The ferry service

In 1769 James Campbell of Otter was instructed to improve the ferry service across Loch Fyne by the Commissioners of Supply.

Commissioners of Supply were established for every Scottish county in 1667. They usually consisted of wealthy landowners who ensured that people paid taxes to the Scottish king. After the Act of Union in 1707, they became responsible for the maintenance of country roads and bridges.

Good transportation routes

Good transportation routes were vital. Drove routes brought cattle from the Highlands to England to be sold.

Lochs were not obstacles to go round, but part of these routes. There were many ferries all over Scotland.

In 1773, James reported to the Commissioners that the quay at East Otter was complete. The ferry then ran for almost two hundred years; it made its last crossing in 1948.

Use of steamships

In the 19th century, steamships were commonly used in Scotland to transport goods and as leisure vehicles. You could often see them sailing on Loch Fyne.

On 22 September 1898 the "Mary and Flora", captained by Mackellar of Carrick, left the pier at West Otter Ferry and set sail on a fishing trip into the loch. Tragedy struck when it collided with the steam ship Tartar of Glasgow, killing one of its crew.