MV Lord of the Isles

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MV Lord of the Isles Approaching Lochboisdale, 10 May 2017.jpg
Approaching Lochboisdale from Mallaig, 10 May 2017.
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: Lord of the Isles
Owner: Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited
Operator: Caledonian MacBrayne
Port of registry: Glasgow
Builder: Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow
Launched: 7 March 1989, the Clyde
Christened: by Mrs Edith Rifkind, wife of Malcolm Rifkind Secretary of State for Transport
Maiden voyage: 22 May 1989
Status: in service
General characteristics
Tonnage: 3,504
Length: 84.6 m
Beam: 15.8 m
Draft: 3.18 m
Propulsion: Diesel; 2 x Electric Bow Thrusters
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) (service)
Capacity: 505 passengers, 56 cars
Crew: 28
Notes: [2]

MV Lord of the Isles is one of the larger Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited ferries, run by Caledonian MacBrayne and largely operating from Mallaig on the west of Scotland. Built in Port Glasgow, she is the most-travelled vessel in today's fleet.


MV Lord of the Isles, affectionately known as LOTI,[3] was launched on the 7 March 1989 at Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow. Although based at Oban for most of her life, she is able to berth and load traffic all over the Clyde and Hebridean Isles network.


At 85m long MV Lord of the Isles is one of the biggest ships in the fleet. Broadly similar to MV Isle of Mull at the forward end, while her aft end resembles that of MV Hebridean Isles. The car deck, open at the stern, is capable of holding up to 56 cars. She has a vehicle hoist to allow loading at the older piers.

The passenger accommodation provides space for a maximum certificate complement of 506. It consists of lounges, cafeteria, bar and shop on one deck, with an aft observation lounge on the deck above.[4] She is the last vessel in the fleet to have sleeping accommodation for the longer passages.[3]


Entering service in 1989 on the Coll / Tiree and Barra / South Uist routes from Oban, LOTI combined two previous timetables. This freed up both Columba (1964) and Claymore (1978) and allowed a cascade to take place within the fleet. She remained at Oban for nine years, occasionally switching places with MV Isle of Mull on the Craignure crossing and relieving at Uig and Ardrossan.

In 1998 she was replaced by MV Clansman and transferred to Mallaig to replace the veteran MV Iona on the seasonal Skye service. During the winter months she returned to Oban in a relief role. From 2003 to 2016, LOTI returned to Oban, alongside Isle of Mull and Clansman, providing additional sailings on a wide range of routes. With seven islands appearing regularly in her routine, she is easily the most-travelled vessel in today's fleet.[4] She served on the Ardrossan - Brodick route in 2012, while Caledonian Isles went for overhaul.

LOTI was used to commence a trial winter service between Mallaig and Lochboisdale from 2013. Over half of the scheduled trial sailings were cancelled due to adverse weather and tidal conditions.[citation needed] Despite the apparent lack of success, it was announced in September 2015 that she would commence daily return sailings on the route from summer timetable 2016. For the first time, this means that LOTI is now based around Mallaig, not Oban. Lochboisdale no longer has a direct link to Oban, apart from two days a week in Winter, with Mallaig becoming the mainland port. "LOTI" also carries out extra sailings on the Mallaig - Armadale route[citation needed] alongside the 2016 season vessels MV Lochinvar and MV Loch Bhrusda, which had replaced MV Coruisk. This vessel reshuffling has been criticised for the reduced capacity and inadequate passenger accommodation of Lochinvar, with calls for Coruisk to return to Mallaig alongside Lord of the Isles.[citation needed]

During the winter 2016/2017 period, she started serving Oban from Lochboisdale two days a week, alongside her thrice-weekly sailings to Mallaig.

From March 2017, LOTI will be partnered on the Mallaig - Armadale crossing by MV Loch Fyne, the previous smaller vessels being cascaded elsewhere in the CalMac network until Glen Sannox will join Caledonian isles on the Ardrossan-Brodick route and the new ferry will serve the uig triangle in 2019.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Latest AIS for Lord of the Isles". ShipAIS. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "MV Lord of the Isles". Ships of Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Ian McCrorie. CalMac Ferries. CalMac. ISBN 0-9507166-7-7. 
  4. ^ a b "History of MV Lord of the Isles". Ships of Retrieved 29 August 2007. 

External links[edit]