It's a great pleasure to sail the waters in Scotland to visit one of the beautiful islands off the Scottish west-coast. In my humble opinion the west-coast is one of the most beautiful areas in Europe and I think many folk will agree. To get to the (Inner) Hebridean islands, Orkney and Shetlands, most people use the excellent ferry services. And on almost every ferry route from the mainland to the islands you are dealing with Calmac, the biggest ferry company in Scotland sailing the big majority of the routes and they do that every day, 365 days a year and usually on time. Of course there are delays and disruptions when the weather is rough or when a vessel breaks down but that doesn't happen frequently. It's therefore no surprise that Calmac won a top travel award and has beaten 13 major ferry companies to be named, for the fourth year in a row, â€œBest Ferry Companyâ€ in the prestigious Guardian and Observer Travel Awards.
The award, which is the result of an annual poll of readers who are asked to rate the quality of service they received on their holidays across the world, is CalMacâ€™s fourth award in 2013. In June it was named Public Transport Operator of the Year in the Scottish Transport Awards for the third time in four years and scooped the award for Customer Focus in the Scottish Business Awards. In March it received an award from Scottish Union Learning in the Highlands and Islands, which supports trade unions in accessing skills and lifelong learning opportunities for workers across Scotland. Welcoming the Travel Award, Managing Director Martin Dorchester said: â€œIt is always terrific to have the hard work and dedication of our staff recognised in this way, but truly amazing to have held the title for four years and proof that our success is no flash in the pan. The timing of all these awards could not be better as we prepare to bid for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract. They clearly send out the message to any potential competitors, the Government that will award the contract, our customers, staff and stakeholders, that CalMac is a force to be reckoned with and we are doing everything we can to retain the contract for 2016.â€