The travelling public on Lewis have been warned to expect severe disruption in the spring of next year, following the announcement that the Ullapool linkspan will be out of action for a six-week period.
Ferry operators CalMac this week announced more details of the temporary plans, with the new MV ‘Loch Seaforth’ running an alternative vehicular service to Stornoway through Uig in Skye, along with the freight vessel ‘MV Clipper Ranger’. A passenger-only service will continue between Stornoway and Ullapool.
Martin Dorchester, managing director of CalMac, said the work was “an essential investment in ensuring Ullapool can continue to provide a safe and reliable docking facility for our ferries for many years to come”.
He added: “We realise, however, that for a limited time this will cause significant inconvenience for our customers and we will be speaking to them in detail about what are the best options for travel for them during these improvement works.”
However, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar repeated their criticism over the lack of consultation with the affected communities and called on CalMac to meet with the council as a “matter of urgency”.
Transportation chair John MacKay said: “It is disappointing that these arrangements were not discussed with the Western Isles community as they will have a direct effect on both the
travelling public and the business community.
“There are other options for dealing with the disruption caused by the necessary works at Ullapool which the comhairle should have had opportunity to discuss with CalMac.
“On most days there appears to be only one return trip for vehicles between Stornoway and Uig and this is bound to have an impact on how goods are delivered to and from the islands.”
He added: “The people of these Islands are being treated discourteously by CalMac who for a six week period will be reducing services and causing major disruption with no consultation or consideration of alternative arrangements. It is not acceptable for a publicly owned company to behave in this manner.”