AT LEAST eight lifeline CalMac ferry services have been suspended as high winds hit Scotland.

Winds of up to 65mph were reported in some parts while the Met Office issued weather warnings covering most of Scotland over snow and ice.

CalMac warned of "weather disruption across the network" three days after it introduced sailing cuts on nine routes with services between Mallaig, Invernesshire and Lochboisdale on South Uist suspended until at least January 23. The move came after a surge in the number of staff self-isolating because of Covid.

Meanwhile the Met Office issue yellow warnings over snow and ice from 8pm on Thursday to 11am tomorrow, saying it could lead to road and railways disruption, and longer journey times by road, bus and train.

The weather forecasters said that brief power outages were possible with a risk of isolated lighting strikes.

There is already a yellow warning about snow on force till 4pm, with warnings of a hit on roads, buses and railways.

The new wave of ferry suspensions includes one of Scotland's busiest crossings between Largs and Cumbrae which has been stopped "due to the increasing high winds". A review is expected at 1pm.

A vital alternative route to Arran to the north of the island which has been used as a diversion after continuing issues with the main service to the main village of Brodick was itself suspended this morning due to "adverse weather" and there will be a review at 11.45am.

Sailings to and from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute were also suspended with a review taking place at 12.30pm.

READ MORE: Scots braced for 'thundersnow' as Met Office extend warning to central belt

The ferry to and from the community-owned island of Gigha was suspended two days ago due to issues with weather and sea conditions. It remained suspended on Thursday "due to no improvement in the weather".

The service linking Sconser on Skye and the isle of Raasay was also halted due to winds gusting up to 50mph. A review is expected at 12.15pm.

And the link between Fionnphort on Mull and the historic island of Iona was suspended "due to continuing adverse weather of strong southerly winds". A review is due to take place at noon, but CalMac said further sailings were "highly unlikely" because of the weather forecast.

The service to the small island of Canna was also cancelled.

A passenger charter service linking Barra and Eriskay, brought in after repairs were needed to one of the oldest vessels of the CalMac fleet MV Loch Bhrusda, was itself out of action on Thursday morning.

The Scottish Government-controlled ferry operator had chartered the 12-passenger Karleen Belle earlier this week to take up a tiny amount of the slack to replace the 26-year-old Loch Bhrusda, which can carry 18 cars and 150 passengers.

But that ferry has also suffered disruption since Tuesday when it had to stop as high winds and snow hit travel across Scotland.

A review on that service is expected at 1pm.

Meanwhile the main Arran service to and from Brodick, one of the busiest in Scotland, which suffered a major suspension over the weekend, is again being hit with four sailings cancelled this morning with CalMac reporting winds of 65mph. A review is expected at 12.30pm.

Another of Scotland's busiest crossings to Stornoway, the capital of Lewis and Harris, was also suffering disruption with the vital 3am freight sailing from Ullapool delayed for nine hours. And as a knock-one effect, the 10.30pm sailing from Stornoway was also expected to be delayed.

Passenger services were also hit, with the two sailings cancelled.

CalMac said that the 7.30am service linking Uig on Skye and Lochmaddy on North Uist was also cancelled with services resuming at 11.50am "weather permitting".

Winds of up to 46mph were blamed as four sailings to and from Mull were cancelled on Thursday morning with normal service "expected" at 12.25pm.

High winds have also led to restrictions on some bridges.

According traffic data, the Skye Bridge was expected to be closed to high-sided vehicles till noon. The A1 Tyne Bridge which is subject to a 40mph speed limit was to be shut to high-sided vehicles till 4pm.

A 40mph speed limit has been introduced on the Clackmannanshire Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, Kincardine Bridge.