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Scottish Seasonal Service Resumes to Campbeltown on Kintyre Peninsula

30th April 2017
CalMac during 2016 carried more than 5m passengers, their busiest in two decades. Passenger totals increased by 9.27% while car traffic rose by almost 16%. Among such activity is captured in this scene of vehicles loading on board Isle of Arran in Campbeltown prior to the 2 hours 30 minute crossing to Ardrossan. CalMac during 2016 carried more than 5m passengers, their busiest in two decades. Passenger totals increased by 9.27% while car traffic rose by almost 16%. Among such activity is captured in this scene of vehicles loading on board Isle of Arran in Campbeltown prior to the 2 hours 30 minute crossing to Ardrossan. Photo: JEHAN ASHMORE

#KintyreService – Operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) during 2016 carried more than 5m passengers, began crossings mid-week on the seasonal Ardrossan-Campbeltown route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Calmac the largest UK ferry operator achieved the 5m figure which was their busiest in more than two decades. A fleet of 32 serve a network of 20 routes stretching 200 miles from the Mull of Kintyre in the south and as far north to the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides.

This will be the second year that Calmac are to operate the Kintyre service on a permanent basis following a three-year pilot period served by Isle of Arran. The 446 passenger, 68 car and 8 lorry capacity vessel returned to the route on Thursday. The southernmost route provides a tourist 'gateway' to the Kintyre Peninsula and a considerable saving on mileage.

In addition Isle of Arran, the oldest of the larger ferry fleet dating to 1984 and based out of Ardrossan is to boost capacity on the busier Forth of Clyde route to Arran. The Ardrossan-Brodick service is maintained year-round by Caledonian Isles that caters for 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and 10 lorries.

As previously reported on Afloat, Campeltown is also where the ‘passenger’ only Kintyre Express service began in Easter seasonal sailings too but to Northern Ireland using Ballycastle. These RIB craft operated crossings to and from the Antrim harbour are also where the Rathlin Ferry Co currently employ Canna, a former Calmac ferry.

The ‘Island’ class Canna dating to 1976, shares the route along with passenger only Rathlin Express, though the car ferry is to be replaced by newbuild Spirit of Rathlin. According to the operator's website, the new car ferry is expected to enter service in a couple of weeks.

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