Cromarty-Nigg seasonal ferry to be mothballed for 2020 as a result of Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown; but owner hopes for return to Cromarty Firth sailings in 2021
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A POPULAR summer ferry linking Nigg and Cromarty is to be grounded for 2020 as a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Highland Ferries’ service between the villages drew over 17,000 passengers over four months last year on the small Renfrew Rose vessel.
Employing three seasonal staff, it carries up to three cars, as well as foot and bicycle passengers using part of the National Cycle Network’s Inverness to John O’Groats route.
Owner and operator Dougie Robertson said: “The decision came first from Highland Council, which supports the funding for it, but I fully agree with it.
“We wanted to give the public as much notice as we possibly can because we’d already started to take on quite big bookings from groups of cyclists and people planning charity events.
“It was important to let them know it won’t be running.
“There is also a lot of work being carried out on the slipway on the Nigg side and that has all been stopped now because of coronavirus.
“We couldn’t commence, in any case, until that was all completed.”
Normally the contract runs from June 1 to the end of September, but this year the plan had been to start a month early.
Mr Robertson stressed: “Given demand, we were going to aim for five months instead of four.
“We’ve run it for three years now since it lapsed for a year and, every year, we’ve been getting busier and busier.”
Once the crisis lifts, Mr Robertson is hopeful the service will be able to resume next year.
He added: “As long as I can afford to keep hold of the boat this year, I intend to be back up and running for the next summer season.”