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The popular Mallaig to Armadale crossing will be served by additional sailings on a three-year pilot from March 2020 in a bid to extend the tourist season, the Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse has told campaigners on Skye.
The news was announced at a meeting on Friday involving the Islands Minister, constituency MSP Kate Forbes and groups from both sides of the route, including the Sleat Transport Forum, the Road to the Isles Marketing Group and local Highland councillors.
Mr Wheelhouse also confirmed that the Loch Bhrusda will be deployed to Mallaig for extended periods of the winter when it is not being used for refit relief, which is expected to modestly benefit the 2019/20 timetable.
Ms Forbes told us: ‘This commitment is a step in the right direction. I am delighted that Paul Wheelhouse has listened to me and local campaigners who have been pushing for changes to the ferry route.
‘I know that it has been a difficult few years, and it does not look like it is going to dramatically improve immediately.
‘However, there are definitely tweaks that can be made to improve this and I’m delighted that Paul Wheelhouse is willing to consider these.
‘Apart from anything else, it is good to welcome him to meet with representatives from Mallaig and Skye to hear first-hand about the impact of the ferry service on the communities and economies of these areas.’