Sconser - Raasay
Sconser - Raasay
Skye - Raasay
Crossing Time: 25 Minutes
1977 - 1996:
1998 - Present:
Various members of
the Island Class
and Loch Class
ferries on relief duties.
JUMP ON A VIRTUAL
Sconser: Minimal facilities, as with
many of the shorter crossings. Slipway and pier jutting out into the loch
at Sconser. Small area set aside for cars to queue in while waiting for
the ferry. No ticket facilities - these are purchased on the ferry.
Small harbour for the ferry to berth in while not in service. There is a
small waiting area for cars and passengers, but as with Sconser - tickets
are purchased on the ferry so there is no ticket office.
The current route to the small island of Raasay opened in early 1976 when
the new CANNA entered
service and also opened the new terminal at Sconser on Skye. Prior to this
happening, Raasay was served by a mail steamer from Portree; the LOCH
ARKAIG. In 1975 the little
took over the route from Portree but less than a year later the crossing
from Portree to Raasay ceased.
brought with her a new, shorter and much more convenient service which
still exists virtually unchanged today. The new crossing only took a mere
15 minutes to complete in either direction. The ferry was also based on
the island as opposed to Skye - thus providing a means of transport out of
hours - for example in a medical emergency.
Later on in 1976 however, the route was placed in the care of what was to
become its dedicated ferry for the next 20 years. The appropriately named
entered service as the eighth and final member of the 'Island Class'
ferries. Her capacity was for 6 cars and she quickly settled into a routine.
remained on the crossing to her namesake isle for over twenty years. She
did not serve any other route in her time there and indeed her only time
away from the island was once a year for her overhauls. She also
achieved quite a rare record in that she did not miss a single full day of
service through either being stormbound or struck down by mechanical
failure of some sort.
RAASAY off duty at her namesake isle
LOCH STRIVEN arriving at Sconser
The Raasay crossing in the 1990s, as with almost everywhere else in the
CalMac network, saw traffic levels grow considerably. The RAASAY,
with her capacity of only six cars per sailing began to suffer the same
problem as had dogged her sisters some ten years previously and found
herself leaving cars behind more and more.
As had been the solution elsewhere in the network, it was decided that a
larger ferry should assume the Sconser - Raasay duties. And so it was that
in the summer of 1997, the former Largs - Cumbrae ferry LOCH STRIVEN left the Clyde for pastures new and displaced the faithful
RAASAY in the Hebrides.
Since 1997 the short crossing to Raasay has been looked after by the LOCH
STRIVEN. Capable of carrying twice the number of cars as her
predecessors, she has dealt well with the traffic presenting itself for
shipment comfortably. Years before there had been reluctance to have a larger ferry on
the crossing as it anticipated that the newcomer would not be based on the
island, however these fears came to nothing and today the LOCH STRIVEN still sails back and forth between Raasay and Skye.
In 2011 it was announced that a new generation vessel would enter service in
late 2012 / early 2013. This, another similar but larger 'Loch Class' style vessel, will be powered by a hybrid
combination of batteries and a small diesel engine - a world first for a sea
going ro-ro vessel. Currently being built at Fergusons on
the Clyde, it will be much greener and efficient to operate than any
previous company vessel.
Update: December 2012
On the 17th of December 2012 Raasay's newest vessel entered the Clyde for
the first time after launching from Fergusons shipyard at 1400. Blessed by
Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon she hold two quite significant
'firsts'. She is the first complete vessel to be launched on the once
prosperous river Clyde for almost 5 years. She also holds the claim to fame
in being the worlds first diesel electric hybrid ro-ro vessel - something
which in the future is likely to become the norm. After fitting out and
trials she will enter service on the route in 2013.
Images from Ships of CalMac Collection
LOCH STRIVEN heading for Raasay
HALLAIG preparing for launch at Fergusons