CalMac announces new routes to Scottish islands for winter

A CalMac ferry comes into port. Picture: Craig Borland

A CalMac ferry comes into port. Picture: Craig Borland

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The Scottish islands ferry operator has announced it is launching new routes to its winter timetable.

Caledonian MacBrayne have made more than a dozen changes to their winter timetable for 2016/17 after feedback on proposals from communities.

CalMac ferry route map. Picture: CalMac/Google Maps

CalMac ferry route map. Picture: CalMac/Google Maps

The biggest improvements are a new dedicated Barra to Oban route and major changes to services from South Uist to the mainland.

To improve reliability on services to Lochboisdale, South Uist, CalMac plans to run a single sailing per day, three times a week to Mallaig and two services per week to Oban.

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CalMac’s operations director, Drew Collier. said: “We recognise that there has been real community concerns about the weather related reliability on the Lochboisdale Mallaig route in previous winters.

“After listening to the community on South Uist we have come up with a solution that we are confident will increase overall resilience.

“Altering the service to one sailing per day will give us more flexibility in adverse weather increasing overall reliability to Mallaig, while offering two sailings per week to Oban gives people extended travel options,”

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Other changes include:

- A new 0820 Sunday morning service from Brodick to Ardrossan

- Addition of a 0815 service from Largs and a 0830 from Cumbrae on Sunday mornings

- Changes to the Gigha service to allow better onward bus connections

- New request only Sunday sailing at 0845 from Fionnphort and 0900 from Iona

- Amendments to afternoon sailings Tobermory Kilchoan to improve connectivity with school bus services.

Ongoing discussions with the Sleat Transport Forum mean winter sailings on the Mallaig Armadale route have still to be finalised.

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