Bad weather increasingly affecting ferries, says CalMac
Extreme weather has been increasingly disrupting ferry sailings on Scotland's west coast, according to ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne.
CalMac said the masters of its ships have experienced bad weather of greater severity and lasting for longer than previously seen.
The company's comments have been made in response to criticism from residents of Barra about ferry services.
Islanders have complained of the late arrival and departure of boats.
CalMac is holding public meetings in communities it serves ahead of the tendering process for the west coast ferry network.
A company spokesman said: "We fully recognise that disruptions due to bad weather are frustrating for all concerned, but we must put the safety of our passengers, crew and vessels first.
"It is an established fact that weather patterns are changing across our network with our masters witnessing an increase, not only in the severity of extreme weather events but also in their duration and frequency, all of which have impacted on our fleet's ability to operate services safely."