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The MV Pentalina will get no closer to Stornoway than the middle of the Minch late tonight (Thursday 17 June), as she heads for home in Kirkwall following berthing trials around the west coast.

CalMac Ferries have been investigating the feasibility of using the Pentland Ferries relief vessel to add capacity to their fleet, trialling her ability to berth, load and unload at ports including Brodick, Ardrossan and Port Askaig.

But a planned visit to the port of Stornoway, booked with Stornoway Port Authority for yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) has now been deferred, with the double-hulled ferry instead heading north from Kennacraig today to meet ‘other commitments’ in her home waters.

She’s due to arrive in Orkney tomorrow (Friday) mid-morning, but CalMac has not ruled out future trials on the Stornoway-Ullapool route as part of their quest to improve resilience in the fleet.

A CalMac spokesperson said today: “We are still investigating. The berthing trials are finishing due to other commitments, but more may take place elsewhere on the network.”

Picture shows the Pentalina at Port Ellen during berthing trials in Islay yesterday (David Livingstone).