JUST one of CalMac's ferry services was operating normally on Thursday - after some 19 routes were suspended because of high winds.

Services to and from Rhubodach on the Isle of Bute is the only route to escape unscathed as adverse weather decimated services on the 29 routes run by Scottish Government-controlled ferry operator Calmac.

Among the raft of island ferry services suspended was the ferry operator's busiest to Cumbrae with the last sailings operating at 4.15pm from Largs and 4.30pm from the island.

CalMac's second busiest, from Ardrossan to Brodick on Arran saw all sailings cancelled.

They ferry operator said it had considered providing the service to Gourock but it had been ruled out.

CalMac said it was "not possible due to the weather and conditions" at Gourock port - the usual diversion route - for MV Caledonian Isles".

Some services to and from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, CalMac's third busiest, were cancelled, but the ferry operator did manage to get others diverted to Gourock.

All sailings were cancelled on another of Calmac's busiest routes, to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, including freight services, with warnings of further issues on Friday.

"Cancelling a sailing is a decision we do not take lightly because we know it will inconvenience our customers and the communities we serve," said CalMac. "However, the safety of our customers and crew must come first. In this instance, the master of the vessel has judged it is necessary in response to the assessment of adverse weather conditions."


Among the suspension-hit routes is the service to Lochboisdale on South Uist which has been hit hard with disruptions due to ferry issues since the start of the year.

Also marked as suspended were services to and from Tobermory on Mull, Armadale on Skye, Barra and Eriskay, Coll and Tiree, Iona, Kerrera, Lismore, Beneray, South Uist and the the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna Also out are the the services between Uig on Skye and Tarbert on Harris and Lochmaddy on North Uist, Mull to Iona, and Sconser on Skye to Raasay.

All sailings on the Dunoon to Gourock service were cancelled, to be replaced by a shuttle bus service.

On Wednesday, five lifeline ferry services were suspended over forecasts of high winds.

Just five of 29 routes run by CalMac were offering a normal service by the 5pm on Wednesday.

The Met Office had one yellow weather warning over rain in force for Scotland covering Skye. It said there would be persistent and at times heavy rain which may cause some disruption and flooding in places.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) had three flood alerts covering Skye and Lochaber, Wester Ross and the Western Isles.

It said: "A period of heavy and persistent rain on Thursday into Friday may cause flooding impacts from rivers and surface water on Thursday and Friday. Impacts may include flooding to low-lying land and roads, with difficult driving conditions. Particularly at risk are urban areas and the transport network and some isolated properties may also be at risk."

Problems with the clutch on the 17-year-old MV Bute on Tuesday which caused disruption on the route from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay with a string of service cancellations were resolved on Wednesday afternoon.