Boats seek shelter in bay during storms

Fishing vessel Fair Morn had to be securely fastened to the ‘old dock’ owing to high tides, rough seas and high winds.

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High tides and high winds brought Brodick ferry terminal to a standstill earlier this week with the  MV Caledonian Isles stormbound for the entire day.

With winds gusting from 41 to 45mph all sailings on the CalMac vessels on Monday, other than the first 7am sailing from Ardrossan, were cancelled owing to the weather.

Joining MV Caledonian Isles, which was secured to her usual northern berth with her tell-tale storm ropes, was occasional visitor MV Hebridean Princess, which was berthed on the southern berth but which managed to depart to the sheltered Holy Loch further up the Firth before noon.

An unusual visitor also took refuge in the port when Fair Morn, a 16m fishing vessel en route to Troon, had to make use of the ‘old’ pier where she sheltered from the high winds, rocking from side to side with her crew struggling to secure the vessel in driving rain and rough seas.

Further out at sea, but still making use of the shelter that Brodick Bay provides, Clyde Fisher, a 127m chemical and oil products tanker also waited out the bad weather while en route to Loch Striven.

Owing to MV Caledonian Isles berthing overnight at Brodick, the 7am sailing the following day (Tuesday) was cancelled, but service resumed shortly after that with an improvement in the weather.

Elsewhere on the ferry network, MV Isle of Arran, which was covering timetables for both South Uist and Barra while their ships are away for their annual overhaul, was withdrawn from service on Sunday with a technical issue.

Stornoway ferry, MV Loch Seaforth, also suffered technical issues immediately after her annual overhaul and has had to be withdrawn from service. MV Isle of Lewis, usually deployed in Barra and which was left without a mainland ferry service over the weekend, will serve on the Stornoway route until MV Loch Seaforth is repaired.

CalMac recently announced a £9 million investment for maintenance and repairs to the aging fleet, with the Arran ferry, MV Caledionian Isles, scheduled to benefit from this during her annual refit in January, at Greenock.

MV Caledonian Isles spent the day stormbound in the harbour with MV Hebridean Princess just visible beside her.