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 DATE  NEWS
30/04/07 Argyle is undergoing a minor aesthetic modification... She is having her Gaelic name repainted in lower case, in line with the rest of the fleet.
 
29/04/07 Argyle arrived on the Clyde early this morning. She hung around in the Upper Firth before moving to Gourock linkspan at 0830 after Jupiter commenced her day's duties to Dunoon. She is shown in these three photos making her way up the Clyde to Gourock, where she berthed for the first time.
 

PICTURE: SoC Crew PICTURE: SoC Crew PICTURE: SoC Crew

 
26/04/07 Argyle has reached Portland where she has been taking on fuel and her crew have been going through customs formalities.

Western Isles:
Raasay
is currently employed on the Ballycastle - Rathlin route on a relief role, while Canna receives attention at Corpach. It is understood that Canna made her way from Rathlin to Corpach on Monday. This could be an early overhaul - she was last overhauled in September 2006.
 
24/04/07 CalMac Chairman, Peter Timms, announced at a meeting in Rothesay last night, Argyle has suffered a 'computer blip'. It is now reported she is due to leave Gdansk at 1100 BST this morning.
Update:
Argyle is reported to be already on her way (0935 BST) she is heading out into the Baltic. There is currently no information from CalMac on re-scheduling Fridays event - it will clearly have to be cancelled though as the vessel will not arrive in her home water in time.

Clyde:

Loch Shira was out on the Firth of Clyde this afternoon. Just off Wemyss Bay about 1530 - 1600 doing trials of some kind.
 
23/04/07 Argyle is still being shown on the Gdansk AIS as still being alongside the yard. It is now unlikely for her to be in the Clyde region in time for her naming ceremony this Friday. From the previous Bute experience, it took 5 days to sail round to Gourock.

A useful AIS site which covers Gdansk:
www.vesseltracker.com (external link, new window)
You can register free on it, and info is delayed about 1/2 hours.
 
22/04/07 Clyde:
Juno
has now moved from Gourock to Rosneath. Is this the end for her?! Watch this space...
 
21/04/07 Clyde:
Bute
re-entered service this afternoon, displacing Juno. Juno left Wemyss Bay at 1430 on her last public sailing to Rothesay. She then returned light to Wemyss Bay at 1515, exchanging horn blasts with Saturn to mark what could well be the end of her public service before heading up the firth to the wires at Gourock.
 
Loch Riddon is out of service at present. She is lying at Ardmaleish having a new Voith unit installed.
 
19/04/07 Argyle is apparently departing Gdansk tomorrow for her long journey across to the Clyde. At present we are not 100% certain which route she will take but she is expected to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday. It is assumed that berthing trials will take place on Thursday and her naming ceremony will then take place next Friday.

Clyde:
Bute
spent part of today undergoing berthing trials at Rothesay, making sure she can access the linkspan with the current delayed work taking place. It is expected that she will re-enter service alongside Saturn next Monday morning.
 
18/04/07 Clyde:
Bute
moved over from Rosneath to the wires at Gourock today, in readiness for her berthing trials at Rothesay.
 
17/04/07 Western Isles:
Clansman was berthed bow first at Castlebay this morning.
 
12/04/07 Clyde:
Loch Shira is starting sea trials today. She moved very slowly down river before retuning to Ferguson's Newark Quay. She was accompanied all day by Munro's Battler.
  PICTURE: Gerry Deegan PICTURE: Lesley Wild PICTURE: Gerry Deegan
Loch Shira on trials on the Clyde then returning after completing her days testing today
  Argyle was also out doing tests this morning off Gdansk. She returned back to the yard at 1210 UTC.

Terminals:
Port Askaig:
Mersey Mammoth has now left Port Askaig (around 2000 this evening) bound for Liverpool. The linkspan is now in place along with the roundhead. However work wont be finished until around 7th May.
 
PICTURE: Graham Paterson PICTURE: Graham Paterson PICTURE: Graham Paterson
New linkspan & roundhead at Port Askaig now in place and belting yet to be fitted
 
11/04/07 Clyde:
Bute has now sailed from Rosneath pier where she has been laid up for the past few weeks. Rosneath Pier is owned by DRB Marine Services (A local company) The pier is part of what was formerly the Rosneath Fuel Oil Depot and is situated at the mouth of the Gareloch about half a mile South of Rhu Narrows. This site has now been cleared of all oil fuel tanks and is now a thriving boat and caravan storage yard and providing moorings for small vessels and has been used by CalMac for some time now.
Update:
Bute
looked as though she sailed up through the Largs channel this evening. She was sighted passing Dunoon this morning. She was berthed at Fairlie Pier today having un underwater survey carried out by ROV. This is in addition to work carried out at Sandbank the other week which consisted of an underwater inspection by divers. They were unable to carry it out at Sandbank due to poor visibility. CalMac have their own ROV for this purpose.
She is expected to trial her berthing at Rothesay in the middle of next week, Balfour Beattie (contractors working on Pier) depending.
Update:
Bute has returned to Rosneath jetty this evening after an absence of five or six hours.
PICTURE: Tom Dunlop
Loch Dunvegan flying
the Royal Mail pennant today

PICTURE: Lesley Wild
Bute out on the Clyde today
 
10/04/07 Argyle's latest departure date from her shipbuilder in Gdansk is the 18/04/07 but this is subject to successful completion of trials etc.
 
09/04/07 Past Fleet News:
Stephen Humphreys, the current owner of ex CalMac Eigg flit boat Laig Bay has sold the vessel to an operator down in Weymouth. She is to be operated down there as a passenger boat again and run trips to Lulworth Cove from a beach near Weymouth.
 
08/04/07 Western Isles:
Clansman
is now back on her usual roster and can be seen opposite (image, right) departing Oban on her sailing to Castlebay, Barra & Lochboisdale, South Uist. This, one of the longest crossings in the network is commonly referred to as the "Barra-Boisdale'" sailing. There are no reports yet as to how the Hebrides faired on her sisters sailings. It was however noted that she loaded passengers via her car ramps at Oban and Coll due to the gangway arrangements on the piers. Updates to follow.
PICTURE: Robbie Mathieson
Clansman departing Oban today
  Clyde:
Wemyss Bay - Rothesay (Saturn, Juno):
Update 1200:
Crossing is currently delayed due to volume of traffic. An hours wait is possible for vehicles departing from Rothesay. Passengers are being reminded that the Colintraive - Rhubodach service is available as an alternative route.
PICTURE: Graham Paterson
Mersey Mammoth & roundhead
  Terminals:
Port Askaig:
Mersey Mammoth recently lifted the new Roundhead at Port Askaig into place at the north end of the pier. The protecting fenders that line and protect the structure from vessels impact have still to be fitted in place.
The new roundhead is to the left of the image (right), the tower like structure rising from it is part of the huge cranes supports.
 
07/04/07 Western Isles:
Hebrides
has finished her unusual stint on the Oban-based routes and is sailing tonight for her usual stomping grounds in the Little Minch. Clansman left Tarbert this evening and is making her way to Castlebay where she will return to her regular duties after an extended period of relief work at Uig.
 
06/04/07 NorthLink:
Source:
Orkney Today (external link)
Hjaltland Berthing Trials Planned for Stromness and Scrabster
NorthLink is planning to stage berthing trials with Hjaltland at Stromness and Scrabster harbours on Saturday, April 14. The trials, which will be weather and tide dependent, are intended to determine whether the sister ships Hjaltland and Hrossey, which operate on the Aberdeen - Kirkwall - Lerwick route, could fill in on the Pentland Firth route in the absence of Hamnavoe. Hamnavoe, at 110 metres, is slightly smaller than Hjaltland and Hrossey which each measure up at 125 metres. If the berthing trials are successful then it may be that one of the larger vessels could operate the Scrabster - Stromness service on a temporary basis when Hamnavoe is away on refit. NorthLink chief executive Bill Davidson said: "Neither of the bigger boats has docked at Stromness or Scrabster. We have been discussing the feasibility of doing so with the harbour boards. "If the trials were successful then, as a company, we would have to decide whether this was the way we wished to go. There would be obvious implications for the Aberdeen - Orkney - Shetland route if one of the bigger boats was used on the Pentland Firth. "Nothing has been decided and, in any case, we wouldn't envisage Hamnavoe going to routine dry dock until 2009 at the earliest. "We decided to carry out the trial next week because Hjaltland will be en route from Aberdeen through the Pentland Firth to Birkenhead for her scheduled dry-dock inspection. It made sense, while she was passing, to carry out feasibility studies at both Stromness and Scrabster. We appreciate that there's a bit of local interest in the situation and once the test has been carried out we'd let everyone know how it went," he said.
 
05/04/07 Clyde:
Loch Shira
is showing a destination on AIS as "Clyde Sea Trials" which she has had that on since she was activated. She did not move all day today, it is not clear when she will venture out on trials. Her car deck also still needs painting. They also spent all day today cleaning the bridge windows. There also appeared to be to be several people working away with the electrical panels within the bridge control panels. Two workers were also spotted up on top, working with the compass. The radars have been seen operating before, but today they never turned at all.

Western Isles:
A reminder of changes to services on the following routes:
Kennacraig - Islay (Hebridean Isles, Isle of Arran):
Due to essential Pier Work at Port Askaig all sailings will operate to & from Port Ellen. A two ferry service will be in operation as of Monday 2 April.
Kennacraig - Islay & Colonsay (Hebridean Isles):
A temporary timetable from Kennacraig - Colonsay for the following three dates - 4th, 11th & 18th April has been put in place.
  Timetable as follows:
0745 dep Kennacraig
1005 arr Port Ellen
1025 dep Port Ellen
1305 arr Colonsay
1720 dep Colonsay
2000 arr Port Ellen
2020 dep Port Ellen
2240 arr Kennacraig
 
PICTURE: SoC Crew
IoA & Hebridean Isles passing
near Port Ellen yesterday
  Terminals:
Port Askaig:
The huge Mersey Mammoth made it to Port Askaig at 1000 this morning loaded with Port Askaig's new Linkspan. She was only doing half a knot on her way up the Sound of Islay against the tide. She is still in Port Askaig at the moment and is expected to be there for a few days to carry out work. They still have the linkspan onboard and the roundhead is still on the pier getting some finishing touches. The roundhead will be lifted into place tomorrow morning hopefully. The Boisterous is anchored in Proaig Bay on the South East side of Islay near the entrance to the Sound of Islay, she has the pre-cast for the top of the roundhead on board for installing.
 
PICTURE: Graham Paterson
New linkspan onboard today
  Past Fleet News - On This Day...
In 2006 Caledonian Isles was withdrawn from service for 48 hours following a number of the crew being struck down by a Norovirus infection. A reduced capacity service to Brodick was provided by Isle of Arran which rushed from Stornoway to cover.
 
04/04/07 Western Isles:
Hebrides appears to be enjoying her spell relieving for her sister at Oban, having successfully made her first ever trips to Castlebay and Coll / Tiree yesterday.
 
  PICTURE: SoC Crew PICTURE: Donald MacIsaac PICTURE: John Newth
Hebrides in the Sound of Mull  -  Berthed at Castlebay  -  Entering Oban Bay yesterday
 
Clyde:
Loch Shira
is expected to begin her sea trials tomorrow. This will begin the process of her being made ready to enter service in the next month or so. Updates to follow on her progress.

From The Buteman: Argyle Nearly Ready To Go...

BUTE’S second new ferry should arrive on the Clyde in time to be named at the end of this month, Caledonian MacBrayne announced this week. Argyle's crew are currently working up to the start of the ship's sea trials in Poland, and if those, and berthing trials on the Clyde, go to plan, the sister ship to Bute will be officially named by Mrs Tish Timms, wife of CalMac’s chairman Peter Timms, on Friday, April 27.
Due to the building work and restricted public access at Rothesay pier, it’s CalMac’s intention that the naming ceremony should happen while the ship is in the bay, having loaded guests at Rothesay, with the ship as close to the shore near the Pavilion as safely possible.
Subject to the successful completion of her sea trials, Argyle is expected to arrive in Scotland at the beginning of that week.
CalMac has also announced that the results of its public consultation on Bute's ferry services will be revealed at a public meeting in Rothesay's Pavilion on Monday, April 23 at 1900.
 
03/04/07 Western Isles:
Isle of Arran
departed Kennacraig at 0700 this morning bound for Islay and the start of her 2nd Roster on the service.
Hebrides made her first sailing from Oban to Barra today covering for her regular sister while she is at Uig.
PICTURE: Ronnie Mac Neil
Hebrides at Castlebay today
 
02/04/07 Western Isles:
Hebrides arrived at Craignure early this morning, lying off the pier to the north (opposite the Isle of Mull Hotel). She later departed Craignure at 1350 for Oban, following Lord of the Isles. She will take over from Lord of the Isles (on Clansman's roster as of the 1510 sailing to Barra). Lord of the Isles will then resume her own roster at 1700 with the Colonsay sailing, allowing Isle of Arran to head for Islay. Hebrides will continue on Clansman's roster until next Saturday when she will take the single sailing out to Barra before heading up to Lochmaddy, effectively swapping places with Clansman, so that from next Sunday morning each respective vessel should be in its correct place.
Isle of Arran departed Oban this afternoon bound for Kennacraig she will start the route at 0700 on Tuesday morning.
PICTURE: SoC Crew
Hebrides waiting off Craignure
 
01/04/07 Clyde:
It is possible that Hebrides may visit Oban before heading back north to Uig upon departure from the Clyde.
Update 1400:
Hebrides is noted making down the Clyde, presumably on trials.
SoC Live! Update 1730:
Hebrides is now passing Ardrossan on Trials.
Update 1905:
Hebrides is currently passing McInroy's Point heading to Gourock, after afternoon trials.
Update 2010:
Hebrides has just left Gourock en route back to Uig, she is expected to pass through the Sound of Islay, she will stop in Oban on her way North to take over the routes normally carried out by the Clansman for approximately one week. It is possible that this will be the first time that Hebrides has operated on any other route other than her usual Uig - Lochmaddy - Tarbert route. She has however been at Ardrossan for bow-ramp berthing trials before she left the Clyde to enter service.
Update 2125:
Hebrides is currently doing about 16.6 knots off of Arran bound for Oban.
PICTURE: Lesley Wild
Hebrides on trials today

PICTURE: Ian Montgomery
Hebrides passing Juno
 
Western Isles:

In response to the reduced sailings to Barra recently, Raasay was called out today to take two lorries to Castlebay which required urgent shipping.
[Editors Comment 2200: This of course was a 1st April Wind Up - Although I'd pay good money for that trip!!]


NorthLink:
Today's Freight Service Arrivals and Departures:
Hascosay
Delayed in Dry dock until 16th April 2007
Clare
Scheduled to depart Aberdeen at 1500, ETA Kirkwall 0500 Monday 02 April.
MN Toucan (Chartered to cover for the Hascosay)
Arrived Kirkwall, Hatson 0942.Scheduled to depart Hatston at 2200 for Lerwick.
 
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