Summer ferry service cancelled

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

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Due to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, CalMac will not operate its Campbeltown to Ardrossan summer ferry service this year.

In a statement, the Campbeltown ferry committee wrote: ‘While we are disappointed, we are not greatly surprised as social distancing guidelines mean that there will be a huge reduction in the amount of passengers allowed on the ferries at any one time.’

Councillor John Armour, who chairs the committee, added: ‘After the dreadful news at the end of last year with the loss of more than 100 jobs at CS Wind and Campbeltown Creamery I hoped that the 2020 season would bring much-needed revenue into Kintyre with extra ferry passengers.

‘Last year’s practically trouble-free sailings and a huge increase in passengers and cars showed that the service can be a huge boost to Kintyre and beyond. The ferry committee was working with the CalMac’s marketing team to have the Campbeltown to Ardrossan service at the forefront of its advertising and marketing campaign this year but Covid-19 put paid to that.

‘I have asked CalMac to look at reinstating some sort of service this summer if guidelines change and capacity on the boat increases. While it is probably unlikely that this will happen in time for this summer, any return to sailings from Campbeltown to Ardrossan would be welcome. However the ferry committee will be fully focused on engaging with CalMac to ensure that the 2021 season is well publicised and hopefully trouble-free.’

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has written to CalMac seeking an explanation for the suspension of the ferry service. He has also lodged questions in the Scottish Parliament demanding answers from the Scottish Government.

Mr Cameron said: ‘While I understand that the Covid-19 emergency has put extra strain on services, and CalMac has had to restrict its timetable accordingly, it is simply not acceptable to leave communities in an area like Kintyre in the lurch in this way.

‘We need to know exactly why we have lost our service, when it will be restored, and what the company and ministers are going to do about it in the meantime.’