Yesterday saw quite a bit of disruption on the ferry. It did not sail until 9.30 am, when it was due to leave at 6 am. As a result, the last of the three sailings was cancelled, and thus endeth the summer timetable for Wednesdays and Fridays. It was a very strange sight to see the ferry pull out at 5pm, a time that the boat normally is nowhere near Stornoway. Today, Saturday, there was no such disruption. It was windy, but the sun was out for good periods and it felt fairly mild, 15C / 59F. My visitors departed on the lunchtime ferry, which got up to some very strange shenanigans upon departure. It sailed precisely at 2.30pm, but then I noticed it doing this
It turned back and proceeded to dock alongside the ferry pier. The pedestrian ramp was put up, the vizor went up and the bridge for loading and unloading vehicles came out. After a few minutes, the ferry departed for Ullapool, now half an hour late.
The Isle of Lewis has been on this run since 1995. She is 101m (337 ft) long, 19m (63 ft) wide and has a draught of 4.2m (14 ft). At Stornoway, vehicles board through the bow-vizor, but at Ullapool they disembark through a door in the stern of the vessel. Whilst in the Minch, she does more than 17 knots, a speed that is reduced in Loch Broom, for the last dozen miles to Ullapool. This is to protect the coastline from erosion damage, which could result from her wake.