“Pier Times”

It is Sale Day on Tiree
And If you go down to the pier today
You just never know who you might meet.

Tiree Lamb Sale at the Rural Centre, Crossapol

We were standing with friends booked on the morning crossing.
At that point someone walked up and introduced themselves.
They had a name that I was familiar with online.
‘Peter Windnwaves’.

Photograph of an otter at the West End of Tiree – Courtesy of Peter Windnwaves

He related a recent encounter with an otter.
He had time to grab his camera and seek to capture it.
Peter has posted the photograph and asked if I might share it.

The queue to access the marshalling lanes at the pier

The queue before the marshalling lanes spoke volumes.
It was going to be an extremely busy outbound sailing.
It was mainly non-commercial vehicles.

The Pier Office, full marshalling lanes and many foot passengers

Inbound from Oban the ferry was equally busy.
There were some private vehicles arriving.
But it was mainly commercial traffic.

There were several livestock lorries and trailers.
After all it was the August Tiree Lamb Sale.
Their transport is always so colourful.
This is especially so at night.

Inbound for the Lamb Sale at the Rural Centre, Crossapol

However the Sale Traffic did not have it all its own way.
The ‘Mighty’ Clansman had space for other commercial traffic.
Island Haulage firms I.A MacKinnon and MacLennan Motors also had vehicles.

There we were watching the traffic boarding for Coll and Oban,
When two cyclists suddenly appeared for boarding.
(Other cyclists had previously boarded.)
They were heading off to Coll.

Will Wright of Tiree Fitness and his wife Becky of Chocolates and Charms bound for Coll

You just never know who you will meet at the pier.
Will and Becky Wright were bound for the Coll Half-Marathon.
This Half Marathon has become an important annual event on the Isle of Coll.

Bound for the Mainland

When the ferry departed the pier quietened.
It was however a different matter at the Rural Centre.
The auction ring was where most of the the action was to be found.
It would be nearer 6:00pm before the pier became a hive of activity once again.

Pier Road had the feeling of an island rush hour.
The traffic (mainly commercial) was heading for the ferry.
Livestock hauliers, auction personnel and buyers bound for Oban and far beyond.

Traffic for Coll and Oban

Once again the ferry was busy inbound from Oban.
This evening the traffic was mainly private vehicles.
However, there were two lorries bound for Crossapol.
They will return to the Mainland with their lambs on Sunday.

Sale traffic crosses over at then pier-head

On a Saturday evening the ferry sails directly to Tiree from Oban.
The one stop at Coll is on the return leg of the journey.
This necessitated all the Coll traffic disembarking.
There was time to talk with one of the car drivers!

Was it, “I want my mummy” they were bleating?

Passing the various lorries there was a solemn bleating.
Was it only imagination or were they crying,
“I want my mummy?”

The Oban traffic was boarded first.
Then the vehicles for Coll were reversed onto the ferry.
The stern ramp was raised, the vessel secured and the ropes cast.

With the vessel secured the MV Clansman proceeds to sea

This is ‘Life-on-Tiree. reporting from the pier on Sale Day.
Down by the pier you just never know who you will meet.

Oh! There is an important postscript.
Will Wright took the top spot on the podium.
He came in first in the Coll Half-Marathon.