Main Crossings Oban - Lismore
Oban - Lismore
Mainland - Lismore
Crossing Time:
50 Minutes
Regular Ship:


19?? - 1964:
1964 - 19??: Loch Toscaig
1974 - 1975: Morvern
1976 - 1995: Eigg
1996: Coll
1997: Bruernish
1998 - Present: Eigg / Bruernish
Additional Ships:
Various members of the Island Class and Loch Class ferries on relief duties.

 Terminal Facilities:
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. Small slipway located near berth number 1.

Lismore: Very minimal facilities at Achnacroish on the island. There is a small waiting area just up from the slipway.
 Route History:
The Lismore car ferry service was initiated back in 1974 when the Morvern, displaced the previous season from Lochaline, commenced the 50 minute crossing from Oban. This route back then was most definitely in the category of lifeline service, being used by islanders, commuting to and from Oban to the shops etc.
The Morvern remained on the Lismore route for two seasons before being supplanted by the larger Eigg which was looking for new employment after being replaced on the Raasay crossing. The Eigg could carry up to six cars on her little car deck and once she commenced her duties on the route she would remain on it for the next 20 years. The only exceptions to this were when she was required to come off service for her annual overhauls or when she required repairs. During these times one of her sisters would provide the necessary cover.

The Eigg enjoyed a simple routine during her time on the Lismore route, providing a two hourly service from each terminal when on a peak timetable. It was not until 1996 that she eventually left what was by now her route.

Eigg unloading at Lismore slipway

In 1996 the previous Lismore ferry was switched with the former Kilchoan ferry; the Coll. The destination sign was transferred across to this new replacement as if to indicate an allegiance to her new route, but it was not to last however.

The Coll, only the following year, found herself being replaced on the Lismore route by her older sister Bruernish while she herself was put on the sales list. And so the crossing Lismore was entrusted to another vessel once again. The following season another change was to take place - although admittedly it was more of a return than a change...

Picture: SoC Crew
Eigg heading back to Oban

Eigg crossing the Firth of Lorn

Picture: SoC Crew
Eigg arriving back in Oban Bay

Events on the Clyde, among members of the 'Loch Class' ferries had conspired to release the Loch Linnhe for service in the Western Isles. She was assigned to the Tobermory - Kilchoan route which in turn freed up the former Lismore ferry Eigg to return once more to Oban and resume her occupation of the service. This time the change was to last and once again the Eigg became the long-term ship.

In 1999 when the Eigg returned from her annual overhaul, she looked very different. She had sprouted a high level bridge so as her master could see over high loads such as hay lorries that were often carried to Lismore. Her black paint on the hull had also been raised, with the company name down the side now being white as on the larger units of the fleet. With the bridge modification made it was clear that the Eigg was destined to remain as the regular Lismore ferry once again.

The Lismore service is now one of only two routes regularly serviced by a bow-loading vessel; the other being that to Rathlin. There had been much speculation that once the new Cumbrae vessel had entered service, various Loch Class ships would be moved round and one would displace the Eigg - in fact a CalMac press release even went as far as to state that the Lismore route would receive a Loch Class vessel, however with Loch Alainn now at Eriskay and Loch Bhrusda designated spare vessel on the Clyde, there is currently no available vessel to carry out this promise. For the time being then it looks like Eigg's future is relatively safe.

Images from Ships of CalMac Collection

All material on this site Ships of CalMac 2001 - 2017, unless otherwise stated.
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