A temporary weight limit is being imposed on the Maid of Glencoul Corran Ferry Service in Lochaber “to ensure the safety of the traveling public”.
The MV Corran, the larger ship, has been out of service for months as the Highland Council awaits parts to allow repairs to be completed. No date has yet been given for the reopening.
From March 20th, all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, with the exception of ambulance services and service buses, will no longer be permitted to use the community operated service serving the communities of Fort William, Ardgour, Sunart, Ardnamurchan, Moidart, Morar and Morvern joins and the Isle of Mull.
Ken Gowans, Chair of Highland Council’s Business and Infrastructure Committee, said: “We recognize that there will be an increase in demand for this service as we move from winter into spring and it is unfortunate that the MV Corran has to close due to the Difficulty obtaining the necessary parts, this is not currently available.”
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Ardnarmurchan Lighthouse Trust manager Davie Ferguson said the apparent lack of consultation with local businesses was an “absolute disgrace”.
He said: “A limit of 3.5 tonnes on the ferry means no deliveries from Bidfood, Brake Bros etc to the lighthouse.
“If we can’t fill up the café, we’re finished as a company.
“Our deliveries arrive mainly weekly from Oban by ferry.
“These trucks are all over 3.5 tonnes so they would have to drive around Lochailort and Glenuig, which they won’t do because it takes more than a day.
“It’s a long detour for them. I don’t know what we’re going to do – it’s going to be very difficult.”
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Andrew Cameron of Loch Shiel Garage in Acharacle said the loss of the larger vessel has increased her running costs by around £1000 a week.
He said: “If we’re not even allowed to continue using the small ferry, I don’t see how the salvage/transport side of our business can continue.
“I see no other way than from 20 March when the 3.5 tonne restriction is introduced that we will not be offering roadside assistance to West Lochaber, Mull and beyond.
“As the larger MV Corran was away for over 4 months this cost us over £1000 a week because we had to double the long journey from Acharacle via Lochailort to Fort William, the journey time was increased and drivers had less time not can return home on the day of departure.
“Forget to factor in the downtime that we cannot competitively advertise for trucks due to the extra miles and height restrictions on the A830 and A861 if we do not have an effective ferry service.
“We as a small business based around Ardnamurchan and Morvern can no longer take this.”
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dr Michael Foxley, deputy leader of Ardgour Community Council and former leader of Highland Council, said the restrictions had “come as a shock” to local businesses.
He said: “MV Corran left for an overhaul over four months ago and left Maid to continue service.
“Further disruption from an imposed weight limit will have a huge impact on communities and businesses in Ardnamurchan, Morvern and Mull.
“We need to know when the MV Corran is returning and why this overhaul has been so long.”
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/23372957.corran-ferry-weight-restriction-threatens-highland-businesses/?ref=rss Corran ferry weight limit threatens Highland businesses