Sound of Harris Ferry
|Sound of Harris Ferry|
|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Leverburgh (An t-Ob)|
|To:||Berneray (Beàrnaraigh na Hearadh)|
|Distance:||17.4 km (10.8 miles)|
|£27.00 (Single, Cars, 2009)|
The Causeway between North Uist and Berneray is a relatively recent addition to the Western Isles Road Network. Prior to its construction a pedestrian only ferry service connected Berneray to North Uist, with certain sailings also crossing to Leverburgh on Harris. However, in 1996 the pedestrian ferry was replaced with a new, initially 3-way, vehicle ferry service.
Starting in 1996 as a 3-way service between North Uist, Berneray and Harris, the opening of the Berneray Causeway in 1999 made the crossing somewhat easier, as it now runs from the slipway on Berneray to Leverburgh on Harris. Looking at a map, the crossing appears to be nice and short. However, what the map fails to show is that the Sound of Harris is littered with underwater rocks and sand banks, in addition to the numerous rocky islets you can see. As such, the ferry has to pick its way carefully on a zig-zag course, and takes the best part of an hour to do so.
The first ferry on the crossing was the MV Loch Bhrusda which was specifically designed for the route with a novel system of propulsion which made the ferry highly manouverable. However, this ferry soon became too small for the volume of traffic on the crossing, and so was replaced by the MV Loch Portain in 2003, which can carry about 30 cars. The Loch Bhrusda now operates on the Sound of Barra Ferry service, again revolutionising links between the islands.
The Comhairle nan Eilean Siar announced a year or two ago that they had initiated a report into the possibility of replacing this ferry service with a permanent link - a causeway - to provide the final missing link in their spine route (poor old Barra!). Whilst such a link would obviously be enormously beneficial to the economy, both in terms of construction and better inter-island transport, the expense and loss of ferry jobs may yet 'put it on the back burner'.
|Loch Portain||9274824||Calmac||2003-present||31 cars|
|Loch Bhrusda||9129483||Calmac||1996-2003||18 cars|