Great Expectations

Last Saturday we had hoped to travel with our son to the neighbouring island of Coll and enjoy lunch at the newly extended Coll Hotel. Sea conditions, swell, were such that Tiree Sea Tours had to cancel the trip.

The Coll Hotel before its new extension

Sunday turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, not as warm as London, but pleasantly warm for Tiree. The outlook was looking good for the trip on Monday. During the night, however, in the early hours of Monday morning, we were conscious of the wind rising.

The arrival of the ‘Lesley-M’ on a sunny Sunday afternoon

On Monday morning, there was time to say goodbye at the pier to some friends returning home to Yorkshire. The sky had turned grey but the Skipper for the rib Aurora felt that we could still go to sea for a wild life trip with the opportunity for a stop at Coll, adding that we might get a little wet.

The arrival of the MV Clansman in Gott Bay

At the appointed hour, 11:30am, we assembled at the Tiree Sea Tour’s trailer to don the warm jackets, waterproof trousers and life jackets. This was followed by the important safety briefing. At this point in time the MV Clansman headed out to sea bound for Coll and Oban. Perhaps we might see her in Coll.

The MV Clansman heads out to sea bound for Coll

With a full compliment, 12 passengers and 2 crew on board, we made our way past the buoys marking the restricted area around the anchors for the pontoon that is involved in the refurbishment work at the old pier.

Marker Buoy with the Lodge Hotel across the bay

Sea conditions meant that when we reached the Gunna Sound the Skipper made the wise decision to cut the tour short and return to Tiree. As we made our way back we slowed down to watch seals close to Milton harbour and on some of the islets.

The pontoon CW3 with its crane

We appreciated the skill and competence of the skipper and crew. The former knows Tiree waters and is an accomplished ships’ pilot. Their decision to return to port was an act on consideration. Thanks.

The support vessel Lesly-M by the marker buoy

When we left and returned to the slipway we had a clear view of the work that is presently underway on the old pier. As the work on Milton Harbour nears to completion the refurbishment of the old pier in Gott Bay appears to intensify. Divers have surveyed the metal piles that support the deck and most of the old wooden fenders have been removed.

The Tiree Sea Tours rib the Aurora approaching the slipway

As previously reported the tug Coastworker towed the pontoon CW3 with its crane to Tiree and slowly propelled it towards the pier that was used before the era of roll on roll off. The linkspan decks of the present pier are reaching the end of their serviceable life and are being replaced as part of CMAL’s ongoing programme of harbour upgrades and improvements.

Timbers for the new fenders for the pier refurbishment

Also in the bay was the service vessel Lesley-M which we assume was on hand to move one of the yellow bouys for the pontoon’s anchors.

Surveying the walkway for foot passengers in preparation for refurbishment

Next week on Tuesday 3rd September, 4.00pm – 7.30pm at An Talla (the Community Hall), there is to be a public meeting. This will take the form of a drop-in session to update the community on the planned linkspan replacement project, including linkspan closure dates and alternative service arrangements which will be put in place by CalMac throughout the duration of the upgrade.

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.
Any photographs were restricted to dry conditions.
Sea water and cameras do not make good companions!


Tiree Sea Tours website