Winter arrives as MV Coruisk takes up Rothesay station

MV Coruisk took up station as the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay relief ferry on Monday, allowing first MV Bute and then MV Argyle to go for overhaul.
MV Coruisk took up station as the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay relief ferry on Monday, allowing first MV Bute and then MV Argyle to go for overhaul.

Winter has well and truly arrived - on Rothesay’s ferry service at least - after the arrival of MV Coruisk for her annual spell of relief service on the Wemyss Bay route.

The Coruisk arrived on the Clyde on Sunday evening after journeying south following the end of her summer service between Mallaig and Armadale, and took up the Rothesay service with the 0625 sailing to Wemyss Bay on Monday morning.

The ‘sheltered water vessel’, launched from the Appledore yard in Devon in 2003, provides relief cover each year while the two regular Rothesay ships, MVs Bute and Argyle, receive their annual overhauls.

MV Bute, the first of the two ‘resident’ ferries to go for overhaul, departed only a day after a technical problem kept her out of service until mid-afternoon on Saturday, leaving MV Argyle to handle all the route’s passenger and vehicle traffic on her own.

A CalMac spokesperson said: “MV Bute was taken out of service while divers, who were called out as a precautionary measure, checked propellers for a rope that was feared might have been drawn into them. This was done because the consequences of getting a rope entangled in the props can be very serious and lead to prolonged delays and cancellations.

“Fortunately the propellers were clear and the service resumed later. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The spokesperson also said the date of MV Bute’s overhaul had been planned well in advance and had not changed as a result of Saturday’s disruption.

The Coruisk, meanwhile, faces a busier Clyde winter than in previous years: after acting as overhaul cover on the Rothesay route, she’ll be deployed in a passenger-only capacity between Gourock and Dunoon, on charter to Argyll Ferries and in response to protests from Cowal residents unhappy at the service provided by the route’s two passenger vessels, Argyll Flyer and Ali-Cat.