not seem to have the problems with docking as she had at Dunoon and Wemyss Bay.
    I wonder if she has been placed here to see if smaller ferries could be deployed on shuttle services on a shorter route, maybe getting a bridge to Kerrera and building terminals at each end of the three mile crossing. It might be ideal for the summer tourist, smaller vehicle, traffic with the big ferry still running the heavy loads. There is a lot of potential for making Mull a transport corridor to the Islands and that would be a starting point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

    Murdoch MacKenzie March 27, 2016 4:22 pm Reply
  • The Coruisk was put on the Mull run because of the failure of Scottish Government/Transport Scotland to fund essential modifications to Craignure to accommodate the MV Isle of Lewis.

    Please refer to Scottish Government’s 2013 Ferry Plan and the 2015 Vessel Replacement and Deployment Plan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

    Scotnat March 27, 2016 6:02 pm Reply
  • until the two new ferries are coming in either 2018 or 2019 while Hebrides is time to move

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith March 27, 2016 8:18 pm Reply
  • Modifying a port to suit a twenty year old vessel of limited utility seems like a waste of money to me. The Isle of Lewis has been a constant drain on public funds since the day it left the builders yard. If it can be used to existing ports where it fits then that makes a lot more sense.
    Calmac paid the designers and builders of the Isle of Lewis for a vessel to carry all the cars and freight from Ullapool to Stornoway making four return crossings a day. It is doubtful if she achieved half of what was promised, requiring a charter vessel to support her from day one for twenty years at taxpayers expense.
    And you want to start modifying ports to make her fit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

    Murdoch MacKenzie March 27, 2016 9:08 pm Reply
    • MM

      I didn’t want ‘to start modifying ports to make her fit’ !! Scottish Govt and Transport Scotland wanted too, but were very slow to get round to even begin to address funding issues.

      A&B CC own Craignure pier . A&B CC flagged up well in advance,the funding issue, whilst TS/CMAL sat on theirhands. But the nett result, from TS’ failure, is Calmac’s better ferry provision to Barra/S.Uist/Coll and Tiree, but to the detriment of Sleat

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      Scotnat March 28, 2016 2:39 pm Reply
      • The last time ABC spent money on a ferry terminal the Scottish Government thanked them for the expenditure by not providing a ferry to use it; once bitten, twice shy and all that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        db March 28, 2016 4:20 pm Reply
  • I think CORUISK will be just fine on the Mull service, at least until this first season of a two ship service can be analysed.
    Using ISLE OF LEWIS would have been major overkill, and the potential problems that could have been caused by having to marshall the number of vehicles she can carry,120?, then release them all at once onto what is still largely a single track road system on Mull would not end well.
    As far as Craignure pier is concerned, it is owned by A and B council, and is nothing to do with CMAL or TS. It would be of much more value there, to build a second linkspan on the other side of the pier,as the service is very vulnerable to a failure of the existing one,which dates back to 1974!
    Murdoch suggests fairly radical alterations to how the services could be run. Well,you would have to start by clearing out of Oban bay completely,and building a whole new terminal somewhere with plenty space and good access. The present arrangements in Oban are at absolute capacity and the port is no longer fit for purpose.

    It’s a busy day on the sound today, CLANSMAN away north, ISLE OF LEWIS (looking very smart, newly painted? )inbound to Oban, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS along side the West Pier @ Lochaline, a berth she was no stranger to from 1964 to 1973,when, as David MacBraynes COLUMBA, she called there twice a day. She looks pretty good for a fifty two year old ship.
    Last but not least, the faithful LOCHFYNE chundering back and fore on the Fishnish/Lochaline service.
    All accompanied by the usual flotilla of cargo and fish farm vessels going about their business.
    On top of all that, it’s a lovely day!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    Proudest Scot in the UK March 28, 2016 1:44 pm Reply
    • You’re making us all jealous, glad you’re enjoying some good weather in such a lovely spot.
      A bridge to Kerrera would be no bigger than the Balachullish bridge and slightly longer than the Scalpay Bridge. Eventually the ferries would be replaced by a tunnel from there to Mull. Kerrera could have two bridges built to it and become a posh suburb of Oban.
      Roads through Mull to a ferry terminal at Ulva for Tiree, Cpll and Barra. Every plan should be to reduce ferry legs and increase quality roads.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie March 28, 2016 6:47 pm Reply
  • perhaps instead of a bridge to kerrera and ferries after would a tunnel from loch aline to fishnish not be prudent save about 100 cal mac wages and running costs of 4 vessels perhaps 6.5million

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    obanbay March 28, 2016 6:05 pm Reply
  • Where is the large ferry terminal going to be built on Kerrera when the bridge is built? Presumably the marine and boatyard will have to be go to make room?

    Not sure where all the extra vehicles will be parked at Craignure, with ferries going to various islands there could be large numbers waiting in bad weather so many people looking for hotel accommodation.

    The West side of Mull was am anchorage and convoy assembly point in WWII with many large warships and liners using it but there were virtually no shore facilities. Wherever the large ferry terminal is built on that side, there are going to be objections because it and it and the new roads are going to have a big impact on the area.

    I can’t see that it is going to give a better service and will certainly be slower.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    Lundavra March 28, 2016 7:09 pm Reply
  • There wouldn’t be a large ferry terminal on Kererra, just slipways for a summer service for the three mile crossing. The large ferry would still run from Oban to Craignure.
    Eventually a tunnel would be built so there would not be any ferries coming down to Oban or Kererra anyway. Like Proudest Scot observed today, two diesel belching ferries each making an unnecessary return trip up and down the Sound of Mull. Environmental and economic madness given today’s engineering capability.
    The ideal spot for a harbour at Ulva is just over the shallow crossing by a new bridge. Excellent depth of water, shelter and easy access to the sea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    Murdoch MacKenzie March 28, 2016 7:56 pm Reply
  • Well, there’s a lot of food for thought there.!!

    Some of it seems pie in the sky, until you consider that the likely bill for continued and extended subsidy to the ferry network is forecast to exceed one billion pounds over the next eight years, and that’s just the operating subsidy. That has to be unsustainable I would think.

    I wonder if a cheaper and maybe better solution to shortening the longer routes would not be to invest in a new harbour at Mallaig?
    There is considerable potential along the lovely last half mile into Mallaig to develop another harbour and large marshaling area, completely separate from the original fishing harbour, which, although it handles nothing like the fishing business it used to, is still completely inadequate for large ferries in anything other than very quiet weather. This may have a bearing on the hopeless performance of the Lochboisdale Mallaig service.

    Coll, Tiree, Barra and S Uist could be served very well from here.
    The Uibhisteach would be delighted, but combined howls of protest I fear from Barraich, Collach and Tiriosdeach interests.

    There would need to be improvement of parts of the Mallaig road, as what used to be considered the good bit is now quite inadequate for heavy traffic. Also, it might give a spur to a bypass for the summer long bottle neck which is Fort William.

    On another tack, I see another correspondent on this topic deplores the loss of CORUISK to the Sleat service.
    Many of us find it difficult to have sympathy with this view, Viz.
    Skye campaigned for and got a bridge. No sooner did they have it, than they didn’t want to pay to use it. So, in order to pander further to them, we all bought said bridge from The Bank of America. Now they have a free bridge, but they still want a ferry.
    As they say in Private Eye, “SURELY SHOME MISHTAKE?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Proudest Scot in the UK March 28, 2016 11:09 pm Reply
    • Mallaig does serve a purpose with the Small Isles service so adding a Sleat ferry is a useful addition in an area that is hard to get around by road. Anyone travelling between Mallaig and Kyle would probably use the ferry and the bridge to save the long drive down to Fort William and then up to Invergarry for the A87.
      It has proved to be a hopeless harbour in the winter for the larger South Uist Ferry and, like Oban, it is in the wrong place for a vehicle ferry terminal to the Outer Isles. The people of South Uist should set their eyes on a new route from Loch Skiport to Skye, either at Loch Dunvegan or Loch Harport / Bracadale. Considering how much effort went into building the Skye bridge it would make a lot more sense to develop better roads that would carry traffic from the dualled A9 to Skye and all the Outer Hebrides from the Butt of Lewis to Eriskey.
      Regarding the removal of the Corruisk from Sleat, I notice that the Lochinvar made six return legs yesterday and the LOTI made three. That’s deck space for 306 cars each way, how many do they want?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie March 29, 2016 3:58 am Reply
  • Coruisk said: it use as a second ferry on the Oban-Craignure run with Isle of Mull. Isle of Mull was a ferry in 1988 and Coruisk was a ferry in 2003.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith March 28, 2016 11:51 pm Reply
  • Sadly Isle of Lewis didn’t come to mull, but isle of Lewis said it will be on the Oban-Castlebay route. Perhaps it should be summer of 2016 and set sail for Barra, summer and winter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith April 3, 2016 3:46 am Reply
  • Now that two such dissimilar designs of boat are on the Oban – Craignure run, it would be instructive to know which one proves the more suitable for this service – ease of docking, turnaround time, crossing time, fuel & crew costs etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Robert Wakeham April 3, 2016 11:36 am Reply
  • Here’s my thoughts on some of the comments above:
    1. Sorry Murdoch – disagree that Kerrera and Mull landbridge options are viable. They can’t even afford to build a relief road round the back of Oban to improve port access, let alone some large engineering project to access the islands via Kerrera and Mull. In any event, the people of Coll, Tiree and Barra want faster, direct links to Oban not via other islands. The fact we have vessels running at 14-16.5 knots on average (ok, IoL has just started on the Barra run) is a bit of a joke in the 21st century. The timetable crossing time of the Isle of Mull are about 10 mins longer now than when she started on the run!
    2. Oban Ferry Terminal needs immediate expansion and the last building / 2nd linkspan project was a missed opportunity; They should have developed out in a westerly direction from the pier with two new linkspans (like they are doing at Brodick) instead of the current poorly designed layout;
    3. On the Mallaig comments, forget any major redevelopment to serve Coll, Tiree and Barra. The people of these islands want ferry access to the largest town on the west coast with the best transport connections / shopping facilities / services. There’s no point in “driving past/on” to a small fishing village and the end of nowhere with max 3 trains per day! And yes, they would also need to build a bypass round Fort William and make significant road improvements too;
    4. Yes, Skye did get a bridge but the Mallaig – Armadale service carries a lot more passengers and cars than many others and is Calmac’s busiest coach route carrying nearly 2,300 coaches in 2015. I was slightly surprised but clearly this is a well used route by tourist traffic which helps subsidise the service ultimately.

    Will be very interesting to see how this Summer’s operations go both operationally and commercially given the full impact of RET. And I’m looking forward to my first trip on the Isle of Lewis over to Barra.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    Michael Dowds April 7, 2016 2:07 am Reply
    • Hi Michael,
      You obviously see Oban as an important part of your travelling to Barra but you could still stop and visit Oban if you were driving via a Mull land bridge to a shorter ferry crossing.
      In my book vehicular ferries should be extensions to roads at the shortest possible crossing points. Ferries are not suitably fuel efficient to carry freight and cars over long distances, especially in the small numbers and at the subsidised rates that they do to the Scottish Islands.
      The two ferries that run up and down the Sound of Mull travel about 130 Nautical miles that would not be required if a land bridge existed. If a tunnel existed the two ferries from Oban to Craignure would also not exist. You could say that three ferries would become redundant once the land bridge was in place. That’s at least £5m per year in Capital Costs for the ferries alone, then there are all the other operating and environmental costs. Developing an over Mull route makes a lot of sense to me.
      I understand that a bridge to Kererra has been suggested in Oban area planning in the past and I see it as an opportunity to establish a shorter Mull summer route until such time as a Mull tunnel can be established.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie April 7, 2016 3:23 am Reply
      • A bridge to Kerrera – apart from being an element in a link to Mull – would surely open the floodgates to urban development, given the physical constraints on the growth of Oban on the mainland, and there’s a strong analogy with the Shetland situation where there’s pressure for a fixed link to Bressay to facilitate the growth of Lerwick.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        Robert Wakeham April 7, 2016 8:59 am Reply
  • Some unusual activity at Mallaig Harbour this afternoon. I looked at the AIS at about six when I came in and the LOTI and Lochinvar were both keeping out to sea and the Loch Bhrusda was in use. I know they were expecting tidal difficulties, but it was high tide around six, unless it was too high for the Linkspan. There are a few cancellations over the next week or so. It’s not proving to be a very adaptable port for ferries is Mallaig.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Murdoch MacKenzie April 7, 2016 8:32 pm Reply
  • Isle of Lewis also said it began a new phase of her life and began serving Oban and Castlebay, Barra meanwhile Lord of the isles on the Mallaig-Armadale/Lochboisdale. And these summer arrangements, announced by transport scotland are likely to be a stop-gap until the two new ferries for Arran and Uig are due in service in 2018

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith April 8, 2016 9:03 pm Reply
  • Stop gap or stop-start Scott? I see the Isle of Lewis heading for the Garvel tonight, looks like she’s on one engine. She had shaft problems a few years ago, let’s hope it’s not too serious whatever it may be.
    Technical related issue is what the re-designed Calmac website calls it. That will be the generic description from now on along with Tidal and Weather related issues, it’s a miracle they sail at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Murdoch MacKenzie April 12, 2016 3:02 am Reply

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