Peace seems to have broken out over the Corran Ferry with the Highland Council agreeing to halve the 4% fare increase it proposed this year "to enable dialogue to take place pending a long-term solution".

The move has been welcomed by the Free Corran Crossing campaign which for a year has been fighting for the Loch Linnhe lifeline crossing to be declared a part of the national trunk route system, a move which would render the service free of charge.

The campaigners point out that the service connects the remote communities of Ardnamurchan, Morvern and the islands of Mull and Iona to the rest of the mainland, and has seen four price hikes over the past three years, all massively above inflation. The 2014 increases of 25-40% had led to the formation of their campaign,which they argue had to be waged to prevent depopulation.

They have justifiably claimed a victory.

Campaign convenor, local community councillor Tony Boyd, said: "Highland Council are at last listening to local people and realise that fragile communities with significant areas of rural deprivation cannot continue to suck up the incessant increases being imposed on a service which is our main connection to the outside world.

"Both council and government are duty-bound to support the infrastructure of outlying areas, and we see this as an opportunity now for Highland and the Scottish Government to work with these local communities and take a proactive role in creating a secure, imaginative and sustainable future for the crossing.

"We applaud our local councillors for coming together to defend their own communities, and we look forward to a constructive dialogue with Highland Council and the Scottish Government, as has been promised."

It is right that the role played by the likes of Ardnamurchan and Fort William councillor Thomas Maclennan, who is chairman of the Lochaber area committee, is recognised.

But credit should also be given to Dingwall councillor Graham Mackenzie who chairs Highland's Community Services Committee, which has responsibility for the ferry service.

Some of his colleagues in the SNP/LibDem/Labour administration had already signed an amendment which would have meant, the council "approve a 4% per annum increase in Corran Ferry fares from April 1 2015; and note that annual increases of 4% are likely to be required for the following two years (2016/17 and 2017/18)".

The coalition's majority could have ensured this passed, but Mr Mackenzie, the former head of Dingwall Academy, came up with his alternative proposals which he had worked on with Mr Maclennan and other local representatives.

These also include community consultation on alternative ways to reduce costs and a robust business plan which in the short-term focuses on savings and efficiencies and in the longer term explores the potential of renewable energy in a fixed crossing.

But top of the list is to establish "what specifically is the State Aid block to this crossing being subsidised?" Any reader of this blog will be weary of it banging on about the fog that surrounds the European Commission and state aids when it comes to Scottish ferries. Suffice it to predict today that councillors will get many opinions and assurances, but they will still be left wondering.

However, the commitment to explore "the potential of renewable energy in a fixed crossing" is exciting. A bridge or causeway across the Corran Narrows with tidal turbines is exciting.

After all Professor Peter Fraenkel won the 2013 Saltire Prize for his work which included the world's first electricity-generating turbine proven at the Corran Narrows 20 years ago.

Perhaps in the not too distant future the Free Corran Crossing campaigners will be able to look with pride at a bridge/causeway which is not only free but earns money for their communities every time the tide floods and ebbs.