The ferry services serving the Western Isles once again stand on the brink of systemic collapse today (Saturday August 6) as poor weather conditions threaten to play havoc with hastily rearranged ferry services in the wake of MV Hebrides being withdrawn for repairs on the Clyde.
And the North Uist Community Press group commented: "Where in the world are visitors being treated like this – the stain on the reputation of the Western Isles is going to take years to to disappear despite all the hard work of @OuterHebs and hospitality providers."
And the following grab from Twitter tells another story of traveller trauma.
Meanwhile CalMac Ferries own Twitter updates feed bears witness to the troubles visited on people trying to travel to and from the Islands.
Delays in announcing the emergency Saturday timetable provoked these responses.
“Not good enough... One sailing, no info, no accommodation, and no timeline other than it will take some time. We need to know what's happening!!!!!”
“I haven’t been contacted about my 4th August booking and the man in Uig didn’t seem to think they would be contacting customers individually when I phoned after the Saturday timetable was updated. I keep being offered the freight ex Ullapool but it’s really not feasible.”
“After your latest update we set off and are on our way to Uig, we have just had a message saying we have been transferred to Ullapool on Sunday morning, is there any way we can get the Saturday morning 8.40am?”
“We were not called because we have an international number and had to call information ourselves just to be told that our booking for tomorrow Lochmaddy-Uig had been cancelled. This is very poor customer service. Extremely disappointing."
“You’ve cancelled my ferry tomorrow from Uig to Lochmaddy with a text message, failed to call me with any options, cut me off when I’m trying to call you. Tomorrow night I’m sleeping on the roadside with 2 kids and a dog hoping you get your act together. Summer holiday ruined?”
“We were booked on the 2.30pm Uig to Lochmaddy today, nobody has rung us to discuss options yet, we’d have a 5-6 hours drive to get to any port so really need to know what’s happening. Please can someone advise? Would like a confirmed place on 6pm Mallaig sailing if possible?”
CalMac Ferries themselves complained that the high volume of calls was preventing customers getting through.
Meanwhile on the Mallaig-Lochboisdale service today, “the 14:00 departing Lochboisdale and the 18:00 departing Mallaig this afternoon are liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice due to adverse weather. This is in relation to a forecast of strong winds”
Meanwhile today (Saturday 6 August) because of the disruption on the Uig - Tarbert and Uig - Lochmaddy services caused by the technical issue affecting MV Hebrides' CO2 firefighting system, an additional sailing will operate as follows across the Sound of Harris:
- Depart Berneray - 12:00. Arrive Leverburgh - 13:00
- Depart Leverburgh - 13:15. Arrive Berneray - 14:15
The MV Isle of Mull has repositioned to operate services between Uig - Tarbert – Lochmaddy today.
The following amended timetable will operate:
- Depart Lochmaddy - 06:00 Arrive Uig - 08:00
- Depart Uig - 08:40 Arrive Tarbert - 10:40
These are to be the only sailings that will operate on this route today – due to forecast adverse weather the vessel will be unable to complete any further sailings to/from Lochmaddy.
Additional sailings will operate on the Ullapool-Stornoway service as follows to provide capacity:
- Saturday 6 August – Depart Stornoway - 22:30
- Sunday 7 August – Depart Ullapool - 02:00