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Essential service timetable to continue on CalMac routes until February 6 ‘at least’

CalMac has said the South Uist to Malliag service will not be available until February 6. Picture by Sandy McCook.
CalMac has suffered staff shortages due to the pandemic. Picture by Sandy McCook.

Ferry operator CalMac has said its scaled-back timetable must stay in place until at least February 6.

The company has been running an essential services only timetable on several of its routes since January 3, and today has confirmed this will continue.

Annual refits of vessels and a high number of staff isolating with Covid – about 200 – have been blamed.

A CalMac spokeswoman said: “The number of Covid-19 cases remain high in Scotland.

“Currently more than 200 of our colleagues are absent for Covid-related reasons and those working in operational roles on the front line of our service have been heavily affected.

“This means our essential services temporary timetable that was introduced on  January 3, will now remain in place until at least February 6, 2022 as we continue to focus on providing certainty to customers and ensuring we maintain a service to the communities we serve.”

What routes are affected?

Largs – Cumbrae
Oban – Coll – Tiree
Oban – Colonsay
Wemyss Bay – Rothesay
Mallaig-Lochboisdale
Tarbert (Loch Fyne) – Portavadie
Gourock – Dunoon

The CalMac spokeswoman added: “The Mallaig – Lochboisdale has been cancelled until at least February 6, 2022 due to a combination of Covid related reasons and a delay to annual overhaul programme.

“We recognise this is challenging for our customers and we apologise for the disruption.”

The Sound of Barra service has been amended to allow connections from Oban-Castlebay sailings.

Passengers are advised to check CalMac’s website for the latest updates, and have been warned changes may be made at “extremely short notice”.

The Gourock – Kilcreggan and Colintraive – Rhubodach routes have now had their normal winter timetable restored.

The Lochranza – Tarbert service has also been increased to two sailings per day until at least February 6 to support the MV Hebridean Isles – a small vessel which is covering the Ardrossan-Brodick route during the annual overhaul programme.

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