FERRY services on one of Scotland's busiest crossing have had to be cancelled due safety issues.

Services on the Ardrossan to Arran service have had to be diverted to Gourock because of what the state-run ferry operator CalMac described as a "safety issue" with a berth.

It said that the Gourock diversion would be in place until it gets assurances from the harbour owner Peel Ports that Ardrossan berth is safe to use.

Passengers were told just after midday on Tuesday that buses have been arranged to allow foot passengers to get between Ardrossan and Gourock.

CalMac told users that six services had been cancelled. And an 11.05am sailing from Brodick would go to Gourock. The 12.30pm sailing to Arran from Ardrossan was diverted to Gourock.

Would-be passengers were told: "We are unable to use the Irish berth at Ardrossan due to current weather conditions caused by wind speeds higher than forecast. Services will use the Irish berth when weather conditions allow.

"While we await assurances from harbour owner Peel Ports that the Arran berth is safe to use, sailings will be diverted to Gourock."

The announcement cause frustration amongst some users.

One said: "The BBC weather is forecasting a maximum wind speed of 11 miles an hour this afternoon.

"Why are there cancellations?

HeraldScotland:

"My daughter is kayaking in Lamlash Bay! Could Calmac commission some? Just a thought!"

Later CalMac said the 3.15pm from Brodick to Ardrossan would depart as planned, but it would dock in the Irish Berth instead of the Arran berth.

Passengers were told they would be required to board and disembark via the car deck in Ardrossan.

"Diverting a sailing is a decision we do not take lightly because we know it will inconvenience our customers and the communities we serve. We apologise for any inconvenience caused," CalMac said.

It comes after 22-year-old MV Hebrides returned to action on Monday after it required repairs to a burst pipe. It meant that services to and from Uig on Skye had been disrupted since Thursday.

Two long-awaited lifeline ferries to serve Scotland's island communities have been delayed by at least five years, while the costs are expected to rise by at least two-and-a-half times the contract price of £97m.

One of the ferries, MV Glenn Sannox - which is destined for the Arran-Ardrossan route was due to enter service in the summer of 2018.

Finlay MacRae, head of operations for CalMac, said: “Due to a safety issue with the Arran berth at Ardrossan, we are currently unable to use it. The alternative Irish berth can be used when weather conditions allow and services will be diverted to alternative mainland ports when this is not possible.

“We have asked harbour owner Peel Ports to provide an assurance that the Arran berth is safe to use.

“Customers are being kept up to date about changes to their journeys and replacement buses are being arranged for foot passengers.”