Crossing Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Regular Ship: Isle of Arran

Ardrossan - Campbeltown

Mainland - Mainland
(Ayrshire - Kintyre)

2013 - Present: Isle of Arran


In 2012 Isle of Arran returned to the Ardrossan - Brodick route as second ferry for the summer. She repeated the exercise in 2013 but with some dramatic changes to her schedule. On Thursday May 23rd, after making a few sailings between Arran and the mainland, Isle of Arran set off for Campbeltown on the first run of a three year trial service to see if there was a demand for the service and whether it would help boost the Kintyre economy. The mainland to mainland crossing took 2 hours 40 minutes and three sailings each way per week were given. Monday to Wednesday Isle of Arran was deployed full time on the second roster on the Brodick service. On a Thursday she sailed in the evening to Campbeltown, remained overnight then returned on Friday morning. After arriving back at Ardrossan on Friday she gave two returns to Brodick and then set out to Campbeltowon again for the night. Saturday morning was a bit different as on her inward call from Campbeltown to Ardrossan she picked up at Brodick. She then remained on the Brodick run until Sunday afternoon. At 1350 on Sunday afternoons she offered a day return service to Campbeltown which became very popular with enthusiasts and day trippers wanting a long sail but staying on the Clyde. On a couple of occasions most years if the wind and tide are right she has been known to circumnavigate Arran on her Sunday excursion making for an excellent day out. Her arrival back at Ardrossan was at 1935. Over the trial period an average of 10,000 passengers and 2,000 cars were carried each year.

The three year trial was deemed to be a success and in 2015 the route became a permanent summer fixture in the CalMac timetable. Being a mainland to mainland crossing, it is often the first route to be delayed or cancelled in the event of the breakdown of a major unit elsewhere in the network.

Since the route was made permanent, Isle of Arran has kept the same timetable every year and the future of the route seems secure and if the original 2013 Scottish Ferry Service Plan there may even be a winter service in the future once the long awaited Glen Sannox enters service. The plan read:

36. Subject to the evaluation of the new pilot service, we could link the new service to the longer-term proposals for Arran[4]. These proposals are to have a second vessel available all year round, with the potential to provide an appropriate level of improved services on the Ardrossan-Brodick route and introduce winter services between Campbeltown and Ardrossan.

As has been seen, of course, the Glen Sannox is very delayed so for now at least an improvement in the service is on hold.

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus in early 2020, all routes saw their services slashed right through to the end of June. It was announced on 26th June, when all other routes saw their increased timetables made public, that the Campbeltown service would not be returning until 2021 at the earliest.

Isle of Arran leaving Campbeltown (Ships of CalMac)

Isle of Arran at Campbeltown (Ships of CalMac)

Isle of Arran heading away from Campbeltown (Ships of CalMac)

Isle of Arran passing Waverley off Campbeltown (Ships of CalMac)

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