Troon harbour's time as the main passenger ferry port for Arran is coming to an end - for the time being at least.

Operators CalMac had to switch the main Brodick ferry service to Troon last week, due to weather conditions.

But the service from South Ayrshire lasted longer than CalMac had hoped for - after Ardrossan harbour owners Peel Ports carried out repair work on the fenders to improve the resilience of the Arran berth.

Those repairs overran when a defective fender had to be removed and replaced.

But CalMac confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the ferry service will return to Ardrossan from first thing on Friday.

The company will still run a freight-only service to Arran from Troon using the MV Alfred  - chartered from Orkney-based Pentland Ferries -  after Ardrossan's Irish berth was closed for good by Peel Ports.

A CalMac spokesperson said: “Following successful repairs at Ardrossan Harbour, we can confirm that the service to Arran will return to operating from Ardrossan to Brodick on Arran from 7am on Friday, February 16.  

Ayr Advertiser: MV Isle of Arran berthed at Troon harbourMV Isle of Arran berthed at Troon harbour (Image: Jean Penman/South Ayrshire on Camera)

“After the sudden closure of the Irish berth and damage to a fender on the Arran berth at Ardrossan harbour, which was the preferred berth during adverse weather, we and our partners have reacted quickly to provide a service from Troon over the past week.

"We’d like to thank our people and our partners for their efforts to keep the service operating, and the communities and customers we serve for their patience and understanding.  

“In certain weather conditions it may not be possible to berth at Ardrossan, and in such circumstances the service may operate from Troon.

"We will not be able to alternate harbours on a sailing-by-sailing basis due to staff availability, but we are working hard to make sure we have the capacity to resource both harbours in future. 

“We will keep our passengers fully up to speed on the status of the service.” 

Some saw the transfer to Troon as a trial run for a future long term move.

Troon will have to be used as the Arran ferry port by the two new CalMac ferries for the route - MVs Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa - until a long-awaited upgrade to Ardrossan Harbour is finally completed, as the North Ayrshire port in its current form, even with all berths fully operational, cannot be used by the new ships.

That project, though, is currently in limbo after Scottish Government officials halted the tender process last summer and ordered a review of the scheme amid concern at a significant increase in costs.

The ferry's time recent time in Troon led to complaints from passengers about having to be bussed to and from Ardrossan, no parking at Troon, and a lack of basic facilities, including toilets.

Ayr Advertiser: MV Isle of Arran at Troon this week, by Jean PenmanMV Isle of Arran at Troon this week, by Jean Penman (Image: Jean Penman)

On February 14, Arran councillor Timothy Billings told a North Ayrshire Council meeting: "It is impossible to describe, in the time I have, the devastation that's been caused to Arran as a result of the appalling ferry service we are experiencing.

"The level of service has reached a new low with the temporary transfer to Troon.

"The chaos and hardship experienced during the last week is totally unacceptable.

"This has been predicted by many people, over many years, and some people should be hanging their heads in shame."

At that meeting North Ayrshire councillors unanimously backed a motion by Cllr Billings seeking an urgent meeting with Scotland's transport minister over the future of the Ardrossan terminal.