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Hebrides News


Travellers told no ferry bookings for over two weeks

30 March 2018


The ferry to Harris or North Uist is fully booked up for over two weeks it has emerged.


Cal Mac took away the regular ship, MV Hebrides to cover a service to Tiree.


Replacement vessel, MV Hebridean Isles is far too small to carry all the traffic expected at this time of year.


Mary Sinclair and her husband Peter plans for a holiday are in ruins after they were told they must wait until the middle of next month before they can travel.


That is too late as they need to be back on the mainland then.


The couple discovered they faced 18 day wait to travel when they attempted to buy tickets earlier this week.


They double checked with Cal Mac’s head office in Gourock only to have the long delay confirmed.


An astounded Mrs Sinclair, 66, said: “This is just a fiasco.


“The first day I can travel is 14 April which is no good for me.”


“This is wrong.


“Cal Mac is not providing a service.”


The retired teacher who lives in the Highland capital travels every Easter to her home island of North Uist to help her brother with the lambing.


But for the first occasion in 20 years she faces having to cancel her annual l trip as there is no space on the ferry.


The possibility of an island hopping route via Harris and the Isle of Berneray was dashed when Mrs Sinclair discovered the Hebridean Isles is also full up on these sailings.


The alternative is a 170 mile detour going to Ullapool for the boat to Stornoway then a drive through Lewis and Harris to Leverburgh for the ferry to Berneray.


Hebrides News understands Cal Mac is looking at the possibility of occasional additional sailings on the Skye triangle route.


Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said: “What is needed is another ferry to be brought in but CalMac says there is nothing spare. I am contacting the Transport Minister as a matter of urgency to try to resolve this matter.


“It makes me angry that yet again services for the Western Isles are hit because there is no back-up ferry brought in to fill the gap. It is totally unacceptable for individuals and businesses.”