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PLEASE NOTE: the Fleet News pages are no longer updated on a regular basis. For news updates as movements happen, go to the SoC Forum where news is reported very frequently - you can even report it yourself!
 DATE  NEWS
29/06/06 Clyde:
Saturn
is suffering from yet another mechanical problem, and she will not be sailing tomorrow. All sailings on Saturn to and from Arran are cancelled until further notice. It is possible that it is a re occurrence of the cracked engine casing she had last month. She is currently (1830) berthed between the Irish Berth in Ardrossan and the Linkspan berth having moved from the Irish berth at 1735.
 
28/06/06 Western Isles:
Islay Service: See yesterdays news for amended timetable due to Isle of Arran being taken out of service.
Isle of Arran returned to service around 1300 today after damage to her bow was assessed and minor repairs were made.
Eigg loaded a tanker at Oban linkspan today and took it across to Craignure (Mull). Hazardous loads are not permitted on the enclosed deck of the Isle of Mull.

Picture:Elliott Bowman
IoA arriving at Islay today

 
27/06/06 Western Isles:
Due to Technical problems with Isle of Arran, the 1300 sailing from Kennacraig is currently running 2 1/2 hours late. Hebridean Isles will depart Kennacraig at 1530 to Port Askaig and return at 1800 from Port Askaig back to Kennacraig. This in effect will mean that the scheduled 1800 sailing tonight will also be running late. The scheduled departure sailing at 1800 will depart Kennacraig at approx 2030. As a result Lord of the Isles timetabled 1145 sailing from Colonsay to Oban (arr. Oban 1400) will now depart Colonsay at 2020 (arr. Oban 2240) tomorrow. It is not currently known what the problem with Isle of Arran is, although a suspected contact with Kennacraig linkspan is likely, causing some damage to herself and the linkspan.
Update:
Islay Service - Wednesday 28th June 2006
As a result of Isle of Arran being taken out of service until further notice, please be advised that the following timetable will operated by Hebridean Isles and Lord of the Isles for Wednesday 28th June 2006 only.
Hebridean Isles:
Dep. Port Askaig 0530
Dep. Kennacraig 0815
Dep. Port Askaig 1040
Dep. Colonsay 1215
Dep. Port Askaig 1400
Dep. Kennacraig 1630
Dep. Port Ellen 1900
Lord of the Isles:
Dep. Oban 1530
Dep. Colonsay 1800
Dep. Port Askaig 1910
Dep. Colonsay 2020
Arr. Oban 2240
All intending travellers are advised to contact Kennacraig office on 01880 730 253 - option 2 or Port Ellen Office on 01496 302209 - option 2
(please check external link above for updates)
 
26/06/06 Western Isles:
Loch Buie's
sailings on the Fionnphort - Iona roster were disrupted around midday today presumably due to low tide. The service had however resumed by the afternoon.
Isle of Mull departed 20minuets late this evening. She left Oban at 1820 instead of the scheduled 1800 with heavy traffic.

Clyde:
Passengers aboard Caledonian Isles witnessed a rescue helicopter hovering just above decks on an exercise around 1845 this evening. The exercise delayed her arrival into Ardrossan.

Ex-Fleet:
Former Eigg flit-boat Laig Bay has been put up for sale by her current owner in Oban. More details here. (external link)

Company News:
CalMac Clarifies Position on Caravans in Colonsay (external link)
 
24/06/06 Western Isles:
Hebridean Isles
was ten minuets late departing Kennacraig today due to a low loader with a digger on the back taking time to negotiate the slipway. The 0700 departure was delayed until 0710.
 
22/06/06 Ex-Fleet:
An update on the Claymore at Dover: She remains Pentland Ferries owned and although currently on charter is mainly crewed by their employees.
 
21/06/06 Western Isles:
Due to adverse weather the following crossings are affected today:
Mallaig - Armadale:
The 1455 sailing will be departing as scheduled, weather permitting the service will resume as timetabled for the afternoon.
Mallaig - Small Isles:
Will be reviewed on an hourly basis with a view to there being moderation in the weather.
Update:
Lochnevis
is to depart at approx 1500 from Mallaig, sailing to Rum, Canna and back to Mallaig, e.t.a at Mallaig approx. 2100 this evening.
Berneray - Leverburgh:
The following sailings were cancelled this morning:
0720 ex Berneray and 0830 ex Leverburgh. Loch Portain is still in Berneray. The rest of the day's sailings are to be reviewed nearer each sailing time.
Ardmhor - Eriskay:
The following sailings have been cancelled:
0715 and 0925 ex Ardmhor
0810 and 1015 ex Eriskay
The next return sailings are also in doubt.
Update:
With an improvement in weather conditions the last 2 return sailings on this route will go ahead as timetabled:
1545 & 1730 ex Ardmhor
1635 & 1855 ex Eriskay
Oban - Colonsay:
The Hebridean Isles did not venture up to Oban this afternoon due to the weather. Thus the 1530 from Oban to Colonsay is cancelled. Next sailing tomorrow with Lord of the Isles.
Oban - Castlebay:
The 1340 sailing to Barra, which was also scheduled to make an additional call at Lochboisdale following yesterday's cancellation, has had to be pulled for today. All being well, Clansman will sail tomorrow morning at 0900 for Tiree and Castlebay and Lord of the Isles will sail at 1530 for Lochboisdale and Castlebay as per timetable.
Uig - Tarbert / Lochmaddy:
After an improvement in the weather, it is intended to operate the following amended timetable:
1430 ex Lochmaddy
1800 ex Uig*
1930 arr Tarbert
1940 ex Tarbert
2130 arr Lochmaddy
*the 1800 sailing is via Tarbert to Lochmaddy
The 1600 sailing from Tarbert to Uig is cancelled
(check external link above for updates)
 
Clyde:
Due to adverse weather the following crossings are affected today:
Ardrossan - Brodick:
The 0820 from Brodick saw Caledonian Isles diverting to Gourock. Saturn's 0900 to Arran, returning at 1030 was cancelled, as were the Caledonian Isles' 1105 from Arran and 1230 from Ardrossan.
Update:

Saturn remained at Ardrossan this afternoon; her 1330 sailing being cancelled. Caledonian Isles left Brodick at 1350 bound for Ardrossan, however this sailing is subject to diversion at any time if required.
Lochranza - Claonaig:
Service has been suspended. The service will resume with the 1715 sailing from Lochranza whether permitting.
(check external link above for updates)

Picture: John MacLure
Traffic at Brodick today
waiting for the weather to clear

 
20/06/06 Western Isles:
Due to adverse weather the following crossings are affected today:
Mallaig Small Isles:
The second call at Muck on the Small Isles roster has been cancelled this afternoon.
Oban - Lochboisdale:
The 1530 from Oban - Lochboisdale / Castlebay has been cancelled.  The next scheduled sailing from Oban will be @ 1340 hrs tomorrow.
Leverburgh - Berneray:
The 1730 sailing ex Berneray and the 1840 ex Leverburgh have been cancelled.  The next sailing from Berneray will be 0720 tomorrow.
(check external link above for updates)

Isle of Arran
was 15mins late arriving at Port Ellen tonight due to divers checking her propellers at Kennacraig. They were checking for a snagged creel line.

Clyde:
Due to adverse weather the following crossings are affected today:
Ardrossan - Brodick:
With a strong southerly wind, Saturn had to make a detour south as far as Holy Isle to turn for Ardrossan. This added to her journey time and although leaving nearly 50 minutes before Caledonian Isles, Saturn arrived at Ardrossan only a short time before Caledonian Isles this morning.
Update: Due to deteriorating Weather conditions the following sailings are cancelled:
Saturn: 1330 ex Ardrossan, 1545 ex Brodick, 1830 ex Ardrossan tonight & 0715 ex Brodick tomorrow.
Caledonian Isles: 1920 ex Brodick tonight & 0700 ex Ardrossan tomorrow.
The service will resume with the 0820 Sailing from Brodick tomorrow.
Gourock Dunoon:
The following sailings have been cancelled:
Alicat: 1745 ex Gourock, 1815 ex Dunoon
Jupiter: 1920 ex Gourock, 1950 ex Dunoon
Jupiter will commence the last sailing ex Gourock at 2018 and ex Dunoon at 2045.
Lochranza - Claonaig:
Sailings have been suspended.
Update: The 1825 ex Lochranza and the 1900 ex Claonaig have been cancelled.
(check external link above for updates)

Loch Riddon
was noted heading for Fairlie this evening presumably to shelter from the wind.

Ex-Fleet:

As reported yesterday, Claymore is now in Dover and made her first Dover - Dunkirk crossing last night with livestock. Her charter is for 2-3 months by a farmer's co-operative. It is not currently known who is manning her. Further updates to follow.
It also appears that Heidi (ex Caledonia) has been raised from her sunken position in Naples. Picture can be found on Ship Nostalgia. (external link)
Meanwhile Waverley, back from the Bristol area, was lying between Greenock and Helensburgh this morning waiting for Battler to cant Mornes outside the JWD / Garvel this morning at 0715.

NorthLink:
Despite the weather conditions all NorthLink sailing appear to be running as scheduled. Hamnavoe departed Scrabster at 1900 to arrive in Stromness at 2030. Hjaltland departed Aberdeen at 1700 sailing for Hatston and Lerwick.
 
19/06/06 Clyde:
Saturn
started her additional sailings on timetable this morning, leaving Brodick at 0715 and arriving at Ardrossan at 0830. On her second run of the day, she departed Brodick leaving only a few vehicles for the regular Caledonian Isles to clear.

Ex-Fleet:
Former CalMac fleet member Claymore of 1978 appears to have left her role as Orkney ferry and is currently berthed at Dover undergoing inspection by the MCA. Apparently she is now owned by Sea Containers once more. It was Sea Containers that purchased her back in 1997 when she was first forced by the government to leave CalMac (leaving the fleet without vital spare tonnage in the process).

Picture: John MacLure
Saturn at Brodick
Picture: Ted Ingham
Claymore at Dover

 
18/06/06 Clyde:
Saturn
is now resting at the Burns and Laird berth in Ardrossan awaiting her start tomorrow on the 2nd Ardrossan - Brodick roster. She is pictured (right) with regular Arran ferry Caledonian Isles on the Ardrossan linkspan berth.
Update:
Saturn has now moved over to Brodick (Arran), and is awaiting Caledonian Isles vacating the berth at 1920. She will presumably start her roster from the island tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile Alicat has been enjoying the crowds at the Faslane fare ferrying passengers around.

Picture: Robbie Mathieson
Saturn at Ardrossan

 
17/06/06 Clyde:
Saturn
pitched in with one last sailing Gourock - Dunoon at 1020 this morning before making for Ardrossan at 1600 this afternoon ready to take up her summer roster on the Ardrossan - Brodick sailings. She left with a couple of cars on board (presumably crew), facing aft. She is currently due to commence these sailings on Monday and things look ok for the planned start so far. Jupiter is back in service at Gourock on the Gourock - Dunoon sailings after her brief post-overhaul touch up.
Update: Saturn is now (1930) berthed at the Burns and Laird berth in Ardrossan.

Picture: Conway MacCulloch
Saturn passing Cumbrae

 
16/06/06 Clyde:
Saturn
was noted heading very slowly past the Cloch lighthouse at 1015 this morning. She was on her way to Gourock and took over from Jupiter on the 1320 sailing from Gourock - Dunoon. Jupiter is now berthed at HQ (Gourock, Wires) for final touches to her overhaul which was cut short by Saturn's breakdown. Once Jupiter is back in service, Saturn is estimated to head down to Ardrossan on Sunday 18/06/06 to take up her summer roster as 2nd Arran vessel on the Ardrossan - Brodick route on Monday.
 
13/06/06 Clyde:
Due to essential ramp repairs Loch Alainn is being taken out of service for around 4 hours tomorrow morning from 1000. Loch Riddon will be sailing on a half-hourly timetable and will then be rejoined by the larger vessel to give the full timetable. For further updates, see the external link above.
 
12/06/06 Western Isles:
Hebrides
was delayed by nearly an hour this evening by strong winds and was unable to depart Uig until 1855.
 
11/06/06 Western Isles:
Clansman
was noted berthed bow in (Starboard side to) at Castlebay this morning. She usually berths Port to and loads via her stern. She may have been testing her port side life boat in a lowering exercise explaining her positioning.

Picture: Ronnie Mac Neil
Clansman at Castlebay

 
10/06/06 Clyde:
Saturn
is still experiencing technical problems with her engine. As a result the Caledonian Isles is maintaining her usual route alone as per usual until her smaller counter part joins her after repairs. Caledonian Isles was running slightly late by 10 - 20 minuets at lunchtime today but by the afternoon had made up the time and was back on schedule.

Picture: Robbie Mathieson
CI at Ardrossan today

 
09/06/06 Clyde:
It appears that Saturn will not be assisting the Caledonian Isles today. As per the Fleet News on the 7th there was expected heavy traffic for the Microsoft Challenge being held on Arran.
It is understood there were technical problems with Saturn this morning and she is suffering with a cracked engine casing. Vehicle and Passenger traffic has been cleared on the 0700 sailing from Ardrossan and Caledonian Isles sailed as per timetable at 0820 ex Brodick. For the return journeys this evening, the Microsoft Challenge organisers have split the the competitors over the 1640 & the 1920. They intend to have 550 foot passengers travel on the 1640 which would leave approximately 150 competitors on the 1920. It is likely that there will even be some stragglers on the last sailing tonight at 2140.
 
08/06/06 Western Isles:
It appears that Isle of Lewis is back on station after being fumigated from the bug onboard. Lord of the Isles arrived back in Oban this morning at 0830 after sailing directly from Uig overnight.

There is no sign of Raasay in Oban this morning which could indicate that she left very early or made straight for Port Askaig last night.

NorthLink:
Due to adverse weather, Hjaltland is not expected to arrive at Kirkwall (Hatston) until 2340 this evening. The onward departure to Lerwick is estimated to depart at 0015. Passenger and Car Check-in opens at 2100. Final Passenger and Car Check-in is 2315.
(check external link above for updates)
 
07/06/06 Western Isles:
CalMac anticipates that Isle of Lewis will resume a normal service at 0715 on Thursday 08/06/06 after fumigation. A temporary timetable is in operation today with additional sailings on the Uig - Tarbert roster. There are NO sailings today on the Ullapool - Stornoway roster. (see yesterdays news for times and information).

Raasay
was sighted heading down Loch Linnhe passing Port Appin towards the Sound of Mull this afternoon. She will either spend tonight at Oban or continue onto Islay before making for the Clyde.
 
Clyde:
Busy sailings are expected on the Ardrossan - Brodick roster during the Microsoft UK Challenge being held on Arran. The following sailings are expected to be operating at full capacity with the anticipated numbers of passengers travelling:
Friday 09/06/06
Ardrossan - Brodick 0700
Brodick - Ardrossan 1640
In particular, the 1640 Brodick - Ardrossan sailing - customers are advised to travel earlier at 1350 if your journey is urgent to ensure passage.

Although today's still hot - it appears the Loch Riddon's Crew are still only as far as a large plastic cone towards the real thing, it being first sighted on Monday...

Picture: Graeme Phanco
Loch Riddon's cone

 
06/06/06 (All the 6's Today!)
Western Isles:
SoC Fleet News LIVE! Were Here as It Happens!
Isle of Lewis
is being withdrawn from service tomorrow (Wednesday 07/06/06) due to sickness (Norovirus suspected but not confirmed) affecting 8 of the crew. All Ullapool - Stornoway traffic will be diverted to the Uig - Tarbert roster. Lord of the Isles is currently en route from Oban to assist Hebrides with additional traffic.
The following temporary timetable will operate:
Lord of the Isles will sail from Barra (0700) to Lochboisdale then onto Uig (diverting from intended Oban) for 1200 to take up emergency roster outlined.
0730 Tarbert - Uig normal scheduled sailing (Hebrides) Stornoway - Ullapool traffic diverted onto this sailing.
1230 Uig - Tarbert additional sailing (Lord of the Isles)
1445 Tarbert - Uig additional sailing (Lord of the Isles)
1730 Uig - Tarbert additional sailing (Lord of the Isles)
Providing all is OK with Isle of Lewis, Lord of the Isles will then sail light back to Oban at c1920.
Existing Ullapool-Stornoway bookings and tickets are being transferred to these arrangements. It is planned that Isle of Lewis will resume a normal service at 0715 on Thursday 08/06/06, subject to cleansing being completed and no escalation in reported cases of the illness. Connecting onward passenger coaches are being provided.
Updates to follow. (check external link above for updates).
CalMac Press Realise on Service Changes (external link)
BBC News Online
"Illness strikes Stornoway Ferry" (external link)

Clyde:
Saturn is still berthed in JWD for repairs etc. She will then head on Friday 09/06/06 to take up the Ardrossan - Brodick 2nd Roster. Jupiter will then return to take over the Gourock - Dunoon run.
 

Past Fleet / Historical:
An updated on the MacBraynes buses seen out and about recently in the islands. The three buses seen on the Loch Bhrusda on Sunday were attending the annual Rally of the MacBrayne Circle which was on South Uist this year (four buses were actually in attendance, but only three were involved in Sunday's trip to Barra.) Last year's Rally was actually on Islay and involved a photo shoot at Port Askaig including the Isle of Arran on which the buses had arrived. The buses' presence on Islay was at least part of the reason why a bus was requested for the Islay Feis which was, I understand, last weekend too. The AEC Reliance (illustrated on 04/06/06)  is owned by Laurence Macduff who is a MacBrayne Circle member but was unable to attend the Uist Rally opting instead to make Islay on Saturday.

Picture: Ronnie Mac Neil (www.clydeshipping.co.uk)
MacBraynes bus on Barra

This bus featured in a recent article in the Scots Magazine. In reality it worked between Glasgow and Campbeltown in MacBrayne days- it's rather larger than the Bedfords used in Islay.
Contact details for the MacBrayne Circle coming soon.
 
05/06/06 Western Isles:
The 0830 sailing from Leverburgh - Berneray has been delayed this morning. Loch Portain departed Berneray at 0720 but is currently anchored mid-way across the sound due to dense fog. Update 1005: It appears that the Loch Portain has slightly made up her schedule time after the fog cleared up, she departed Leverburgh at 1010 and due to arrive at Berneray 1110. The 1205 sailing from Leverburgh - Berneray was delayed until 1310.

Clyde:
Loch Riddon appears to have gained a summer addition sometime today. A Large 99' Ice Cream Cone has been mounted on a pole at the bow. THe reason behind it is unclear - perhaps a small joke by the local crew for the hot summer days ahead - and some wishful thinking!

Picture: Graeme Phanco
Loch Riddon's addition

 
04/05/06 Western Isles:
Islay welcomed a preserved MacBraynes buses today on tour. After her visit she boarded the Isle of Arran at Port Ellen by reversing onto the vessel for there return trip to Kennacraig and the mainland (reason for reversing currently unknown). MacBraynes buses were once a very familiar sight in the Highlands and Islands. There were also three sighted on Barra after using the Loch Bhrusda to cross from Eriskay.

Picture: SoC Crew
MacBraynes bus

  Terminals:
Surveyors have discovered that there are deficiencies in the structure of the Victorian Pier at Dunoon which would need to be addressed (at around 1m) to allow the pier to still be able to handle heavy vehicles. As a result the leader of Argyll & Bute Council has written to the Transport Minister asking that the matter be rectified by allocating a suitable CalMac vessel to operate to and from the new (end-loading) linkspan. He has not received a reply but CalMac have made it clear that they have no vessel available, as both Bute and Coruisk are occupied on their own dedicated routes - at Wemyss Bay - Rothesay and Mallaig - Armadale respectively.
 
03/06/06 Clyde:
Jupiter
was also noted back in service today after her extensive winter lay-up. She undertook trials on the Clyde where she was noted around the Tail of the Bank before heading to company HQ at Gourock. She later took her first commercial sailing this evening at 2018 ex Gourock - Dunoon roster.
Both Loch Riddon and Loch Alainn were loading at Cumbrae slip at the same time this evening. The reason being that the Loch Alainn was delayed because a coach was stuck on her vehicle ramp. The encounter was quite close as can be seen in the picture opposite.
Due to the Saturn being out of service, AliCat stepped in to provide passenger only sailings for the day. As a result a Clyde River Steamer Club Charter was cancelled.

Company News:

"Challenger to CalMac network may pull out of tender contest" (external link)

Picture: SoC Crew
Jupiter on trials
Picture: Graeme Phanco
L. Alainn & L. Riddon

 
31/05/06 Clyde:
Saturn
appears to have joined the list of vessels to be experiencing technical problems all of a sudden. She was noted as being out of service this morning but we have had a report that an attempt to sail was going to be made later in the morning. At present there is no vehicle service from Gourock to Dunoon as Jupiter is not yet ready to re-enter service.

Saturn has also been confirmed this morning as the summer back-up vessel on the Ardrossan - Brodick route for 10 weeks, commencing 19th June. Click here for full details. It should be noted that this facility will not be possible beyond 2006 because once Argyle enters service (date now put back even further, to spring 2007) one of the Streakers will be sold off and there may not be a vessel available to carry out extra Arran runs.

Western Isles:
Coruisk
is still out of service pending repairs so the Mallaig - Armadale service is down to three return sailings, fitting in around Lochnevis' scheduled sailings to the Small Isles. See the external link above for updates and contact details for Mallaig and Armadale port offices.

 
News Logs:
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