First ferry of summer season sails into town

The MV Isle of Arran entering Campbeltown Loch last Thursday evening.

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The return of the MV Isle of Arran to Campbeltown Loch was a welcome sight as the first ferry of the summer season sailed into town last Thursday evening.

It is hoped that it will be plain sailing for CalMac’s seasonal service from Campbeltown to Ardrossan, which operates from May 2 to September 29.

Last year the start of the service was delayed by almost a month due to ‘the overrun of essential vessel repairs’ to the MV Clansman, resulting in the redeployment of vessels across CalMac’s routes.

A CalMac spokesperson told the Courier that the ferry, which is the relief vessel for dry-docking throughout the winter, has gone through the normal annual dry-dock service to ensure she is fit and ready for summer service.

Councillor John Armour, who chairs the Campbeltown ferry committee, said he hopes for a ‘trouble-free season’ this year.

He said: ‘The local community and those wanting to travel via the ferry to Kintyre have had to put up with dreadful disruptions over the past few years and really deserve better.

‘The figures from last year when the service was running so well in June, July and early August were really encouraging and show that a trouble-free service will attract customers from near and far.’

He added that he will continue to press for the service to start earlier to take in the Easter weekend.

‘Kintyre was very busy during the holiday and having the ferry on could have helped ease the traffic problems on the A82 at Loch Lomond,’ he added.

People lined the seafront to watch the ferry, which was built in 1983, dock at Campbeltown’s New Quay at 9.30pm on Thursday and discharge many pedestrians and cyclists, as well as several vehicles. She returned to Ardrossan on Friday morning at 7.35am.