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CalMac's Ullapool to Stornoway ferry service hit by coronavirus threat; Ferry operator pledges to maintain lifeline but withdraws a number of services

By Hector MacKenzie

CalMac says it is committed to protecting the lifeline route but faces challenges from coronavirus.
CalMac says it is committed to protecting the lifeline route but faces challenges from coronavirus.

A FERRY operator plying a route between Ullapool and Stornoway will introduce changes to the way it carries freight in a bid to ensure its lifeline services continue.

To ensure continued services are maintained to the Isle of Lewis in light of the rapidly changing coronavirus situation, ferry operator CalMac is introducing the changes next week.

From Monday (March 23) until July 15, the overnight freight service will be discontinued. Freight will now be carried on an 11.30am morning sailing.

A return passenger service from Stornoway to Ullapool will operate in the afternoon.

CalMac’s director of operations, Robert Morrison, said: "The Covid-19 situation is evolving rapidly, so we need to take prompt steps to ensure lifeline services to Lewis are maintained.

"This freight service is vital for the whole of the Outer Hebrides and moving to a morning run rather than overnight is the best way of ensuring its resilience given the expected challenges we face regarding the crewing of vessels in the weeks to come."

Due to operational restrictions relating to the current Covid-19 outbreak, the 7am and 10.30am sailings are being withdrawn and the 2pm and 5.30pm sailings are being delayed by an hour. The changes kick in on Monday.

Passenger service timetable:

Depart Stornoway 3pm

Arrive Ullapool5.30pm

Depart Ullapool6.30pm

Arrive Stornoway 9pm.

The 10.30pm and 3am sailings are being withdrawn. The 7am sailing from Stornoway and the 11.30am sailing from Ullapool will be designated as the freight service.

This is effective from Sunday until July 15.

Please see calmac.co.uk for full timetable changes.

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