Mallaig - Armadale Ferry
|Mallaig - Armadale Ferry|
|Location Map ( geo)|
|The Coruisk entering Mallaig Harbour|
|Distance:||8.3 km (5.2 miles)|
|Caledonian MacBrayne, Bruce Watt Cruises|
|£27.75 (Cars+driver, 2013)|
In the past, when it was still steamships rather than ferries that plied between the mainland and the islands, Mallaig linked to Kyle to serve Harris, the Uists, The Small Isles and, of course, Skye. For many years Mallaig has been an important port for such ships, with a railway connection being an obvious benefit.
In 1937 the Mallaig-Armadale service took 40 minutes and operated continually from 8am until late evening, Mon-Sat. It cost £1, which had risen to £2 5s in 1963, excluding pier dues! The service had also been trimmed back, starting at 9.40am, or 11am from Skye. The boat used still wasn't a car ferry, presumably meaning all vehicles had to be hoisted on and off.
Over the Sea to Skye
What better way to get to Skye than by boat? The Skye Bridge has made regular traffic to the island much easier, but for the holidaymaker, the romance of the ferry will often win! The crossing is only 25 minutes, and regular during the summer months. Normally the ferry shuttles back and forth, running one leg in reverse, but in bad weather it has to turn and make both trips bow-first. However, during the winter MV Loch Coruisk is seconded elsewhere and the service has to share MV Loch Nevis with the Small Isles. This means just two sailings a day, early morning and late afternoon.
The ferry piers are the terminus of the A830 in Mallaig and also the terminus of the A851 in Armadale on the Sleat peninsula of Skye. This latter road is known as the 'Road to Lochaber', to compliment the A830's tag of 'Road to the Isles'.
|Loch Fyne||9006411||Caledonian MacBrayne||2017-date (Summers)||36 cars|
|Lord of the Isles (LOTI)||9006411||Caledonian MacBrayne||1998-2002; 2016-date||54 cars; Provides some extra capacity between Lochboisdale Ferry service|
|Loch Nevis||9209063||Caledonian MacBrayne||2001-date (Winters)||16 cars; Operates Winter service in conjunction with Small Isles routes|
|Loch Bhrusda||9129483||Caledonian MacBrayne||2016 (Summer)||18 cars|
|Lochinvar||9652844||Caledonian MacBrayne||2016 (Summer)||23 cars|
|Coruisk||9274836||Caledonian MacBrayne||2003-2015 (Summers)||40 cars|
For Summer 2016, the purpose designed Coruisk was relocated to Oban to provide additional capacity on the Mull route. This has caused outrage in Mallaig and on Skye, as it has been replaced with the smaller Lochinvar, one of two Hybrid Diesel-electric ferries currently in Calmacs fleet. To try and compensate, and with the benefit of the Lochboisdale Ferry now coming into Mallaig in place of Oban, the Lord of the Isles has also returned to this route, making 3 return sailings Monday to Saturday, and two on Sunday before returning to South Uist. Whilst locals see it as a reduction in service, Calmac stress that there are now more crossings each day, and with far greater capacity during the day itself, even if early morning and evening sailings have less space.
In April 2016, the MV Loch Bhrusda, formerly a relief vessel on the Clyde, was also stationed at Mallaig, and the timetable for the peak summer season suggests that she will be operating between Mallaig and Armadale for two months from the end of June. She will be stationed at Armadale over night, and make two return sailings each morning. To try and alleviate some of the concerns raised, the larger Loch Fyne was put onto the crossing for 2017 in place of the two smaller ferries.