Stornoway-Ullapoool service to resume next week

The car deck on MV Loch Seaforth has been empty for nearly a month.
The car deck on MV Loch Seaforth has been empty for nearly a month.

Full vehicle services between Stornoway and Ullapool are expected to resume on Monday (May 18) with major harbour works now nearing completion.

Kevin Peach, chief executive of Ullapool Harbour Trust, told the Gazette this week that works to replace the linkspan at Ullapool were progressing well and were due for completion by May 18 at the latest.

A spokesperson for Calmac confirmed that bookings were being taken for vehicles from that date ‘‘assuming the new linkspan is complete.’’

The infrastructure improvements at Ullapool were necessary so the port is able to manage more and larger vessels.

The linkspan was 42 years old and approaching the end of its design life.

The new double-width linkspan will make Ullapool accessible to a much wider range of vessels increasing its resilience, say Calmac.

They also point out that ‘‘it will help improve reliability on the service by speeding up loading and unloading helping to ensure punctuality of service and minimise timetable delays.’’

MV Loch Seaforth has been operating a passenger-only service on the route since April 20 with MV Isle of Lewis operating a service between Stornoway and Uig and MV Clipper Ranger providing the freight service to Uig. This vessel is due to leave later this month.

This week, CalMac announced they were embarking on a tour of communities to ask ferry users how the customer experience can be improved on their lifeline services.

Board members and senior executives from CalMac’s parent company, David MacBrayne Ltd., will host 24 public meetings in mainland ports and on more than a dozen Clyde and Hebridean islands.

This will include meetings in Lochmaddy, Tarbert and Stornoway on May 26 and Lochboisdale and Barra

on May 27.