March 24, 2020
In line with the Scottish Government’s latest announcement, and with effect from tomorrow (Wednesday 25th March) Pentland Ferries will operate a service for essential freight operators and key responders only. Lunch time sailings will be suspended.
This plan will be in force for the next three weeks, but will be reviewed on a weekly basis (in response to any Government changes).
The online booking system has now been closed until the end of April. Any passengers booked to sail over the next three weeks (up to Tuesday 14 April) are being contacted directly.
Director of Pentland Ferries, Kathryn Scollie said: “We very much hope that the country will adhere to the lockdown and that we will be able to resume normal service as soon as possible.”
Travel by Pentland Ferries is currently restricted to the following:
Freight – food, fuel or animal feed suppliers only
Key Responders from the following list, however we will consider other organisations on a case-by-case basis:
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
Scottish Ambulance Service
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Scottish and Southern Energy
TA Representative, 10 Troop, 71 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers)
March 20, 2020
Manager of Tesco’s Kirkwall store, Andy Tenent, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Pentland Ferries for delaying the last sailing of the day to accommodate our trailer. It contains a variety of essential supplies.
“With our shelves now empty, we are desperate to get these goods to Orkney and on the shelves before the weekend. Without the support of Pentland Ferries, we would be looking at empty shelves for, at the very least, a further 24 hours.”
General manager of Pentland Ferries, David Cameron, said: “We face unprecedented times and must, where possible, work together to meet the needs of our community. It is thanks to the ship’s crew, who have gone above and beyond their duty to accommodate the late arrival, that Tesco will have this delivery tonight.”
Andy Tenent continued: “The demand for supplies across the country has impacted on the normal supply chain, which resulted in these supplies arriving late at the depot and, in turn, being transported north. As soon as the supplies arrive, we have a night team on standby to stock the shelves for opening tomorrow.”
The ships nominated surpassed readers’ expectations in terms of innovative construction and design, onboard amenities and experiences, and environmental stewardship.
MV Alfred was one of five ships to make the shortlist in the ferries category. Readers were then inviting to vote for their favourite. Thanks to all Pentland Ferries’ loyal supporters, MV Alfred was the runaway winner.
Director of Pentland Ferries, Kathryn Scollie, said: “It was a lovely surprise to learn that we had been nominated and reached the final five in our category, so we were absolutely delighted to be announced the winner.
“We are so grateful to everyone who took the time to vote for us. We truly appreciate all our loyal customers for their outstanding support.
“We are all very proud of our new environmentally friendly ship and the team that ensures we deliver a winning service.”
March 16, 2020
Pentland Ferries has announced that it is stepping up measures to minimise the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Director of Pentland Ferries, Kathryn Scollie, said: “We have adopted a plan that minimises risk of infection to passengers and staff and addresses the continuity of service in extenuating circumstances.
“Hygiene is paramount, so we are taking stringent steps, above and beyond Government guidance, in terms of handwashing, sanitising, cleaning of public and crew areas.
“We are encouraging all those wishing to travel to book via the website in order to improve efficiency at a time when staffing levels may become compromised. In order to minimise contact with our booking and check-in staff, we are contacting all passengers for payment details in advance of travel. These details will be stored against the booking and only charged at time of travel. We have also suspended the use of boarding cards, although passengers will be required to check-in as normal.
“The Gills Bay café has been temporarily closed, but the café onboard MV Alfred will continue to operate as normal.
“Please be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation and do everything we can to protect our passengers and staff.”
Any booking enquiries should be directed to 0800 688 8998.
February 13, 2020
Orkney-based Pentland Ferries, which operates from St Margaret’s Hope in Orkney to Gills Bay in the north-east of Scotland, has become the first ferry operator in the UK to have achieved a Green Tourism Award.
The awards programme recognises the commitment of tourism businesses to sustainability and is seen as a prestigious hallmark of environmentally sensitive practices and operation. The award for the family-run company follows the introduction in November 2019 of a new purpose-built vessel, MV Alfred, which brought highly superior environmental credentials to the service.
MV Alfred’s efficient design, LED lighting, and fuel efficiency all contributed to the bronze-level award, as did the use of local food suppliers, wind turbine, and waste reducing and recycling initiatives that the company encourages passengers to embrace onboard ship. The Green Tourism report stated: “This is just the beginning of the journey and I am sure Pentland Ferries will continue to increase their score and have the potential to achieve the silver award.”
Managing director of Pentland Ferries, Andrew Banks, said: “Our environmental credentials are very important to us, so we are very proud to be the first ferry operator in the UK to achieve a Green Tourism Award.
“The MV Alfred is more than 60 per cent more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and emission levels than other comparable ferries operating in Scotland. These efficiencies sit at the centre of a much wider energy-efficient drive by Pentland Ferries, which includes reducing waste, using low energy lighting, recycling, and using wind power to power the vessel overnight.
“As the Green Award assessment recognises, this is just the start of the Pentland Ferries journey: we will continue to develop greater environmental awareness and efficiencies within our operation.”
Andrew Banks was delighted to be presented with Pentland Ferries’ first Green Tourism award on Friday (7 February 2020) by Nusrat Ghani MP onboard MV Alfred.
January 29, 2020
Pentland Ferries is delighted that the MV Alfred has been nominated, in the ferries category, for the new International Cruise and Ferry Review (ICFR) Ship of the Year awards.
This first-ever awards will, according to ICFR, celebrate the game-changing cruise ships and passenger ferries that entered service in 2019: “Over the past couple of months, we’ve received numerous nominations for the new cruise ships, river cruise vessels, ferries and high-speed ferries that have surpassed our readers’ expectations in terms of innovative construction and design, onboard amenities and experiences, and environmental stewardship.”
MV Alfred is one of five ships to make the shortlist in the ferries category, and ICFR is now inviting its readers to vote for the winning vessel via its website.
Director of Pentland Ferries, Kathryn Scollie, said: “It was a lovely surprise to learn that we had been nominated and reached the final five in our category. Our team has worked extremely hard to bring the new ship into service, so it is particularly rewarding to be recognised by ICFR for what we have achieved.”
Votes can be submitted between 24 January and 24 February. All submissions will then be reviewed and the winners revealed in each category in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of ICFR, to be published in March 2020.
November 1, 2019
The most environmentally-friendly ferry in Scotland, MV Alfred, will enter service on the St Margaret’s Hope, Orkney, to Gills Bay, north east Scotland, route today (Friday 1 November 2019). The ship will leave St Margaret’s Hope on its inaugural trip at 1.00 pm.
Pentland Ferries’ managing director, Andrew Banks, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming passengers on board the ship today. We’re confident that they will love the high quality of the new facilities and the improved capacity onboard.
“From first inception to the start of service has been a particularly long journey, and one that we could not have done without the support of many people along the way, particularly our own dedicated team and family members.
“Our green credentials are very important to us, so we are proud to be introducing a vessel that is particularly low in terms of fuel consumption and emission levels. These efficiencies sit at the centre of a much wider energy-efficient drive by Pentland Ferries, which includes reducing waste, using low energy lighting, recycling, and switching to wind power, wherever possible.
“We know that visitors coming to our islands look for service and facilities of the very highest standard. Increasingly, they are also looking for a service which has the strongest possible environmental credentials. We are very pleased, therefore, to see the MV Alfred delivering all of these qualities and to be, literally, the flagship of a service that is truly breaking new ground on all counts.”
Anyone wishing to travel on the MV Alfred can book their place on the ferry as usual on the Pentland Ferries website, www.pentlandferries.co.uk, or by calling the booking line on +44 (0)800 688 8998.
October 8, 2019
A new ship which will provide the most environmentally-friendly ferry service in Scotland is set to arrive in Orkney tomorrow (Wednesday 9 October) after making the journey from its shipbuilders in Vietnam. After final fittings and trials, MV Alfred will connect passengers from Orkney to the Scottish mainland on the service already operated by family business Pentland Ferries.
MV Alfred, which set out from Vietnam on 29 August, will run between St Margaret’s Hope and Gills Bay in Caithness. It can hold more passengers than its predecessor, MV Pentalina, with enough space for 430 passengers and 98 cars, or 54 cars and 12 articulated vehicles/coaches. The ship will also have a dog-friendly indoor sun deck lounge in addition to five other seating areas.
The new ferry will undertake its first crossing from St Margaret’s Hope to Gills Bay in Caithness early November, and Pentland Ferries managing director Andrew Banks is delighted with the quality of the ship and the service it is set to deliver.
“This is the most environmentally friendly ferry of its kind in Scotland and its low fuel consumption makes it the greenest way to travel to Orkney,” he said.
“We’re confident that our passengers will love the high quality of the new facilities and the improved capacity onboard.
“We are proud to be bringing this new quality of service to the people of Orkney and to visitors to our islands.”
Anyone wishing to experience the inaugural crossing of the Pentland Firth can book their place on the ferry as usual on the Pentland Ferries website, or by calling the booking line on +44 (0)800 688 8998.
August 30, 2019
Director of Pentland Ferries, Kathryn Scollie, said: “We are delighted that the MV Alfred is now on her way. We are now very much looking forward to introducing her to the St Margaret’s Hope – Gill’s Bay service before the end of the year.
“We are very grateful for all the support we have received and, in particular, all the hard work from our own team, that has helped get us to this stage.
“The arrival and commissioning of this new vessel is hugely significant for us. We are committed to delivering the best possible service for local people and for the many visitors who come to our islands. We are thrilled to be able to make today’s announcement and we await the arrival of the Alfred with great anticipation.”
The MV Alfred, which has been named after Pentland Ferries’ owner and managing director, Andrew Banks’ father, has carrying capacity for 430 passengers and 98 cars, or 54 cars and 12 articulated vehicles/coaches.
Facilities on board includes two lounges with seating, two cafeteria lounges, a children’s play area, an indoor sundeck lounge (where dogs are welcome), outdoor seating area, cafeteria and wheelchair lift.
“All being well, the ship will be here mid October,” said Kathryn, “and we are sure that our customers will really appreciate the enhancement of service it will bring to Orkney.”
June 29, 2018
Local family ferry company Pentland Ferries has said today that it is frustrated by the delay in implementing the Scottish Government’s passenger subsidy. The company have said that they want the Scottish Government RET scheme to reduce passenger fares to go ahead as soon as possible and are just waiting on confirmation that the scheme is legal:
Andrew Banks, Managing Director and Owner of Pentland Ferries said:
“We want this scheme to go ahead as soon as possible, it is good for Orkney and will help us attract more passengers. All we are now waiting for is confirmation that it’s fully legal and then we can get on with implementing it. Our lawyers have told us that because we are a commercial operation and currently receive no subsidy whatsoever, we have to be 100% sure that this scheme complies otherwise our whole business is at risk. We are not sure why it is taking so long to get simple confirmation.
“Although not one penny of the proposed subsidy comes to us, it goes directly to the passenger, we would be forced to pay it all back if it doesn’t comply, that could ruin us and we can’t take that risk. All we are asking for is for the Scottish Government to check that it’s legal with the EU and UK and then we can get on with it.
“We have today asked for a meeting with local MSP Liam MacArthur to see if he can do anything to get things moving forward on our behalf. This is extremely frustrating but as a family run, fully commercial Orcadian business employing 70 people and with exciting expansion plans, we cannot risk our business when we are being told that the scheme may not be legal.”