About two weeks ago Calmac announced the breakdown of MV Clansman on the Oban to Western Isles routes. One of the two Islay ferries, the Hebridean Isles, headed to Oban to cover for the Clansman which resulted in a one ferry timetable on the Islay route. Initially Calmac thought it would last a couple of days which later became one week. Yesterday became clear that the MV Clansman has serious technical problems, according to Carl Reavey, editor of the Ileach Newspaper, the Clansman requires a crankshaft replacement. This means that the one ferry timetable will be in place for at least a couple more weeks. Of course this is bad news for people who travel to and from Islay and rely on the ferry, specially now that the tourist season is in full swing. I'm not sure what the impact is on the businesses on Islay because I'm not sure if commercial traffic has a higher priority than non-commercial traffic. Continue reading....
What suprises me though is the fact that Calmac seems to adjust the timetable almost on a daily basis. You'd expect, for a company of this size, a bit more more detailed and structured information re the Clansman problems and the expected time it will take for the ship to be repaired, eg when the original timetable will be restored. This kind of news would be welcomed by many. I can very well imagine that uncertainty about the timetables can be a nuisance for people who have booked the Islay ferry.
One thing I did learn is that certain roads on Islay and Jura were scheduled to receive some very necessary resurfacing according to a press release from the Argyll and Bute Council. The roads and funds concerned are the A846 North of Craighouse (Â£70,000), the A846 Shore Street in Bowmore (Â£129,000) and the B8016 Bowmore to Port Ellen (High) Road (Â£135,000). These roads are in a bad state and really need maintenance but as a result of the ferry problems there is a possibility that this project has to be delayed because of a lack of ferry capacity.
As usual you can get the latest updates on the Islay route at the Calmac website, through their text service or by using the service information line on 0800 066 5400. In the meanwhile I will try to keep you posted about the long term outlook.