A 'PENCIL-sized' hole in the hull of a car ferry was yesterday being assessed by a surveyor from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency after the vessel briefly ran aground on the north side of Loch Carron, in Wester Ross.

The 43-year-old, Troon-built, six-car ferry, Glenachulish, was involved in the accident on Thursday afternoon as it berthed.

It had been specially commissioned to provide a vehicle service across the Strome Narrows after a landslide closed the A890 along the south side of Loch Carron, shortly before Christmas.

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An MCA spokeswoman said yesterday afternoon: "We've sent a surveyor up from Greenock who will take a look at the vessel and make an assessment of the damage and what needs to be done from there."

Today between 7am and 9am, and 4pm and 6pm, local car-owners will be permitted to access the A890 under supervision and escort.

Jim Coomber, the chairman of the Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company, said: "There's a very small hole in the bow which is being looked at."

In a statement, Highland Council said: "The car ferry service between Lochcarron and Stromeferry has been suspended due to damage to the ferry, which is currently being examined at Lochcarron.

"It is unlikely the service will be able to run today or Saturday."