Harbour News – June 2018

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Cruise Ships

There were three cruise ship visitations by the French owned “Le Boreal” last month, Saturday 12th May; Thursday 24th May, and Saturday 26th May.

This is the third successive year that “Le Boreal” has called at the Port of Mallaig with the holidaymakers on board either being picked up or dropped off so that they can enjoy the delights of the steam train journey on the West Highland Line.

There was one further visit by a cruise ship, the 156 metre “MV Silver Cloud” operated by Silver Sea Cruises, Fort Lauderdale, anchored off the port on Friday 25th May awaiting the embarkation of its 300 plus passengers who had enjoyed a trip on the steam train.

No other cruise ship visitations are planned for 2018.

New Vessel

Congratulations to Joe Blower and the Western Isles team on the arrival of their new passenger ferry, the 14m long “Larven”.  The “Larven” built by Powerglide in Wadebridge, Cornwall is licensed to carry 42 passengers plus 3 of a crew and it’s expected to take up service at the start of the month.


Local fish merchant Mr Andy Race stepped down from the Authority in April of this year having served a period of twenty eight years as a Board Member of the Mallaig Harbour Authority.

Andy was duly elected onto the Board of the Authority in 1990 to represent “other harbour users” and on the 1st June 1990 attended his first meeting!  Sitting around the table with him on that day were Michael Currie, Peter Downie, Willie Jack (all Mallaig & North West Fishermen’s Association): Charlie King and Michael Foxley (Highland Regional Council); Charlie MacGillivray and Cpt RCS Campbell (Caledonian MacBrayne); Charlie Sinclair (British Rail); and Willie Sutherland (Scottish White Fish Producers).

A presentation in honour of his 28 years with the Authority will be made to Mr Andy Race later this year!

Taking over from Andy will be Mr Jim Wilson, an ex Morar resident who now lives in Pitlochry.


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Water Supply disruption Monday 21st/Tuesday 22nd May

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To All Harbour Users

Water Supply disruption Monday 21st/Tuesday 22nd May

Due to the Authority having to comply with Scottish Water Bye-laws, a new non return water valve needs to be fitted to the Harbour water supply system.

Work to install this valve will be carried out later this month and will necessitate an overnight break in the water supply throughout the harbour area, Monday evening 21st May to early morning Tuesday 22nd May.

Robert MacMillan


Harbour News May 2018

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Mallaig Harbour News: May 2018

Passenger Ferry Pontoon

Plans are well in hand for the construction of a passenger ferry pontoon/walkway in the Inner Harbour.  This will replace the existing wooden steps and make future access to the small passenger ferries much safer and much more user friendly particularly for the elderly and infirm.

With no objections raised following the advert placed in The Oban Times on Thursday 1st March 2018, Marine Scotland has subsequently granted the Authority a licence to carry out the necessary works.

Construction is expected to commence October/November 2018.

Marina Day

In 2015 Marina Sant Carles, Spain, introduced an annual open day to attract the public, create a customer event and seek better integration with the local town and its businesses.  The event was a huge success for all concerned and was quickly adopted by the rest of the marinas in Catalonia.  In 2017 the event was adopted by the whole of Spain and is now firmly established in the annual calendar.

So why shouldn’t Mallaig Marina host its own Marina Day?  That’s exactly what we are going to do and it’s on Saturday 9th June 2018.  Hopefully the weather will be kind and, helped by local marina users, local lifesavers and other local groups, a fun day of “street fair” type attractions with music, BBQ, boat trips etc will hopefully ensue!

Put it in your diary 11am to 4pm on Saturday 9th June 2018!


As stated in previous West Words, the Mallaig Harbour Authority is 50 years old this year, and we are planning some celebratory event possibly in the Mallaig & Morar Community Centre in September for harbour stakeholders.  Once our plans are finalised they will be published in West Word and on our web-site.

My quest for photographs of the harbour and harbour related events goes on so if you do have any photographs of Mallaig Harbour covering the period 1968 to present I would be obliged if you could send them to me. (They will be returned).

Here is one taken on the 30th May 1986 on the occasion of the opening of the Breakwater Extension to the Steamer Pier by Lord Gray of Contin, Minister of State for Agriculture and Fisheries at the Scottish Office.

Left to right:  Michael Currie, Harbour Chairman; Mgr MacInnes; G. Gordon Jackson, Former Harbour Secretary; Sir Russell Johnston MP and Lord Gray.  To mark the occasion young Roslyn Currie (7) presented Lord Gray with a night time photograph of Mallaig Harbour.  Harbour Authority Board Members and Senior Staff as at 1st May 1986 were as follows:-

Chairman:                                                        Michael Currie

Vice-Chairman:                                              Charles King

Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd:                        Capt R C S Campbell

Charles MacGillivray

British Railways Board:                                Clive Evans

Highland Regional Council:                         Councillor T Kirkwood

Mallaig & NW Fishermens Association:    Peter McLean

William Skinner

Other Users Representative:                        Ronald C Reid

Other Vessel Users Representative:            George Alexander

Secretary:                                                          Robert MacMillan

Harbour Master:                                              Capt John Murray


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Harbour News March 2018

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A faulty generator appears to have been the source/cause of a fire that started within the works container belonging to the construction company Gareloch Support Services who are currently carrying out repairs to the Steamer Pier and vehicle assembly area prior to the commencement of the summer ferry service at Easter.

The fire, which occurred early evening on Monday 19th February, was spotted by Harbour Master James McLean who quickly alerted the local Fire Brigade who dealt with the fire efficiently and effectively.

Thankfully the fire caused little damage – some GSS equipment stored within the container being affected.

Mallaig Harbour Authority wish to thank the local fire unit for their prompt response and effective handling of the situation.


The Mallaig Harbour Masterplan (available at www.mallaig-harbour.com) was finalised and published last year following a public consultation and represents a blueprint that is both transformational and sustainable for Mallaig Harbour and the village of Mallaig.

As a follow on from the Masterplan an Outline Business Case was commissioned to look at funding and implementation of key components of the Masterplan.  It was developed according to the Government’s Outline Business Case “Five Case Model”.  Strategic Case/Economic Case/Commercial Case/Financial Case/Management Case and although it is not yet quite 100% complete the OBC concludes that implementation of the Mallaig Harbour Masterplan is a highly worthy economic investment, with realistic potential affordability, and demonstrates that there is a high probability that it can be successfully delivered.

The Final Report of the Outline Business Case is expected to be issued within the next week or two.


The Mallaig Harbour Authority is pleased to offer financial support to Mallaig FC who this summer will compete in the Skye and Lochalsh Football League for the very first time.  The photograph below shows one of the Club Committee Jamie MacGregor receiving a cheque from Robert MacMillan CEO of the Authority.  Also in the photograph is Harbour Master James McLean and Board Member John MacMillan.

Good luck to Mallaig FC for the upcoming season.

Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Harbour News – February 2018

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Photo Appeal

As illustrated below the Statutory Instrument establishing the Mallaig Harbour Authority was made on the 16th May 1968 and came into operation on the 24th July 1968.  This means that come July 2018 the Authority will celebrate its 50th birthday.

The Authority is currently working on some form of birthday celebration and all will be revealed in the fullness of time.

In the meantime I wish to gather together/initiate a 50 year historical photographic display of the harbour and would therefore welcome photographs from anyone reading this.  I will also be putting posters up in the village and liaising with the Mallaig Heritage Centre on the display.

The Authority would love as many people as possible to be involved.  Photographs can be handed in to the Harbour Office, emailed to me or posted off to me c/o Mallaig Harbour Authority, Harbour Office, Mallaig PH41 4QB.

Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Mallaig Harbour News – January 2018

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The 2017 sprat season drew to a close on Monday 18th December with a total of 1,400 tonnes being landed at the port by the four local trawlers who prosecuted this year’s fishery – Caralisa OB956; Independence OB196; Mareather OB503; Rebecca Jeneen OB38.

However this represents a drop of  35 % when compared to the 2016 sprat season when the same four boats landed a total of 2,140 tonnes and is indeed somewhat symptomatic of the fishing trend evident over this past year with landings of shellfish and whitefish also considerably down on 2016.  It’s certainly not been a great year for our local fishermen.


Sterling progress is being made on assembling the Outline Business Case of the Mallaig Harbour Masterplan with a series of meetings being held with various stakeholders in the run up to completing all documentation.

Consultants Fisher Associates plan to deliver the Final Draft of the Business Case in January 2018 with a view to it being an agenda item at the next Harbour Board Meeting on Friday 17th January 2018

New Year Greetings

On behalf of the Chairman, Board Members and Employees may I wish all harbour users/stakeholders A Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Harbour News – October 2017

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New Vessel

The Buckie registered “Sparkling Star” which has been fishing in the North Minch for the past few years has recently been acquired by Skipper Allan Cameron, Acharachle.  We welcome the 18 metre trawler to Mallaig and wish Allan, who will operate through the Mallaig Fishermen’s Co-op and is a member of the Mallaig & North West Fishermen’s Association, all the best with his latest business venture!


CalMac’s winter timetable comes into effect on Monday 23rd October and marks the end of the daily connection between Lochboisdale and Mallaig – a service that has been extremely well used over the past six months or so.

Like last winter the “Lord of The Isles” will operate between Lochboisdale and Mallaig, departing at 7.15am each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with arrival at Mallaig at 10.45am.  The return leg of the journey will be departing at 14.00hrs (2pm) on Wednesday and Saturday and half an hour earlier (1.30pm) on a Sunday.

Both the Skye Ferry Service and The Small Isles Service remain unchanged from last winter.


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Harbour News August 2017

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Transport Minister Visitation

Mr Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister of Transport and the Islands was presented with a copy of the Mallaig Harbour Authority Masterplan when he visited with the Authority on Wednesday 19th July.  He was given a comprehensive briefing on the aims and aspirations of the Authority for the upcoming 10 – 15 years which includes a Breakwater out to the Lighthouse with new deeper water berthing capability; new ferry berth with associated Linkspan, a concrete ramp and parking for up to 200 vehicles; relocation of the Mallaig Boatyard; new fish/prawn market; new passenger walkway access to the smaller ferry boats; etc; etc.

Other items discussed with the Minister included the ongoing problem on the Mallaig – Armadale ferry service where disruptions due to tidal constraints was still impacting on the service; our full support for an all year round ferry service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig; and the widening and subsequent construction of the A82 Trunk Road as it winds its way around Loch Lomond.

The photo shows Tony Kenning (Vice Chairman); Humza Yousaf (Transport Minister); Charlie King (Chairman); and Robert MacMillan (CEO).

Fish Feed Storage

The 12th of July marked the sixth anniversary of the opening of the 1,000 tonne capacity fish feed store on Mallaig Pier.

To date 223,600 tonnes of fish feed has been loaded/transhipped through the port.

MV Balmoral

The 63 metre cruise ship “MV Balmoral”, built in 1949 as a sister ship to the “Waverley” (but with conventional propulsion) made its inaugural visit to Mallaig on Tuesday 11th July.  The owners of the “Balmoral”,  White Funnel Ltd, Bristol, are considering the implementation of day long excursions on the west coast of Scotland with Mallaig being one of the pickup/drop off points in their itinerary.

The photo shows “MV Balmoral”, under the command of Cpt David Howie, about to dock at Mallaig.


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Harbour News July 2017

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Harbour News July 2017


After a somewhat sluggish early season the Marina is now going like the proverbial fayre with “Marina Full” signs already being posted up on several occasions.  It will therefore be interesting to see, come the end of this 2017 season, how it compares with the following statistical table – an entry in the Members Report for year ending 31st March 2017:

As indicated in last year’s report the Mallaig Marina Centre was officially opened on Saturday 16th April 2016 by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and located within the Centre are state of the art laundry, shower and toilet facilities as well as disabled and baby changing amenities all for use by patrons of the Marina.

Usage of the marina by visiting yachts was on a par with the previous year as the following statistical table would suggest:


Occupancy                  Short Stay

2016                    1482                             43

2015                    1481                             29

2014                    1503                             33

2013                    1338                             81

In addition to the above a further 91 vessels made use of the marina moorings.


I list below some other items contained in the Members Report:

  • Fish Pier Fendering Repairs

As reported last year an engineering inspection had identified problems with the fender system of the Fish Pier (originally constructed in 1971/72) and that urgent repair work was required to the lower walings, a number of the energy absorbing rubber elements at the head of the system, facing plates, replacement of five ladders, some lower ladder sections to be removed and replaced and the fitment of anodes.

Under the watchful eye of Harbour Engineers Wallace Stone, Contractor Gareloch Support Services completed all work by March 2017 at a total cost of £412,000.

  • Waste Oil

Waste oil collection figures for the year ending 31st March 2017 were as follows (last year’s figures in brackets):-

Waste Oil:                   22,200 litres   (12,640 litres)

Oily Water/Sludge:     64,600 litres    (39,350 litres)

  • Wi-Fi

Wi-fi coverage at the port was increased in December 2016 when a signal was relayed from the Marina to the Outer Harbour.  This provides wi-fi coverage throughout the harbour allowing seafarers connectivity to the internet, etc.

  • Westbay Road

The Authority is still actively considering the construction of a road linking Westbay Industrial Estate to the existing Council owned Mallaig Industrial Estate.  Talks, seeking Council input to the project, are currently ongoing.


Speed Limit On All Piers

To all Harbour Users 

You will be aware that we have introduced new markings on the piers including the red lines, car parking spaces, yellow no parking lines and a passenger walkway (incorporating a dropped kerb at the rear of the Fish Market Restaurant) down Lovat Pier to the Western Isles Ticket Office.

The Authority has also placed in-situ traffic calming measures on Lovat Pier which seem to be working well.

The next step is the erection of signage stating the speed limit as 10mph throughout the harbour area.

We realise the pier/harbour is a working area with workers ever present.  It also attracts visitors so these measures have been put in place to help ensure everyone’s safety.

Please note and more importantly, please observe, the speed limit of 10mph on all piers.


New Vessel

Here is the Annie E, the new 22 metre 1200hp workboat built for Morar’s Donald Ian McDonell approaching Mallaig Harbour on 10th June after its maiden voyage from Aalst, Holland where it was built by Neptune Marine at a cost of approx £3m.Harbour

The Annie E, which has a draught of 2.8 metres and an average speed of 7.4 knots, will complement Donald Ian’s existing workboat the Emma C.

The Mallaig Harbour Authority wish Donald Ian every success with his new venture.


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154


Harbour News – June 2017

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Mallaig Harbour News: June 2017

Cruise Ship Visitations

Two visits by “Le Boreal” – Thursday 18th May and Saturday 3rd June – and one from the “Hebridean Princess” (18th May) kicked off the cruise ship visitation for the summer season.

There are two more to follow.  On Saturday 24th June “Le Soleal” – sister ship of “Le Boreal” – will pay a visit and in the afternoon of Tuesday 11th July the UK based “MV Balmoral” (63 metres in length) will tie up alongside the pier for a short period of time.

Passenger Access

One of the issues raised via the recently published Mallaig Harbour Masterplan is the provision of improved access at the passenger steps.  The Authority is now actively reviewing access from the pier onto the small passenger ferry boats that use the steps and an initial meeting with some of the local businesses that could be affected – directly or indirectly – by any improvement there like say, provision of a walkway/pontoon access replacing the steps, has been held.

Local and Inverie passenger ferry vessels, The Mallaig Boatyard, The Lifeboat and the local Fishing fleet will all be affected – to a greater or lesser degree -with anything that is eventually implemented in that area hence the need for early and continued consultation and consideration..

Mary Manson

This photograph crossed over my desk just the other day.  Taken in the early to mid 60’s when the pier was still owned and operated by British Railways the photo shows the local Ring Net Vessel “Mary Manson” getting “painted up” on Lovat Beach.  It looks as if Old Jim Manson is about to “walk the plank” to get to the “Margaret Ann” OB79.

The three buildings on the left are The Lifeboat Shed, Bruce Watt Cruises and Sandy Reid’s Fish Shop.

Incidentally I remember there being holes in the concrete floor in Reid’s Fish Shop – sea water would gurgle up the holes at high tide flooding the shop floor!

Beluga II

The harbour played host to “Beluga II”, a two masted schooner owned and operated by “Greenpeace” over the weekend of 26th – 29th May, and on the 29th the vessel sailed for Canna.

The “Beluga II” is in the area doing research and collecting data on waste plastic/debris in the Minch.