Secret Scotland

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Bute’s wee ferry crossing could be extended to midnight

An intriguing variation on the various ways that the Isle of Bute’s ferry service could be extended appeared in the news.

While I’m sure some group or other will probably appear dedicated to rubbishing the proposal, it has the advantage of being workable and economic, if not ideal for those who want to play at living on an island.

I’m told by long-term residents that calls for extensions to the big ferry have been made by a vocal few in the past, and when this extended service was tried – next to nobody turned up to use it. It doesn’t take the greatest imagination in the world to work how expensive it is to sail the MVs Bute and Argyll between Wemyss Bay and Rothesay – empty. Once, let alone on a number of late night sailings.

THE Rhubodach-Colintraive ferry timetable could be extended through to midnight each day, the Scottish Government has suggested.

A draft plan for the future of the country’s ferry services suggests that extending the timetable of the Kyles crossing “could bring substantial benefit to the local economy”, while at the same time being the most cost-effective way of bridging the gap between Bute’s current service and a ‘needs based assessment’ which recommends an operating day from 6am until midnight.

via Kyles ferry crossing ‘could be extended to midnight’ – Local Headlines – The Buteman.

Such a proposal would certainly suit an occasional touring visitor like me, and reflects my normal journey to and from the island.

Being an owl rather than a lark, I amble down to Wemyss Bay in the morning (deliberately avoiding the busiest early sailings) and buy a Hopscotch ticket, allowing me to travel over on the big ferry, and return by the wee ferry when it suit me.

The wee ferry effectively runs run during daylight hours, so the last sailing off the island during summer is between 21:00 and 22:00 (depending when I am there), but more importantly for me, it runs later than the big ferry – a difference I have often depended on.

Unlike the failed and wasteful extensions tried on the big ferry (not my assessment, but that of islanders I knew at the time), I hope this one at least gets a trial run for a while, and is not dismissed out of hand by the ‘vocal few’.

A little different from the usual view on the water, one of the wee ferries (which would be MV Loch Dunvegan if the name was in view, and RoRo sister MV Loch Alain behind) caught recently by Zak as it prepares for its next trip across the waters, which sees it risk itself daily (I’m funning!) to bridge the gap of almost 300 metres between the mainland and the island at the Kyles of Bute:

Wee Bute ferry

The wee ferry, MV Loch Dunvegan, at Rhubodach © Zak

27/12/2011 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,

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