Almost a thousand passengers and 338 cars had their bookings on the Lochboisdale-Mallaig ferry service abruptly cancelled as a result of the ‘Lord of the Isles’ being withdrawn from service for eight days.
In addition, 698 metres of commercial space – equivalent to about 26 trailer-loads – were cancelled, throwing island businesses into disarray. Very little of the traffic displaced by the disruption could be re-routed via Lochmaddy where the service was fully booked.
The figures seen by the Gazette throw into doubt claims that the decision to withdraw the ‘Lord of the Isles’ for repairs to its drencher system, in the hope this will “allow the vessel to remain in service throughout the summer”, would have little impact because of low usage.
They have also highlighted concerns about dire implications for the Uist economy if the ‘Lord of the Isles’ remains unreliable during the six month closure period of Uig pier, starting in October, when Lochmaddy capacity will be sharply reduced.