Ferry News November-December 2023

Loch Fyne at Tarbert on 9 November, her first day on the combined Portavadie and Lochranza winter service

The latest edition of Scottish Ferry News covers all known movements by members of the CalMac fleet in November and December 2023. It also includes a ship-by-ship ‘distribution of vessels’ on 31 December, listing exactly where each ferry was at the end of the year.

Scottish Ferry News is available here. Like previous editions, it is available only to paid-up CRSC members.

John Newth provides CRSC with regular Ferry News updates

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.

If you are already a member but have not yet renewed your subscription for 2023-24, please do so now by clicking here. The cut-off date for ‘Members Only’ access is mid January. 

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 that found CalMac coping as best it could with various fleet exigencies (November) and some atrocious weather (December).


The new edition of CRSC’s Scottish Ferry News covers the Tarbert-Lochmaddy relief service undertaken by Alfred (which also visited Ayr, Troon, Stornoway and Uig in the November-December period), the charter of Arrow for the Stornoway freight service, and Caledonian Isles’ first trip to the Hebrides — for berthing trials at Port Askaig, Oban, Coll, Tiree and Craignure.

We record Hebrides’ long stint on the Lochmaddy-Ullapool service up to 22 December, when the pier at Uig became available again after a period of reconstruction. We also note the annual overhauls of Catriona, Coruisk, Hebridean IslesIsle of Mull, Loch Tarbert and Lord of the Isles.

The most stable vessel (in terms of roster) was Loch Frisa, although even she broke new ground when — wait for it — she briefly berthed at Oban’s North Pier on the morning of 18 December for a generator repair. The most peripatetic was Isle of Arran which, on completing annual survey at Greenock on 2 November, undertook stints over the following eight weeks on services to Islay, Mull, Colonsay, South Uist and Barra. In December Clansman suffered an unusual number of weather-related disruptions.

As Coruisk (right) gets ready to head for annual overhaul at Greenock on 6 December, Loch Striven (foreground) completes her refit at Rothesay before returning to the Lismore service

Otherwise, apart from some essential maintenance stoppages, most of the heavily stretched CalMac fleet managed to keep going 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!).

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On 16 November, Lewis-based CRSC member Mark Nicolson captured the post-overhaul return to Stornoway of Loch Seaforth (left), ending Isle of Lewis’ relief stint on the Ullapool service

Published on 9 January 2024