|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||5.6 km (3.5 miles)|
|£19 (Car+driver, 2009)|
Connecting the Cowal and Kintyre peninsulas of south Argyll, The 25 minute crossing provides an important service for locals and tourists alike. The western side of the Cowal Peninsula is, even with the new A8003 road, a remote place, and so the ferry provides locals access to the shops of Tarbert. It also offers tourists a short cut across the mouth of Loch Fyne, giving many more opportunities within the limited time most holidays afford!
Until 2014 the service was operated by Calmac's Isle of Cumbrae and Loch Riddon, which carry up to eighteen cars. However, in early 2014 the new Hybrid Ferry, MV Lochinvar entered service on the route, offering a greater capacity. A regular service operates throughout the year from 8am-6pm, although in the winter months there is a long lunchtime break while the ferry runs from Tarbert to Lochranza on Arran.
Historically, Tarbert was an important stop on the Firth of Clyde Steamer routes, with charabancs / coaches offering a connection to West Loch Tarbert and the ferries to the Isles. Today, however, while West Loch Tarbert is still the Gateway to Islay, the little East Loch Tarbert only sees one ferry crossing, and that to an unclassified road at the hamlet of Portavadie on Cowal. It is a sign of the times that it is seen as quicker, easier and cheaper for the motorists to drive round the tortuous coastline of southern Argyll than take a ferry from Gourock or Ardrossan to a variety of ports around the Firth of Clyde.
|Isle of Cumbrae||7521625||Caledonian MacBrayne||1999-2003
2003-14 (Summer Service)
2016-date (Summer Service)
|Loch Riddon||8519875||Caledonian MacBrayne||2003-date (Winter Service)||12 cars|
|Lochinvar||9652844||Caledonian MacBrayne||2014-2016 (Summer Service)||23 cars; Diesel-Electric Hybrid|
|Loch Linnhe||8512308||Caledonian MacBrayne||1998-1999||12 cars|
|Bruernish||7310662||Caledonian MacBrayne||?-1998||5 cars|