The ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne has said its new winter timetable is one of the most complex it has ever produced and has warned of challenges across its west coast network.
It reported that the absence of ferry Hebridean Isles and the annual maintenance programme had caused challenges, as well as planned closures of ports at Uig in Skye and Port Ellen in Islay for work.
The west coast ferry operator said itwas spending record sums on reducing the risk of boats breaking down. The winter timetable starts next month and runs from 23 October to 28 March.
CalMac this winter. It said its timetable for the coming season was one of the most complex it had ever had to produce. The ferry operator said factors included the continued
It said multiple vessels would be needed to cover single routes.
Hebridean Isles, which serves Islay, has been out of action since mid-February due to persistent problems with its propellers.
CalMac said it was spending record sums of money on its maintenance programme to reduce the risk ofbreakdowns across its ageing fleet.
The state-owned company said there would be fewer major vessels available for cover during this year’s annual overhaul programme.
CalMac said it was working with Transport Scotland to explore the feasibility of chartering third-party vessels to provide additional support and resilience.
This year has seen spells of significant disruption, including the cancellation of services to South Uist for almost the whole of June.
Islanders on Mull have also complained of frequent disruption. Adding to CalMac’s challenges have been delays to the completion of two new ferries.
Photo by Mark Nicolson
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