Tiree: A Weather Window

The Clansman bringing its stern in first
The Clansman bringing its stern in first

It is six days since the ferry last berthed at Tiree and that was on the day the storms broke on the West Coast of Scotland. With another storm track approaching the West Coast, this morning provided a brief weather window for the MV Clansman to berth at Coll and Tiree. Normally under the Winter Timetable there is no Wednesday sailing to Coll or Tiree, but CalMac put on an “additional” sailing.

The Clansman left Oban at 6.10am, 10 minutes down. However, in the Sound of Mull, close to Tobermory the vessel suffered a technical fault and was about an hour late arriving at Coll and over an hour late berthing at Tiree. Instead of a 13:35 arrival in Oban, the Clansman is not now due to berth there unto 15:00. The timing is a direct sailing with no second visit to Coll.

Although the wind had dropped considerably, swell was issue and an extra rope had to be deployed. The ramp was lowered and then had to be raised because of the swell, but the extra rope in place, loading and unloading was able to proceed.

First of all the vehicles that had been taken on board at Coll for Oban had to be reversed off, before the vehicles from Oban could be unloaded. With no ferry in six days, there was a large number of artiulated lorries and commercial vehicles, as well as private cars. Similarly the ferry was well loaded returning to Oban, taking off those who had been trapped on the island, some since Saturday.

It was with a great sense of relief that the Clansman departed for Oban. No one is expecting to see the vessel return before Saturday. With the winds steadily rising and the skies darkening the expectation is that Thursday’s sailing will be cancelled.

The Weather Window begins to close in

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