TRIP OF A LIFETIME

What a day it has turned out to be be.
Blue sky with clear views to neighbouring islands.
So still that bird song travelled far and was music to the ears.

It was all that the weather forecast predicated and more.
Here on Tiree there was no need for coat, hat scarf and gloves.
Especially when down south they were complaining about how cold it was.

Palm Tree Weather

You could not have asked for a better day for the tour to the Skerryvore Lighthouse.
The tour is organised and operated by Frazer MacInnes of Tiree Sea Tours.
Today’s event began by kitting up close to the pier at Scarinish.
This was followed by the regulatory safety briefing.
Then we made our way down to the slipway.

Kitting up including mandatory life jacket

For me this was a completely new experience boarding a rib.
With two petrol engines it means that she is both fast and safe.
The two man crew of Frazer and Kris could not have been more helpful.

Making our way down the slipway towards the ‘Aurora’

The coastguard were alerted regarding our trip.
Then the ‘Aurora’ headed out to sea just after two o’clock.
Right away you had a fresh perspective of familiar landmarks.
Apart from anything else this fresh perspective of the island was worth it.

Familiar landmarks from a fresh perspective – soon left behind

With the Aurora’s powerful engines purring we made our away towards Hynish.
Our skipper asked if we would like to see the latest addition to the seascape.
A NATO exercise is taking place in the waters of the Hebrides.
Anchored in Hynish Bay was the Minesweeper M112 .
And – we received a friendly wave from her crew.

In galleries mouse-over for captions.
Double click to appreciate the view with larger pictures.

We hove to just off Hynish Pier and the related buildings
The pier and complex were built for the construction of the lighthouse.
Here we were provided with relevant information without it being over long.
From my point of view I felt that we were given all the information we required.

A local fishing boat indicated that a ‘minke’ whale had been sighted close by.
Unfortunately we did not catch sight of her, but it was not without trying.
So the engines were opened up and we headed for Skerryvore.

Local fishing boat Venus II

Most on board appreciated the view of Hynish and the Shore Station.
Once again we had a view of the west end that you could get in no other way.
The view to port was of the Isle of Mull and to starboard the view was ‘Happy Valley’.

Ben Hynish, the Golf Ball and Hynish House

The weather was almost unbelievable.
The skipper was in shorts and some had only light anoraks on.
Most importantly there was only a slight swell as we headed out towards the Atlantic.

Skerryvore here we come

To port there was a view of the Isles of Mull and Colonsay and the Paps of Jura.
To starboard there was a view of Tiree and it appeared as three islands.
No wonder Tiree is sometimes called ‘The Land Below The Waves’.
At one point it looked like the houses are floating on the water!

Tiree – The Land Below The Waves – like three separate islands

White water provided ample evidence of the chain of skerries.
It was these dangerous rocky outcrops that made Skerryvore vital.
Depending on the state of the tide the skerries are often submerged.

White water breaking on outlying skerries

Not long before sailing I had received a message saying,
“Wait till you see her close up Alan.
She truly is a sight to behold.
Enjoy.”

This was no over-statement.
All on board agreed how impressive the lighthouse is.
She is in fact the tallest and most majestic lighthouse in Scotland.
She is a monument to the amazing expertise of the engineer Alan Stevenson.
It is also a tribute to those who built her in one of the wildest locations imaginable.

Once again Frazer provided just the right amount of information.
For those wanting to know more there is the Museum at Hynish.
There is also a wealth of information online.

Impressive

With the calm conditions we were able to hove to just off the skerry.
Once again we were reminded just how inquisitive seals can be.
They slid off the skerry and swam close to the ‘Aurora’.

Kris and Frazer

Seals were not the only company we enjoyed.
Throughout the tour we came across various seabirds.
We passed several fishing boats and we were given friendly waves.

Seals swim close to the Aurora

The Sea Tour to Skerryvore ranks right up at the top.
Yes, as one person said today, “It was the trip of a lifetime”.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Tiree Sea Tours to anyone.
Whether you live on Tiree or a visitor the tour to Skerryvore is worth every penny.

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.

Skipper Frazer MacInnes of Tiree Sea Tours

PS
What a great addition to the Life on Tiree.

Getting Ready for the next Tiree Sea Tour

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