Major Refurbishment of MV Western Isles Secures the Ferry Service’s Position as West Coast’s Premier Tourist
The MV Western Isles, a passenger ferry service that has been running from Mallaig to Knoydart since 1950, has been fully refurbished to the highest standards by it new owners – and is set to begin the next stage of her life.
Following the purchase of the MV Western Isles in September 2013, the vessel’s new owners – Mr Joe Blower and his family – have spent the winter refurbishing her. No expense has been spared and the Blowers believe that the boat’s extensive refurbishment will position the MV Western Isles as the West Coast’s premier tourist attraction.
The MV Western Isles is 64 feet long (18m), with capacity to carry 81 passengers on voyages from Mallaig Pier. The vessel was previously owned by two generations of the Watt family – Bruce Watt Sr, followed by Bruce Watt Jr who took over the business in 1974.
Returning to the same slip in Mallaig were she was originally fitted out 50 years ago, the MV Western Isles holds a special place in the heart of everyone who has come into contact with her. For example, Alasdair the joiner who has carried out much of the oak-finished refit has a particular connection with the MV Western Isles: As a baby, he in need of urgent medical attention and he was rescued by this special boat in bad weather. All’s well that ends well – and thanks to the boat, his family got baby Alasdair to the doctor. As such, he has never forgotten his connection with the vessel and has now put his heart and soul into the truly stunning refurbishment which includes a bespoke oak stair case and fully licensed bar.
New owner Joe Blower says: “Our business is all about creating memories that will last forever. MV Western Isles is a very special and unique boat and she means so much to so many people. The team and I have a responsibility to ensure the service continues in the spirit that has made her so successful by Bruce Watt and his father before him”. And, in these days of ‘profit before service’ it’s good to know you can still get a free cup of tea on the afternoon sail from Tarbet!”
Western Isles Cruises has also teamed up with the Ben Nevis Distillery to provide a unique on-board whiskey tasting experience. “The best way to taste whiskey is out at sea in the salt air with the mountains all around the bagpipe playing and the best local produce Scotland has to offer,” concludes Joe Blower.