The regular vessel serving the Mallaig to Armadale route will not be back in service until Easter Sunday at the earliest, following a delay in repair work on the ferry.
The news comes in what has been a troubled week for the route, after tidal conditions forced the cancellation of 14 scheduled sailings since Monday.
The route’s summer timetable began on 4th April, but since then the service has been provided by the MV ‘Hallaig’ — the 23-car ferry (pictured) which normally plies the route between Sconser and Raasay.
The designated vessel for Mallaig-Armadale, the MV ‘Coruisk’, was damaged in a collision with the Dunoon breakwater while on service on the Clyde in late March.
It had been hoped that the vessel would sail north this week in time for the start of the busy Easter rush. However, operators Caledonian MacBrayne have written to Sleat Community Council to confirm that the vessel will not be back in operation until Sunday at the earliest.
The Hallaig will continue to provide the relief service until then, while the Raasay-Sconser route will continue to be served by the MV ‘Loch Linnhe’.
The Hallaig’s capacity is 23 cars including two coaches and 150 passengers, while the Coruisk has room for 40 cars and 249 passengers.
CalMac officials are due to meet on Tuesday with representatives of local businesses and community groups to discuss concerns about ferry provision.
Last year passenger traffic on the Mallaig-Armadale route increased by nine per cent. The route carried over 237,000 passenger in 2013 — an increase of over 20,000 from 2012.