MV Loch Alainn

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MV Loch Alainn arriving at Largs
MV Loch Alainn arriving at Largs
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: MV Loch Alainn
Namesake: Lochaline, Morvern
Owner: Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited
Operator: Caledonian MacBrayne
Port of registry: Glasgow
Route: Ardmore, Barra to Eriskay
Builder: Buckie Shipbuilders Ltd[1]
Cost: £
Yard number: 110
Launched: 4 April 1997
Completed: 1997
In service: 19 July 1997
Status: in service
General characteristics
Class and type: ro-ro vehicle ferry
Tonnage: 396 GT[3]
Length: 41.0 m (135 ft)[1]
Beam: 13.4 m (44 ft)[1]
Draft: 1.73m
Installed power: Machinery: Cummins KT38M diesel engines
Propulsion: Voith Schneider propulsion units
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Capacity: 150 passengers and 20 cars
Crew: 4

MV Loch Alainn is a Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited ferry built in 1997 and operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. Berthing problems on the new service from Fishnish to Lochaline meant she was soon replaced by MV Loch Fyne. After a decade of service at Largs, she now operates across the Sound of Barra.


Loch Alainn was built for the new service from Fishnish to Lochaline.[4] Launched in April 1997, she entered service in July. After just three weeks on her intended route, she developed a serious engine failure and was towed to dry dock on the Clyde, never to return to her intended route.[4] In January 1999, she lost steering power approaching Largs slipway and was blown into the pier. Superficial damage required further time off for repairs.


Loch Alainn is essentially a larger version of the 1996 MV Loch Bhrusda.[4] Her car deck can take four lanes of cars, with a passenger lounge on the starboard side and an open deck directly above that. The bridge is suspended over the car deck.[4]


Loch Alainn entered service in July 1997, on the ColintraiveRhubodach route, allowing MV Loch Riddon to move to Largs. After a short while she moved to the Sound of Mull to take over her intended route, the Fishnish – Lochaline crossing, while MV Isle of Cumbrae moved south to Colintraive. With a slightly deeper draught than her predecessor, she had problems at low tide at Fishnish.[4] Her ramps required modification soon after her arrival. After just three weeks, she broke down with a serious engine failure and was towed to dry dock on the Clyde.[4]

MV Loch Alainn at Rothesay pier

After repairs, Loch Alainn re-entered service on the Colintraive service in February 1998.[4] She then moved to Largs, becoming the main Cumbrae vessel from 14 May, with MV Loch Riddon joining her through the summers. For a decade, until June 2007, she provided this service, with relief for overhaul from MV Loch Tarbert.[4]

In 200x Loch Alainn provided an emergency, round-the-clock service on the Tarbert - Portavadie crossing, following a landslide which completely blocked the A83 road north of Tarbert, leaving Kintyre isolated.[4]

Early in 2007, she underwent successful berthing trials at Ardmhor and Eriskay in the Western Isles. She was replaced at Largs, by the new MV Loch Shira and left the Clyde on 2 July.[4] Loch Alainn became the dedicated Sound of Barra ferry, replacing the MV Loch Bhrusda on this increasingly busy route. In winter months, she became the Loch Class relief ferry, covering the overhauls of MV Loch Fyne (Lochaline - Fishnish), MV Loch Dunvegan (Colintraive - Rhubodach) and MV Loch Shira (Cumbrae).[4]


  1. ^ a b c "MV Loch Alainn". CalMac. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Ships Index: L6". World Shipping Register. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Loch Alainn". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "History of Loch Alainn". Ships of Calmac. Retrieved 19 December 2009.