It can still get worse…engineers were today (Saturday March 25) battling to get the ferry MV Hebrides back into service for tomorrow.
The Hebrides has been facing the challenge for months of vastly extended runs from Ullapool to Lochmaddy and sometimes as far south as Lochboisdale because the terminal closure at Uig.
Its own annual maintenance has been delayed for weeks while other ferries struggle to return to service.
Earlier today, CalMac Ferries tweeted that: "Due to a technical issue with MV Hebrides, the below sailings are delayed:
- Depart Lochmaddy - 06:30
- Depart Ullapool - 12:00
This was, they said, due to an issue with the vessel's port main engine which left it unable to leave Lochmaddy.
Then they said: "onboard engineers are continuing with repairs and an update will be provided at approximately 13:00."
But around 13.30 came the bleak news: "RED ❌ #Uig (#Ullapool) #Lochmaddy – Onboard engineers are continuing with repairs and an update will be provided this evening for service on Sunday 26th March."
That meant the latest set of service cancellations were kicking in for people trying to travel between Uist and the mainland.
Then this evening came further news in relation to tomorrow (Sunday 26 March)
"Repairs to the vessel's port main engine remain ongoing and as a result, the following sailings are delayed:
- Depart Lochmaddy – 06:30
- Depart Ullapool – 12:00
"There will be a review at 08:00 regarding this service."
The disruption today has created a traffic backlog. CalMac says: "Therefore, all traffic that was intended for Sunday's 12:00 Ullapool to Lochmaddy sailing has been transferred to the Oban to Lochboisdale sailing.
But that service is also beset by problems. Until Thursday March 30, because of delays in the annual overhaul programme and subsequent impacts on vessel deploymentk, an amended timetable will operate.
"There will be no service to/from Mallaig during this period. Please see timetable here.
On Tuesday 28 and Thursday 30 March there is no service at all.
In addition, "Capacity on this vessel will continue to be restricted on Mondays and Wednesdays when it is required to operate in cargo mode to allow transportation of dangerous goods to Uist. Passenger numbers will be restricted to 30 and prior booking is essential."
(this article has been updated and extended since first being published.)