Kennacraig: Terminal built on an
island sticking out into West Loch Tarbert, joined to the mainland by
causeway. Two ferry berths, one with adjustable linkspan, the other with
just a concrete ramp. Passenger gangway lies between the two berths.
Extensive vehicle queuing area adjacent to linkspan with terminal offices
and facilities close by. There is ample parking space elsewhere on the
Vehicle marshalling area set into hillside behind the pier. New linkspan,
roundhead and Jura ferry berth. Octagonal terminal office currently
Pier and linkspan (dated over twenty years apart!) set out into the bay at Scalasaig on Colonsay. Passenger gangway is located along the pier and
vehicle marshalling area in located adjacent to the linkspan.
Oban: 3 storey terminal building with ticket office, waiting area and toilets.
Two linkspans, one of which is undergoing redevelopment. Raised walkways
under construction to replace the older passenger loading gangway.
Large vehicle marshalling area.
The link sailing between Kennacraig and Oban was started in 1989 following
the introduction of the Claymore
on the Islay services. She replaced the previous incumbent Iona
following her displacement from the Outer Isles service by the new Lord of
the Isles upon her entry into service early in 1989. At the same
time the veteran ferry Columbawas relieved from her duties - one of which was the route from Oban to
Colonsay was now served three times a week from Oban by the Isle of Mull but in addition to this the Islay ferry started a once
weekly service to Oban from Kennacraig via Port Askaig and Colonsay. This
new crossing allowed residents of Colonsay to leave the island in the
morning and then return in the late afternoon - something not previously
possible as any departure from the island involved at least one night on the
Claymore returning to Kennacraig
Isle of Arran entering Oban Bay
Over the years this seasonal service became a regular occurrence and was
popular with people on Islay and Colonsay alike. Day trip tickets were
offered at reasonable prices and in 1993 the facilities onboard were
enhanced somewhat with the introduction of a larger ferry.
The Isle of Arran was displaced from her namesake island in 1993 when the new
giant Caledonian Isleswas pressed into service on the Ardrossan - Brodick service.
This was the chance to provide true drive-through capabilities to the Islay
service. Naturally this was also brought to the Kennacraig - Oban link on
Wednesdays and the Isle of Arran became a regular visitor to Oban and Colonsay during the
The Isle of Arran remained on the crossing until 2001 when the slightly
younger former Uig Triangle ferry Hebridean Isles took over the Islay service. For two summers she was the sole
vessel at Islay and Wednesdays therefore meant only one return service
linking Islay and the mainland. This changed for the better after couple of seasons when the
Isle of Arranreturned to Islay once again to offer her services.
As a result of this, each season since her reintroduction, the Hebridean
Isles has provided the Wednesday Oban sailing while the Isle of Arran soldiers on at Islay. The situation in the summer months
is still the same today.