Crossing the Sound of Mull from Lochaline to Fishnish is a relatively new experience. In the past, the Steamers from Oban used to call at Craignure, Lochaline, Salen and the Tobermory, with some opportunities to transport cars between these places. However, when the age of the steamer came to an end, a need for a crossing from Lochaline was identified. A pair of simple slipways were constructed at Fishnish and Lochaline, the Lochaline slip being up the loch rather than at the more exposed older pier. This route has increased in popularity over the years, from starting with small 4 or 6 car bow loaders, up to today's relative giant summer vessel the 36 car MV Loch Fyne.
The trip is now made, in approximately 15 minutes, by Caledonian MacBrayne's MV Loch Fyne, which holds 36 cars. Some sailings are restricted in passenger numbers, because the MV Isle of Mull on the Oban-Craignure crossing's fully enclosed car deck is unable to carry dangerous loads. Crossings take place from 0700 departing Lochaline to 1900 departing Fishnish in summer, with an earlier finish through the winter months.
2012 Draft Ferries Plan
In late 2011 the Scottish Government released the draft ferries plan for the coming 10 years. This would see this service maintained in the short term. However, in the longer term plans would see a second ferry on the Oban - Craignure Service, to operate a shuttle service. This would lead to a review, and possible reduction of the (secondary) service via Lochaline.