Weatherwatch: stormy future could disrupt Hebridean lifeline

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The Western Isles depend on the CalMac ferry services for vital supplies and the service keeps going in all weathers. But climate change could mean trouble ahead

Anyone who has been to the islands off Scotland’s west coast will be familiar with Caledonian MacBrayne ferries. On a clear still day in summer there can be no better way (for the price of a ferry ticket) to view the beauty of the mountains and islands set against clear blue water. But winter brings a different face to the Sea of the Hebrides, which can be amongst the roughest in the world. Despite this, CalMac as the service is known, keeps going because there is no other way of supplying the islands and carrying back fish and other exports essential to the islands’ economy.

These crossings are frequently not for the faint hearted, but of the 79,203 ferry crossings between January and the