FERRY users have blasted CalMac for the "ridiculous" delays to the commencement of the Campbeltown to Ardrossan route.

It comes after the ferry operator confirmed further delays for the seasonal service, which was originally due to start back in early May of this year.

However, in April, CalMac confirmed that due to a number of operational issues, the return date had to be pushed back until the beginning of June.

In a further update this week, the company has said the service will now be "unable to commence" the Campbeltown service from Ardrossan.

It is not expected that the service will be in operation until at least June 30.

A CalMac spokesperson said: "It is with regret that as a result of vessel availability, we will be unable to commence our seasonal Campbeltown services until, and as things currently stand, until June 30.

"This is later than previously communicated, and I do apologise for this. We are in the process of contacting all affected customers."

It is understood that this delay has been caused as the MV Isle of Arran, which would usually service the Arran-Brodick sailings, remains deployed on Islay service throughout June whilst the MV Finlaggan undertakes her delayed annual overhaul in Leith.

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The MV Alfred will support the MV Caledonian Isles on the Ardrossan-Brodick route until the return of the MV Isle of Arran, however due to the maximum crew operating day limitations she cannot operate to Campbeltown in June.

Furthermore, extensive ramp modifications are required to permit a full range of traffic operating at Campbeltown port, the assessment of the scope of works required and timeline for delivery are ongoing.

CalMac say that vessel deployment plans beyond June 29 will remain under review based on the wider network needs.

It is a decision that has left typical users of the Campbeltown service frustrated.

Upon hearing the news, many blasted the "ridiculous" decision which has left many feeling like they are losing out.

One person commented: "This sailing is an absolute joke, every year its the same, the contract should be given to a company that is reliable and won't pull the service for the slightest thing. Businesses and people in Campbeltown losing out once again."

Though another added: "Sorry to see this, but you have to understand that CalMac's priorities are to provide services to the Islands and the Campbeltown service will always be sacrificed in this situation!"

The alternative routes from Ardrossan to Campbeltown would see those wishing to make the journey have to get the ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick before driving to Lochranza.

From there, they can get a ferry to Claonaig before driving around 30 miles to Campbeltown.

The other alternative is to drive over 100 miles around, a journey which takes in the region of three-and-a-half hours, from Ardrossan to Campbeltown.