Calmac Ferry Problems and Islay Winter Timetables

It is grey, wet and windy today and some folk on Islay say that winter starts after the Islay Show which was held last week on Thursday. It must be said though that we had a few stunning Summer days this week as well so hopefully they prove to be wrong! Anyway, Calmac picked a good day to to publish their winter timetables for the entire network and the Islay Service, more about that further down.

Some of you have emailed us and asked about the ferry services and the problems the island experienced in summer when the Hebridean Isles had to go to dry dock after it hit the pier in Kennacraig. For now the Islay service is running according to schedule with two ferries present. It was however a big shock to hear what people, locals and tourists alike, had experienced during this disastrous period and some even cancelled their trip to Islay altogether. Although some folk were very pleased with the way the Calmac staff in the local ports dealt with help requests from travellers, the general feeling however is that a collapse of the Islay ferry service is totally unacceptable and should never ever happen again. The responsible authorities have a lot of homework to do!! continue reading...

The Constituency MSP for Argyll and Bute, Michael Russell, told the Ileach today: "I have suggested to the Islay Community Council Ferry Committee that we jointly host a “Ferry Summit” on the island in October to which we will invite all the key players including Calmac, Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government. The purpose of the summit will be to allow the facts about the disruption to be put on record, for the damage to the island economy and individual businesses to be quantified, and for agreement to be reached on a contingency plan which would ensure that this cannot happen again." Let's hope something good will come out of this!

Now back to the winter timetables. At the first glance the timetable looks somewhat complicated as both ferries will go into dry dock, there will be works on the link span in Port Ellen and there will be a period in the winter when there's only one ferry servicing the island. Below is an overview of the coming winter season:


  • 24 October to 13 November: Port Ellen link span closed. One ferry service, three sailings a day to and from Port Askaig.
  • 14 November to 29 November: one ferry, three sailings a day.
  • 30 November to 31 December: two ferries, four sailings a day.
  • 2 January to 21 January: one ferry, three sailings a day.
  • 22 January to 12 March: two ferries, four sailings a day.
  • 13 March to 30 March: one ferry, three sailings a day.


Winter timetables can be viewed online on the Calmac website

Tag: calmac ferry travel