Aiseag an Leòdhas
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||83 km (51.6 miles)|
|Cromartyshire • Ross-shire|
|£55.95 (Car+driver, 2013)|
|A893, A866, A857|
It's hard to begin any item about the Lewis ferries without first mentioning the events of December 31st 1918/January 1st 1919, when the 'Iolaire', a ferry running from Kyle of Lochalsh to Stornoway, sank in a storm on Biastan Thuilm (The Beasts of Holm), a rocky outcrop just outside Stornoway's harbour entrance. At least 205 men died that night, but since the boat was overcrowded, some deaths may not have been accounted for properly, and the actual total may have been even higher.
The Ullapool to Stornoway service was until recently served by two vessels, MV Isle of Lewis operating the regular daytime crossings, with Muirneag providing an additional night time freight only service. However, in late 2014 the new MV Loch Seaforth is due to arrive to take over from both ships, with Muirneag already having been withdrawn in late 2013 and Isle of Lewis operating the night time freight service in the interim.
The crossing times and frequency of service, although said to be improved on the existing timetable, are not yet known. MV Isle of Lewis currently takes a little under 3 hours to make the crossing across the Minch, and whilst not the shortest distance between the mainland and Lewis, it does offer a more sheltered route with good harbours.
|Loch Seaforth||9665437||Calmac||Late 2014 - present||143 cars|
|Muirneag||7725362||Calmac||2002-2013||Freight only; 54 Trailers|
|Isle of Lewis||9085974||Calmac||1995-2014||114 cars|
|Loch Seaforth||Calmac||1947-1973 (Mallaig-Kyle/Lochalsh-Stornoway)||0 cars|
Additional ships since 1945 have included the Isle of Arran (Freight and relief duties) and (another) Clansman (relief duties)