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

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