A ferry service linking Kyle and Kyleakin could be up and running next week - less than a year after Caledonian Macbrayne were told they were not allowed to continue their service between the two ports.
Local man John MacRae, and his son Evander, plans to start up a summer passenger only service and are awaiting word back from the Marine Safety Agency, a part of the Department of Transport. Their boat, the Heather, has already passed one of the agency's surveys on hull integrity and powerplant. On Monday, the Agency will carry out a survey on life saving appliances and crew competence in using them. If the survey is passed, they hope to start the service as soon as possible - maybe even on Monday afternoon!
The Heather is capable of carrying 50 passengers on the five minute crossing between the eastern slipway near the railway in Kyle and the southside of the old CalMac slipway pier in Kyleakin. The boat will be crewed by two former CalMac ferry employees who were made redundant last year when the ferry was taken off the run.
The cost for a single fare will be £1 and a return of £1.50. However, for locals and children the fare will be 50p and £1 return. John, who currently works as a skipper on board ships at the nearby BUTEC Torpedo testing base, says there has been a lot of interest from bus tour operators and he hopes it will attract more tourists back into Kyleakin, which has been bypassed by the new bridge. "If I can have it working as a good wee business employing locals and bring in more people to Kyleakin I will be quite happy", he said.
Copyright © Ray Shields, 1996.
Most recent revision, 26 June 1996.