Tuesday, 6 October 2015

M.V. Caledonian Isles

MV Caledonian Isles    GJC_016769

The MV Caledonian Isles is one of the larger Calmac ships in the fleet and operates in The Firth of Clyde out of Ardrossan Harbour. The vessel plies its trade on the route to Brodick on The Isle of Arran and is capable of carrying 1000 passengers and 110 cars and has a crossing time of 55 minutes. Ardrossan Harbour is served by an hourly rail connection from Glasgow Central with a travelling time of approximately 45 minutes.


It was launched on 25th May 1993 by The Princess Royal and generally sails 5 times a day in each direction.

Brodick Pier  GJC_017176
Brodick Pier

The MV Caledonian Isles was built and completed earlier in the same year by Richards Shipbuilders of Lowestoft, Suffolk. It measures 94 m long and weighs 5200 tons.

Livery  GJC_017082

The route is so busy in the summer season that it has to supplemented by a second older ferry aptly named MV Isle of Arran.

The open sea  GJC_017269
Passing ships !

Photographed later in the day on the return sailing from the MV Isle of Arran.

Time for a quick tour of the ferry ...

Arran Destination  GJC_017096

To say that this trip was the high point of my Ayrshire week was an understatement.
Unfortunately as I had to save the best weather day for the Millport bike ride and I had to accept a weather forecast that only improved after lunch.

Starboard seats  GJC_017092

Needless to say that they weren't many travelling companions joining me outside on a slightly colder day.
Lounge  GJC_017072

Not that there were many more people sitting in the warmer indoor seats on this midweek excursion.

Restricted seating   GJC_017079
Re- painting in Calmac Red haha

Outdoor seating accommodation ... well almost ... when the plastic seats dries out !! 

Black and White Bar   GJC_017112
Black and White Bar  area !
Dining Room  GJC_017113
Extended Dining Room
Childs Play  GJC_017089
Child's play

I don't ever recall seeing a dedicated children's play room on a Calmac ship before but it was a great idea for them to get into the spirit of adventure.


They can start early to train as a captain by the tutoring templates on steering the course of the ship !!

Further practical education can be gained by purchasing a not quite so near inflatable replica for follow up training in the bath .... !!

Take home souvenir  GJC_017105


  1. Hi J, I've had some great trips which have started and ended with a crossing on the Caledonian Isles - the food onboard is always good too!

    Kind Regards

    1. Thanks Ian, although I didn't sample it on this occasion, the service and high quality of Calmac food always seems to be improving.

  2. Quite a majestic vessel! And, some follow up training in the bath is what everyone child needs!

    1. Thanks Michelle. A magnificent vessel to observe leaving from the shoreline. There weren't many children on board in this out of season midweek sailing to sample the delights of maritime training !!

  3. Thanks for this post J......brings back memories of many a good trip spent walking on Arran.

    1. Thanks Trevor, You inspire me to explore further for a repeat visit.

  4. Ah, that looks like so much fun, J! Love the bright blue skies and beautiful ship. The B&W immediately made my mind go to 'Nighthawks' by Edward Hopper. (Why? you ask) No idea, just something about it. That photo is great in B&W.

    1. Thanks Cranberry Morning. Just to say I deleted some text from the pre published draft regarding the first two blue sky images. These were taken on an evening two days before when I went to check out the car parking and ticketing arrangements (There would have been too much varied and confusing information at the start of the post). Shame the weather wasn't as good on the day.
      Checked out the Nighthawks picture and can see that maybe it might have been the restaurant / bar with round tables in low light. It's always good to try something in black and white particularly if the colours aren't very good. I'd love to say it was an original idea with the daylight shining on the ceiling but I've used it before on a previous ferry post MV Isle of Mull.

  5. Great shots and commentary. Mrs B and I dream of island hopping with CalMac. But judging by your photos trade ain't great...

    1. Thanks Mike. To be fair it was a cold mid week out of season day. On the shorter Calmac trips I usually research the locations during the sail and then when everyone starts queueing at the door to get off, I'm on a quick tour of the vacated seats !!

  6. It looks like a nice quiet outing, always more relaxing when there are less people crowded into a small space :-)

    1. Thanks CherryPie, there were a few more people on board that were queuing to get off near the destination in two of the images, but it was nice to travel midweek for a change.


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