Yes! Full Steam Ahead bound for Tobermory and Oban.
But first we must reverse away from the pier out into the bay.
This is Life on Tiree on board the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer.
The sun has broken through the clouds.
It is looking promising for our sail to Oban.
The telegraph sounds from the bridge to the engine room.
Down below the engineer responds and it is ‘full steam ahead’.
We are board the Paddle Steamer Waverley.
We are promised a ‘great day out’.
Does it live up to its billing?
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On board this grand old lady you feel so much closer to the water.
For a steamer that is 70 years old she has quite a turn of speed.
Her timing for the trip is comparable to the ‘Lord of the Isles’.
From her decks we look out on now familiar landmarks.
What drives this grand old lady is her magnificent 2100 horsepower,
triple expansion reciprocating steam engine which is open to full public view.
There in the engine room you can listen to the clang of the telegraph
as the Captain sends instructions to turn the paddles ahead or astern.
Visible through portholes in the ship’s hull are Waverley’s famous paddle wheels.
But let’s go up the stairs to the Waverley’s upper decks.
Take a look astern to Tiree in the distance.
Every trip must include a visit to the engine room.
But there is more to the waverley than her powerful oil fired engines.
There’s the Purser’s Office, restaurant, tearoom, bar and observation lounges.
And unlike most modern ferries the PS Waverley has plenty of open deck space.
This afternoon’s sailing is like travelling in a time machine.
We have gone back to an age when ferries called at Tobermory Pier.
First we must enter the Sound of Mull with Ardnamurchan Lighthouse to port.
We enter the sheltered waters of Tobermory Bay.
We pass the Tobermory’s Lifeboat – ready for any emergency.
We pass the Loch Class ferry ‘Loch Trabert’ that sails to Kilchoan.
Then the telegraph is sounding, chains are clanging and ropes are thrown.
There is great excitement both on board the Waverley and on Tobermory Pier.
It’s time to depart for Oban.
The Ship’s horn sounds a farewell blast.
With the sun shining we head down the Sound of Mull.
Trees and Rhododendrons.
Oban lies spread out before us.
It is a beautiful evening to arrive at Oban’s North Pier.
What a colourful end to a great day out.
The colours are those of CalMac ships and the setting sun.
In less than 24 hours we will be heading back to life on Tiree.