A CRSC-sponsored poll on possible names for two new Scottish ferries has created sharp divisions of opinion among islanders and ship enthusiasts.
While a majority of the 600-plus respondents favoured traditional names for the 100-metre long ferries, to be deployed in 2018-19 on the Ardrossan-Brodick and Uig triangle services, there was a surprising amount of support for generic titles that shunned tradition.
For the Arran ferry, Glen Sannox won hands-down. For the Uig triangle, Claymore won by a small margin.
But Lady of the Isles was the choice of many for the Clyde-based ferry, while Lord of the Minch proved popular for the Hebridean ship.
The choice of Glen Sannox reflects the affection with which previous holders of the name were held — including the 1957 car ferry (pictured), which latterly served Islay and Mull while continuing on Arran reliefs until she was sold to Arab owners in 1989. Hebridean ships named Claymore have an equally distinguished pedigree.
The poll, circulated on social media and by email, provoked widespread comment, with some calling for Gaelic names. Many Harris folk wanted a local name, overlooking the fact that the new ferry will serve Skye and North Uist as well as Tarbert Harris. Like their predecessors, the new ferries may eventually be ‘cascaded’ to other routes on the CalMac network.
Some commentators have expressed disappointment that a passenger foredeck is absent from the ferry design. Open deck space is to be restricted to a backward view on the aft superstructure, meaning travellers to the islands will be denied the vantage points available on Caledonian Isles, Finlaggan, Hebridean Isles and Isle of Arran.
The percentage of votes cast for each name is given below, and survey data for the poll can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-C95MYNNS/
CRSC will communicate the results to Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), the government-controlled body which owns Clyde and Hebridean ferries and harbours, and leases them to CalMac. CMAL is not bound by the results of the poll.
Ferguson Marine of Port Glasgow has won the £97m contract to build the two ferries.
CRSC thanks all who took part in the poll, which was organised by Neil Guthrie.
Glen Sannox 50.97%
Lady of the Isles 12.18%
Duchess of Montrose 2.60%
UIG TRIANGLE FERRY
Lord of the Minch 21.75%
Loch Snizort 7.31%