Working the ferries between Scottish islands for many years has produced a wealth of stories for one dedicated worker. Terry Ferguson. WORDS: KATY HUGHES

 A three-week stint covering for an absent team member turned into a 20-year career for Terry ‘The Ferry’ Ferguson, who has spent over two decades helping CalMac passengers travel safely between the mainland and the islands, formerly in her role as a pier hand and later as a port assistant.

Born and raised on Islay, Terry Ferguson has stayed close to home, working on the Kennacraig to Port Askaig and Port Ellen route to this day. Her years of service have made her a familiar face amongst islanders who use the ferry service regularly. “People see my face a lot,” she says. “I know them, and their kids and their grandkids – I even work with people I went to school with.”

Terry has become a feature of the local community and she was widely recognised even before appearing on CalMac’s documentary Island Crossings, which follows some of the company’s staff as they go about their day-to-day duties facilitating travel to 22 of Scotland’s islands.

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The experience of being in the documentary was an interesting one for Terry, who adds it to the list of memorable experiences that have defined her long career. She fondly remembers a ferret which she helped to reunite with its owners after it got lost on a ferry crossing, along with an otter which decided to use the portside CalMac office as shelter from a persistent storm. She also recalls sightings of local dolphins and porpoises in the waters around Islay, reflecting on the incredible natural beauty of the area.

“Port Askaig and Port Ellen have beautiful villages, and I feel very lucky to have been able to enjoy them,” Terry says. She points out that Islay’s famed distilleries are a major draw for tourists, adding that being able to showcase the island’s natural beauty to visitors has instilled her with a strong sense of pride.

With a long, varied career against a beautiful backdrop close to her heart, Terry’s role at CalMac has allowed her to have the best of all worlds.