Dry-dock service for MV Loch Seaforth means changes to the Stornoway Ullapool service from Sunday (October 20th), as the Loch Seaforth heads off to Birkenhead for her annual overhaul.

Two ferries will operate the route for most of the 19-day absence of MV Loch Seaforth, with MV Isle of Lewis taking up her old passenger route on Sunday afternoon.

Her journey time, which is 15 minutes longer, means the timetable will be amended. Morning departures from Stornoway at 7am will continue but the afternoon service will leave Stornoway at 2.30pm, half an hour later than normal.

Meanwhile the night-time freight service will be run by MV Hebridean Isles, starting with a single crossing at 11pm on Sunday night, October 20th. Thereafter she’ll leave Stornoway at 5pm each afternoon and 1am the following morning, making two return crossings to make up for her smaller size.

Hebridean Isles leaves for her own drydock overhaul on November 4th, and for the three days between then and the expected return of MV Loch Seaforth on November 8th, Isle of Lewis will be running round the clock, with an overnight sailing at 10.30pm each night as well as the scheduled passenger sailings.

The demand on MV Isle of Lewis is bound to cause some passenger concern, especially as the old ferry – in service since 1996 – has been dogged with technical problems through the late summer on her usual route between Castlebay and Oban.