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People of Caithness steer ferry towards victory


By Matt Leslie

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The Alfred ferry service that is run between Gills Bay and St Margaret's Hope. The vessel, operated by Pentland Ferries, scooped the Ferry of the Year prize at a ceremony hosted by Cruise & Ferry Review magazine. Picture: James Calver
The Alfred ferry service that is run between Gills Bay and St Margaret's Hope. The vessel, operated by Pentland Ferries, scooped the Ferry of the Year prize at a ceremony hosted by Cruise & Ferry Review magazine. Picture: James Calver

Pentland Ferries scooped the Ferry of the Year award thanks to the loyal support from their Caithness and Orkney passengers.

Hosted by leading shipping magazine, "Cruise And Ferry Review", Pentland Ferries held off strong competition from other ferry operators Ærøfærgerne (Denmark), Baleària (Spain), Visborg (Sweden) and Irish Ferries.

The Alfred vessel was designed by UK-based architecture firm, BMT Nigel Gee and built in the Strategic Marine shipyard in Vung Tao, Vietnam.

Pentland Ferries received delivery of the 85-metre long catamaran in 2019 and by using 60 per cent less fuel than similar vessels in the region, it was given a Green Tourism Award last year.

The Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope service appears to have been held in great esteem by those in Caithness and Orkney who rely on the service.

So much so, they voted in their droves in order to steer the Alfred on course towards victory's harbour.

Ian Congleton, executive editor of "Cruise And Ferry" said: "The competition was very fierce but this is a staggering achievement for Pentland Ferries.

The ship itself has a remarkable pedigree and is a great credit to the industry

"It was a surprise that they won but a delightful one regardless. The voting was open to the public and the people of both Caithness and Orkney really got behind their boat.

"Voters were invited to leave some feedback as to why they voted the way they did.

"The vast majority of them pointed towards not only the sustainability of the service but also the importance of it.

"It seems a lot of people rely on the service and really do appreciate it.

"The ship itself has a remarkable pedigree and is a great credit to the industry. It is also really lovely that so many people can get behind their ship and support it in the way that they have."

Kathryn Scollie, who is Pentland Ferries' Designated Person Ashore and Company Security Officer, added: "We are absolutely delighted that Alfred has been voted Ship of the Year in the Ferry category.

"We are so grateful to our loyal customers for voting for us, and of course, their continued support.

"The company's founding family is very proud of our new environmentally friendly ship and the team that ensures we deliver a winning service."


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