Winter timetable confirmed

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Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd has now announced its winter timetable for the Oban-Barra-Lochboisdale and the new Lochboisdale-Mallaig routes.

The new timetable sets out a considerable improvement in the frequency of links to the mainland for both Lochboisdale and Castlebay.

There will be four return sailings from Lochboisdale with both Tuesday and Saturday seeing two return journeys on the new Lochboisdale-Mallaig route.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:“The Scottish Government’s Ferries Plan sets out our ambitions to improve the winter timetable of ferry services to both South Uist and Barra. That is exactly what we have done, delivering on these commitments.

“We also committed to considering a service between Mallaig and Lochboisdale when these planned improvements were made and I am delighted that a Mallaig-Lochboisdale pilot service has been possible. I also welcome the subsequent engagement with the local communities on the details of the planned changes to deliver enhanced services to both island communities.

“These changes and improvements that have already been put in place elsewhere, and are planned for future years, underlines our commitment to enhance Scotland’s lifeline ferry services.”

CalMac’s Operation Director, Brian Fulton, said: “We have been working hard with both communities to iron out a sailing timetable that would best suit the islands needs and I’m delighted that we’ve been able reach a satisfactory conclusion,” . “I’d like to thank everyone involved in the negotiations for their valuable input in getting this new improved service finalised.”

There will now be a total of nine sailings every week to and from Lochboisdale during the winter months, more than double what was previously available.

Four sailings will be direct on the new shorter route to Mallaig on Tuesdays and Saturdays with the other five connections being linked with Barra and Oban.

The number of crossings linking Barra with Oban also increases from three to five per week.

Brian Fulton added: “This new timetable will dramatically increase access to and from these islands which is great news for businesses and the community at large.”