After a slight delay here is the post which was meant to be posted on our arrival on the Mainland. However, there was a problem with accessing the desired photographs. As they say, ‘better late than never’.
The Tiree Music Festival (TMF) is over for another year. This year the festival celebrated its 10th birthday and more people than ever attended this island event. It was busy!
A few artists and festival goers travelled by plane. Everything and everyone else from the Mainland had to arrive and depart by ferry. When you consider what is involved this is a major challenge for the festival organisers. It is a challenge for the ferry operator. It is a challenge for the ferry crews. It is a challenge for the pier staff.
For Loganair fog is a major challenge. Poor visibility means that no flights are possible. This was true on at least two days prior to the festival.
Thankfully the weather on the Sunday and Monday was blue skies.
Everyone is agreed that CalMac has an ageing fleet. Prior to the festival there were major problems. It could hardly have happened at a worse time. In the end every crossing was covered – even if there were major delays.
The Monday following TMF is the Big exodus. For this reason the MV Isle of Mull was rostered. She carries fewer vehicles but importantly more passengers. On the Monday morning she carried in excess of 900 passengers.
Safety is of paramount importance. There are vehicle movements on and off the ferry. There are cyclists and foot passengers and all their luggage. The ferry cannot be over loaded. So there is a strict count of everyone boarding. On Monday morning the whole exercise took almost 2 hours to carry out. However, almost everyone, that wanted, got away on that sailing.
In the late afternoon there was an additional sailing. This time the vessel was the MV Clansman. There were far fewer foot passengers, but there were far more vehicles. With great skill and coordination the ferry was loaded. The car deck and pier staff did a tremendous job. Their skill in loading the ferry is admirable. You wonder if they employed a shoehorn.
What a picture. Not necessarily for the definition. Rather, it was the subject of the photograph. The MV Clansman and the cruise ship ‘Spirit of Discovery’. The latter was en route from Kirkwall to Belfast via Portree.
This past seven days have been busy, busy. It is not just the extra planes banked for such an occasion. It is not just the additional sailings that were scheduled for TMF. Gott Bay has been busy with all kinds of craft, yachts, ribs and launches.
Our expectation was that on Tuesday it would be mainly commercial vehicles. However, the mobile homes, caravans and private cars proved us wrong. Thee was even a substantial number of cyclists and foot passengers.
It the season for cruise ships in the waters of the Inner Hebrides. On the Tuesday we past the cruise ship Columbus’ anchored off Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. The cruise ships may be monstrous compared to the MV Clansman but it is hard to beat the friendly, helpful CalMac crews.
This is Life on Tiree