Craignure is a relatively recent port for Mull, with the old steamers sailing from Oban to Salen and Tobermory, the two largest settlements on the Island. However, Craignure is much closer to Oban, providing a shorter crossing time, and also allowing day trippers to get to Iona quicker!
Taking just three quarters of an hour, the Isle of Mull can take up to 70 cars and runs a regular seven-day service throughout the year, albeit with a few extra sailings in the summer months. During winter, Isle of Mull also serves Colonsay and is assisted throughout the year by the slightly smaller MV Lord of the Isles. Due to her open stern Lord of the Isles carries all dangerous goods on this route. While Oban Ferry Port isn't quite on the A85 or A816, the slipway at Craignure is right alongside the A849 on Mull.
2013 Ferries Plan
Following the review of the 2012 draft ferries plan for the coming 10 years, the final plan has now been published. This will see a major improvement to the Oban-Craignure service, with a long term plan for a second boat to provide a shuttle service from earlier in the morning through to late evening, albeit with a slightly reduced winter timetable. However, as this is still several years away, in the interim the Isle of Mull Ferry will become the dedicated ship to the island throughout the year - at present it also provides the winter service to Colonsay. With the introduction of RET to the crossing due before the new vessel arrives, it may also be necessary to charter an additional ferry for the summer services to ensure that the increased demand is met.
For the summer 2016 timetable, Calmac redeployed MV Coruisk from the Mallaig - Armadale Ferry route, for which it had been designed, to supplement the Isle of Mull out of Oban. This caused outrage on Skye and at Mallaig, and also disquiet on Mull where it was felt to be too small and unsuited to the route, despite providing additional sailings to the island, and so increasing capacity on the route.