It will be all change to island ferries until March next year
With the MV Isle of Lewis and MV Hebrides currently replacing the MV Loch Seaforth ferry on the Ullapool to Stornoway route until November 7th, operators CalMac has finalised its winter maintenance programme – with more vessel changes in store for Western Isles’ travellers.
Including inter-island services, CalMac runs a total of 50 routes served by 32 vessels, each of which is required to undergo a period of annual dry dock maintenance.
This presents the company with a complex logistical problem to keep all of its lifeline services running with minimal disruption.
“This is always a challenging time of year for us,” said CalMac’s Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement, Brian Fulton.
“The communities we serve all have different service requirements, continuing to meet these over the winter months when weather also becomes a factor is a real test for our staff.”
He added: “We know the attachment communities form with their own vessel and that having it taken away is an inconvenience, we appreciate people’s patience and understanding during this short maintenance period.”
Although the work schedule may change depending on operational priorities, current arrangements for other Outer Hebridean CalMac routes are:
- Sound of Barra: MV Loch Alainn replaced by MV Loch Bhrusda from December 4th to December 18th
- Sound of Harris: MV Loch Portain replaced by MV Loch Bhrusda from January 15th to January 29th 2018
- Oban/Castlebay: MV Isle of Lewis replaced by MV Isle of Arran from January 22nd to February 5th 2018
- Uig/Lochmaddy/Tarbert: MV Hebrides replaced by MV Isle of Arran and MV Hebridean Isles from March 14th to March 28th 2018