RUM’S community trust has defended Lorna Slater’s use of a hired boat to reach the island, describing it as a ‘non-issue’.

The Scottish Greens co-leader visited the Isle of Rum on Friday to hear islanders’ views on the future of the state-owned Edwardian palace Kinloch Castle.

However, Tory MSP for the Highlands and Islands Donald Cameron questioned why Slater did not take a CalMac service.

He said: “Lorna Slater’s hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness is breath-taking. The Greens are forever lecturing the public on the need to use public transport, yet she’s happy for the Scottish Government to charter a private boat to take her to and from Rum.

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“Her excuse for doing so – that, essentially, the CalMac timetable doesn’t suit – will go down like a lead balloon with Scotland’s island communities.”

He added that Slater’s “tone-deaf indifference” served as “another kick in the teeth to betrayed islanders”.

On Friday, the CalMac ferry departs Mallaig at 12.45pm and arrives at Rum at 2.10pm before departing at 5.20pm to go back to Mallaig for 6.45pm.

The Scottish Government said another boat was hired to take a group of eight people, including the minister, on Friday morning and that this would “maximise her time on the island”.

She travelled with members of the Isle of Rum Community Trust, as well as Scottish Government staff on a boat operated by Western Isle Cruises.

Despite the Tory fume, the Isle of Rum Community Trust development officer Steve Robertson told the BBC the issue was “a storm in a teacup”.

“Lorna Slater is coming over to do a very important meeting to try and move things forward for the community.

“It makes people feel disappointed that’s the story when for us a taxi charter boat is a normal part of island life. We have to use these to make the island anything like sustainable.

“She can take the ferry service if she wants to have the meeting on the ferry and fit in with the very narrow options to spend time on Rum.”

On Twitter, the trust explained that sometimes charter boats are used because the timetable cannot “accommodate everyone’s needs”.

The group added: “The fact that she came on a charter boat is pretty much a non-issue when Highland Council, NatureScot, Mowi, even CalMac use them too.

“It’s not much different to using a taxi rather than the bus when the bus timetable doesn’t work for you.”