THERE is now more chance of being marooned on Millport than ever before due to climate change, transport experts have warned.

CalMac have told ferry passengers on the Clyde to expect more delays and cancellations this coming year due to increasingly longer and more frequent storms

Captain Mark Thomson described some experiences in recent times as 'the most challenging environmental conditions in Europe'.

He said: "We are increasingly aware of significant changes in prevailing weather conditions and their impact on our ability to deliver reliable services.

“In recent winters, our masters have witnessed an increase, not only in the severity of extreme weather events but also in their duration and frequency, all of which have impacted on our fleet's ability to operate services safely.

“Such extreme weather events also have a considerable impact on the ability of the ports and slipways we operate from to safely support the delivery of our ferry services.”

The ferry operator say that problems relate to a 'complex climate system' which results in wet and warm weather across the Atlantic to Scotland on westerly winds.

The prevailing winds have always been from the west, with some from the north-east in the spring.

However, changes on the weather front have resulted in skippers reporting encountering far more from the south and north.

An important factor is that Scottish ports and harbours are located and designed to protect ships from westerlies.

Between January and the end of July this year, 2,326 out of 79,203 Calmac scheduled sailings were cancelled.

Of these, 327 were for mechanical reasons, and the majority of others caused by bad weather.

Captain Thomson added: "The safety of our vessels, crew, passengers and port facilities is our number one priority.

"Of course we fully appreciate our customers' frustration that weather changes are leading to an increase in disruptions across our network, but there is no quick fix to this and it will be a factor those responsible for replacing ships and upgrading harbours will have to take into account when planning for the future.”