Highlands & Islands

No further changes to Mallaig-Skye ferries

MV Coruisk at Armadale Image copyright MJ Richardson/Geograph
Image caption The ferry MV Coruisk was moved from Mallaig to Armadale to CalMac's Oban-Mull route

No further changes will be made to the ferries operated on the Mallaig to Armadale on Skye route, Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has said.

Skye's Sleat Transport Forum along with island MP Ian Blackford and MSP Katie Forbes have been calling for improvements to the service.

The calls followed the redeployment of the MV Coruisk, a ferry that was built for the route, to another service.

CalMac said two ferries would continue to operate on the route.

A third, larger vessel is also used when it is available.

The company said tidal problems that had affected the smaller vessels have been overcome by making alterations to the timetable.

It added that passenger numbers had increased on the service this year, but said it was listening to concerns raised and would review the operation of the route.

'Warmly welcomed'

The Coruisk was moved to run between Oban and Mull and CalMac said its redeployment has had a "positive impact" on that service.

Managing director Martin Dorchester said: "We regret that our plans for the Mallaig-Armadale route have fallen short of some expectations.

"But I would stress that every change to our summer timetable was made after consultation with the local communities and each change was made in good faith with the sole intention of enhancing ferry services and addressing local concerns, some long-standing, about services in their area.

"We should also not lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of these changes have been warmly welcomed by those local communities."

Transport Scotland said the deployment of ferries was an operational matter for CalMac.

A spokesman said Transport Minister Humza Yousaf was being kept fully informed and had received representations made by Mr Blackford, Ms Forbes and Sleat Transport Forum.

The spokesman added: "The minister was given assurances by CalMac that changes to the timetables have improved the performance of the vessels on the route and that CalMac will review vessel deployment for the 2017 summer timetable, in consultation with the affected communities and other stakeholders.

"Scottish Ministers remain committed to the service and to supporting its long-term stability and growth."

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