Ships Of CalMac - Fleet News

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PLEASE NOTE: the Fleet News pages are no longer updated on a regular basis.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!
29/12/08 Loch Ranza left Gigha this morning and proceeded via the Kilbrannan Sound and Kyles of Bute to Gourock wires for a berth until she can be accepted at Ardmaleish.

28/12/08 After spending Christmas at Tobermory, Loch Linnhe arrived at Gigha today and relieved regular vessel and younger sister Loch Ranza at 1600.

26/12/08 It's Boxing Day and the fleet are back in action today, albeit on a reduced timetable. All three major vessels are operating from Oban, with Isle of Mull taking sailings to Craignure, Clansman sailing to Barra and Lord of the Isles heading for Colonsay. Normal winter service, with just two vessels will resume tomorrow. For full details of special timetables for the bank holiday, check the pdf timetables for each route on the Company's website.

25/12/08 Merry Christmas from all at Ships of CalMac!
It's the fleet's day off today - and ours too so no news to report (hic)

24/12/08 Lord of the Isles returned from Lewis to Oban today, in readiness for her next duty on Boxing Day, when she will be carrying out the Colonsay sailing.
Following her refit on the Tyne, Muirneag is tonight making her way up the east coast as she heads back to Lewis to resume the freight run after Christmas.

Down on the Clyde, Loch Alainn enjoyed a morning in service following her own overhaul, as she was called in to relieve Loch Dunvegan on the Colintraive - Rhubodach run. The regular vessel lay at her berth with one ramp folded while the smaller ferry carried out the service runs until lunchtime. She then returned to Rothesay when Loch Dunvegan resumed service this afternoon.

Picture: SoC Crew
Loch Alainn and Loch Dunvegan at Colintraive

22/12/08 Loch Striven completed her journey back to Raasay today, arriving there at approx 1330. She then swapped with Loch Linnhe and took the 1340 sailing to Sconser, while Loch Linnhe returned to Tobermory to lie over the Christmas period (info and photo obtained from 'Life At The End of the Road')

Pentalina B left Stornoway at 1130 this morning as her charter to CalMac came to an end. She was due to head back to St Margarets Hope to spend Christmas in the company of her new fleetmate, catamaran Pentalina which finally arrived recently.

Picture: Life at the End of the Road
Loch Striven and Loch Linnhe changing over

21/12/08 Both Loch Bhrusda and Loch Portain were disrupted by the weather today. The former might have managed a sailing at 1530 ex Ardmhor (tbc) but the latter was off all day.
Lord of the Isles left Lochboisdale at 0820 and arrived in Stornoway at 1415. She will take over the overnight freight run to Ullapool tonight for three nights.

Picture: Stua27a (SoC Forum)
Lord of the Isles in Stornoway with Pentalina B leaving behind

20/12/08 Lord of the Isles was out and about making good the cancellations yesterday to Colonsay and the Outer Isles. She is spending tonight at Lochboisdale and will sail for Stornoway tomorrow to allow her to adopt the role of freight vessel on the Ullapool route.
Isle of Lewis is sailing on an amended timetable today, allowing an extra sailing from Ullapool. Departures from there are 0600/1245/1915 while departures from Stornoway are at 0930 and 1600.
Hebridean Isles returned to service on the Islay roster today.
Loch Striven sailed from Campbeltown this morning and is making for Tobermory where she is expected to lie until Monday, awaiting another clear spell in the weather.

19/12/08 Major disruptions across the network today as a storm blew across the country. Details we have are as follows:

and Bute were both running to and from Gourock this afternoon, performing simultaneous departures from each port. The last sailing from Gourock was the 1900 sailing, carried out by Bute.
was off duty during the afternoon and early evening, though she was able to sail at 1830 for Dunoon.
Caledonian Isles saw her Arran sailings diverting to Gourock too. She was spotted off Wemyss Bay from Argyle at around 1520, making her way back south to Brodick. She was then due to leave again at 1640 for Gourock, however conditions meant berthing was not guaranteed. As it turned out, conditions worsened and she spent the rest of the night at Brodick, meaning there will be an extra 0530 sailing to Ardrossan tomorrow morning to resume her timetable from 0700.
Loch Shira
was off service from 1645 until shortly after 1900.

didn't attempt her 0830 round trip to Barra and South Uist this morning and instead remained tied up alongside Oban's berth 2. Isle of Mull joined her from 0945 at berth 1 when her Colonsay sailing was cancelled.
Isle of Lewis didn't venture out of Stornoway today, with reports of winds up to 85mph at times.
Services to and from Islay were, understandably, diverted to Port Askaig instead of Port Ellen - the first affected sailing being the 0700 ex Kennacraig (Isle of Arran).
Eigg was forced to abandon her sailings from 1250 due to high winds in the Firth of Lorn.
Even the mighty Hebrides had to seek shelter during today and came off service at 1125 in Lochmaddy where she remained for the rest of the day.
Loch Bhrusda didn't venture out from Ardmhor at all today, neither did Loch Portain leave her berth at Otternish. Other Loch Class vessels affected included Loch Riddon (Iona service off), Loch Linnhe (busy trying to keep herself alongside the pier on Raasay and avoid snapping cables) and Loch Ranza (on the Gigha service).
Lochnevis remained in Mallaig all day and as a result her Skye and Small Isles sailings were cancelled.
Isle of Mull was able to provide the 1600 sailing to Craignure where she then became stormbound. Loch Fyne was also seeking shelter at her berth in Lochaline from 1600 and so it appears that little Raasay was providing the only link with the island on her 1545 ex Tobermory to Kilchoan!

In other news (non-weather related) Loch Alainn was out and about this morning, making a call at Rhubodach before returning to her berth at Rothesay.
With Hebridean Isles due to arrive back on the scene at Islay, Lord of the Isles left this evening to return to Oban. With the cancellations of today, she will carry out an extra 0815 sailing to Colonsay tomorrow morning, before sailing with stranded traffic to Castlebay and Lochboisdale at 1345.

Picture: SoC Crew
Caledonian Isles seen from Argyle at 1520

Picture: SoC Crew
Bute in the poor evening light off Dunoon

Picture: SoC Crew
Loch Alainn and Bute at Rothesay

18/12/08 Loch Portain was noted running almost two hours late due to weather conditions this morning, her 0815 sailing leaving Bernerary at 1000 for Leverburgh and immediate return.
Lord of the Isles saw her 0700 sailing from Kennacraig diverting to Port Askaig; something which Isle of Arran copied with her 0945 ex Kennacraig. Lord of the Isles then left Port Askaig some 45 minutes late for the return sailing, however she made up all that time with a following wind and tide and was in Kennacraig for 1205.

Picture: SoC Crew
Isle of Arran leaving West Loch Tarbert...

Picture: SoC Crew
...and Lord of the Isles appearing not long after

17/12/08 Coruisk left Gourock and proceeded up to Glasgow and a lay up berth in the KGV dock

16/12/08 Coruisk came off the Rothesay service at lunchtime and handed over to Argyle in time for the 1300 sailing from Wemyss Bay. The relief vessel then proceeded up to Gourock and the wires.

15/12/08 Argyle was noted out and about this lunchtime as she underwent trials following her overhaul. She is expected back in service, relieving Coruisk sometime tomorrow.

13/12/08 Loch Bhrusda was forced to cancel her 1710 sailing from Ardmhor due to poor conditions in the Sound of Barra. On the Clyde meanwhile, Argyle moved out of Garvel dry dock and back into JWD to have her overhaul finished off.

12/12/08 Loch Striven returned from Ardmaleish to Rothesay today to complete here annual overhaul. Loch Alainn remains up on the slipway at the yard as her work continues.

was forced to miss her Small Isles sailing today due to poor weather. She will carry out a sailing calling at all four isles tomorrow to make up for today's cancellation.
The 1030 ex Ullapool and 1345 ex Stornoway were also cancelled, as was the afternoon sailing across the Sound of Harris.
Isle of Mull was affected as well and the 1000 sailing to Colonsay and back was cancelled. Clansman was also forced to turn back to Oban on her sailing to the Outer Isles and back.

Picture: SoC Crew
Loch Striven returning to Rothesay

Loch Ranza was forced off service following the 1400 sailing from Tayinloan, while on the Clyde, Caledonian Isles had to divert her 1640 sailing from Brodick to Gourock - not because of the weather but instead a power failure to the Ardrossan harbour navigation lights. Jupiter was forced of service from 1910, but this was due to the weather. Bute and Coruisk were both subject to diversions to Gourock this evening.

Interestingly though, as it was pointed out on our Forum today, Lord of the Isles was able to continue on her normal roster without having to divert Port Ellen sailings to Port Askaig.

08/12/08 Loch Shira was disrupted this evening when construction teams at Largs discovered an unexploded bomb while working on construction of the new pier. The ferry was forced to lie at Cumbrae Slip from 1655 to 2000 when she was able to resume service

06/12/08 Loch Riddon continues to run to a restricted timetable as the repair works continue at Iona. This was initially meant to be for up to two weeks but is now 'until further notice'.

05/12/08 Loch Buie finally left Rothesay this lunchtime and made her way out past Toward Point and off up to Gourock where she is apparently to remain until the end of the year, while Loch Riddon maintains the Fionnphort - Iona service around the repair work being carried out on the 'scared Isle's' slipway.

03/12/08 Caledonian Isles is once again spending tonight in Brodick due to the weather forecast. The 0700 sailing tomorrow morning is therefore off.
Isle of Arran was able to resume her own supplementary sailings to and from Islay today, as Lord of the Isles took up the roster normally assigned to Hebridean Isles. She commenced her stint as an Islay ferry with the 0700 inward sailing to Kennacraig.

Picture: SoC Crew
Lord of the Isles at Port Askaig

02/12/08 Isle of Mull spent the morning at the north pier while Lord of the Isles carried out the Oban - Craignure sailings on her behalf. She resumed the Mull and Colonsay roster late this afternoon to allow the smaller vessel to head south to Islay and her next relief role.
Loch Buie was observed out and about in Rothesay bay today. She went out on trials shortly after Coruisk sailed with the 1145 ex Rothesay and returned to the inner harbour about 15 minutes later and remained there for the rest of the day.

01/12/08 Bute suffered further technical problems today and was caused to miss her 1430 sailing from Rothesay and the return leg at 1515 from Wemyss Bay.
Isle of Mull left JWD at 1115 this morning and proceeded to Gourock where she collected crew vehicles and set off back to Oban, where she is expected to arrive late tonight. She was also out on trials in between leaving JWD and arriving at Gourock.
Picture: John Crae
Isle of Mull leaving JWD
Picture: Andy Vaughan (SoC Forum)
Heading downriver
Loch Dunvegan was observed working single-ended for a while today - presumably due to technical problems affecting one of her ramps.

News Logs:
Click HERE to see the other months' fleet news logs

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