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Council launches foot passenger services after it emerges Corran Ferry repairs will take up to eight weeks

Council says the vehicle ship will not return for at least six weeks as the community continues to feel the strain of living without a ferry.

Corran ferry sign explaining it has been cancelled. As people speak out about the Corran Ferry disruption saying the council 'don't give a damn'.
Corran Ferry services were pulled on Wednesday. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

Highland Council is introducing a foot passenger service for stricken islanders who rely on the Corran Ferry.

Two return trips from Fort William a day are being rolled out following the temporary withdrawal of the Corran Ferry.

The council is also introducing a fast rib service at the Corran Narrows and improving road infrastructure, and placing new signs in the area.

It comes after the Corran Ferry’s relief vessel, the Maid of Glencoul, broke down on Friday. It will be out of commission for six to eight weeks.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Staff have been working very closely with CalMac and thanks to their assistance, we are anticipating the MV Corran will now be back in service sooner than was originally predicted.

The MV Maid of Glencoul. Image: Simon Willis.

“This however will be in the region of six to eight weeks away, so the council has been looking at a range of mitigation measures to manage the situation.”

Two new passenger ferry options

The measures include introducing two alternative foot passenger commuting routes, enhancing signage and improving road safety measures on the alternative routes for vehicles using the A861.

The first foot passenger route will begin with a 5.45pm service tonight from Fort William Pier to Ardgour.

The catamaran vessel, operated by Cruise Loch Linnhe, can accommodate up to 65 foot passengers.

The service will operate two return trips on a daily basis, seven days a week.

It will depart Fort William at 7am and 5.45pm, and depart Ardgour at 8.15am and 8pm.

The journey takes one hour.

The spokeswoman continued: “This will be free for local residents who are able to provide proof of residency and it is hoped to increase the frequency of the shuttle service in approximately a fortnight’s time if another vessel becomes available.”

Second foot passenger vessel

A second service will be provided by a covered fast-rib vessel that will be able to take up to 12 foot passengers at a time across the Corran Narrows using the same route as the ferry.

Councillor Ken Gowans. Image: Sandy McCook/ DC Thomson.

This service will begin as soon as the boat arrives, anticipated to be early next week, and will follow the regular ferry timetable, so will enable onward travel to Fort William or Glasgow using the existing bus services.

Like the regular ferry service this will be free of charge.

The council is also exploring options to provide a shuttle bus service on the peninsula to tie-in with this service and more details will follow.

From next week, the council’s roads teams will be carrying out night time improvement works to extend existing passing places on the A861 and erecting signs.

The council is also working on suitable parking areas for those using the foot passenger services..Ken Gowans, chairman of Highland Council’s infrastructure committee, said: “It is proving to be particularly challenging to identify a replacement for vehicular transport across the narrows.

“However, we are continuing to explore all possible options because we understand the significant challenges this represents for local businesses and supply chains.”

For the alternative road routes for drivers, click here.