Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Woman slept in grit bin overnight after being left stranded by Dunoon ferry cancellation

Monty Phillips pictured yesterday beside the grit bin where she was forced to take shelter for the night (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)
Monty Phillips pictured yesterday beside the grit bin where she was forced to take shelter for the night (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)

A CARER had to spend the night sheltering in a grit bin after being left stranded when her last ferry home was cancelled.

Monty Phillips, 49, was trying to get back home to Dunoon after travelling to Paisley to visit a friend in hospital.

When she arrived at Gourock ferry terminal to catch the 10.40pm sailing operated by Argyll Ferries, she discovered it had been cancelled due to bad weather.

The last replacement bus service, which takes passengers to catch an alternative boat run by Western Ferries, had left an hour earlier.

Monty had no money for a hotel or taxi and said a member of staff at the ferry terminal refused to unlock the waiting room for her to stay in.

Inside the grit bin (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)

She claimed the only help he offered was to call a taxi – or lend her a coat. And the only shelter she could find nearby was a grit bin full of rock salt, so she decided that would have to be her bed for the night. Monty, who cares for her 89-year-old mother, said she had made sure she was back in plenty of time for the last boat on April 11, when the incident happened.

“When I got to the ferry terminal I was met with a sign saying the final replacement bus had been at 9.45pm and nothing was in place for the last sailing,” she said.

“The waiting room was locked and in darkness and the staff member said he couldn’t unlock it as it was alarmed.

“When he realised I was there for the evening after he locked up he said he could phone me a taxi – but if I could have paid for a taxi I wouldn’t have been sitting outside.

“And I didn’t have the money to put myself up anywhere for the night. He asked me, ‘Is there nowhere local you can go?’ But there wasn’t.

“When he offered me a jacket, I just gave him a look of incredulity. I couldn’t believe that was the extent of the help being offered.”

Monty said she would usually have called on her 23-year-old daughter for help, but didn’t want her to attempt the four-hour round trip by road from Dunoon to Gourock as her car was playing up.

Shortly after midnight, she decided to climb into the grit bin.

Argyll Ferries cancelled the crossing to Dunoon forcing Monty to take shelter outside for the night

Monty said: “I was starting to get really cold, there was nowhere I could sit that was keeping the wind off me. It was a case of finding somewhere to rest, out of the wind.”

She added: “It was a long and uncomfortable night until 6am the next morning. I didn’t get any sleep at all – I was too scared and too cold to sleep.” Argyll Ferries said customers were informed via their website and text message service and on rail information boards that sailings would be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. It said: “A replacement bus service was offered up to the last possible Western Ferries return sailing.

“Staff tried to assist the customer concerned as much as they could, offering to call a taxi and even to drive her somewhere local if that would help.

“All offers of assistance were refused. We are sorry for any inconvenience the passenger experienced but in the circumstances there was nothing else we could do to help.”

The Gourock to Dunoon route has been criticised for disruptions to the service. It was suspended several times due to high winds in the week that Monty encountered problems.

One user on social media described it as a “total disaster”, adding: “Dunoon must be well at the top of the list for new ferries before anyone else.”