A New Ferry Company For The Arran Service?

.During 2018 CalMac Ferries to Arran have not had the best of times.

Neither have the islanders. Nor the visitors. Several of whom are going elsewhere. 

Consequently IF CALMAC ARE UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO REMEDY THIS FREQUENT FERRY FAILURE, then a new island based company will look at buying and placing a third ship on the Arran (Ardrossan-Brodick) route.

Please note, the proposed mainland berth is Ardrossan and NOT Troon..

A recent invitation to CalMac managing director to respond to Arran islanders’ concerns in the Arran Banner (here) seeking answers and advice from the iconic ferry company about ongoing breakdowns and cancellations had met with little response.

Fortunately, thanks to the help of the Arran Banner, the CalMac managing director Mr Robbie Drummond has responded with good grace:-



The reply, kindly published by the Arran Banner  concluded the missives on this invitation for the CalMac managing director to visit a public meeting on Arran…


The next step is for those interested in helping repair the current ferry chaos to arrange a suitable venue. More news here soon.


Would You Like Updates?

If you would like us to email you with updates and news, please TEXT your email address and the words “CalMac Arran” to:-

0757 276 8795

Thank you.


Earlier Narrative On This Website.

Persisting CalMac ferry failures have produced nightmare after nightmare for Arran islanders and visitors…


The Herald report of recent CalMac – Arran Ferry Problems: Here

Whilst Arran islanders and visitors await clear and effective answers from CalMac senior CalMac on how to provide a reliable ferry service, a local company, Scotslion Ferries Ltd., are now studying whether to purchase the MV Saturn (here) or similar ships in order to provide an initial freight service to free up dozens of extra car spaces on the main CalMac ferries each day. This would then mean the MV Caledonian Isles mezzanine decks can be properly deployed and not cause dozens of cars to be “bumped” from the booking system every day when vital HGVs compete for deck space…


HGVs Need Ferry Space and Are Vital To The Island of Arran

When a large vehicle is carried on the MV Caledonian Isles, one or both mezzanine extra decks CANNOT be deployed. Two HGVs and the MV Caley Isles car carrying capacity is drastically reduced from the regular 110 vehicles to just 80+ per crossing. In recent years, Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) has greatly exacerbated the problem.


Mezzanine Decks Are a Clever Idea.

But These Suspended Car Stowage Systems Are Lost When HGVs Need Deck Space

A solution to ameliorate both the mezzanine deck and RET problem is to provide a third, freight-only ship into the equation. This is the minimum that is now required for Arran.

CalMac senior management should have acquired a third ship right at the start when RET came in.

With recent events, this third ship solution is an imperative. If CalMac are unwilling, even at this late stage to buy or charter a suitable third ship for Arran, then Scotslion Ferries Ltd., are currently negotiating do so: and with a ship – the MV Saturn, that has previously been licensed, certificated and classed to operate between Ardrossan and Brodick….


MV Saturn: Is For Sale & Has Run The Arran Route (here)

Photo Courtesy of Ocean Hopper

For SIX YEARS CalMac senior management trot out the regular excuse that they ARE looking for extra tonnage but cannot find it…

Click Here To Examine CalMac Management Failure To Find Vessels

No more excuses please, and no more promises that Calmac is looking without any luck. That is on par with CalMac managements disgraceful conduct throwing the reputation of local haulage companies under the bus to deflect criticism from themselves…




CalMac Senior Management Avoiding Blame For Their Mess


Excerpt Courtesy of The Arran Banner

Appreciation To Mr Donald Murchie Jnr., For Confirmation.

Meanwhile, CalMac’s managing director is on record…


Fair play to CalMac’s Robbie Drummond for his act of mea culpa. But time is running out for the state owned operator to remedy this mess and restore the lifeline ferry service.


Robbie Drummond – Managing Director of CalMac

One of the best qualified CalMac chiefs for a generation

Now is the time to prove his maritime mettle.

This most recent dodging of responsibility by CalMac senior management, in wrongly blaming a respected Arran haulier for a CalMac ship breaking down is not acceptable. This disgraceful conduct requires a culture change at the very top. But a blame-avoidance inquiry will be resolved elsewhere, after the reputationally injured party have gone through the legal process.

For now, the Island of Arran residents and visitors are in a perilous situation. Too many hotels and shops have closed, or are at risk of closure. Too many local jobs on the edge of being lost. Because CalMac bosses cannot get a grip. The Herald puts island business incomes falling by 36%…



Reference Source: Click Here

Local businesses on Arran are starting to report lost business…





Contact Page: Click Here 

In addition to the regular breakdowns of an aged ferry fleet, RET has been mishandled by CalMac bosses. If RET is responded to positively and with lateral thought, then Arran can recover many of the lost jobs and also regain some of the businesses that have closed down. Just as importantly, the local folk who have their businesses on the edge of failure now, can have some hope with RET of recovering their livelihood from harm’s way.

 But, a solution to this utter ferry failure must be found. Now. Period.  

If CalMac cannot find a third ship to buy/charter, then build one.

New ships can be built in 12 to 24 months. CalMac have had six years! With Brexit, CalMac and CMAL can now build all of their ships in UK shipyards. Goodness knows we need the jobs. Better still, CANCEL the second newbuild sister ship to the MV Glen Sannox and build FOUR “Arran Class” mid sized ships such as a modern version of MV Hebridean Isles instead. 

In short, a third ship is a productive solution to a problem that is reaching boiling point with many folk who live on, or visit the island. Islanders are already reporting lost business because of the current lifeline ferry mess…


These cancellations by visitors because senior CalMac management are not managing very well, are costing the jobs of local folk on Arran.

The new company Scotslion Ferries Ltd., propose a third ferry between Brodick and Ardrossan (or Troon for freight-only work). To Scotch the rumour, that the proposed third ferry will sail to Troon, this is NOT the case. There may be a debate for the freight-only element to go to Troon, but the preferred mainland port for Scotslion Ferries Ltd., is Ardrossan.


Scotslion Ferries advise that they would much prefer CalMac purchase an extra ship for the Arran run and CalMac to be that operator.

It is a fact that Transport Scotland have offered CalMac more money to do buy or lease extra ships.

If CalMac MD Robbie Drummond and his senior management team continue to fail islanders, then those very same Arran residents will consider buying the necessary ship and start their own additional ferry service. If Andrew Banks, owner of Pentland Ferries can manage a decent secondary ferry service to Orkney, they why can’t Arran have a similar secondary ferry company helping out between Ardrossan and Brodick?


Andrew Banks & Pentland Ferries

Click Here To Look At Amazon’s Offer On This Book

The Scotslion Ferries Ltd., folk would thoroughly recommend that those from Arran who would like to see their ferry service made fit for purpose, consider buying this book about how Orkney has managed to improve its ferry services. Not least, but Andrew Banks still  owns the MV Saturn and is currently looking to sell this ship…


MV Saturn/Orcadia Is Not Ideal For Arran, But Would Be A Useful Stop Gap

Photograph courtesy of Dave Souza

Failure by CalMac – or indeed anyone who cares about Arran to do anything will result in many lost jobs on the island. The latest mess on 9th September 2018 where the last sailing was simply cancelled with little or no warning left young families stuck on the Arran with nowhere to stay.

CalMac Ferries Ltd., receive £100,000,000 EVERY YEAR to keep lifeline ferries going. Senior Management are not using this wisely – if they did, our ferries would work.

The subscribers of this new, third ferry solution emphasise their concern is with senior management at CalMac.

The shoreside staff, officers and crew at CalMac are doing their absolute best to keep the Arran ferries going and working extremely hard to help islanders and visitors.

But without a senior management team that are willing to tackle the repeated ferry breakdowns on Arran for the long term, there are ample qualified crew, sailors, engineers and master mariners living on Arran that are prepared to work for a new ferry company and establish and run their own ferry service.

Th Arran ferry problem is a fairly fluid situation. As “events” move forward we will post updates on this page.

Islanders are hoping that one of the two broken ferries can get back into proper service between Brodick and Ardrossan for more than a couple of weeks without breaking down again.

Rather than just wait for a bad situation to get worse, Scotslion Ferries Ltd., are willing to put their shoulders to the wheel and help find a solution to the current ferry problems. The MV Saturn is not an ideal ship, but it should be examined to see whether this ferry might manage a couple of years further service back on her old Arran route…


MV Saturn’s Interior. The Ship Is Functional. But Not Ideal For Modern Day Service


MV Saturn: 531 Passengers & 38 Cars or HGV Equivalent


The subscribers of this proposed new service between Brodick and Ardrossan want CalMac to run it. Before the usual suspects start their keyboard warrior and trolling, the proof can be seen in these very islanders’ efforts supporting CalMac to run other routes…


Earlier Petition By Scotslion Ferry Subscribers Supporting CalMac

The new company: Scotslion Ferries Ltd., is part of the parent group managed by Scotslion Ltd.

Click Here To See Scotslion’s Parent Groups Main Website


The Scotslion group of individuals have invested in over two dozen projects in the past couple of decades and created more than 100 jobs. They are passionate about turning closed businesses and poor situations around. Especially if it means helping to create more jobs. 

The current proposal by sister company, Scotslion Ferries Ltd., is to purchase the MV Saturn, or similar tonnage…

But ONLY if CalMac FAIL to get their act together.

The Arran Ferry disruption and also the increase in ferry traffic since RET was brought in now needs a solution.

A very good way forward is for CalMac to STOP building overly big vanity ferries, and source a class of modern, medium sized “class” of ship similar to an unpdated MV Hebridean Isles size of ship…


MV Hebridean Isles. 507 Passengers & 68 Cars, or HGV Equivalents

Photo Courtesy of C Kid

For the price of the New MV Glen Sannox, you could buy 5 newbuild versions of the MV Hebridean Isles. Just 4 (plus a backup spare ship) of these size of ferries on the Arran route and that would enable…

> Reliable ferries with sufficient backup/spare ships to cover breakdowns.

> A longer “ferry day”. In other words sailings from 5am to 11pm?

> More frequent ferries. Every hour at peak times?

> No need to book.

> Just turn up and drive onto the next ferry. Max wait, 1 hour.

> No more being left stranded and abandoned in the “unbooked” ferry queue whilst the Arran ferry sails away without you on board. Yes, we all know that feeling!

This website is now asking islanders + visitors + hauliers + island business owners + any and all stake holders for their views please.

You can either send a text to…

0757 276 8795

Or write to:-

Scotslion Ferries Ltd., Ingledene Office, Sannox Bay Hotel, Sannox, Isle of Arran, KA27 8JD.

Please remember, this island based company does NOT want to run a new ferry service between Brodick and Ardrossan, BUT if CalMac SENIOR MANAGEMENT are not prepared to sort out the deteriorating lifeline ferry service to the Isle of Arran, then someone needs to step in and get this remedied.