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Meet Barney MacBrayne: Calmac cat

A ginger cat adopted by staff at the Tarbert (Isle of Harris) ferry terminal is enjoying new found celebrity, with his own Instagram page and a growing number of followers from across the islands and around the world.

Picture: Barney watches as the Hebrides docks in Tarbert, Harris (photo: @barneymacbrayne)

Barney has made himself at home in the recently-opened office and waiting room, and has been pictured watching for the ferry, snoozing on and under desks, and even relaxing with an (electronic) mouse.

Staff first encountered him when he was a kitten taking shelter in the back of a cupboard in a portakabin - the team’s temporary base while the new building on Tarbert pier was completed.

“He was very nervous to begin with, snarling and hissing,” said Outport Clerk Maree, “but we started to leave food out and he got more confident. “He can still be shy around strangers, but he knows the staff by their voices and is quite happy to be stroked by people he knows. He soon figured out where we were when we moved.”

While he spends plenty of time in the comfortable surroundings of the terminal building, Barney (who shares his first name with a former employee) can also be spotted out and about in Tarbert, sometimes following staff when they head outside to check waiting passengers’ tickets.

Picture: Barney waits to be let in from the cold (photo: @barneymacbrayne)

It’s not known exactly where Barney spends the night, but the pier’s night watchmen keep an eye out for him. He has made it known that he is not a fan of Hebridean weather, especially cold snow on his paws, and the rustling sound of the waterproofs the staff wear when it rains.

“He’s part of the crew, and he’s definitely good for morale,” says Port Assistant Pim. “Whoever’s here first in the morning always makes sure he has something to eat.” “He’s found the perfect place,” added Maree. “It’s warm and dry, open long hours, and there’s always a packet of Dreamies in the drawer.”

Follow Barney on Instagram @barneymacbrayne


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