Ferry News July-August

The Oban ferry scene on 17 August, with (left to right) Loch Frisa, Loch Striven, Isle of Arran and Isle of Mull

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

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.

We are grateful to John Newth, compiler of Scottish Ferry News, for unravelling two summer months that found CalMac making the best of difficult circumstances.


Hebridean Isles at Ayr Harbour on 6 August. She left for Aberdeen on the 24th and was dry-docked there on the 31st

The new edition of CRSC’s Scottish Ferry News documents the continuing sojourn of Hebridean Isles at Troon in July and her berthing at Ayr in early August — followed by her departure for Aberdeen on 24 August, all as part of the long-running attempt to solve her propulsion problems.

The only other vessel to have an unscheduled spell off-service for any length of time was Loch Alainn, which had to leave the Sound of Barra service (9-25 July) to undergo repairs at Greenock. En route to and from dry dock, she made calls at Tayinloan, Lochranza, Brodick, Largs, Campbeltown and Oban. See her individual Ferry News entry for the explanation for her absence.

The latest edition also records the annual overhaul Loch Linnhe and Loch Riddon at Ardmaleish, and of Carvoria at Barcaldine (on the banks of Loch Creran between Oban and Ballachulish). The relief vessel at Kerrera was Gylen Lady.

Loch Bhrusda was kept busy with spells on the Mallaig-Small Isles service, as well as at the Sound of Barra and Sound of Harris.

Otherwise, apart from a handful of weather-related and tidal disruptions, and some easily fixable technical problems (such as those suffered by Finlaggan on 17 and 19 July, taking her briefly off service), most of the heavily stretched CalMac fleet maintained the summer timetable with remarkable dependability.

The above details are just a ‘taster’. There is a lot of fascinating information in Scottish Ferry News, clearly and precisely laid out  — all of it awaiting your inspection and dissection.

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!).

Thanks to Walter Bowie, James Caldwell, Andrew Clark, John Newth and Cameron Wilson for photos.

Have you joined CRSC? If not, you’re missing out: we are a group of ship enthusiasts with an active programme of excursions, talks, publications, online presentations and much else. Sign up here and take advantage of all the benefits.

Isle of Lewis approaching Castlebay pier on 15 July. She maintained the Barra-Oban service without interruption

Loch Shira remained thirled to the route for which she was built — Largs to Cumbrae Slip. This photo was taken on 30 July, the day of the CRSC nominated excursion to Ardrishaig aboard Waverley

Loch Buie, one of the unsung heroes of the CalMac fleet, embarks Iona-bound passengers at Fionnphort on 2 August

Loch Linnhe heads for Colintraive for ramp trials on 17 August, following her annual overhaul at Ardmaleish

Published on 30 September 2023