More Than Old Creels

Photo of Gunna Sound
Gunna Sound, between Tiree and Coll

It is the afternoon of April 1st and I am on the beach at Caolas – a man on a mission. The sky is overcast, with the sun glinting here and there. The tide is at a low ebb and seaweed covered rocks lie exposed. Here and there lie the rusting  carcasses of old creels.

Photo of Old Creel
Old Creel at Caolas

But I am not here to rescue lost buoys or give a new home to old creels. I am a man on a mission. From the shore there is the sound of workmen as they work on the exterior of a bungalow; not all homes on Tiree are traditional. But my interest is offshore in the Gunna Sound. The previous day Gott Bay had seen a family gathering of the Forth Sentinel and Forth Jouster, both owned by Briggs Marine. However, today they are joined by another member of the family, the Forth Guardsman right here in the Gunna Sound. My mission is to photograph them as they renew the subsea electricity cable linking the Isle of Tiree and Coll, and so to the Grid. Work had begun early, making the most of the increasing daylight hours. I cannot fully work out what each vessel is doing, but it is a scene of great activity, as ribs act as messengers between the three vessels. To view a slideshow of the action double click on one of the pictures.

A day later and the family gathering is all but over. The Forth Jouster and the Forth Guardsman are on their way back to Oban. Only the Forth Sentinel remains in the waters around Tiree. Perhaps soon we will be reconnected to the national grid and our ‘Tiley’ our Turbine will be able to generate some income for the community.