Row ensues as CalMac starts Sunday ferry crossing service to Lewis and Harris

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Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Loch Portrain ferry, operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, will arrive at 10 a.m. BST (0900 UTC) today at Leverburgh, in the Western Isles of Scotland, despite strong opposition from Presbyterian residents who regard it as a breaking of the Sabbath.

According to Harris West councillor Morag Monro, more than 700 people on both Harris and Lewis signed a petition opposing the Sunday service. The Western Isles Council is also opposed to the new service.

They are also considering legal action.

"At the moment we are investigating whether there is a legal option open to us to protect us from this imposition," she said.

"It is not just church people who are opposed, but also those who have come to appreciate a day of relaxation and a chance to be together with their families for one day."

It has been welcomed, however, by many people at the southern crossing at Uist.

Councillor Archie Campbell (of the North Uist/Berneray) will be expected on the vessel today, and is a campaigner for the "7 days per week" service.

There is little sign of opposition expected when the ferry completes its journey, as the campaigners will be in church as the vessel arrives.

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