Pentland Ferries Praised By MSPs

Where ferry services are an essential mode of transport amongst Scotland’s scattered islands and even otherwise isolated coastal settlements, my sympathies tend towards some form of State monitoring which ensures regular service is not at the whims of private operators.

Yet just as vanity can be a virtue which drives individuals to assist others in order to bolster their reputation, so can private enterprise and good old fashioned capitalism; whilst unyielding commitment to State control may result in inefficient services which have little incentive to improve as they always will be bailed out.

Examples of both can be seen in the two operators providing such lifeline services between Caithness and Orkney.  In the late 1990s, Andrew Banks, an Orkney entrepreneur purchased a 99 year lease on the pier at Gills Bay, east of John o’Groats and self-financed site improvements before launching Pentland Ferries which provides a vehicle service in 2001 running to St Margaret’s Hope on South Ronaldsay.

One of only two non-subsidized ferry services in Scotland, it added to the NorthLink services – operated by an arm of the State-owned Caledonian MacBrayne – running a vehicle service from Scrabster-to-Stromness.

In March 2009, Banks’ success allowed him to advance from ex-CalMac craft to the purpose-built catamaran, the MV Pentalina.

Now MSPs have delivered a resounding peel of praise for Banks:


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2 Responses to “Pentland Ferries Praised By MSPs”

  1. Scottish Roundup Says:

    […] Western Isleswe have a fantastic history of Craignure ferries with pictures, staying with ferries, A Rabbit’s Eye View of the Hyperborean Northhas the story of the Pentland ferries being praised by MSPs in […]

  2. Caithness Ferry Harbour Secures Major Refit « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] Ferry Harbour Secures Major Refit By efrafandays I have written previously about a shining jewel in the private enterprise of Northern Scotland, which has […]

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