The state of Scotland’s ferry services has long been a bone of contention with our readership, particularly with regard to the performance of Caledonian MacBrayne.

There have been some who have been hoping that the west coast network could be broken up when the next set of contracts are awarded in September next year, but last week we noted that it seems probable that Calmac will receive a direct award.

Read Martin Williams' report here 👈

Today, a reader expresses his dismay at the news.

James Bishop of Gigha, Isle of Lewis writes:

"The possible decision that CalMac may be allowed to continue its dysfunction to the inhabitants of the Western Isles is appalling.

Fiona Hyslop suggests this would be a "catalyst for positive change". One wonders quite what parallel universe Ms Hyslop exists in. She has clearly not had to rely on the abject failures and pricings of this woeful organisation. Penalties and conditions will not spur CalMac to energise sloth, inability and financial ineptitude. Whatever the facts (which will never be known, there being too much vested interest) CalMac has been a beacon to abject failure with apparently no embarrassment to the inconvenience (at least) caused to the Western Isles and elsewhere. The Corran ferry fiasco is but one example of complete inability.

There has to be a proper tender and serious conditions set out in the tender document.

If the hand of government is anywhere near the wheel, further failure looms for those needing ferry services.”