Trial of Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry route

View from Calmac ferry The ferry will offer an alternative to sailings from Oban to Lochboisdale

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The Scottish government is to trial a ferry service between Lochboisdale on South Uist and Mallaig on the mainland.

The Missing Link Campaign Group and Hebrides Range Task Force, which involves Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, have been calling for the service.

The route, axed in the 1990s, is a shorter crossing than is offered on the current Lochboisdale to Oban sailing.

The three-year trial will run two days a week over the winter season between November and April.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said it formed part of the government's Ferries Plan.

He said: "I am acutely aware of the strength of feeling from local communities that we look closely at providing a service on the Mallaig to Lochboisdale route.

"We have listened to those views and we are acting."

'Help strengthen'

The comhairle has welcomed the announcement.

Leader Angus Campbell said: "This is excellent news and reflects the wishes of the people of the Uists.

"Whilst it is a pilot at this stage I think we can be confident that the results will generate a permanent service."

He added: "This will help strengthen the local economy as well as providing an additional service."

Transport committee chairman John Mackay said the comhairle and local community had campaigned for a long time for the service.

He added: "I would like to commend the Scottish government for recognising the validity of the case that has been made."

The MV Lord of the Isles ferry will be used on the route.

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