Maritime Memories 2018
It is that time of year to look back over the past year.
Here are a few maritime memories associated with the Isle of Tiree.
Maritime matters on the Isle of Tiree.
Throughout the year surfers visit our shores.
The ferry serves as a lifeline link to the Scottish Mainland.
There is also a small but important fishing fleet that sails from the island.
The past year (2018) witnessed the launch of a new venture – Tiree Sea Tours.
It felt like the middle of the night.
It was 7:00am on a January morning.
The sun had not yet risen and it was pitch black.
With the gusts forecast to rise the ferry had left Oban at 4:00am.
Tiree sits in the Atlantic waters that wash the Scotland’s West Coast.
These west coast waters are warmed by the Gulf Stream.
Snow is therefore unusual but not unknown.
In January, February and March wild, windy wether is a fact of life.
Yet calm, sunny days are also experienced in these months.
Winter sunshine is weak but a real delight.
Tiree has is well served by its airport with links to Glasgow and Oban.
However all heavy traffic has to come by sea rather than by air.
In January the MV Burhou I arrived with a cargo of aggregates.
Tiree is a great example of a crofting community.
It is widely recognised for the quality of its livestock.
On Sale Days there are often two sailings to and from Oban.
The first Livestock Sale and Sailing of the year was held on the 18th February.
Every year the ferry fleet has to enter dry dock to be serviced.
The vessels have to be inspected, serviced and sometimes refurbished.
When the Clansman left for the dry dock the Hebridean Isles was the relief vessel.
Unfortunately when attempting to berth at Tiree she suffered damage at her stern.
With the MV Clansman in dry dock this mean the fleet was put under immense pressure.
The Lord of the Isles (LOTI) took over as the relief vessel.
Matters were made much worse when the MV Clansman was damaged.
She suffered damage to her propeller and propeller shaft when entering dry dock.
The booking system was unable to cope with the differing capacities of the vessels.
Sadly the Clansman was out of action. for several months
Over the Easter Weekend the MV Hebrides served the island.
She is a sister ship to the Clansman and was most welcome.
This visit caused disquiet elsewhere on the network.
However her relief service was to be short lived.
She was called back to the Uig Triangle.
For one day only the MV Isle of Mull was re-deployed to serve Tiree.
The relief vessel the MV Lord of the Isle was storm bound at Lochboisdale.
A snow covered Ben More on the Isle of Mull provided a marvelous backdrop.
The waters of Gott Bay are too shallow to accommodate large cruise vessels.
Throughout the year a number of smaller cruise ships drop anchor in the bay.
The M/S Stockholm is a marvelous piece of maritime history
Pictured below she is loved by so many!
The Summer Timetable commenced with the MV Clansman still in dry dock.
The MV Lord of the Isles was still the main relief vessel.
So she handled the weekly Tiree/Barra/Tiree sailing.
This involved navigating the Gunna Sound.
At the end of April a NATO Exercise was held in the waters off the Hebrides.
On the 28th April the Minesweeper M112 was anchored in Hynish Bay.
She looked impressive with the NATS Radar Station as a backdrop.
The weather for the most part was kind to the new venture – Tiree Sea Tours.
The crew were most helpful, knowledgeable and accommodating.
The trip to Skerryvore Lighthouse was the trip of a lifetime.
The trip to Lunga to see the puffins was memorable.
The former CalMac ferry the RMS Columba is now the cruise ship Hebridean Princess.
Many on the island have fond memories of her in her former capacity.
Throughout the year she made several visits to the Isle of Tiree.
It is always a pleasure to see her in Gott Bay.
The 1st of May was a grey day.
The MV Clansman was still out of action.
The Lord of Isles was still serving as the relief vessel.
On a misty May morning the MV Isle of Mull visited Tiree once again.
The first weekend in May is the Tiree 10k and Ultra-Marathon.
Additional capacity was desperately needed!
In early May the Clansman was temporarily let out of dry dock.
She was sent first of all sent to the Uig Triangle to cover for the Hebrides.
Only later in June did she eventually return fully to the Oban-Coll-Tiree service.
‘The Lady of Avenel’ visited Tiree.
She is a 102ft Brigantine square rigged ship.
She offers adventure holidays and can sleep up to 12 guests.
Later in the day she left to make the crossing to the island of Iona.
Gott Bay is now equipped by a number of moorings.
Throughout the summer months they were used by visiting yachts.
The yachts resting at the moorings grace the bay at colourful sunset.
This year the PS Waverley did not visit the pier at Gott Bay.
Instead she visited the neighbouring island of Coll.
From there she cruised to the Gunna Sound.
(The stretch of water separating Coll and Tiree).
Our visit to Coll was most timely!
Another luxury yacht to visit Gott Bay was the ‘Kentra’.
With her brass fittings and sleek lines she was much admired.
The skipper of Tiree Tea Tours would like to add the Kentra to his growing fleet.
Finally on the 9th of June the MV Clansman was ‘all better’.
Her return to her regular route(s) was certainly most welcome.
She also had a new look thanks to some of the work carried out on her.
That same day, the 9th of June, a fishery protection vessel was in our waters.
We first sighted the vessel from our south facing windows.
She was very distinctive in appearance.
Gott Bay can be most challenging to the ferries in certain conditions.
At other times her waters can be like a mill pond.
At sunset the ‘Big Bay’ is a colourful picture!
Before, during and after the Tiree Music Festival sailings are at capacity.
To cope with additional foot passengers the MV Isle of Mull is required.
Some of the TMF artists arrive and depart by rib.
In August Tiree’s Maritime Heritage is celebrated.
Today the Tiree Maritime Trust seeks to build on that tradition.
Its stated aims are as follows:
“(1) To advance education, training and pass on skills
in traditional boat building and boat maintenance,
(2) To encourage the preservation
of the traditional wooden working boats of Tiree
and the maritime heritage that surrounds them,
(3) To encourage local interest in the maritime heritage of Tiree
as a recreational activity in the interest of social welfare”
This year the Tiree Regatta took place once again in Gott Bay.
August the 31st was a beautiful but breezy Friday.
The MV Clansman cut a striking image out in the Passage of Tiree.
White horses were much in evidence as she set sail for Oban via Coll.
For the uninitiated ‘An Gille-Brìghde’ is the name of the Tiree St Ayles Skiff.
For those who do not have the Gaelic it means ‘The Oyster Catcher’.
These colourful birds are characteristic of the island.
Construction began at the Noust (Boatshed) in the cold wet days of February.
After many hours of hard work the skiff was launched in September.
What an achievement and well worthy a great celebration
A few days later some of the construction team enjoyed rowing her.
They took her from the old pier at Scarinish to the waters of Gott Bay.
Their timing was perfect for out in the Passage of Tiree was the Mighty Clansman.
Evening sailings are normally down to Livestock sales.
In October the Clansman brought a real splash of colour to Gott Bay.
In a chilly November day the sun reflects off the Clansman.
While (below) the Clansman is now burning fuel with a rainbow additive.
For Christmas the Clansman becomes a festive ferry.
She must be the most decorated ferry of the CalMac Fleet.
To see the full effect of the crew’s efforts a trip to Oban is necessary.
On our return to Tiree after Christmas we saw the result of their hard work,
These are just some of our Maritime Memories from 2018.
Trips to the Mainland by ferry add to that store.
A new year lies in front with new memories.
This is Life on Tiree.