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Well this weekend has seen the Oban fleet (and indeed half of the Islay fleet) sailing all over the place. Isle of Arran was put straight into service when she got to Oban last night, or rather this morning, and she left at 0225 on an emergency sailing to Castlebay, which hadn’t seen a ferry since Lord of the Isles left on Friday morning. She then took the scheduled 0920 sailing to Oban, though was late in due to her slower speed. While all this was going on, Lord of the Isles was lying overnight at Lochboisdale, having arrived at 0035. She then left South Uist at 0730 and made Oban at 1245. She wasn’t there long though and she picked up her regular Sunday sailing to Coll and Tiree, leaving at 1330. Isle of Arran was therefore required to take the 1730 sailing to Colonsay. Isle of Mull, after arriving back in Oban shortly after midnight, was able to leave the others to their fun and games, picking up her regular schedule with the 0950 for Craignure.
The cause of all the unusual sailings, Clansman, was finally repaired this morning and undertook successful sea trials before resuming her regular duties with the 1540 sailing to Castlebay and Lochboisdale. Isle of Arran is spending tonight at Oban and will return south tomorrow to join Hebridean Isles, which has been maintaining a one-ship service to Islay.

Elsewhere, the service to Cumbrae has now become the full 15-minute interval timetable and Loch Riddon is once again employed.


Clansman’s repairs turned out to be unsuccessful and she has moved to Oban’s Lighthouse Pier for further attention. Last night, Lord of the Isles did the delayed Oban – Tiree – Coll – Oban sailing and returned to her home port at 0645. Her 0815 sailing to Lochboisdale had to be put back to allow for some ingenius vessel switching to take place…more on that in a minute!
Isle of Mull picked up her own roster with the 0830 ex Craignure and sailed as normal until 1330. Lord of the Isles then stepped in and took the remaining Mull sailings, though the 1800 and 2000 sailings to Craignure, and the 1900 to Oban were cancelled. Lord of the Isles then took her South Uist sailing, albeit nearly 12 hours late. Isle of Mull had come off her own roster in order to take a 1515 sailing to Coll and Tiree, calling at Coll on both directions. She will return to Oban at around midnight tonight. With both vessels engaged in relief work, traffic returning from Craignure had to be diverted to Fishnish where Loch Fyne was waiting. Even the Waverley stepped in and rescued some passengers stranded at Tobermory and returned them to Oban!
Things don’t end there either…for Isle of Arran has been summoned north from Islay and is expected to arrive in Oban in the early hours.


Clansman suffered a main engine failure on her morning run from Oban to Coll and Tiree and had to turn back without calling at either pier. She reached Oban around noon after returning down the Sound of Mull at a leisurely 10 knots. An extra sailing is running tonight at 2220, using Lord of the Isles after her return from Colonsay. Isle of Mull is taking the 2230 sailing to Craignure, though tomorrow morning’s 0730 to Mull will be cancelled as a result.
Further north, Hebrides  was held at Uig by an hour while she waited for traffic coming up from Oban.
Jupiter left the James Watt Dock at 1040 and, after sea trials following her annual overhaul, she berthed at the top wires at Gourock at 1230.
Loch Riddon has returned to being standby vessel at Largs following her big sister’s return to service.


As Loch Shira has once again been repaired, Loch Bhrusda finished her service on the Largs-Cumbrae route at 1440 and returned to Gourock to lie.


Loch Ranza was out of service between 1030 and noon today as she could not berth at the Tayinloan slipway because of an obstruction.


Hebridean Isles, duly repaired, left Kennacraig at 1550 for Port Ellen; she took up her roster again with the inward sailing at 1800.


Loch Shira is once again dogged by technical woes and has spent the day at Fairlie awaiting repairs. Loch Riddon went onto the main roster while Loch Bhrusda left Rosneath for Largs at 1215 and sailed at the hour and half past from Largs, as the smaller Loch does not have the necessary capacity to run by herself. With Loch Shira being repaired at Fairlie, and Loch Riddon also berthing there overnight due to the construction work at Largs, Loch Bhrusda will have to make for Gourock each evening.
Hebridean Isles also suffered problems once again and came off her roster at Kenncraig at 1825 (for 1735). Isle of Arran was diverted to take the evening run from Kennacraig.
Isle of Lewis too suffered technical problems and was only able to leave Stornoway at 1545.


Loch Buie was off service for repairs between 1230 and 1400.


Loch Shira had to cancel her 1945 run from Largs because of a broken down coach.


Loch Bhrusda left Gourock at 1050 for Rosneath to return to her spare role, while Loch Shira returned to the Largs-Cumbrae Slip service, with Loch Riddon once again becoming the second vessel.


Following repairs at Gourock, Loch Shira, left at 1615 and sailed direct for Fairlie.  Loch Bhrusda returned to Gourock after her day’s work, arriving at 1915.


Loch Riddon was put on the main roster from today in Loch Shira’s absence, backed up by Loch Bhrusda sailing on the hour and half hour from Largs in order to maintain the two ship timetable.


Loch Shira suffered technical problems and had to move to Gourock this evening for repairs. Loch Bhrusda meanwhile left Rosneath at 1230 and, after a call at Gourock at 1300, made for Fairlie for an overnight berth before entering service tomorrow.


Several extra Sunday sailings have commenced from today as the timetable is stepped up into high season mode:
Hebrides  now gives two double runs from Uig to Lochmaddy. This means she sails from Tarbert to Uig on a Saturday night and returns early on Monday morning.
Isle of Mull now carries out an additional 1800 ex Oban and 1900 return from Craignure.
Loch Portain now gives a third Sunday sailing across the Sound of Harris, leaving Berneray at 1300 and back from Leverburgh at 1410.


Hebridean Isles diverted to Port Askaig on the 1800 ex Kennacraig, following the usual trend when bad weather prevails!
Down on the Clyde meanwhile, Jupiter moved from the Garvel Drydock to the James Watt Dock to have the final bits and pieces of her annual overhaul carried out.


Ali Cat did not venture forth from James Watt Dock this afternoon. She missed her single round trip to Dunoon on account of the weather.


Caledonian Isles was called to assist in an emergency while on her 1920 sailing from Brodick. A jet skier was in trouble and the ferry responded to an emergency call at the request of the MCA. She eventually reached Ardrossan at 2055.


Ongoing issues with the elements caused further disruption today. Arran was once again affected with the Lochranza service off until 1315. Loch Tarbert had actually sailed at 0820, however conditions at Claonaig prevented her from getting onto the slipway. Caledonian Isles of course started the day at Brodick, having cancelled the 0700 from Ardrossan.
Muirneag was able to sail with freight traffic at 1030 this morning. This was last night’s sailing postponed by approximately ten hours.
Lochnevis was unable to call at Muck this morning due to conditions at the harbour entrance.
Clansman had her 1340 round trip from Oban to Barra extended by two hours to incorporate a call at Lochboisdale on the return leg.
Hebridean Isles returned to service today, having received attention to her bow thruster. Isle of Arran left Port Askaig at the unearthly time of 0415 to cross to Kennacraig in time to commence her own roster with the 0900 to Port Ellen.


Normally May is a quiet and calm month in Scottish waters… Not this year it seems!
Ali Cat was off after her first run, returning to James Watt Dock after unloading at Gourock at 0745.
Further down-river, Argyle was diverted twice to Gourock during the course of the day as Wemyss Bay proved inaccessible in the swell. Bute also had to use Gourock for part of the day when she eventually got started. Her first sailing was cancelled as a rope was caught around one of azi-pods.
Caledonian Isles didn’t escape the conditions either. She is berthed overnight at Brodick, having cancelled her 1920 to Ardrossan. The other Arran service was subject to disruption as well, with Loch Tarbert finishing for the day at 1820.
Another Clyde Loch was spotted making a dash for cover; Loch Riddon was forced to move from Fairlie to Gourock for shelter, as the Fairlie berth was a tad exposed.

In the Hebrides meanwhile, the Outer Isles run from Oban was generally OK, however Clansman did finish an hour late, having been held up along the way by the elements. Further north however, Hebrides didn’t fare so well. She only managed to sail at 1125 from Lochmaddy to Uig and back and then at 1715 to Tarbert. The most northern route across the Minch also suffered, with Isle of Lewis managing only one sailing, departing Stornoway at 1245 and returning from Ullapool at 1725. Perhaps unsurprisingly Muirneag had her overnight freight sailing postponed.
There were no sailings from Mallaig today, with both resident vessels being stormbound.
The smaller members of the fleet were out in to too. Loch Alainn was only to be found on one sailing today, at 1200 from Ardmhor and 1300 from Eriskay. Loch Buie too was only in service from 1205 until 1725; spending the rest of the day in the Bull Hole.
In other news, not connected to the weather, Hebridean Isles was off service for repairs while Isle of Arran was on a single ship roster to Islay.


Ali Cat went off service after her first run due to the weather.


Jupiter moved from Gourock to the Garvel Drydock, arriving at 0800.


Ali Cat’s 0750 run from Gourock was cancelled this morning.


Saturn took over as the Gourock – Dunoon ferry this morning, having replaced Jupiter at 1020, the latter moving to the top wires.


The start of May and cue the bad weather! It caused Loch Tarbert to miss her 0930 and 1045 Lochranza-Claonaig sailings and Loch Portain to sail first at 1030 between Berneray and Leverburgh.
Isle of Lewis finished an hour and a half late on the Stornoway-Ullapool route because of increased traffic. This was all because Muirneag  was unable to sail for technical reasons.
Saturn emerged from her long hibernation in the company of Juno and crossed from Rosneath to Gourock today. This is in readiness for her relieving Jupiter on the Dunoon crossing in a couple of days time.

Past News Logs:
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