Ferry News March-April

Interloper: Alfred, a catamaran vehicle ferry owned by Orkney-based Pentland Ferries Ltd, began her CalMac charter with a series of berthing trials — including Brodick on 30 April. She was pictured by CRSC member Ken Mills on the opposite side of the pier from Caledonian Isles

The latest edition of Scottish Ferry News covers all known movements by members of the CalMac fleet in March and April 2023. It is available here. Like previous editions, it is available only to paid-up CRSC members.

John Newth, compiler of Scottish Ferry News

If you wish to read this authoritative update on Clyde and West Highland ferry movements, and have not yet joined CRSC (introductory membership for the first year with full benefits: £15), click here.

Scottish Ferry News is an invaluable resource for enthusiasts and professionals who wish to track where vessels have been, what overhauls took place and which routes were affected by weather disruptions and vessel substitutions.

Congratulations and thanks to John Newth, compiler of Scottish Ferry News, for unravelling two months of ship movements that proved to be among the most complicated and unpredictable in CalMac’s recent history.

In March travellers on the Largs-Cumbrae Slip crossing were advised of a new ticketing system that would require a two-portion ticket, the return portion to be retained and given up on the journey back to Largs. This meant that, for the first time since the service was inaugurated 51 years ago, CalMac staff would be required on the Cumbrae side purely for ticket collection


The new edition of CRSC’s Scottish Ferry News documents the west coast berthing trials of Alfred (the catamaran vehicle ferry on charter from late April), the continued charter of Arrow for the Stornoway-Ullapool freight service, and occasional charters of Larven, Shearwater and Spanish John II to cover for Lochnevis on the Small Isles service.

The March-April period found Hebridean Isles visiting Ayr, Troon, Birkenhead and Liverpool during a prolonged out-of-service spell. It also saw the resumption of CalMac services to Uig after the completion of pier reconstruction there, and the re-entry into service (and brief visit to Troon) of Clansman after her lengthy lay-off for repairs in King George V Dock, Govan.

Other topics covered are the visits of Isle of Mull to Lochboisdale, Lochmaddy and Uig, and Loch Frisa’s voyage to Troon in mid April for dry-docking — her first visit to the Clyde.

Plus plenty more valuable info.

CRSC is proud of the role it plays for all ship enthusiasts, but its primary responsibility is to paid-up Club members. If you are not yet a member, please take advantage of our £15 introductory membership offer here. If you are a member and are having problems with your password, email info@crsc.org.uk

Click here for CalMac service status and timetables (and keep re-checking!).

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Waverley and Caledonian Isles undergoing overhaul by Dales Marine Services Ltd at James Watt Dock, Greenock, on 31 March

Isle of Cumbrae (right) was back at Largs on 10 April to stand by Loch Shira on the Cumbrae Slip crossing where she made her debut 46 years ago

Vehicle deck of Alfred during berthing trials at Ardrossan on 30 April

A picture of normality? Loch Riddon, Isle of Arran and Coruisk at Oban on 26 April

Isle of Lewis paid a visit to Craignure on 26 April to assist with traffic while Loch Frisa was at Troon and Isle of Mull at Lochboisdale

Isle of Lewis leaving Craignure on 26 April. The photo was taken by Iain Erskine three weeks after his retirement as CalMac port manager for Mull, Morvern and Ardnamurchan. Thanks, Iain, and best wishes

Thanks to Walter Bowie, Andrew Clark, Iain Erskine, Ken Mills and John Newth for photographs.

Published on 6 June 2023