Glasgow & West Scotland

Businesses hit by Arran ferry disruption

CalMac Arran ferry
Image caption CalMac's MV Caledonia Isles is unable to operate a service carrying vehicles between Ardrossan and Brodick

A hotel owner has hit out at the impact of disruption on one of Scotland's busiest ferry routes.

The failure of both linkspans at Ardrossan means vehicles cannot be transferred from the ferry to the offloading ramp.

This means the route between the North Ayrshire port and Brodick on the Isle of Arran has been left passenger-only.

Local businesses said the disruption was costing them valuable trade.

The situation has been made worse because a linkspan in Gourock - the ferry route's backup port - is also broken and a service update from ferry operator CalMac is expected later.

As well as the impact on tourism and businesses, the schools on Arran are currently on the October break, meaning some islanders have had their holiday plans interrupted.

'Complete nightmare'

Barbara Crawford, who owns the Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot on the west coast of Arran, told BBC Scotland she has had 50 individual bookings cancelled so far and described the uncertainty as a "complete nightmare" for the island.

She said: "It is obviously affecting our suppliers and everyone else's too.

"How on earth can we get in a position where both links at Ardrossan have failed but the backup port's links are also out of action?

"That is not unlucky or down to the weather. Questions have to be asked."

Image caption On Monday passengers were being dropped off at Troon, 10 miles further south from Ardrossan

The issue emerged on Sunday and has caused disruption to services and island life since.

The MV Caledonian Isles, which serves the route between Ardrossan and Brodick on the Isle of Arran, was initially diverted to Troon, 10 miles (16km) south of the intended destination.

But ferry firm CalMac said bad weather forecast for Tuesday meant the ferry would be unable to berth at Troon.

Instead, a passenger-only service will run between Ardrossan and Brodick.

There is no indication yet as to when the issue will be resolved but CalMac said it was pressing the owner of Ardrossan port to get the problem fixed urgently.

CalMac said it would review the situation on Tuesday afternoon before deciding whether any services could resume on Wednesday.

'Outside their control'

The Ardrossan site is operated by Peel Ports while Gourock is run by Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), which is owned by the Scottish government.

A CalMac spokesman said: "We are pressing the owners of Ardrossan and Gourock to get both linkspans repaired and operational again as soon as possible."

CalMac also deployed the MV Loch Riddon to the Lochranza crossing to help clear any backlog of traffic.

The company said both technical failures were outside its control and it had tried to minimise disruption as much as possible.

A spokeswoman from Peel Ports said: "We can confirm the linkspan is temporarily out of action. The issue has been identified and a plan of works to remediate the issue, as quickly and safely as possible, is being actioned."