FERRY services to Arran are to be disrupted till Sunday after one of the two vessels that cover the route was suddenly withdrawn from service while the other suffered ramp damage.

Operator Caledonian MacBrayne said that due to a "technical issue" with the propulsion system the MV Isle of Arran which runs from Ardrossan to Brodick has been forced to lay up to allow repairs to be carried out.

As a result, all sailings operated by the MV Isle of Arran were cancelled from Tuesday to Sunday inclusive.

CalMac admit they are facing "operational challenges" and added: "Communities can be assured we have taken into account anumber of important island events taking place this weekend..."

The MV Caledonian Isles' also sustained damage to both her ramps on Friday,  one of which was repaired over the weekend and the other was due for repair this week.

MV Caledonian Isles’ stern ramp stern ramp repairs have now been put on hold and will operate "single-ended" between Ardrossan and Brodick.

It is understood that only around half of the timetable services between Ardrossan and Brodick will now be running.

It comes a year after Arran ferry services were disrupted for a few weeks in June, last year because of problems with the vessel's engine.

Calmac said at the time that the 33-year-old ferry's engine had suffered significant damage.

The vessel also suffered a serious breakdown in 2016 but under went for a refit over the winter months.

The MV Isle of Arran has been used to provide an enhanced service between Ardrossan and Brodick over the summer months in recent years.

CalMac bosses apologised in May after lengthy repairs to one of its main vessels, the MV Clansman, affected timetables across other parts of the ferry network.

READ MORE: Lifeline to Scotland's islands in jeopardy as ageing fleet faces soaring passenger numbers

HeraldScotland:

The development comes after two new taxpayer-funded ferry vessels, one due to serve Arran, being built at Ferguson Marine Engineering’s shipyard in Port Glasgow on the Clyde were hit by further delays.

One of the ferries, MV Glenn Sannox - which is destined for the Arran-Ardrossan route was due to enter service this summer but construction delays meant that was initially put back to the winter of 2018/19.

Earlier this year, the ship went into dry dock for work on problems with the bulbous bow section.

Ferguson Marine has now confirmed the ship will not be ready until next summer, a full year behind schedule.

Launched by Nicola Sturgeon last November, delivery was delayed from May this year to winter 2018/19, before the latest snag.

The latest postponement was announced by the Scottish Government in a written parliamentary answer.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson later described it as “disappointing”.

Ferguson Marine on the Clyde won a Scottish government contract worth about £97m to build the vessels.

CalMac said MV Caledonian Isles will continue to operate single-ended till September 18 before going for repair and MV Hebridean Isles will be deployed to help take up the slack.

A CalMac spokesman said: "We recognise that these arrangements will impact on a number ofcommunities but customers can be assured we explored a wide range of options before arriving at this plan, which we consider to be the best we can do withthe resources available to us.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and, as ever, are grateful forcustomers’ patience and understanding at this time."
 

All MV Isle of Arran sailings are cancelled as follows:

- From Ardrossan: 0820, 1105 & 1350 From Brodick: 0700, 0945, 1230 & 1515