Travellers have been left baffled over the past few days of ferry chaos as to what a "full ferry" actually means.
Crofter and musician Pàdruig Moiresdean from Grimsay in Uist wrote on Twitter yesterday (Wednesday August 3):
"Please be aware @CalMac_Updates that when you told me and everyone else who were supposed to travel from Uig yesterday that the Lochboisdale boat was full, please see [photo above] that it was half empty (including all of us who go on standby)!"
A reply from another islander stated: "This happened to my parents a few weeks ago, going away to a very important hospital appointment, told they couldn’t get a booking. They decided to turn up anyway and lo and behold, the ferry wasn’t even half full. Staff onboard perplexed as to why they were told it was!"
A third stated:"The right-hand doesn't know what the left-hand is doing. I'm led to believe that the booking system and the actual manifest for the vessels are not properly linked, so the booking system gets shut down when ferries are not full."
Another went on:"Absolutely disgraceful and way beyond the time for 'apologies'. Scottish Government needs to sort out this mess once and for all. Businesses need to be compensated, islanders can't get home, holidays ruined, a complete disgrace. Who is going to be held accountable for the losses?"
Referring the new CalMac booking system - which has been talked about for years and on which training is currently being undertaken - another experienced traveller stated: "A relatively common occurence with a booking system that appears unable to allocate the available space accurately. Says it's full, but then has plenty of car deck space in reality. Hopefully solved by the long overdue 'Ar Turas' system due this autumn....."
Despite the talk of full ferries and quayside chaos, CalMac Ferries said on Tuesday August 2 that no ferries were going to be moved from other routes and : "Booked passengers are being moved onto the timetabled Lochboisdale-Mallaig, Barra-Oban and Stornoway-Ullapool routes, and local hauliers have agreed to move commercial bookings to make space for other vehicles. These diversions have been in place since this morning and all traffic has managed to be accommodated."