Life on Tiree, at least at present, being relatively new islanders, means keeping a weather eye out. We are especially keeping an eye on the weather as we are looking forward to having family members at Christmas and New Year. South West winds in the region of 40mph make it difficult for the ferry to berth, even for what we have come to call the “Mighty Clansman”. In the early hours of this morning (about 12.30) the wind was gusting up to 87mph, just 3mph lower than the highest gust recorded at the height of the storm on South Uist. Although the wind speed had dropped considerably by the time the ferry was due (11.00am) it was still gusting about 40mph.
The Cal-Mac Ferry Status page was indicating that the ferry would leave Oban but that it would not on the way out attempt to berth at the neighbouring island of Coll because of the swell generated by the storm. There was no guarantee either that it would be able to berth at Tiree. It might have to return to Oban without berthing at all.
The pier was drawing me like a magnet, I had to see if the Clansman would berth. Just as she entered the bay, the wind started to gust. The wind was blowing from the south west. Would the captain attempt to berth?
The foot passengers waiting to board held their breath. The ferry turned in the bay in order to be able to berth with its stern to the link-span (the loading ramp). Then she appeared to lie off the pier. Then slowly the captain inched the boat in stern first, then sideways into the pier, the ropes were thrown and they held. The stern ramp was lowered and unloading and loading proceeded. The gangway remained on the pier , foot passengers boarding via the stern ramp.
With lorries, vans and cars safely stowed and with foot passengers on board, the Clansman made its way out of the bay, heading (hopefully) for Coll and eventually for Oban. It raised the spirits, the Clansman had made it, now all we need is for the Clansman to safely berth on its next visit – this Saturday. We will be keeping a weather eye out and praying. After all Jesus is the One who calmed the storm.
As usual, clicking on one of the photographs will launch a slideshow. Hover the mouse over a photograph will bring up the title.