THE head of Scotland’s publicly-owned ferry service will meet with locals angered by a near-month long cancellation of its link to the mainland, the provider has announced.

Last month, CalMac announced the cancellation of the ferry link between Mallaig and Lochboisdale, South Uist, with the MV Lord Of The Isles being moved to Islay due to the regular vessel there requiring repairs.

The cancellation will see the link to the mainland closed until July 1.

Robbie Drummond, the chief executive of CalMac said on Wednesday he would visit the island to speak to locals on Monday, after reports suggested up to one third of the population of South Uist turned out in protest as the final ferry for more than three weeks left the island.

“The South Uist community is understandably angry that their ferry connections have been cancelled this year, including the recent removal of the Lochboisdale-Mallaig service,” he said.

“This decision has clearly affected people living in the area, as shown by the holding of a public protest at Lochboisdale port.

READ MORE: Around 500 people attend South Uist demonstration in protest against CalMac

“While we have increased sailings on alternative routes, we recognise that the cancellation is an inconvenience to local people, businesses, and visitors.

“I will be in Lochboisdale to meet local representatives on Monday so that I can listen to the concerns of local residents and businesses, and I hope be able to explain the alternative options we have considered, as well as how our route prioritisation matrix helps us to arrive at these extremely tough decisions.”

Drummond added that he is “confident” the MV Finlaggan, Islay’s usual vessel which has been replaced by the South Uist ferry, will pass its annual service and the route could recommence early should the MV Hebridean Isles, the other ship serving Islay, returns from repairs before expected.

MSPs have called on the Scottish Government to pay compensation to island business owners impacted by the loss of almost one month of tourism at the beginning of the season.

Transport Secretary Mairi McAllan has said she has not “closed myself off” to such an idea, but that islanders would prefer money be invested in improving the ferry network.