1963 / 1973
1969 / 1985
Current / Last Route
David MacBrayne Ltd.
Applecross is a settlement on the Applecross Peninsula.
Bergius Kelvin Co. Ltd., Glasgow
Kelvin Diesel J.4; re-engined 1964
Hoist & Lifts:
1964 - 1965: Kyle - Toscaig / Kylerhea
1965 - 1969: Iona Flit Boat to MacBrayne ships
1969 - 1973: Fionnphort - Iona (Not owned by MacBrayne during this time)
1973 - 1979: Fionnphort - Iona
1979 - 1981: Spare
1981 - 1985: Tobermory - Mingary
Anxious to curb the heavy losses on the lifeline service from Kyle to Toscaig (for Applecross peninsula) MacBraynes at the end of 1963 bought the wooden motor-launch Highlander from its Glenelg owner. The craft had previously belonged to Bruce Watt of Mallaig and it was hoped she would be a much more cost-effective vessel on the Applecross service than Loch Toscaig.
Suitably renamed and refitted, Applcross emerged in January 1964, in the MacBrayne small craft livery – red, with a pale blue boot-top. She made her first Toscaig run on 20th January and, in addition to her mail and supplies service, offered morning cruises from Kyle of Lochalsh three forenoons a week during summer. She also began a new mail-run, three days per week, to Kylerhea, thus relieving Loch Seaforth of her call at Glenelg.
In spring 1965 Applecross relieved on the Tobermory-Mingary route – by this time her cabin had been rather shortened – and then joined the Iona flitboat fleet in succession to Staffin, which had repaired to Eigg to serve as flitboat there. David MacBrayne Ltd had now successfully extricated themselves from the Toscaig run and that contract was assumed by Messrs MacLean and MacRae, with such launches as Vial Spark and Puffin, until 1972 saw the opening of a new, coastal road to Applecross.
Applecross was sold to Mr Alasdair Gibson of Fionnphort in 1969 – he operated the short Fionnphort-Iona ferry crossing – but rejoined the Company in 1973, after they took over that service from 1st October 1972. She lost her cabin entirely but acquired a wheelhouse over the engine casing! In addition to passengers Applecross had on occasion to carry livestock and even, by use of planks and the stuff of Homeric epic, the very odd car.
The Company were anxious to provide a proper car ferry service to Iona but for various reasons – not least the resistance of sentimentalists – this was delayed until 1979 and to this day is confined to residents' and essential commercial vehicles only.
After a couple of relatively idle years Applecross took over the Tobermory-Mingary service from Lochnell in 1981 and also served as tender at Tobermory to ships too substantial to call at its pier – and indeed to all vessels, while the pier was rebuilt between 1984 and 1985. Though a very basic canvas-topped shelter was added by way of improvement She was not a success on the Mingary run – which by now was a seasonal route - and her open, rather vulnerable appearance reportedly put off many tourists.
Scheduled to be replaced on the station by the 1973 bowloader Coll, Applecross was sold back to Mr Gibson – who had removed to Lochbuie from Fionnphort – on 25th October 1985, for his private use.