The Best Laid Plans

It was Robert Burns in his poem ‘To a mouse’ who penned the oft quoted words, ‘The best-laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley.’ I had in mind to convey something of how busy the island has been in the last seven days. Sadly, in all the busyness of getting ready for a trip to the Mainland, I incorrectly put the photographs in Life on Tiree’s media library.

The Flying Dutchman at the pontoons in Oban Bay

How grateful we were for the additional sailing on Tuesday morning from Tiree to Oban Ferry Terminal. Due to the great skill of the crew on the car deck and on the pier staff almost all the vehicles were boarded. However, due to the volume of traffic, the ferry was late in arriving in Oban. This had a knock on effect on the second sailing resulting in a very late berthing in Oban.  We were so pleased we had crossed over on the morning ferry!

Oban Front

With such a late arrival in Oban, just before midnight, and the need for the crew rest period, Wednesday morning’s sailing was delayed by an hour. The sheer volume of traffic, including some from TMF would only add to the delay.

The pier staff handling the stern ropes

One of the bonuses of living on Tiree is the real sense of community and this is reflected in so many different ways. One good example is the fact that Tiree is one of the very few places in Scotland to have a Meals on Wheels Service delivered  by volunteer drivers. As the ferry pulls away from the pier and heads out to sea we are waving to friends that include the pier staff.

Bound for Barra, the MV Isle of Lewis in the Sound of Mull

Our particular crossing did not involve a stop at Coll as it was direct to Oban. Although there were many festival goers and tourists on board there were also friends. With no stop at Coll journey time was appropriately three hours twenty minutes. We may be biased but we do find the crew on the MV Clansman to be most helpful and friendly.

The cruise ship Columbus anchored off Tobermory on the Isle of Mull

Although we departed Tiree in sunshine, the warmth hit us when we arrived in Oban and especially when we started to walk about the town. One essential was a visit to the barber’s and hairdresser ‘s as we had been unable to attend to this before leaving home.

The MV Isle of Mull entering Oban Bay through the narrows

Oban is sometimes called the Ferry Capital of the West Coast of Scotland, with ferries sailing to at least nine different island destinations. There are three piers, the North Pier, the Railway Pier and the Lighthouse Pier. The harbour is also used by fishing boats and small craft offering sea tours trips around the bay and to the seal colonies. Oban is popular with various pleasure craft including sailing ships, yachts and cruisers. It would appear that increasingly larger cruise ships anchor in the deeper water just outside the bay and bring in visitors by launch.

A walk along the Esplanade- passing the Flying Dutchman

We never find time spent in Oban, or on board the ferry, a waste of time, as there are so many ferries and other vessels to observe. So it was last evening, we rounded off the day with a walk along the esplanade to the war memorial and back to our overnight accommodation.

Oban for those with an interest in ferries

As we slipped beneath the duvet the MV Clansman was just entering the bay. It had been a long day for her crew. 

The sun sets over Oban Bay

This Life on Tiree visiting the Mainland.