Caledonian MacBrayne has issued another warning that major travel disruption is possible over the next few days - as the Met Office upgraded its warning of high winds for Argyll and Bute from ‘yellow’ to ‘amber’.
After disruption to Rothesay-Wemyss Bay ferry services on the weekend of December 14 and 15, the forecast for further strong winds has led to CalMac advising passengers across its Clyde and Hebrides network to consider alternative arrangements as many people make their travel plans for Christmas.
The recent spell of strong winds, gusting to more than 70 mph in places, is expected to continue this week and into next with the possibility of major disruptions to ferry services at times.
A CalMac spokesman said: “As we approach the start of the Christmas holidays we are aware that many people will be finalising their travel plans and would advise ferry travellers to check weather forecasts and consider alternative arrangements in the event that services are disrupted.
“We fully appreciate that many people will be intending to use our ferry services to visit friends and family for Christmas but the safety of passengers, crew and ships is our number one priority.”
The Met Office’s five-day forecast for Rothesay is predicting southerly winds gusting up to 46mph on Wednesday evening, increasing to 64mph from the south-west in the early hours of Thursday.
On Friday winds are expected to pick up towards the end of the day after a lull in the morning, with gusts of between 40mph and 50mph on Saturday easing slightly on Sunday.
The Met Office’s amber (‘be prepared’) wind warning applies to parts of Northern Ireland, western, central and northern Scotland from 9pm on Wednesday evening until 8am on Thursday, when gusts of 70-80mph are expected.
Some heavy rain is also forecast, though the rain and the strongest winds will clear early on Thursday, giving way to blustery and wintry showers.