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More Winter Sailings for Castlebay and Lochboisdale

by Stòras Uibhist [viewed 2382 times]

More Winter Sailings for Castlebay and LochboisdaleOn Tuesday evening CalMac representatives met with South Uist community representatives, during a short stopover in Lochboisdale.

Local councillor Ronnie MacKinnon, Lochboisdale Community Councillors, fishermen, OHCG and Storas Uibhist met with CalMac to discuss the proposed new Lochboisdale-Mallaig ferry service and the Lochboisdale-Oban winter timetable.

CalMac accepted that the Lochbosidale-Mallaig service was to be operated for the benefit of Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist and Berneray.

The community representatives impressed on CalMac that it would be essential for the new service to coincide with public transport to and from Mallaig and meet the needs of local hauliers for the service to be successful.

The South Uist representatives stressed the need for an early departure from Lochboisdale to Mallaig to allow individual travellers and commercial traffic to reach their onward destination within the working day.

For the return journey the timetable needs to be late enough in the day for people travelling to Mallaig from Inverness, Glasgow or beyond.

The proposed timings discussed were for a 6am departure from Lochbosidale and 6pm return from Mallaig, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The proposed timetable from CalMac will also include an additional sailing from Lochboisdale and Castlebay to Oban, as included in the Ferries Plan, giving five sailings a week.

The Lord of the Isles will be dedicated to serving Lochboisdale and Castlebay, increasing the availability of the vessel for the route to work around periods of bad weather, as the boat will no longer have to divert to Coll/Tiree as in the past.

Gail Robertson of the Outer Hebrides Commerce Group said, ‘The OHCG welcomes the introduction of the new service between Lochbosidale and Mallaig, however, it will be essential that the timetable serves the needs of business and residents on South Uist, Benbecula and North Uist.’

Local Councillor Ronnie MacKInnon commented, ‘We have campaigned for this service for many years and we look forward to the success of this trial service and the expansion of it into the summer timetable and more days of the week.’

Angus Campbell of Kilbride Shellfish and a Director of Lochboisdale Development Ltd. added, ‘The introduction of the Lochboisdale-Mallaig service and the increase in the number of sailings to Oban will help improve the competitiveness of local business and improve the opportunities for local fishermen to export produce to markets on the mainland. We look forward to the service improving further.’

Huw Francis, Chief Executive of Storas Uibhist said, ‘The increase in the number of ferry sailings from Lochboisdale will benefit the wider community of the Uists and contribute to the success of the ongoing Lochboisdale Regeneration project. We will continue to work with CalMac and press for the Lochboisdale-Mallaig service to be expanded into the summer timetable and on more days of the week.’

Huw Francis
Chief Executive
Stòras Uibhist

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