Islay Ferries Maintenance Programme Winter 2020

Monday the 21st of October saw the start of the winter timetable for the Calmac ferries on the Clyde and west coast of Scotland. The wintertime is always the period that ferries get their annual maintenance and are taken out of service for several weeks and/or are rescheduled on other routes, to cover for other ferries. This has an impact on the number of ferries sailing to and from Islay and also on which ferries are sailing the Islay route. The winter schedule runs until the 26th of March 2020.

Below is an overview of the ferries servicing the Islay Route during the winter schedule of 2019 - 2020

Monday 21 October to 23rd November:
One ferry service with the Finlaggan

From 24 November to 31 December:
Two ferry service with the Hebridean Isles & Finlaggan

1 Januari 2020 to 17 February:
One ferry service with the Finlaggan

From 18th February to 6th of March:
Two ferry service with the Hebridean Isles & the Isle of Arran. Continue reading...

7 March to 26 March:
Two ferry service with the Hebridean Isles & the Finlaggan. Summer timetable commences on 27th March 2020

Ferry operator CalMac is investing a record amount in keeping its fleet in ship shape condition during this year’s winter maintenance programme. They wrote in a press release that "more than £9 million is being targeted at vessel resilience responding to the challenges of an increasing average age of fleet. For instance the Hebridean Isles, one of the older ferries in the network, and sailing on the Islay Route, will see passenger lift upgrades, new fire alarm systems and bow thruster engine upgrades to improve reliability and performance.

Last year saw the entire interior of the cafeteria replaced on the Hebridean Isles which was a good improvement for the passengers. Calmac also wrote that spare parts with long lead times have been purchased to add resilience in the event of failure.

Let's hope that the investments will pay off and will result in a more reliable ferry service for Islay. It won't improve overall capacity as the same two ferries, the Hebridean Isles and the Finlaggan, will do the Islay route in 2020. To create more capacity radical things have to happen such as a new ferry with more capacity and an overnight freight service, just to name a few!