One of ferry operator CalMac’s longest serving vessels is retiring from west coast service.
Raasay served the Sconser to Raasay route for 21 years from her launch in 1976 until increased timber traffic from the island made her obsolete She then became one of the fleet’s relief vessels until being pressed back into regular service again in 2003 as the winter ferry serving Kilchoan-Tobermory.
She was the last of eight ‘Island class’ ferries launched and is capable of carrying seven cars and up to 75 passengers.
The ‘Island’ class vessels transformed services for CalMac, they opened up a new route to Arran, two additional routes to Mull and provided a safe and reliable link from Skye to Raasay. Being virtually interchangeable they greatly increased the flexibility of the fleet.
Jonathan Davies, CalMac’s small vessel technical superintendent said: ‘Raasay has been an excellent servant over the years and it always sad to see a vessel with so much history with the company moving on. Her excellent sea keeping properties meant that in 21 years serving on the Raasay route she never missed a day’s service.’
CalMac operates a fleet of 33 vessels serving 27 island and remote mainland communities across the west coast. They are the UK’s largest ferry company last year carrying more than 1.4 million passengers and 1.1 million vehicles.
Raasay has now been handed back to owner Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) who are expected to announce a buyer for the vessel shortly.
Picture shows: Gordon Law and Stuart Craig of the Clyde River Steamer Club joined CalMac’s small vessel technical superintendent, Jonathan Davies for a last look around the vessel.