A TINY ferry service launched by TV actress Penelope Keith from The Good Life, has been axed after the harbour it berthed in was condemned.
The 50-passenger Cromarty Queen ferry is one of the smallest in the UK.
It was specially built for the June-September route between Cromarty in Easter Ross and Nigg on the Black Isle, on the north-east coast of Scotland.
Penelope Keith, who owns a house in the area, opened the four-car ferry in 2011 by pouring a bottle of champagne over it.
But the berth on the Cromarty side has been condemned as unsafe and been closed.
The Cromarty Ferry company, which was given a £50,000 business loan and a £39,000 grant to set up the service, announced on Tuesday the ferry would not run this summer as a result.
Whether it ever operates again depends on money being found to fix the berth.
The news was called “hellish” by Scots crime writer Ian Rankin, who owns a house in the area.
Rankin, re-posted a link to the news sent to him by another Twitter user. It had the caption “Oh no”.
He added: “Grim news”.
Another follower wrote: “Oh the inhumanity of it all” and posted a photo of an ancient map showing the crossing.
The statement from the ferry company read: “We regret to advise that the Cromarty Ferry Company is unable to operate the Cromarty to Nigg ferry service this season.
“We have recently been advised that the ferry berth in Cromarty harbour has been condemned and is now closed.
As there is no other suitable berth in the harbour, or in the rest of the firth, we very much regret that we are unable to continue operating.
“Thank you all for your help and support over the years.
A ferry has operated between Cromarty and Nigg since the 13th Century. The route is known as the ‘The King ‘s Ferry” was used by King James IV in 15th & 16th Centuries, and more recently by Prince Charles on a visit to Cromarty.
It was hoped the service would be a boost to tourism and the local economy.