Ferry News May-June

South Uist relief ferry Isle of Mull at Lochboisdale on Wednesday 3 May 2023 after her sailing from Oban – copyright John Newth/CRSC

The latest edition of Scottish Ferry News covers all known movements by members of the CalMac fleet in May and June 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 months of ship movements that were among the most varied in CalMac’s recent history.


CalMac signage at Largs: this notice board, positioned alongside the vehicle queue on the seafront, provoked wry smiles from drivers who had been struggling to buy a ticket online: the new booking system was not only suffering from teething troubles; it also stipulated a return ticket for the service to Cumbrae where previously a single ticket covering both journeys was required

The new edition of CRSC’s Scottish Ferry News documents how the chartered Pentland Ferries catamaran MV Alfred settled into the Ardrossan-Brodick route after berthing trials at Campbeltown, Troon and Ayr. Amid ongoing investigations into the out-of-service Hebridean Isles at Troon (propulsion problems), the vessel briefly visited Ayr and Greenock. Castlebay’s linkspan was closed for a week, obliging Isle of Lewis to return to Stornoway.

Lochboisdale lost its service for nearly a month while Lord of the Isles deputised on the Islay service. This was necessitated by Finlaggan’s absence for her long-delayed annual survey, for which she voyaged round the north of Scotland to Leith. Hebrides went to Birkenhead for the same purpose.

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, Stuart McMahon and John Newth 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.

Hebridean Isles visited Ayr on 5 May, with chartered catamaran ferry Alfred and pilot boat Scotia looking on. Photo courtesy of Walter Bowie

Alfred settled with ease into her ‘second ferry’ role on the Ardrossan-Brodick service. She is pictured crossing paths with Caledonian Isles on 11 May. Photo courtesy of Stuart McMahon

As Finlaggan departed Kennacraig for Leith on 4 June, Lord of the Isles took up the Islay service. Photo courtesy of Walter Bowie

During her month on the Islay service, Lord of the Isles was photographed arriving at Port Askaig on Wednesday 21 June – copyright John Newth/CRSC

The Western Ferries fleet was dressed overall on 6 May, Coronation Day. Photo courtesy of Walter Bowie

Dunoon linkspan on 30 June, awaiting repairs, resulting in the Gourock ferry service being withdrawn for several days – copyright John Newth/CRSC

Published on 18 July 2023