Ferry News update May-June

The west coast ship enthusiast community was collectively fascinated by the week-long berthing trial tour of Orkney catamaran car ferry Pentalina — but the proposed CalMac charter came to nothing. She is pictured at Ardrossan with Isle of Arran on 14 June

The latest edition of Scottish Ferry News is available hereIt covers all known movements by members of the CalMac fleet in May and June.

John Newth

Meticulously compiled by John Newth, Scottish Ferry News is available now only to paid-up CRSC members. It adds up to an invaluable resource for enthusiasts wishing to track where vessels have been, what overhauls have taken place and which routes have been affected by weather disruptions and service alterations.

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: £10), click here.

The new update is dominated by the visit by Pentland Ferries’ catamaran car ferry Pentalina to the Clyde and Western Isles for berthing trials, which generated hopes and expectations that she would be chartered by CalMac in order to relieve the state operator’s hard-stretched fleet, especially on the Arran and Mull services.

As Ferry News makes clear, the charter proposal collapsed on 29 June. There was widespread speculation as to the exact reason(s), and many observers were left wondering what had been the real point of undertaking the week-long berthing trials tour in the first place.

Isle of Lewis in Tobermory Bay on 22 June, with the local lifeboat in attendance. An onboard vehicle fire forced the ferry to stop en route from Oban to Barra. The fire was extinguished by the crew. Photo reproduced courtesy of Tobermory RLNI Lifeboat

Scottish Ferry News also documents the return to Stornoway of Loch Seaforth at the end of May after extensive engine repairs at Greenock, the charters of Larven and Spanish John II in late May and early June to fill in for Lochnevis on the Small Isles run, and the Isle of Lewis incident in the Sound of Mull on 22 June, when she had to be attended to by the Tobermory Lifeboat after a vehicle fire on the car deck en route to Barra.

The update also notes that, despite re-engining at Greenock, by the end of June the Gourock-Dunoon passenger ferry Argyll Flyer had still not returned to service.

Plus plenty more.

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Pentalina leaving Ardrossan on 14 June, when she tested the regular CalMac berth and the Irish Berth. She also visited Campbeltown, Brodick, Oban, Craignure, Colonsay, Port Askaig, Port Ellen and Kennacraig

Yard No 802 at Ferguson Marine, Port Glasgow. The Scottish Government expects the vessel to be ready for launch by mid August 2022

Loch Seaforth in James Watt Dock, Greenock, on 11 May 2021, during her extended visit there for engine repairs. Waverley and Hebridean Princess are also in view. Loch Seaforth returned to Stornoway on Sunday 30 May

Published on 9 July 2021