AN IRATE CalMac customer has vowed never to use the “appalling” ferry service again after several cancelled return sailings from the Isle of Arran to Ardrossan left her feeling “exhausted and traumatised”.

Sam Devine-Turner’s week-long holiday on the island ended with a “nightmare experience” when her planned trip from Brodick back to the mainland on Sunday morning, June 26 was halted.

Six scheduled sailings departing the island were scrapped due to adverse weather conditions, while a medical emergency onboard the 3.15pm sailing led to further delays.

And even when additional journeys were offered by the transport company later in the day, Sam - from Shrewsbury - was unable to secure a slot on a first come first served basis.

“I was, already, incredibly frustrated and worried that I wouldn’t be back in time for work on Monday,” she said in a scathing email to CalMac bosses, “with a six-hour drive onwards upon arriving at Ardrossan.

“Oh and not to mention, the text I got at 10.56am telling me that the 11.05am service was cancelled. Brilliantly useful, thanks.”

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After repeatedly returning to the terminal and parking in the vehicle queue in the hope of getting a place on the next departing service, only to be met with disappointment each time, Sam’s frustrations began to reach boiling point.

The ecologist and wildlife educator said: “Restaurants are better able to manage waiting customers with a flashing light system than your national ferry company is.

“And by the way, as it’s clearly not something your company has thought about; your departure lounge has absolutely no considerations nor regard for people with neurodivergent differences.

“For people who struggle immensely with last minute changes to plans, and with waiting around without knowing what is happening, to then have to deal with sensory challenges like large groups of people, humid departure lounges, scratchy tannoy messages, incredibly uncomfortable seats, only serves to push them closer to meltdown.”

After eating a cold tin of beans in her car for dinner, “defeated and broken” Sam, 32, burst into tears before finally landing a spot on the 7.20pm ferry, eventually staying overnight at a hostel in Moffat.

Sam added: “Of course, by this point, there’s no way I can get back to Shropshire in time for work the next day, nor would I be in a fit state to with regards to physical and emotional exhaustion, near meltdown, and feeling traumatised and highly anxious.

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“The weather itself - rain and wind - is not [CalMac’s] fault, obviously (as the initial man in the terminal felt important to remind me). But the way your company decides to respond to poor weather, and the fact that one of your ferries broke down, and the absolutely nonsensical ‘system’ (if you can call it that) of managing cancelled/waiting/queuing customers, and your overall service is your fault, and in my experience, has been beyond appalling.

“It has left me exhausted, traumatised, and economically burdened, too.”

Sam’s extensive complaint to CalMac, copied into the Herald, includes a bill for her outgoings during the day of disruption, plus a section titled ‘emotional damages’ which has been left blank.

Her invoice, totalling more than £320, includes £17.20 for breakfast, £10.84 for snacks and £90.25 for her ‘time’.

A spokesperson for CalMac told the Herald: “We apologise to all our customers who were impacted by the severe weather disruption to our services which took place on June 26.

“In addition staff had a medical emergency with a customer on that day which required to be dealt with as a priority.

“Miss Devine-Turner has made a number of complaints relating to the cancellations on June 26 and the impact on her journey. We will investigate as quickly and as fully as possible and write to her as soon as these are completed.”