Loch Striven

Gaelic Name:

Type:

Callsign:

IMO:

MMSI:

Launched:

Acquired:

Steel MV

MESXG

8512293

232003376

8th May 1986

Entered Service:

Disposed:

N/A

Loch Sroigheann

DIMENSIONS

Length:

30.2m

Draught:

Breadth:

1.5m

10m

Gross Tonnage:

CAPACITIES

Passengers:

Cars:

Crew:

Lifeboats:

203

12

4

RIB and inflatable liferafts

Current / Last Route

4th July 1986

206

DETAILS

Ordered By:

Cost:

Registered:

Launched by: 

Named after:

Caledonian MacBrayne

Glasgow

A Loch towards the North of Bute

TECHNICAL

Builders:

Richard Dunston (Hessle) Ltd

Yard No:

952

Engine Builders:

Volvo-Penta, Sweden

Machinery:

6-cyl 2x Voith-Schneider Propellers

Speed:

9

Hoist & Lifts:

FACILITIES

Passenger lounges
Toilets

ROUTE TIMELINE

1986 - 1997: Largs - Cumbrae Slip
1998 - 2013: Sconser - Raasay
2013 - present: Oban - Lismore
Additional:
Tarbert - Portavadie / Lochaline - Fishnish / Fionnphort - Iona / Colintraive - Rhubodach / Tarbert - Lochranza

History

Loch Striven’s history goes back to the early 1980s when the order for four new drive-through ferries was placed with Dunston’s of Hessle on the Humber. For years previously a number of routes had seen traffic levels build up steadily and were now at the point where the small ferries that were used could no longer cope with demand. Prime examples of this were the Largs – Cumbrae Slip, Lochranza – Claonaig, Colintraive – Rhubodach and Fishnish – Lochaline routes.
The new ferries were modified versions of the Isle of Cumbrae, at that time operating the Cumbrae route on her own. Their overall size was roughly the same as the 1977-built vessel, however their car decks were only wide enough to take two lanes of vehicles as opposed to three. The space that would have been allocated for the third vehicle lane, on the port side of the ships was actually given over to a second passenger lounge in addition to that on the starboard side. This modification reduced car capacity to 12 but increased passenger capacity to around 200.

The new ferries were modified versions of the Isle of Cumbrae, at that time operating the Cumbrae route on her own. Their overall size was roughly the same as the 1977-built vessel, however their car decks were only wide enough to take two lanes of vehicles as opposed to three. The space that would have been allocated for the third vehicle lane, on the port side of the ships was actually given over to a second passenger lounge in addition to that on the starboard side. This modification reduced car capacity to 12 but increased passenger capacity to around 200.

The first of the four new ferries was named Loch Striven after the small loch that lies to the north of Bute. Her delivery voyage saw her leaving the Humber and proceeding up the east coast of England and round to Inverness. From there she passed through the Caledonian Canal – being just about the widest boat that could squeeze through – and down into Loch Linnhe and around to the Clyde.

Upon her arrival on the Clyde the Loch Striven conducted berthing trials at various ports before entering service on 4th July 1986 on the Largs – Cumbrae Slip crossing, partnering the isle of Cumbrae. The new vessel meant that a greatly enhanced service to Cumbrae could be offered, with a departure from either terminal every 15 minutes.

After one month in service her partner was transferred away to the Western Isles for further service and Loch Linnhe, the second of the new ferries, having taken the same delivery route and spent four weeks on the Fishnish – Lochaline crossing, arrived on the Clyde and joined the Loch Striven in keeping the Cumbrae Slip route open.

Occasional relief or back up duties saw her covering on the Colintraive – Rhubodach crossing in lieu of or to assist the Loch Riddon and in the mid 1990s she was used on the new winter service between Tarbert and Portavadie on Loch Fyne, in addition to carrying out tanker runs from Tarbert to Lochranza on Arran. The partnership of Loch Striven and Loch Linnhe remained on the Cumbrae run for over ten years until the pair were split up in 1997. A cascade of vessels had taken place due to a new arrival in the Western Isles and the Loch Striven was replaced by the third of her type, Loch Riddon. She herself moved north and took control of the short crossing from Sconser on Skye to Raasay, replacing the Island Class ferry Raasay. This move brought about an increase in capacity to this route as well as eliminating the need for drivers to master the art of reversing on or off the ferry.

Over the next 15 years Loch Striven enjoyed a leisurely routine, seldom deviating from the Raasay route other than for her annual overhauls. During her time there she saw her regular overnight berth become condemned as unsafe and a new purpose-built terminal to the north was built to ensure the long term continuity of the crossing. Although the crossing length increased to 25 minutes, this was far outweighed by the shelter provided by the new breakwater up at Churchton Bay.

Inevitably the Raasay route went the way of so many others and Loch Striven's 12-car capacity started to see traffic being short-shipped by 2010. For this reason the Raasay route was chosen to be the first to benefit from the new hybrid class of ferries, and so it was that in 2013 Loch Striven was displaced for the second time in her career, this time by the larger Hallaig.

The third stage in Loch Striven's career saw her taking over the Oban - Lismore crossing from the faithful old Eigg. Whilst Loch Class ferries had provided occasional cover on the route, the arrival of Loch Striven saw the end the last route in the network upgraded to full drive-through operation. There were initial problems associated with the ramps landing on the slipways at Oban and Lismore and Eigg did see continued service as a back-up. At one point Loch Striven had to venture back to the Clyde for substantial repairs and adjustments to her ramps after it was reported that cracks had appeared in the steel plating. Happily these did not become a recurrent problem and Loch Striven remained in place, completing her third decade in service in 2016. Tidal issues did necessitate regular adjustments to her timetabled sailing times however, as with other routes and sailings would be put back or brought forward by an hour or so as dictated by the tides.

Loch Striven on a run to Cumbrae with Loch Tarbert at Largs (Jim Aikman Smith)

Loch Striven passing through Fort Augustus (Jim Aikman Smith)

Loch Striven and Loch Buie at Fionnphort (Iain McPherson)

Loch Striven at Raasay's new terminal (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven and Loch Dunvegan at Lochaline (Iain McPherson)

Loch Striven at Raasay's old slipway (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven relieving at Tarbert, Loch Fyne (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven entering Loch Sligachan (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven leaving Sconser (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven at Raasay (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven at Fishnish (Jim Aikman Smith)

Loch Striven crossing to Raasay (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven and Lord of the Isles off Kerrera (Ships of CalMac)

Loch Striven in Oban Bay (Ships of CalMac)

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