Petition demands return of Mallaig to Skye ferry

An online petition urging the return of the MV Coruisk ferry between Mallaig and Armadale has attracted more than 800 signatures after being online for just one day.

The residents of Mallaig and Armadale are anxious to see CalMac's MV Coruisk return to service on the route. Picture: Craig Borland

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne had replaced the ferry with two smaller boats - as well as the Lord of the Isles - when it moved the MV Coruisk to the Mull route.

Now local residents and businesses are claiming that the change is having a detrimental effect on businesses both on Skye and the mainland.

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A public meeting in Sleat has resulted in a public call for the return of the ferry, which was originally built to ply the Mallaig-Armadale service.

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The petition, set up by the chief executive of the Clan Donald Skye centre Jan Wallwork-Clarke, was first set up around 6pm on Wednesday evening.

By the same time on Thursday evening, more than 800 people had signed it - with the petition criticising the replacement vessels as not “fit-for-purpose”.

Speaking to the Press and Journal, Ms Wallwork-Clarke explained that she launched the petition as she felt local businesses and residents were being ignored.

She added: “I thought my largest response would come from the residents of Sleat, but it has grown arms and legs and I’m delighted.”

“Our visitor numbers are down and coach numbers are very much down on last year. I also live near the ferry and it has been very quiet this year.

“The replacement vessels are not able to make the crossing on low tides.”

A spokesperson for CalMac stressed that the concerns were being taken seriously, with the company set to introduce an amended timetable to improve reliability and minimise tidal restrictions.