Hebrides Ushers In Summer

Generally speaking CalMac has only two seasons – Summer and Winter.
However this year again it has three seasons for the Isle of Tiree.
Like everywhere else in the timetable there are the two seasons
but additionally for Tiree there is High Summer.

The MV Hebrides enters Gott Bay on Good Friday 2018 ushering in the Summer Timetable

The Summer season commenced on Good Friday (30/03/18).
It ought to have been operated by the MV Clansman.
This is the island’s dedicated vessel.
However she met with an accident.

The MV Hebrides framed by the dolphins and linkspan on Good Friday

It would appear
that when she went for her annual overhaul
that the propellor and propulsion system were damaged
and that the repair work has had to to be carried out in Scandinavia.

The MV Hebrides prepares to berth stern first at Tiree’s pier

As a consequence at the start of the Summer Season CalMac are a vessel down.
This has resulted in a reshuffling of the larger vessels in the fleet.
And not all vessels can berth at Tiree.

The bridge of the MV Hebrides as she prepares to berth

The Isle of Lewis has too great a draught and has an off-set stern ramp.
Therefore she is not suitable for the Oban, Coll and Tiree route.
The Isle of Mull is not designed for coming out to Tiree.
(Although occasionally she has ventured to Tiree.)
This therefore restricts the choice of vessel.

The bow line is thrown to those standing on the roundhead

When the MV Clansman went off for her overhaul in February
the MV Hebridean Isles ‘was involved in a docking incident at Tiree’
which according to CalMac press release is currently still under investigation.

The said incident occurred on her very first sailing to the island.
On that occasion the vessel had to return to Oban without berthing.
Subsequently the MV Lord of the Isles has provided an excellent service to Tiree.

The MV Lord of the Isles provided sterling service on her relief duties

With the MV Hebrides due her annual overhaul
the MV Hebridean Isles has taken over the Uig Triangle
and is at present covering for the MV Clansman’s sailings.

The stern lines and ropes thrown and caught

Understandably those affected by the reshuffle are not too impressed.
According to the press Uist in particular has challenged the decision.
They feel that all too often they are the first to suffer.

The capstan in operation

It has to be pointed out
that Tiree has one of the longest crossings.
There is normally only one sailing a day to Tiree
and there are no alternate sea routes to the island.
There is no way that you can hop from another island to Tiree.

Urgent deliveries being off loaded up the steep linkspan

With no suitable spare vessels in the fleet CalMac are in a difficult position.
If the MV Clansman is further delayed in returning to service
then they have a major problem.

A rare sight these past 4 weeks – the gangway in operation

Until then here on Tiree we are appreciating the MV Hebrides.
She is the sister ship to the MV Clansman.
She is a most welcome visitor.

The MV Hebrides heads out to sea bound for Coll and Oban on Good Friday

Over the Easter weekend she brought much needed additional capacity.
With her arrival came not only visitors to the island.
With the Hebrides came sunshine.

It’s a sunny Easter Monday and the MV Hebrides is ready to return to Oban via Coll

On Easter Sunday Tiree was the sunniest place in the UK.
This is “Life on Tiree”.

Just as we were ready to publish CalMac have issued a RED Alert.
Tuesday 3rd April 
Due to operational reasons
and on going technical issue
the sailings to and from Coll, Tiree and Colonsay
have been cancelled on Tue 3rd April. 
A review will be made on Tuesday at 1200
with regards to sailings on Wednesday which will be weather dependant.

Easter Monday the MV Hebrides departs Tiree