Closure of Tarbert ferry service to vehicles “unavoidable”, say CalMac

There will be no vehicle service while work is carried out at Tarbert linkspan. Picture, Robbie Shade

CalMac’s director of service has  described a planned temporary closure of the linkspan at Tarbert ferry terminal as “unavoidable disruption”.

The operator has announced the vehicle service will be out of action for five days across February and March.

The announcement means that motorists planning on travelling to and from Tarbert will not be able to use the CalMac ferry service from Harris after the 4pm sailing on Wednesday 27th February until it reopens for the 11.20am sailing on Tuesday 5th March.

During this period work to replace the wire ropes used for lifting the linkspans will take place.

Harbour owners Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited have appointed a contractor to carry out the work, which will be done in stages, in order to cause as little disruption to ferry services as possible.

Ramsay Muirhead, head of civil engineering at CMAL said: “Following routine inspection of the linkspans at Coll and Tarbert, it was deemed that the replacement of the wire lifting ropes at both harbours was required.

“We would have preferred to carry out the work at Coll during the already scheduled linkspan closure in October. However, for safety reasons, we have decided not to delay the replacement. We are working with the team at CalMac and our contractor to ensure this work is carried out with as little disturbance to services as possible.”

CalMac’s director of service delivery David Gibson said: “We have tried to build services around this unavoidable disruption as best we can to minimise the impact to communities during this period whilst the work is completed as quickly as is possible.”

CalMac have advised that services for foot passengers will be provided during the disruption on normal service days on both routes.

Passengers are advised that an amended timetable may be operated and ask customers to refer to their website: for details.

Works are also scheduled to take place at Coll between 22nd and 31st of January.

MEANWHILE, CalMac’s parent company David MacBrayne Limited has this week announced the appointment of Duncan Mackison as the group’s new chief executive officer.

Mr Mackison, a former Royal Marine Commando Officer, comes into the role having recently held the post of Managing Director of Serco Defence.

Service provider Serco had previously lost out to CalMac in their bid to operate Hebridean and Clyde ferries.

In his position at Serco, Mr Mackison had responsibility for managing aviation and maritime contracts for the Ministry of Defence.

This included the provision of vessels to provide maritime support to the Royal Navy.