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 the CalMac fleet.


MV Lord of the Isles, affectionately known as LOTI,[3] was launched on 7 March 1989 at Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow. Although based in Oban and Mallaig, 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, Lord of the Isles 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, LOTI was replaced by MV Clansman and transferred to Mallaig, replacing 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 range of routes. With seven islands appearing regularly in her routine, she is easily the most-travelled vessel in today's fleet.[4] She has also served at Wemyss Bay over the May Day holiday weekend in 2004[4] and on the Ardrossan - Brodick route in 2012, while Caledonian Isles went for overhaul.

From 2013, Lord of the Isles ran a trial winter service between Mallaig and Lochboisdale. 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 LOTI would commence daily return sailings on the route from the summer timetable in 2016. Once again based in Mallaig rather than Oban, she also carried out extra sailings on the Armadale route[citation needed] alongside the 2016 season vessels, MV Lochinvar and MV Loch Bhrusda, which had replaced Coruisk. This vessel reshuffling was criticised for the reduced capacity and inadequate passenger accommodation of Lochinvar, with calls for Coruisk to return to Mallaig alongside Lord of the Isles.[5]

Since the winter of 2016/17, Lord of the Isles started serving Oban from Lochboisdale on Mondays and Fridays, alongside her thrice-weekly sailings to Mallaig.[6] On Mondays, from Oban she makes an afternoon return crossing to Colonsay, before returning to Lochboisdale in the evening.[citation needed]

Since the summer of 2017, Lord of the Isles was partnered with MV Loch Fyne on the Mallaig - Armadale ferry crossing;[7] the previous smaller vessels were cascaded elsewhere in the CalMac network. This arrangement is expected to continue until the new Glen Sannox enters service on the Ardrossan-Brodick crossing in summer 2020 partnering Caledonian isles.[8]

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 c "History of MV Lord of the Isles". Ships of Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  5. ^ Sofiane Kennouche (13 May 2016). "Petition demands return of Mallaig to Skye ferry". The Scotsman. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  6. ^ "CalMac announces new routes for winter timetable". CalMac. 18 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  7. ^ "CalMac unveil summer timetables for 2017 - increased capacity on Mallaig - Armadale service". CalMac. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  8. ^ "New Arran Ferry set to launch next June - government confirms". Ardrossan Herald. 15 August 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Lord of the Isles (ship, 1989) at Wikimedia Commons