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New ferry link for Campbeltown
15 April 2013

The introduction of a new ferry link to Campbeltown will help boost tourism and trade opportunities for communities across Argyll, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today.

From May, a pilot ferry service will be introduced to take passengers and vehicles across the Firth of Clyde from Ardrossan to Campbeltown.   The service will run three times per week throughout the summer, with an additional stop at Brodick on a Saturday.

Full timetable information for the Ardrossan - Campbeltown route

For more information on visiting the beautiful Kintyre and wider Argyll area as well as a list of great local events to enjoy during your stay visit http://www.exploreargyll.co.uk/

The pilot has been set up to boost visitor numbers to the Kintyre Peninsula and to provide an additional transport service to local residents and businesses.

During a visit to Campbeltown - which followed on from a visit three weeks previously to offer support to local residents in light of severe weather conditions - Ms Sturgeon announced details of the new ferry service and attended the official opening ceremony of Campbeltown New Quay.

Ms Sturgeon said:
“It is a real pleasure to be back in Campbeltown today to see first-hand how well the community has recovered from the severe weather conditions that hit the region just three weeks ago.
“This new pilot project will help to develop that sense of community spirit further by providing an additional transport link that will boost trade and tourism opportunities for the area and develop the local economy.
“We are committed to developing new transport links to improve connections for our rural communities.
 “Opening the new quay marks a significant milestone - not only for the local community in Argyll, but for the whole of Scotland.  This will be the first of many of the renewables sites to come into full working use across the country, helping to create new employment opportunities and drive forward this important industry.
 “We remain firmly on course to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020, and it is projects like this that have helped ensure 2012 was another record year for our renewables industry.
“It is a great opportunity to visit this new site and to learn about how it will pave the way for other innovative renewables projects across the country.” 

Argyll & Bute Council Leader James Robb said:
 
“I am absolutely delighted about the new pilot ferry link which will provide Campbeltown and Kintyre with a crucial link to the central belt.
 
“Good connectivity is essential for improving the local economy and I hope the new service will provide a welcome boost.
 
“The move fits closely with the wider regeneration of the town which of course has the New Quay which is open for business as part of the Kintyre Renewables Hub.”
 
Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac Ferries Ltd, which will operate the new service on behalf of Transport Scotland, said:

“We are delighted to be providing this new link between Ayrshire and the Kintyre peninsula which is CalMac and Argyll’s first new route for nearly 20 years.

“We are confident it will prove very popular with locals and visitors alike who now have an attractive alternative to the overland route. In addition to benefitting the communities in Kintyre, Arran and Ayrshire, we expect it to increase traffic to the rest of Argyll and beyond.”

Background
The introduction of a pilot ferry service to Campbeltown via Arran was a key short term measure identified in the Ferries Plan published in December last year. The pilot will commence on May 23rd 2013 to tie in with the Mull of Kintyre Half Marathon and 10k race taking place on Sunday May 26th and with the Kintyre Songwriter's Festival which will be held in Campbeltown from May 24th – 26th.

The £4.6m contract to upgrade Campbeltown’s New Quay was carried out on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council as part of the Kintyre Renewables Hub project which will see Campbeltown and Machrihanish develop as a centre for the renewable energy industry in Scotland. Funded by Argyll and Bute Council and the European Regional Development Fund the project was also supported by HIE and Wind Tower Scotland Ltd.

The works undertaken have upgraded berthing facilities and road infrastructure to allow the Windtower’s manufacturing facility at Machrihanish to maximise its potential to support the development of renewable energy in Scotland and beyond. A key objective in the short term is to establish Machrihanish as a facility which has the capability to support developments such as Scottish Power Renewables Islay Tidal Arreay, as a precursor to future offshore wind development and tidal developments of the Kintyre and Islay coastlines.

Further details and announcements on timetables and the opening of reservations on this route will be made in due course.

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