Campaigners for a regular ferry link between Kintyre and Ayrshire are optimistic the three times weekly summer service can become permanent after what was described as a ‘positive’ meeting with Scottish transport secretary Derek Mackay.

Ardrossan-Campbeltown sailings were provided by CalMac veteran Isle of Arran (1984/3,296gt) as an extension of summer relief duties on the Arran service from Ardrossan to Brodick, a 2015 total of 11,350 passengers representing an increase of 15% along with 2,200 cars.

Providing an alternative to a four hour road journey from Glasgow to Campbeltown, last year’s growth was achieved despite disruption of sailings as a result of technical issues, unusually bad weather and industrial action.

This will be taken into account as last year’s passenger statistics are considered by consultants carrying out a detailed survey to help Transport Scotland evaluate the pilot operation.

Back in  1997 efforts to start a car ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, run by un-subsidised Sea Containers off-shoot Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet, failed to develop and lasted only until 1999. RP

For all the latest ferry news see the Feb 2016 issue of Ships Monthly out now.

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