Barra and Back

Today the weekly Summer Sailing from Tiree to Barra and back commenced.
This was one weekly later than originally advertised.
And this was due to vessel redeployment issues.
The MV Clansman is still in dry dock!

The MV Lord of the Isles berthing at Scarinish

Until further notice this service is being operated by the MV Lord of the Isles.
In the past she was a regular in these waters – Barra, Coll and Tiree.
More recently this has been the domain of the MV Clansman.

The MV Isle of Mull leaving Gott Bay bound direct for Oban on the Tuesday evening

Nothing is certain in the present circumstances.
Last Wednesday the MV Isle of Mull served Oban, Coll and Tiree.
This was assumed to be a one off after the withdrawal of the MV Hebrides.
However, yesterday the MV Isle of Mull sailed to an amended revised timetable.
Consequently she left Oban, sailed via Coll and then on to Tiree and back to Oban.

MV Lord of the Isles alongside the pier – preparing to lower her stern ramp.

Today, Wednesday, there has been thin layer of cloud hanging around.
But with little wind to speak of Gott Bay has been like a mill pond.
Into these calm waters the Lord of the Isles sailed today.
Before heading for the Gunna Sound and Castlebay.

MV Lord of the Isles alongside the pier – viewed from the shore at Gott Bay

After watching her berth and load we headed east to Coalas.
From Gott Bay we were able to watch LOTI depart the pier.
Like a knife she cut through the bay’s clam waters.

The MV Lord of the Isles heading out to sea bound for Barra via the Gunna Sound

At Coalas we positioned ourselves opposite Eilean Ghreasamuill.
Our vantage point afforded a clear view of the Sound.
We could just make out the Dutchman’s Cap.

LOTI about to enter the Gunna Sound – in the background the Dutchman’s Cap

Awaiting LOTI’s imminent arrival we spied seals on the islands.
How well they blend in with the their environment.
To the unobservant they could just be rocks.

(Mouse-over for captions, double-click for larger photographs)

As LOTI made her way through the Sound they appeared unperturbed.
It was close to low tide but LOTi’s engines didn’t seem to disturb them.
One seal waas seen in the water proceeding in the opposite direction.

MV Lord of the Isles and swimming seal

All too soon LOTI’s was heading out into the ‘Little Minch’.
Even in the Minch the water appeared relatively calm.
It would have been be an uneventful crossing.

(Mouse-over for captions, double-click for larger photographs)

‘LOTI’ left Castlebay (Barra) at 15:06.
This was about 15 minutes later than advertised time.
Nevertheless she was not far behind schedule as she entered the Sound.

The seals were still present but with a higher tide accommodation was limited.
Once again the passage of LOTI through the Sound did not perturb them.
It was not just the seals witnessing LOTI in the Gunna Sound.
Several people could be seen observing her passage.

Passing the cairn at Caolas on the return sailing

Not many make the crossing from Barra to Tiree or Coll.
Nevertheless the sailing is important for a variety of reasons.

In the summer months Tiree visitors and residents enjoy the cruise.
It provides a once a week inter-island sailing between Tiree and Barra.
It enables day visits (6 hours) from both Oban and Coll to the island of Tiree.
This is also a cheaper option for commercial purposes avoiding a hotel stay.
Although it means a late arrival in Oban this inter-island sailing appears justifiable.

For one person on board this evening’s sailing it was one step in a long journey.
Tiree was like a transit point in a journey that began in Brazil.
It was an adventure that would continue in India.
You just never know who you might meet!

MV Lord of the Isles – departs Tiree for Coll, Oban and what could be the start of an adventure

The MV Lord of the Isles departed Tiree just after 6pm.
Out in the Passage of Tiree was the cruise ship Marco Polo.
Her most recent cruise saw her sail from Belfast to Stornoway.
Today she sailed from Stornoway past the Isle of Skye to Tobermory.
As she passed the Treshnish Isles and Tiree she is on her way south to Dublin.

Away out in the Passage of Tiree the cruise ship Marco Polo

Will they enjoy a sunset this evening as they cruise back to Oban?
It will be hard to match Tuesday’s stunning set enjoyed on Tiree.
This was viewed from Heylipol.

Tuesday’s Stunning Sunset

This is ‘Life-on-Tiree’