The primary vessel used for the Corran ferry crossing is unlikely to be ready to return to service before the end of this month, it has been announced.
MV Corran was taken out of service last October for maintenance work, but a problem was discovered with its propulsion system and its return has since been delayed.
The Corran Ferry service is the busiest single-vessel ferry route in the country, but its return to Lochaber has been delayed since January.
It will have been out of service for ten months by the time it returns, provided it is back in service next month.
The MV Corran carries more than 270,000 cars across Loch Linnhe each year and without it, drivers are forced to follow diversions of up to 86 miles.
The issue with the 23-year-old ferry will affect those living in Ardgour, Sunart, Ardnamurchan, Morar, Moidart, Morvern, the Isle of Mull and Fort William who use the boat regularly.
The five-minute crossing is currently being serviced by MV Maid of Glencoul, a smaller, older ferry.
Highland Council, which runs the ferry service in Lochaber, previously expected MV Corran to be back by the middle of August.
The authority has blamed “capacity constraints” at the boat yard for the most recent delay.
It said: “The Highland Council is working to a return of the vessel as soon as possible but until then, the Maid of Glencoul vessel will continue providing the daily car and passenger ferry service across the Corran Narrows in Lochaber.
“The Council will provide more details for the return of the MV Corran once a definitive programme for her return to service can be confirmed.
“Until then the Council thanks the ferry staff providing the current service and the local communities for their understanding.”