SNP MP backs call for CalMac to put MV Coruisk back on Mallaig-Armadale service – and is to go direct to the Transport Minister

There’s no use in having an MP who is a member of he current party of government if they do not use their privileged political contacts in the interests of their electorate.

Ian Blackford, SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber after defeating the late Charles Kennedy, chaired the recent meeting in Sleat to discuss the ongoing disruption to the Mallaig/Armadale ferry service which is an important access route for the island.

This was the meeting which called for the resignation of both the Managing Director and the Operations Director of ferry operator, CalMac Ferries Ltd.

The meeting also demanded the return to the route of the MV Coruisk, the vessel built specifically for it.

The islanders are outraged that ‘their’ boat has been taken away to become the additional boat on the now two-boat ferry service between Oban and Craignure on Mull.

Had Transport Scotland not allocated the Isle of Arran to the just about utterly pointless part time summer season ferry service between Ardossan and Campbeltown [whose timetable is the most ridiculously unable one to promote inward tourism to Kintyre], that vessel would have been a good second boat for the Oban service. This would have left Coruisk – which is not an ideal boat for the weather on the Oban-Craignure route – to her traditional Skye route.

Stories are reaching us from insider sources that it was indeed Calmac that decided to put a second boat – and Coruisk, on the Oban run, to deal with the increase in usage that RET discounted fares would generate – and that Transport Scotland simply went along with it. [We have just asked for confirmation or denial of this version of events.]

While Ian Blackford is clearly supporting his constituents position, he could do a great deal more to help them.

Publicising the decision of the meeting to call for the restoration of the Coruisk to the Mallaig-Armadale service through adding his personal support for it is all very well – but if he had a word with his party colleague, Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, that is the ultimate authority, Whosever’s was the decision to move Coruisk away from he home route,  whwetyhr ot wa Transport Scotland or CalMac, the Transport Minsiter has the power to overide that decision and to instruct CalMac to make alternative arrangements.

It s clear from what Mr Blackford has said after this meeting, that he has every intention of doing just that.

At the meeting in Sleat, the MP heard the views of the Sleat community, including ferry users, residents, local businesses, and organisations. Over 80 people attended the session and recounted numerous personal experiences of the disruption to the service caused by the total unsuitability of the vessels being deployed by the Company and spoke of the damaging effects on their businesses, livelihoods and travel plans. There have been no fewer than 80 cancellations of sailings to date.

 

As well as significant delays to departure times, the MV Lord of the Isles, which is used on the route from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, has been unable to berth in Mallaig on a number of occasions due to wind conditions – and has either spent several hours and many litres of fuel cruising up and down the Sound of Sleat, or has been diverted to Oban to fulfil its Lochboisdale service.

 

Coach tour operators have had their itineraries curtailed by the operating restrictions, all of which were predicted by the Forum in its submissions to the Company. Passing trade for local businesses is directly affected by the uncertainty of the service, which in April 2015 experienced just two cancellations out of a planned 428 sailings.

 

The Sleat Transport Forum has received numerous reports from individuals, businesses and organisations from across Skye and Lochaber expressing significant concern at the effect that this disruption is now causing, with the consistent view that it is now such an unreliable service, that customers are avoiding using the ferry.

 

There is now a severe threat to the economic prosperity of the communities heavily dependent on the benefits that this popular and profitable service brings.

 

Ian Blackford says: ‘The public meeting at Clan Donald was a welcome opportunity for individuals and businesses to share with me the impact of the disruption that has been faced by communities in Skye and Lochaber since the removal of the Coruisk. We know that Caledonian MacBrayne were well aware from the outset that the removal of the Coruisk, a vessel which was purpose built for the Mallaig-Armadale service and had a high level of reliability and its replacement with mix of vessels was going to bring operational challenges.

‘Quite why a management team can think the removal of a vessel that is designed to operate from a linkspan and can operate at low spring and summer tides, and replace it with vessels that are designed to operate from slipways and consequently can’t operate at low tide off the linkspans at Mallaig and Armadale, beggars belief!

‘The end result has been an unacceptable level of cancellations and disruptions that have undermined confidence in the service. As a result, businesses that are vital to the sustainability of the economy of Sleat and elsewhere on Skye and the mainland are seeing an impact on their businesses. In particular, coach operators have cancelled bookings on Skye. This is not acceptable and I join with those at the meeting in calling for the immediate re-instatement of the Coruisk and for Mr Dorchester and Mr Collier to accept their responsibilities for the shambles that has become the Mallaig-Armadale service.’

The last  note in the MP’s statement is the one that counts: ‘I will be communicating this message to Caledonian MacBrayne and I will also be seeking an early meeting with the Transport Minister to update him on the situation here and seek his support to restore the service on the route to an acceptable level. I will also be taking up with the Minister the welcome suggestion that was made at the meeting last night for the creation of a Ferry Regulator.’

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Did we not question the use of slipway boats with link spans on here when all this was first proposed and someone with insider knowledge quoted the Loch Nevis as an example of how it would all work OK?
    Sack the lot of them is the best solution and get experienced ferry operators promoted into management.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

    Murdoch MacKenzie May 12, 2016 6:09 am Reply
  • Who proof reads these articles before they are published? The typos and spelling errors are getting worse! Attention to detail please newsroom – spellcheck is easy to use. Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

    Sian Laidlaw May 12, 2016 7:52 am Reply
  • Let’s get real . Sleat’s SNP MSP went through the ‘ protest ‘ pantomime a few weeks ago . Result?. Failure

    Ferry issues are 100% devolved to Holyrood so what does a SNP MP bring to the party ? Humbug?

    MV Isle of Arran has broken down , and currently out of service At 33 yrs she has past her ‘sell -buy’any years ago

    Unlike last summer Calmac does not have a ‘ stand-by’ ferry for its main routes in event of ferry breakdown. In April the MV Isle of Lewis was out of service for 2 weeks. This caused significant network dislocation, but the islands coped. Mid summer – high season such dislocation will be an economic disaster to the tourist industry

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    Scotnat May 12, 2016 9:45 am Reply
  • I’d want to know why consideration wasn’t given to running the additional services with one of the smaller ferries between Fishnish and Oban, as there are ramps and no tide restriction would apply.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    db May 12, 2016 12:23 pm Reply
    • The big steamer/ferry is part of the holiday, attracts the tourists to the area.
      All the people who make a living off tourism, Derek’s stakeholders, expect us all, taxpayers, to provide the free steamer/ferries. All these slipway ferries are for working class plebs who want to get across with little delay when their work dictates.
      Maybe it’s time that the bill for the superferries was sent to the stakeholders, the rest of us just want fast roads to shorter and more frequent shuttle ferries, cheap and cheerful but fit for purpose.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

      Murdoch MacKenzie May 12, 2016 1:07 pm Reply
      • In the short term expediency counts, and as this has ‘ad hoc’ written all over it diverting Coruisk from a route which is only equipped with linkspans to one where there is an alternative route with ramps and inflicting the users of the Armadale-Mallaig route with vessels that are not usable at all states of the tide is unprofessional and a waste of public money.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        db May 12, 2016 1:55 pm Reply
      • Seems the sensible way to go. Have sailed from Addrossan to Arran numerous times, and am still amazed at the facilities on board. Cafés, restaurant, bar, shop, and the journey is only about 55 minutes. Yes, many use them, but have noticed many more sit and consume their own snacks. Previous posters on here have stated that the crew would be twiddling their thumbs if they weren’t manning these facilities. Travelled once on the journey to Addrossan on a Streaker which seemed adequate, and vending machines would have sufficed. Even if the catering outlets made a huge profit, surely the extra weight etc, and fuel would subtract from this. Trains and planes today don’t provide such lavish catering, so why ferries, especially when the taxpayers are footing the ever increasing bills.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

        Dunoon Lad May 12, 2016 2:14 pm Reply
        • Is Calmac in control of decision making or Transport Scotland? Two stories on ForArgyll on the same topic in one week almost completely contradicting each other.

          What is truly scary is that with both the contracting party and contractor being owned by the Transport Minister, funded and accountable to the electorate ultimately, nobody seems to know who has the power, makes the decisions or pulls the strings in this whole shambles. How can that be?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

          Jerry McIver May 12, 2016 3:27 pm Reply
          • Where is the contradiction?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

            Scotnat May 12, 2016 4:46 pm
          • Spot on, as usual Mr MacIver.

            I read both articles last night.
            Reaction, WTF?

            I suppose we’ll have to give Newsie the benefit of the doubt, and assume that she’s still in a post orgasmic, post election, Nirvana!!.

            As for some of the other comments on the subject, one senses the ghost of Father Jack is out and about in Argyll.

            I have the most grudging sympathy for the Sgiathanaich (if it is they).
            They wanted a bridge. A bridge was built. Very quickly they decided they did not want to pay to use it. At a stroke, the Scottish Government,using UK taxpayers hard earned funds,purchased said bridge for the nation,thereby freeing the downtrodden islanders from the greed of the robber barons of the Bank of America,while not,of course,giving a thought to any political capital that would be realised.

            The poor crofters of Eilean a’Cheo,as a mark of their gratitude for the largesse of the nation,now want,not only a ferry, but what they refer to as “their ferry”, attended by RET fares.
            I think not!!

            For information, CORUISK is very popular on the Oban Craignure service,excellent reliability and a very pleasant and competent ships co.

            There may yet be hope for her return to Sleat however,as the volume of traffic to Mull in the high season may yet prove to be too much for the assets deployed,and a larger vessel may yet be required.

            For the moment, from a Muileach, Keep your thieving Skye hands off “our boat” please!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

            Proudest Scot in the UK May 12, 2016 5:54 pm
          • Aye, you Muilich need to watch your step, stealing their favourite ferry from the Sgitheanaich and leaving them with a Para Handy fleet of oddball leftovers.
            I hear that the MacKinnons, the MacDonalds and the MacLeods are talking again, something about “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
            You better put watchers on the Ardmore, if these fly-men get into the Sound they’ll have her back while you’re all Stripping the Willow at the Mishnish.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

            Murdoch MacKenzie May 12, 2016 8:55 pm
      • MM. The “big steamer/ferry” is not just “part of the holiday”, which I think is a nonsense claim anyway, but absolutely essential for freight traffic.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

        Alex McKay May 13, 2016 1:37 pm Reply
    • Not much capacity and with passage time people would not use it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Nigel Macleod June 7, 2016 12:27 pm Reply
  • and what are you talking about perhaps bring Coruisk back to Mallaig either 2016 or 2017

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

    Scott Smith May 12, 2016 6:27 pm Reply
  • No no Murdoch, we would let them come down the sound, and let them have a hail of lead at Duart. Cut off their escape then with a fleet out of LochAline.
    Any survivors would have to go home via the canal and Cape Wrath.
    No no, they are not getting “our boat.”

    What a shame Angus Macintyre is not still with us. He wrote an epic when the “LOCHINVAR” finished 50 years of service on the Sound of Mull service in 1959, and was deployed to Skye, amidst howls of protest from you know who.

    One of the lines read.
    “What’s good enough for Craignure, is far too good for Skye”
    He would have got a lot of mileage out of this one I think.

    Plus ca change, as i believe they say in Armadale.!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    Proudest Scot in the UK May 13, 2016 12:04 am Reply
  • How about skye gives Mull their bridge and they can have all the ferries.

    Scottish ferries review proposed two ships on the Craignure/Oban run

    Countdown to the who won the contract come on SErco

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

    obanbay May 13, 2016 2:39 pm Reply
    • Obanbay, at least you guys have got a ferry, we get promised a very poor service and end up with nothing this weekend, I know of two people who traveled up to Ardrossan to find no ferry.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

      Richard May 13, 2016 3:05 pm Reply
    • Yep, and up and until 3Q 2015 that second ship was always planned to to MV Isle of Lewis, but Scottish Govt had sat on its hands, and had not even bothered to materially progress any aspects of the modifications required at Craignure to accommodate the Isle of Lewis.

      Memories may be short, but in early Oct someone on FA posted that the Coruisk was the most likely 2nd ferry to be put on the Oban-Craignure route mull ferry to

      This saga hi-lights the merits of Serco taking over from Calmac . The former, unlike the latter, is not owned by Scottish Ministers, and in such circumstance would hold Scottish Ministers responsible, and accountable, for Scottish Ministers for such a default.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

      Scotnat May 13, 2016 3:40 pm Reply
  • http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14326191.Rival_CalMac_bidders_promise_better_ferry_services_to_islands__as_plans_submitted/
    So what has changed, do Calmac know something we don’t…..?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    Richard May 13, 2016 4:40 pm Reply
    • They know that regardless of how arrogant and inept they run the business the taxpayer will always pay, they have no actual financial exposure so no incentive to try hard, Transport Scotland and Scottish Ministers have no ability to challenge them and the civil servants are paralysed by the fear of bad headlines and upsetting the unions which leads to no decisions being made unless boxed into a corner. Despite this, there are people who think the current contract management approach is the best they can have even when as this story is making clear Calmac has no interest in being held accountable for poor decisions. If I were David MacBrayne I’d also assume that Transport Scotland choosing the status quo is much easier than doing anything more decisive.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      Jerry McIver May 13, 2016 5:53 pm Reply
  • Coruisk said it was lost bring him back to Mallaig. Isle of Lewis said that the stern ramp didn’t move it was very important. Isle of Lewis said that the stern ramp didn’t move at Oban linkspan Caledonian macbrayne said: bring Coruisk back to Mallaig. something is wrong. no one else at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

    Scott Smith May 13, 2016 7:34 pm Reply
    • Scott, sorry but have no idea what your post is supposed to mean.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      Dunoon Lad May 13, 2016 7:58 pm Reply
  • apology exepted dunoon lad

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

    Scott Smith May 13, 2016 8:09 pm Reply
  • Coruisk also said it use as a second vessel on the Oban-Craignure route and partner vessel Isle of Mull

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

    Scott Smith May 13, 2016 9:02 pm Reply
    • I didn’t know ferries could talk.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

      Robert Wakeham May 15, 2016 12:05 pm Reply
  • MV Isle of Lewis was currently overnight at Castlebay and likely the route on the Oban-Castlebay route. Bring MV Coruisk back on the mallaig-Armadale route either next year or 2018

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smiith May 15, 2016 2:58 am Reply
  • MV Lord of the isles is on the mallaig-Armadale route it is low tide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    Scott Smith May 15, 2016 3:02 am Reply
  • How Ironic. Our transport minister quoted on the BBC website about the steam train being stopped from running:

    “The cancellation led to an outcry with Scottish Transport Minister Derek Mackay accusing Network Rail of incompetence and warning it would damage Scottish tourism.” and “Transport Minister Derek Mackay had earlier accused the rail body of “appalling incompetence” and described the situation as a “debacle”. He later tweeted: “Solved. Flying Scotsman will run on Borders and Fife. Questions remain on how it came to this, but thanks a solution was found.”

    I wonder if he has the same view of the actions of the company he ultimately owns working to a contract his department specifies, manages and signs off on? Pot Kettle Black Mr Mackay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    Jerry McIver May 15, 2016 7:59 am Reply
    • Network Rail’s incompetence can only be surpassed by Westminster incompetence in general.
      The Transport Minister you refer to,is far more capable and valuable to Scotland than Westminster and its quangos.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

      Nae Fear Here May 15, 2016 12:27 pm Reply
      • Well lets hope he can very quickly sort out the current mess as he has all the powers and owns all the pieces on the board. There is no place to hide or others to blame for this one.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        Jerry McIver May 15, 2016 3:39 pm Reply
        • He Wil! Nae Fear There.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

          Nae Fear Here May 15, 2016 8:27 pm Reply
          • HJ, nothing to offer as usual other than a new name.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

            Richard May 15, 2016 9:15 pm
          • I hope so. We’re all watching. It’s easy to throw brickbats from the sidelines when you’re confident it’s someone else’s responsibility to fix. Vessels, strategy, contracts, performance, approvals, operations, funding and decision making all firmly sits with the Transport Minister or companies his office wholly own and the department he is responsible for.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

            Jerry McIver May 16, 2016 8:26 am
      • Mr MacKay wasted no time in getting a photo opp on the Flying Scotsman. Perhaps he could have kept a lower profile? Maybe his Mum encouraged him? If he stuck to his day job, it would be a start. He has multiple issues with CMAL to sort (Isle of Arran, Finlaggan mezzanine deck u/s, and the small matter of the contract decision to announce). In his defence, he is just a young laddie with no experience of the commercial world.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        jimmy mack May 15, 2016 9:07 pm Reply
        • JB, there is no defence he accepted the job and takes the money, the only difference between him and the man in the street is he can make a mess of Scotland’s transport and still be in a job, we get sacked.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

          Richard May 15, 2016 9:19 pm Reply
        • The Transport Minister’s little outburst was amateurish and desperate.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

          JB May 15, 2016 9:45 pm Reply
        • Not a good time of year for the Finlaggan mezzanine deck to be u/s – it might be a novel feature in a Calmac ferry but there’s plenty of them in the wider world, so I wonder what’s gone wrong?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          Robert Wakeham May 15, 2016 9:59 pm Reply
          • Some Calmac ferries have had mezzanine decks for many years, ones that can be lifted up to the deck-head above by pulley systems and hydraulic winches so that trucks and busses can be carried in the same space.
            As long as there is no structural damage involved it should be fixable once replacement parts are available. Of course, getting a time frame to fit the work into at this time of the year will not be simple unless it can be done overnight.
            Calmac’s problems mostly all stem from their long-legged routes that require complicated designs to maximise carrying capacity. Better roads and shorter ferry legs would allow them to use KISS design principles.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

            Murdoch MacKenzie May 16, 2016 2:53 am
          • Working fine now Robert.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            James Walsh May 21, 2016 7:25 pm
          • Finlaggan’s mezz deck is out of action again from May-28.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            Nigel Macleod June 7, 2016 12:32 pm
      • I felt midges this morning, for the first time this year. I consoled myself however, with the thought that at least the Gnats had dissappeared, and that one group of useless , irritating creatures had been replaced by another.

        I had a quick trawl of FA and, bugger me, they’re back!!
        They seem to have an inexhaustible supply of wind and piss on which to draw!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        Proudest Scot in the UK May 16, 2016 1:19 pm Reply
    • I hope we eventually find out the full story of what happened for the Flying Scotsman’s gauging. I am a bit suspicious of the stories that Network Rail supposedly did nothing with the data for a month.

      There are apparently a few instances of where special trains have got stuck because of gauging errors – the Harry Potter train got stuck at Banavie Station the first time they filmed on the Mallaig line.

      It has to be remembered that the companies operating steam specials have a very poor record over the last few years.

      The Flying Scotsman special must be costing a fortune, they tried to keep the times of its movements secret. There was said to be a massive police presence along the route with people not allowed into some stations on the route (even if they tickets for trains) and it was followed by a BTP helicopter.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Lundavra May 16, 2016 8:01 am Reply
      • WCRC have a pretty bad reputation and the Jacobite is lucky to be running this year at all.

        Oulton Hall most certainly would present some difficulties on the West Highland Line due to the Great Western design – in particular the cylinder design.

        What happened with FS is absolutely nothing new and happens many times a year to other steam charters – Derek MacKay was only interested because he thought he could make some political capital out of it – I doubt even the most faithful SNP supporters could watch his statement without feeling embarrassed.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        JB May 16, 2016 11:10 am Reply
        • Fair comment, but the Flying Scotsman was charging up and down the East Coast main line ever since it was first built – and must surely have crossed the Forth Bridge before – while the Borders Railway surely wasn’t constructed to tighter standards than adopted elsewhere?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

          Robert Wakeham May 16, 2016 11:47 am Reply
          • The bridge wasn’t the problem – the railway network has change beyond all recognition since FS days – the clearances are completely different, particularly around platforms. Network Rail are not blameless, but they do have to complete the due diligence – what might happen if a locomotive hauling 600tons hit the rising platform edge at 60mph is unthinkable. These things do sway about quite a bit.

            I think the main issue with gauging is that whilst a track may be built to a tolerance, over time, track can shift and needs constantly to be checked – I don’t think they can just assume nothing has changed.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

            JB May 16, 2016 12:43 pm
  • Coruisk on the Oban-Craignure route for summer 2016 and so Isle of Mull, On the Mallaig-Armadale run.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    Scott Smith May 15, 2016 10:00 pm Reply
  • listin up Isle of Mull since 1988 on the Oban-Craignure route Coruisk since 2003 on the Oban-Craignure second summer route. Clansman since 1998 on the Oban-Coll-Tiree/Castlebay/Colonsay route. Isle of Lewis since 1995 on the Oban-Castlebay route and Lord of the isles since 1989 on the Mallaig-Armadale/Lochboisdale route. calmac ferries operate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith May 16, 2016 5:56 pm Reply
  • you know what backs call for caledonian macbrayne and to put MV Coruisk back on Mallaig-Armadale service. MV Coruisk back on the Mallaig-Armadale it is either this year, next year or 2018

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith May 17, 2016 6:33 pm Reply
  • Isle of Lewis is currently at Castlebay for the night on the Oban-Castlebay route, two new ferries will be in either 2018 or 2019 one will serve Arran and one will serve Uig

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith May 21, 2016 6:27 pm Reply
  • Ayup! What’s going on? The Loch Bhrusda which was supporting the Lochinvar at Mallaig has left there this morning and is now sailing into Oban.
    They wouldn’t be planning some further ferry shuffling in the middle of the summer, would they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Murdoch MacKenzie May 26, 2016 4:42 pm Reply
    • Maybe they’ve seen the light and are following my advice. 😀

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      db May 26, 2016 5:29 pm Reply
      • Aye! You never know, she went back up and called at Fishnish before going over to the jetty on the other side.
        She’s the spare boat as she is not very economical, something to do with her thrusters being positioned to suit the shallows on her original duty in the Sound of Harris.
        She’s maybe got a charer to move some plant or something like that.t

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Murdoch MacKenzie May 26, 2016 7:34 pm Reply
        • Waterjets are inherently less efficient than propellors.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          db May 26, 2016 9:32 pm Reply
  • The Lord of the Isles should operate on the Oban to Mull route and re-instate the MV Coruisk on the Mallaig to Armadale run.
    I do not understand why anyone would want to pay for a sailing to Armadale Skye when they can use the Skye Bridge for free.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Treble T May 26, 2016 5:10 pm Reply
    • Where will that leave the Lochboisdale folk.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie May 26, 2016 7:23 pm Reply
    • Treble T. If you are going up the A82 to Skye and have time to stop at Mallaig and take the ferry it actually saves you money. It’s 23.7 less miles to Broadford via the ferry than via the bridge. A car and driver is only £12.20 single, so you would need to run your vehicle at under 50 pence per mile to make it worthwhile driving all the way. If you live in the Sleat area it’s a lot more mileage difference and there is also local traffic from Skye to Mallaig.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie May 26, 2016 8:07 pm Reply
  • You know MV Coruisk on the Mallaig-Armadale run. either this year or summer 2017

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith May 26, 2016 6:38 pm Reply
  • BBC News 3 hours ago

    “Ferry MV Coruisk expected to return to Mallaig-Skye route”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Lundavra June 1, 2016 4:12 pm Reply
    • Looks like Scott has insider info here.
      Now, if only they could just get the Isle of Lewis fixed properly, she could do a double run (or maybe one and a half) to Castlebay every day, they could abandon Mallaig-LochBoisdale and have the LOTI swop places with the Corruisk. The Lochinvar and the Loch Bhrusda could go on a 3 boat shuffle between Barra and Eriskay.
      If only they could trust the Isle of Lewis to be the mainstay of such an operation. Maybe when the Hebrides comes free it might be a plan.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Murdoch MacKenzie June 1, 2016 6:35 pm Reply
      • What’s the problem with the Isle of Lewis?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        Robert Wakeham June 1, 2016 8:19 pm Reply
        • I read earlier today

          ” She is back in Greenock Garvel repair yard for problem to oil cooler:”

          https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/islands/western-isles/934634/undefined-headline-1482/

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          Lundavra June 1, 2016 11:17 pm Reply
          • Two long term disruptions in as many months over an oil cooler? Is it made of platinum or what? Does it have to be an exact copy of the original? Will two or more smaller ones not work in parallel, or even a bigger one?
            I thought that she had lost an engine due to a mechanical failure when she limped to the Clyde at 10knots both times.
            Are they going to renew the one on the other engine as well or will they wait until that one corrodes away as well and cause people more grief? Has the engine been damaged with seawater with this patch up failures?

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            Murdoch MacKenzie June 2, 2016 12:56 am
          • If a car suffers engine failure the owner will have to decide either to get it repaired (if worthwhile), get a new engine (if worthwhile) – or sell it ‘as is’ for scrap or whatever, and buy another car if necessary.
            CMAL & Transport Scotland are presumably facing such decisions with both the Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Arran, but they don’t have the option of giving up driving – and if they ‘duck’ the decision they’ll probably face just as much aggravation and grief as their customers will.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

            Robert Wakeham June 2, 2016 9:46 am
          • She’s galloping down past Arran, must have been a good patch up job. They’ll be in a hurry to get to Barra for tonight’s ceilidh;0)

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

            Murdoch MacKenzie June 3, 2016 1:07 pm
  • bring MV Coruisk back to Mallaig it said

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    Scott Smith June 2, 2016 9:36 pm Reply
  • there are two new ferries in either 2018 or 2019 and one vessel will serve arran and one vessel will also serve Harris and north uist, allowing MV Hebrides become the Oban-Coll-tiree/Castlebay-Lochboisdale second route.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith June 3, 2016 10:48 pm Reply
  • Press release from CALMAC this afternoon.
    No plans to redeploy any assets for the remainder of the summer season.
    CORUISK will remain on OBAN CRAIGNURE service, and present arrangements at MALLAIG (with some timetable tweaking ), will continue for the remainder of the season.

    They must have managed to get it through to our elected representatives, (who were interfering for all they were worth), that there was no viable option.
    Good for them!!

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    Proudest Scot in the UK June 6, 2016 4:37 pm Reply
    • Do you really believe that the current option is viable, or would this be just from the point of one interest group and ‘the devil take the hindmost’?
      If so, it’s a mindset that needs rethinking – the notion that there’s no chance of getting fit for purpose boats on both these routes is pathetic.

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      Robert Wakeham June 6, 2016 5:22 pm Reply
      • Well, yes, I do believe that this decision represents using the available fleet to best effect.
        Given that you believe that the decision, and mindset are, in your own words “pathetic”, I assume you have the solution at your fingertips.
        I’m certain you cannot wait to educate us all on this matter, so,just in your own time lad.
        A nation holds its breath.

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        Proudest Scot in the UK June 6, 2016 7:44 pm Reply
        • You (and Calmac / CMAl) might think that transferring the boat purpose-built to suit conditions on the Mallaig-Skye run to the Oban-Mull service – and then having to mess with the Mallasig-Skye timetable through the summer to suit the tide times because the replacement boats are unsuitable for this route – is just fine, but in reality it clearly isn’t.
          It’s stretching credibility to breaking point to think that there isn’t a ferry suitable for the Oban-Mull run available for charter somewhere in Europe.

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          Robert Wakeham June 6, 2016 9:00 pm Reply
          • More heat than light there I think!
            If you had read my post more carefully, you would have noticed that I referred to the most appropriate deployment of the existing fleet, and I did not speculate, (as you have),on the availability of a suitable vessel that could be chartered.

            Now, it is not impossible that there is, available for charter somewhere in the world , an appropriate vessel, fully crewed and certificated to UK MCA standards, which is sitting ticking over, ready to sail up the Sound of Sleat and carry the hordes over the sea to Skye
            Or,maybe not. So,when you have something constructive to tell us, please come back ASAP. I’m becoming quite faint having to hold my breath for such a long time, and,I fear with little prospect of relief.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

            Proudest Scot in the UK June 6, 2016 11:58 pm
          • You confirm my impression of bias in favour of providing adequate service on the Oban-Mull run without properly considering the implications of removing the Coruisk from the route that it was specifically designed for.
            The idea that there’s no other suitable boat for the Mull run only ‘holds water’ with your type of ‘can’t do’ mindset – or perhaps, in the case of Calmac/CMAL – a reluctance to accept that the other spare boats in their fleet are no more suited to the Skye service than they would be to the Mull service.
            I smell politics prevailing over reality.

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            Robert Wakeham June 7, 2016 9:15 am
          • Robert , I suggest you are stretching credibility to suggest there is a suitable vessel for charter. After all , part of the reason for this shambles is the inability of MV Isle of Lewis to fit Craignure without substantial expenditure , in excess of £10M , being incurred and she is a small vessel in European terms. That is quite apart from the chartered vessel obtaining MCA certification.

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            Nigel Macleod June 7, 2016 12:40 pm
          • I would’ve thought that there could be a pretty good chance of finding one in Norway, given that country’s steady reduction in or shrinking of their very large number of ferry routes in favour of alternative tunnels & bridges either replacing routes or cutting their distances.

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            Robert Wakeham June 7, 2016 6:21 pm
        • Well, yes, I do believe that this decision represents using the available fleet to best effect.

          There are no ramps at either Armadale or Mallaig and the linkspans are not compatible with ramp operated vessels for several hours in every tide cycle, whereas there are ramps at Fishnish and in Oban that could be used with the available reserve/relief vessels. The decision to move Coruisk is wrong, a bad use of assets, a waste of our money and disrespectful of the passengers that use the Mallaig-Armadale ferry. That politicians made promises that were not possible to fulfill with available assets should not inconvenience anyone other than those who made the foolish promise.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          db June 7, 2016 8:23 pm Reply
          • I have to agree with yourself and Robert that this is one of their worst vessel deployment debacles yet. They have made worse errors, the design of the Isle of Lewis was probably the costliest, but this is just pure stupidity. Last year when this was first aired on here the question of the suitability of slipway ferries operating from link spans was immediately brought up and some poster who seemed to have inside information said it would work just the same as it works for the Loch Nevis.
            The Loch Nevis is not a normal ramp ferry from what I can see, although I’ve never been on it. You would have thought they would have done some trials with a slipway ferry before jumping in feet first.
            There are also plenty of ferries for sale and charter and I’m sure they could have found a suitable vessel for Craignure if they had tried, Norway as you say has an abundance.

            http://www.norshipsale.com/day-ferries-for-sale/

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

            Murdoch MacKenzie June 7, 2016 9:05 pm
          • Very well. One of the legion of knowledgeable contributors to this blog, makes the (valid) observation that there are fixed ramps at Oban and Fishnish, and speculates that the reserve vessel(s) might use those with facility.
            The contributor fails to name those vessels, but experience suggests to me that. (A) they are relatively small, and (B) relatively slow. So i will suggest a minimum passage time of 90minutes from oban to fishnish. Approximately double the passage time of Oban Craignure. All this on vessels which boast passenger facilities which stretch to toilets and plastic seating.

            Another contributor accuses CM, TS, SG et al of unspeakable disrespect to the users of Mallaig Armadale as a consequence of the redeployment of CORUISK.
            I suggest that some in Skye have nothing to learn in this respect.
            Viz. On the day that the Skye bridge opened, Skye was no longer an island in the true sense. The bridge represented enormous progress, but that was not enough, and many of the denizens of that and other isles did not want to pay to use it. Result? the nation paid for the bridge In order that it could be toll free for ever.
            I’m sure it will prove an unpopular position, but I feel that Skye has done rather well over the years.
            Something else that I doubt if all those strident commentators have failed to acknowledge, is that Mull ferries, and particularly Oban Craignure, are heavily trafficked by heavy commercial vehicles, as there is no viable option for them. If a vessel much smaller than CORUISK had been deployed there, that heavy and essential traffic would find it very difficult to service it’s business customers as a consequence of the 40 plus percent growth in recreational use of the ferry service.
            I will suggest also, that commercial carryings on Mallaig Armadale, are a relatively small percentage of that routes traffic, as trucks are unlikely to be regular ferry users when the bridge is free.

            Robert Wakeham suggests in an earlier post that the decision smacked of political expediency. Given that all of the interested parties are represented at both Westminster and Holy Rood by the SNP, I just can’t see where he’s coming from. But then, I’ve been at work since 05.30, and what little brain I have is now somewhat scrambled.

            Anyway chaps, sit and talk quietly among yourselves for now.
            Back soon, Shonnaidh.

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            Proudest Scot in the UK June 7, 2016 11:18 pm
          • Aye, Shonnaidh is like the cat that got the cream. The fact that he seems to have a down of some sort on the Sgiathanaich makes him purr with total content.
            I’m not sure if it was because of the tide amended timetabling that the Lord of the Isles did not get back to Lochboisdale until a quarter to ten last night, a sixteen hour shift for the crew and delays for the South Uist folk and their visitors.
            I know that Mull were given a promise by the Ministers who never say no, but keeping it at the expense of another two communities is a pretty poor show.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

            Murdoch MacKenzie June 8, 2016 6:01 am
  • Coruisk said it continues on the Oban-Craignure route and not leave until 23rd october 2016, next summer 2017 Coruisk will return on the Mallaig-Armadale route.

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    Scott Smith June 6, 2016 11:56 pm Reply
  • I looked back and the BBC report did not give a source for their news item about Coruisk returning to the Mallaig – Armadale route.

    I wonder if someone (politician presumably) was trying to trap the Edinburgh government or Calmac into returning it, hoping they would find it difficult to deny the report?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Lundavra June 7, 2016 8:49 am Reply
  • I have seen a document , obtained under FOI , that the decision to redeploy MV Coruisk to Oban-Craignure was made by Transport Scotland and the then Transport Minister (Derek Mackay) in Sept-15. This was the inevitable result of the 2012 Ferries Plan promising a 2-vessel service for Mull in 2016 and then failing to order a suitable vessel in time.
    Your article is also incorrect insofar as MV Isle of Arran’s principal roster for summer 2016 is as the second vessel on Ardrossan-Brodick , with the Campbeltown service tacked-on as an extra.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Nigel Macleod June 7, 2016 12:47 pm Reply
  • I stay on Mull and whilst many islanders really like the Coruisk a good number of us feel that she should be returned to Mallaig – Armadale, so long as we get a second boat. Coruisk was designed for the Sleat service and the long list of cancellations and timetable changes on the Mallaig run must be driving the people of Sleat, not to mention the many visitors using the route, crazy. Mull people have been complaining – with some justification about the increased number of cancellations of sailings between Oban and Craignure over the winter months – how would we feel if we’d had similar experiences in the summer season? As for those who are incapable of working out the road mileage and fuel costs for the people of Sleat (and indeed myself from Tobermory travelling to Skye), the two ferries work out cheaper – and that was before RET!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Jade June 7, 2016 10:48 pm Reply
  • perhaps there are two new ferries: one will serve on the Ardrossan-Brodick route and one will serve on the Uig-Lochmaddy/Tarbert route. while MV Isle of Arran is relacement in 2019 allowing MV Caledonian isles to became the second Arran/Campbeltown vessel in summer 2019

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    Scott Smith June 8, 2016 12:48 am Reply
  • Now now Murd, you’re bad to me a’balaich!
    I have no issue at all with those slippery Sgiathanaich.
    I’m sure my own family , on the Mackay side, were in Skye for several generations, having been cleared from Sutherland, but having managed to avoid deportation. As far as I know they they left on good enough terms with the locals.

    No no, I’m only trying to tell it like it is. After all, a lot of people on FA are up on their hind legs on this subject, but as far as I can recall, no one has actually offered any other workable solution, whilst constrained by the available fleet.
    What I think would work perfectly well,would have been to leave the IOM to do Oban Craignure, leave LOCHFYNE on Lochaline Fishnish, partnered by Loch Bhrusda, and for Cal Mac to market this service for all they are worth. This would offer massive capacity, given the fifteen minute passage time on this service, would go a long way to alleviating congestion in Oban and Craignure, and, given that the named boats are relatively cheap to operate, would, I think, be very cost effective.
    The fly in the ointment , however, is Cal Mac itself. This because, for some reason , it seems to be complete anathema to it to promote this very convenient and reliable means of getting to and from Mull. I know, both from experience and anecdotally that anyone trying unsuccessfully, to make a booking for Oban Craignure, will never be offered Lochaline Fishnish as an option.

    Anyway, we are where we are. We have taken CORUISK as a prize, and I heard a whisper the other day that her name.may yet be changed to LOCH FRISA, an old Macbrayne fleet name, and one of Mull’s legion of very lovely lochs.

    Chi mi a rithist thu, a caraid.
    Shonnaidh

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Proudest Scot in the UK June 8, 2016 10:39 am Reply
    • You know, I think you may have just solved this puzzle, not immediately but as a better way forward.
      I have mused in the past about a bridge or tunnel at the Corran narrows and improvements to the road out to Ardnamurchan to move the Oban operation out there and cut out all the unnecessary Sound of Mull cruising garages.
      I see a terminal at or near Lochaline as making a lot of sense. I think the road is pretty good from Corran to the turn off for Lochaline so not a lot of new road required. Like you say the Mull crossing will be on demand, something like at Dunoon, using as many ferries as the market demands, when they demand. Coll, Tiree and Barra will get almost an hour off their transit times allowing extra sailings to be squeezed in.
      It’s the lobbying power of the old steamer ports that are strangling ferry and road development on the West Coast. Until we get a government that will look at the West Highland’s strategic transport needs as a national priority, and not keep getting blinded by what worked in the past, we will never develop the area to it’s full potential of being Europe’s doorstep to the Atlantic and the World beyond.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      Murdoch MacKenzie June 8, 2016 12:04 pm Reply
  • If the Oban/Craignure route was left to the free market and not the utter nonsense that is TS/CMAL/CALMAC and the Scottish Government.

    Tendering that whole of the west coast ferries as a bundle was a mistake – this simply is one more case to prove it.

    We will simply get the same results for the next 8 years. Merci SNP…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    JB June 8, 2016 10:54 am Reply
  • Coruisk the second ferry on the Oban-Craignure route this summer Lord of the isles on the Mallaig-Armadale/Lochboisdale route with two class ferries Isle of Lewis on the Oban-Castlebay route and Clansman on the Oban-Coll-tiree/Castlebay/Colonsay route. Lord of the isles is stayed on the Mallaig-Armadale/Lochboisdale about adverse weather and tidal conditions. so that’s that.

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    Scott Smith June 8, 2016 4:58 pm Reply
  • Coruisk said it will continue the second vessel between Oban and Craignure this summer. And then didn’t leave mull till Sunday 23rd October 2016. Sometimes Coruisk said that it review the Mallaig ferry next year in 2017. The two vessel route on the Oban-Craignure route a different second ferry that instead of Coruisk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith September 8, 2016 2:03 am Reply
  • Bring MV Coruisk back to skye summer 2017

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Scott Smith December 5, 2016 2:43 am Reply
  • You may have your finger on the pulse there Scott.
    The people of Sleat and their MP were up in arms again this week with the arrival there of the Loch Fyne from Lochaline-Fishnish. She has been there in the past doing relief work and since she went up there this week she has been alongside both link-spans one time only at each.
    She still hasn’t been for her annual refit so I’m wondering if they are planning changes to her ramps that might work better at the lower tides that were causing the problems this summer.
    Another interesting thing happened this afternoon. The Isle of Lewis was storm bound in Oban so she went and spent half an hour at Craignure. At the time there was 2 Mtrs of a falling tide above chart datum, I’m not sure what the minimum depth is there or if it could be dredged deeper if required.
    There seem to be a lot of balls in the air, as they say, and it may be that Coruisk might return home next summer.

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    Murdoch MacKenzie December 7, 2016 9:17 pm Reply
  • Inaccurate speculation , guys.
    MV Isle of Lewis was simply trying Craignure pier to see if she could lie there overnight in any winter gales if there is no spare berth at Oban. The lighthouse pier at Oban is not always available. She will not fit Craignure pier unless A & B Council , owners of the pier , break the bank and fit a new wider linkspan and extend the pier with a mooring dolphin. Roughly £5m should cover it.
    Regarding Armadale , CalMac have clearly stated that the linkspan would need to be modified to accommodate MV Loch Fyne ; and such modification would apparently preclude both MV Lord of the Isles and MV Coruisk from using the linkspan.
    Only solution for 2017 , and possibly 2018 , is the put in a 1in8 slipway at Armadale.

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    Nigel Macleod December 8, 2016 6:07 pm Reply
    • So, if I understand you correctly, different Calmac ships require different, mutually incompatible, linkspans.
      A polite response is ‘Oh dear’ but there are far less polite reactions that would surely be in order.

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      Robert Wakeham December 9, 2016 12:19 am Reply
    • If we step back 12 months and apply your 1:8 slipway solution, then it should be built on Mull and the Coruisk could be returned to where she was designed to operate.

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      Murdoch MacKenzie December 9, 2016 8:10 am Reply
  • MV isle of Lewis was trying Craignure pier to see if she lie there overnight in any winter gales if there is no spare berth at Oban. MV Isle of Lewis giong away for her annual 2017 overhaul between January and february 2017, or MV Isle of Lewis rebuld the ship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith December 8, 2016 9:34 pm Reply
  • Coruisk became a second mull ferry summer only on the Oban-Craignure route until two new ferries to come in 2018.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    Scott Smiith December 13, 2016 11:57 am Reply
  • Next summer 2017 Isle of Mull & Corusik are two ferries on the Oban-Craignure route.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Scott Smith December 13, 2016 3:57 pm Reply

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