Cowal Games tomorrow

For the town center service tomorrow (Cowal Games Saturday, August 27th) there is going to be an unholy combination of (a) unsuitable vessels (b) inexperienced shore and ship based staff (c) large numbers of passengers (d) passengers fuelled by alcohol (e) winds.

Both these last two factors are expected to worsen in the course of the day and as of 6pm Friday it was expected to get up to 18mph from the northwest by mid evening on Saturday, which would be when many at Cowal Games are going home.

18mph winds (BBC weather calls it "breezy") would be no problem for the vehicle-carrying ferries that until recently ran on this route and for the kind of vehicle-carrying ferries that should run on these routes.

They will be major problems for the passenger-only vessels that have replaced the CalMac car ferries.

If the passenger-only Ali Cat and/or its companion vessel are cancelled because of these conditions, it will cause chaos in the busiest day in the year here. If this weather forecast holds and these ferries run in these conditions, it will not just be the disabled, elderly and children who will experience (at the very least) discomfort, it will be the able-bodied as well. There are many who feel these vessels are unsafe and unsuitable for the kinds of weather conditions that are not unusual here - and indeed many feel these vessels are unsuitable even under normal conditions. This is rejected by CalMac (it is still CalMac behind the livery), the Government and the MCA.

If Government-owned CalMac, the Government and the MCA are right, it does not stop people feeling fearful when they do use them, or simply avoid using them altogether.

If Government-owned CalMac, the Government and the MCA are wrong, then serious questions will be asked and individuals held to account over this since there have been an abundance of warnings about the unsuitability of these vessels both before and since these vessels started this current service.

There will be those innocent visitors who will come tomorrow, use these ferries and associated infrastructure and experience what this SNP government has boasted is a "bigger and better" service.

Whatever happens tomorrow, I will guarantee that there will be many of those using these ferries tomorrow who will vow never to come back again to Dunoon, repeat visitors as well as first time visitors. At a stroke this will cause significant and irreparable financial and reputational damage to an economically and socially vulnerable part of the West Coast of Scotland.

As someone who has publicly supported the SNP since was a student, I have to say all this was avoidable and solely the responsible of the SNP Government, the reasons for which are well documented on the front page of this website.

Run an independent Scotland? How you can claim to be able to run an independent Scotland when you can't even run a ferry service?

Neil Kay 6pm, Friday 26th August