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30/01/2016

CalMac pulls out all the stops to get services through to west coast communities - but disruptions persist

As the tail end of Storm Gertrude persists, bringing difficult conditions to Scotland's west coast, services across Caledonian MacBrayne's 200-mile long network continue to be disrupted and passengers are, once again, advised to check ahead.

Operations staff and crews on all vessels are working hard to identify all suitable weather windows, but Saturday's sailings across the north of the network are experiencing significant disruption. The southern network is faring better, but all routes could experience cancellations or schedule amendments at short notice. Full updates available online at calmac.co.uk, on Twitter and on the CalMac app.

With Sunday presenting a welcome lull, Caledonian MacBrayne will operate additional or amended sailings on a number of routes to clear backlogs, including Coll and Tiree, Lochboisdale and Barra, and Colonsay. Full details available at www.calmac.co.uk/service-status

This break in the difficult conditions does not look set to last, however, and Storm Henry is now predicted to batter the area throughout Monday. Again, passengers are advised to keep abreast of the weather forecasts and CalMac's service updates.

"Unfortunately Storm Gertrude has caused and is still causing extreme challenges across our network," said CalMac's Operations General Manager Ross Moran. "We continue to advise customers to keep an eye on weather forecasts, and to check ahead on our website, app and Twitter for the latest schedule updates.

"Tomorrow's forecast indicates a lull in the weather and we will take advantage of this to operate extra or amended sailings to Coll and Tiree, Lochboisdale and Castlebay, and Colonsay. But this window does not look set to last and the Met Office is now forecasting Storm Henry on Monday.

"Our customers fully appreciate the challenges presented by the difficult conditions we are experiencing and we thank them for their support and patience."

At the height of the worst of the storm yesterday (Friday), with widescale disruptions to ferry, rail and road services across Scotland, CalMac took advantage of every available weather window and battled through to operate 36 per cent of its scheduled sailings. These 134 journeys all took place across the southern area of the network, with mainly the Clyde routes benefiting.

Twitter - @CalMac_Updates
Website - calmac.co.uk/service-status
App - search CalMac in app store

Details of additional/amended sailings as follows:

Oban - Castlebay - Lochboisdale

There will be a sailing from Oban to Lochboisdale tonight at midnight.  The ferry will arrive in Lochboisdale at approximately 06:00 on Sunday 31st January and then pick up the scheduled timetable from Lochboisdale to Castlebay and Oban.

Full timetable as follows.

Depart Oban  00:00
Arrive Lochboisdale  06:00
Depart Lochboisdale        07:00
Arrive Castlebay  08:40
Depart Castlebay  08:50
Arrive Oban  14:00

The 15:40 sailing from Oban to Castlebay/Lochboisdale on Sunday will then be brought forward to 14:30 and will operate as follows:

Depart Oban 14:30
Arrive Castlebay 19:40
Depart Castlebay 19:50
Arrive Lochboisdale 21:30

Oban - Coll - Tiree

There will be two departures from Oban to Coll & Tiree rather than one. The full amended timetable operating is as follows:-

Depart Oban 05:00
Arrive Tiree 08:15
Depart Tiree 08:40
Arrive Coll 09:35
Depart Coll 09:45
Arrive Oban 12:30

Depart Oban 13:00
Arrive Coll 15:40
Depart Coll 15:50
Arrive Tiree 16:45
Depart Tiree 17:05
Arrive Oban 20:20

Islay - Colonsay

There will also be an additional sailing to Colonsay departing Port Askaig at 0700 & returning from Colonsay at 0815 to Kennacraig via Port Askaig. The Kennacraig - Islay service will still operate as normal.

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