Timeline of New Year ferry misery

Cars and foot passengers finally get away on the MV Catriona from Lochranza.

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Many visiting family for the New Year and other visitors were left stranded after just one boat sailed from Brodick on Thursday January 2.

With both the MV Caledonian Isles and the MV Isle of Arran berthed at Brodick over the New Year the first boat able to leave Arran was the 11.05am which despite atrocious conditions at Ardrossan was able to dock.

It was to be the last boat of the day and the start of week of major disruption.

Friday saw long queues on Brodick shorefront and, with priority being given do displaced traffic from the day before, tempers flares as other drivers were turned away causing traffic chaos, which eventually saw the police arrive to try and sort out the situation.

In a bid to clear the backlog the MV Isle of Arran did four extra sailings last Friday and is now being supported on the route by the MV Hebridean Isles while the MV Caledonian Isles is in dry dock in Dales in Greenock for her two week annual refit until January 20.

By Sunday with the weather still failing to improve sufficiently and with many visitors due to return to work on Monday, CalMac tried to get people off the island with a shuttle service between Lochranza and Claonaig.

This led to long queues of traffic through Lochranza on Sunday which amounted to more than 150 at one stage with the Lochranza Centre opening specially to provide tea, coffee and snacks to those waiting – some for more than four hours.

CalMac say they were able to accommodate 154 of 217, leaving the rest stranded until Monday afternoon when the first ferry made it out of Brodick.

However, worse was still to come. With planned additional sailings already cancelled it was announced on Monday afternoon that all sailings on Tuesday were cancelled due to the forecast winds and high seas.

Service returned to usual on Wednesday, albeit on a yellow alert – liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice and two addition sailings were  undertaken by MV Isle of Arran.

Further weather related disruption is expected over the weekend and into the middle of next week with high winds predicted to gust at up to 64 mph until Wednesday.