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Published:  23 July, 2008

Kyndal Spirits, producer of Isle of Jura 10-year-old malt whisky, is to present Argyll & Bute Council with a bill for 225,061, to account for the disruption caused by the Isle of Jura ferry. Michael Heads (above), manager at the Isle of Jura distillery, said: Since it was introduced less than four years ago, the Eilean Dhiura ferry has been a disaster and we are at the end of our tether. The design of the ferry has failed from day one,' he said. It either doesn't sail due to bad weather; is unable to cope with the capacity loads; or is away for its annual refit. Demand for the ferry has increased during this time, with around 15,000 extra passengers and cars and around 2,500 extra commercial vehicles using the ferry last year compared with 1996. The distillery is the main employer on the island and the ferry is our lifeblood, both for business and for community life here,' Heads added. Since the introduction of the ferry we have lost a considerable amount of money, through having to increase the number of deliveries, as we cannot fill the trucks to capacity, and time wasted either through the ferry not sailing or it being full. Our bill covers only the six weeks of the refit of the ferry this summer (normally it is away for four weeks) and is just the tip of the iceberg in this four-year scenario. The amount represents our revenues lost from having to limit production for four weeks and through shutting down production for the last two weeks of the ferry's refit, as costs of transporting Isle of Jura whisky were so prohibitive. If it wasn't such a financial burden, the fact that Isle of Jura whisky travels around the world but often fails to make the 800-metre journey from Jura to Islay would be laughable,' said Heads.