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New £14m ferry hailed as 'a huge step forward' for Caithness and Orkney links


By Alan Hendry

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Members of the Banks family with their MV Alfred cake which was cut by Laura Banks. From left: Jess and Jenni Wilson, Andrew Banks, Susan Banks, Eddy and Laura Banks.
Members of the Banks family with their MV Alfred cake which was cut by Laura Banks. From left: Jess and Jenni Wilson, Andrew Banks, Susan Banks, Eddy and Laura Banks.

Pentland Ferries' new £14 million catamaran marks "a huge step forward" for ferry links between Caithness and Orkney, the company's managing director has said.

Andrew Banks was speaking after the MV Alfred sailed out of St Margaret’s Hope on Friday afternoon on its inaugural voyage to Gills Bay.

“We are absolutely delighted that the Alfred is now operational on the St Margaret’s Hope to Gills Bay route," he said.

“We believe that the Alfred’s inaugural trip marked a huge step forward for the ferry service between mainland Scotland and Orkney. We now have a ship which offers the highest standards of facilities combined with the most environmentally friendly qualities of any ferry service in Scotland.

A crowd gathered at St Margaret’s Hope to wave off the MV Alfred on its first trip to Gills.
A crowd gathered at St Margaret’s Hope to wave off the MV Alfred on its first trip to Gills.

"We are proud to have raised the bar to these new standards and are very pleased that locals and visitors to our islands can benefit from them.

“It’s a real privilege for us to be serving Orkney and its visitors and we look forward to continuing this role with the benefit of our wonderful new ship, whose on-board facilities were very well received on Friday by the travellers. They also enjoyed the entertainment which was provided by a number of Orkney musicians.

“Getting to this great day has been a huge effort and we are very grateful for all the support that we have received, not only from our own dedicated team and family members but also from our regular passengers and supporters on both sides of the Pentland Firth.”

The vessel arrived in St Margaret’s Hope recently after a 9000-mile trip from Vietnam, where it was built.

It can accommodate 430 passengers and 98 cars, or 54 cars and 12 articulated vehicles/coaches. It has an indoor sun-deck lounge as well as five other seating areas.

Pentland Ferries' new catamaran set to make inaugural voyage across firth


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