FIVE lifeline ferry services have had to be suspended on Wednesday and into tomorrow - as forecasts of high winds cause devastation to CalMac lifeline services.

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

And as many as ten routes are already suspended for Thursday over what CalMac describe as strong winds.

It comes as weather forecasters were predicting unseasonably mild temperatures for Scotland.

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

Service suspensions have hit the routes to and from Coll and Tiree, Armadale on Skye, the Small Isles of Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna and the freight service to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

All sailings have been cancelled on the five routes - and there are already warnings that there could be disruption going into Friday.

Five further services were suspended going into Thursday including two of the west coast's busiest route - to Brodick on Arran and to Stornoway on Lewis.

Also out are the services to and from Barra, Uig on Skye to Tarbert on Harris and Uig to Lochmaddy on North Uist.

There are warnings for nearly all the other routes that ferry services could be cancelled at short notice due to adverse weather.


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.

Just last week, longsuffering Uist islanders were again hit when MV Hebrides, one of CalMac's oldest vessels was taken out of service due to steering problems.

A problem with the port rudder of 22-year-old MV Hebrides meant that the state-controlled ferry operator had to have discussions with the manufacturer and "relevant authorities" before it could return to service.

While there were no weather warnings anywhere in Britain lodged by the the Met Office forecasters, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) warned that strong southerly winds could flood causeways and roads in the Western Isles.

Severe winds combined with high tides could impact both the Eriskay Causeway and the Braighe in the early hours of the morning.

Flood warnings are in force until further notice for these areas, with a less severe flood alert issued across the Western Isles.

Some forecasters were predicting that Scotalnd could actually see its warmest November night on record amid unseasonably mild temperatures.

Thermometers could peak at around 15C or 16C on Thursday during the day in some parts of Scotland, with central and southern parts of Scotland potentially remaining above 14C moving into night-time.

Of the suspensions CalMac said: "Cancelling a sailing is a decision we do not take lightly because we know it will inconvenience our customers and the communities we serve. 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."