Caravans, motorhomes and campers barred from standby queues for Scottish ferries

CalMac ferry setting sail

Holidaymakers travelling to the Scottish islands with their caravan, motorhome or campervan must have a reservation in advance to take a ferry.

State-owned ferry company CalMac has made the move to ban leisure vehicles from its standby queues in response to frustration from islanders, who have found the services overwhelmed.

Reduced capacity on the ferries due to the pandemic, as well as a number of breakdowns and cancellations have put extra pressure on the boats between the mainland and the islands.

This has been exacerbated by the uptick in demand for Scottish staycations, as many have taken to caravans and motorhomes instead of trips abroad.

Many ferry routes have been booked up for months and standby queues are reaching unprecedented lengths.

This makes it almost impossible for islanders to make urgent or short-notice crossings to the mainland for essential reasons and supplies.

Islanders who own a leisure vehicle will be exempt from the ban, but the advice is for those without a reservation not to plan to travel.

Local council authorities are also warning motorhome and caravan owners not to expect to pitch up at a campsite on spec, as most are fully booked.

Alasdair Allan, the MSP for the Western Isles, told the Guardian: “I have been receiving reports of motorhomes parking in the standby queues at ports overnight, exploiting the fact they are able to sleep in their vehicles and queue ahead of everyone else.

“This isn’t what the turn-up-and-go tickets are supposed to be for, and I am glad to see this particular loophole closed.”

Larger than usual numbers of people staycationing in leisure vehicles this year due to Covid travel restrictions puts more pressure on local amenities and infrastructure.

It’s up to the caravanning community to make sure they act responsibly and leave no trace behind.




Photo credit: Pixabay/Rogers-Fotodesign