The Realities of Island Life

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Here on the island, daily flights from Glasgow are a lifeline for, in addition to crew and passengers, they carry the mail and newspapers. The ferry service from Oban is regarded by government as a lifeline service vital to life on Tiree. Apart from the limited capacity of the small plane, everything people and products arrive and depart by ferry. There is no hospital on the island so unless it is a medical emergency necessitating the air ambulance, hospital visits mean getting off the island by scheduled air service or ferry crossing.

The summer crossing to Tiree is generally 3 hours 45 minutes on the CalMac ferry ‘The Clansman’. You can therefore understand the concerns that the company is stating that this winter, on what is one of the longest ferry crossings and at one of the most exposed piers, they are going to employ a ferry, the ‘Hebridean Isles’, that will take an additional 45 minutes and will be even more unable to come alongside the pier in stormy weather. This could mean 9 hours on board the ferry if it has to return to Oban, when it is unable to land at Tiree. Remember in the winter there are only 5 sailings a week. It appears that those who live on Coll and Tiree have no real say on the matter.