Home Again

‘Life on Tiree’ has been silent for just over a week. You might have been wondering what has happened. The answer is there have been no posts because we have been off island. For part of the time we had been visiting family. Our journey home began in Chester from where we travelled by train to Glasgow. From there our onward journey to Oban was by coach. The tine taken overall was just under 8 hours.

Sunset over Oban Bay

After a bite to eat we made our way down to the front just in time to witness the sun set behind the mountains on the Isle of Mull. We learned later that it had been a beautiful day in Oban and also on Tiree.

Looking across Oban Bay to the island of Kerrera and the Mountains on Mull

The following morning we were up and out before the sun had risen in order to be at the ferry terminal for the 7:15 sailing to Coll and Tiree. Normally we recognise some of the other foot passengers but on this particular occasion there was no one that we knew. We did however recognise one of the haulage contractors.

The MV Loch Striven at North Pier

There were 4 ferries berthed in the bay. The MV Loch Striven was berthed at the colourful North Pier. This Loch Class Ferry normally sails back and forth to the Island of Lismore.

The MV Coruisk at the Lighthouse Pier

The MV Coruisk was berthed at the Lighthouse Pier. This ferry is nicknamed ‘The Wedding Cake’ due to its distinctive shape. This ferry was a reminder of the principle reason for our absence. We had travelled to the Mainland to officiate at a wedding at Fenwick in East Ayrshire.

The MV Isle of Mull at the Railway Pier – Oban Ferry Terminal

The MV Isle of Mull was at berth one of the Railway Pier with the MV Clansman at berth two.

From our photo library – the MV Clansman alongside berth 2 at the Railway Pier

As the MV Clansman eased away from the berth and proceeded across Oban Bay, the rising sun was casting a glow over the sky all around Oban Bay.  Although this particular sailing was not busy, many were out on deck.

Yachts rest peacefully in Oban Bay as the sun slowly rises

Oban Bay was so calm,  it must have appeared strange to some that the ferry was sailing under an alert of possible disruption due to the wind out at sea.

Looking down the Sound of Kerrera (from the Clansman’s Upper Deck )

Leaving the sheltered waters of Oban Bay, we headed out across the Firth of Lorn and sailed towards the Sound of Mull. Ahead of us in the distance we could clearly see the Lighthouse, commonly referred to as Lismore Lighthouse, on  Eilean Musdile in the Firth of Lorne at the entrance to Loch Linnhe.

Lismore Lighthouse in the Firth of Lorn – taken from Oban Bay

From the Upper Deck of the MV Clansman we looked back on the rising sun. We almost missed the moment it rose above the Mainland Mountains. due to the fact we were engaged in conversation with fellow travellers.

The sun rising above the horizon to the east of Oban

We could not help but notice how clear the views were on this occasion. We had never seen Duart Castle, the seat of Clan Maclean, so clearly. This castle with its huge curtain walls and solid keep dominates the view to the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe .

Duart Castle

We steadily progressed up the Sound of Mull and as we did so the sun rose higher in the sky. It was turning out to be a most beautiful morning. What a joy to sail through wonderful scenery on such a sunny day.

What a beautiful morning it was turning out to be

Our next ferry encounter was with the MV Lochinvar as it made its way from Lochaline on the Mainland to Fishnish on the Isle of Mull. This service to the Isle of Mull requires a long drive across the district of Morven but provides a vital link both for Morven and the Isle of Mull.

The MV Lochinvar approaching Fishnish on the Isle of Mull

Ahead of us the MV Loch Tarbert was approaching Tobermory on its crossing from Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. How small these loch class vessels appear alongside the ‘Mighty Clansman’.  The Lighthouse Rubha Nan Gall stands guard where vessels prepare to leave the Sound of Mull and enter the Minch.

The MV Loch Tarbert passing Rubha Nan Gall Lighthouse

What a clear view we had of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. The water in the Tobermory Bay is too shallow for vessels such as the MV Clansman. Additionally there is no link span for roll-on roll-off ferries.

Tobermory on the Isle of Mull

As we headed out into the Minch and before entering the Passage of Tiree the fish carrier RONJA SUPERIOR passed to starboard. The waters of the West Coast of Scotland have many vessels serving the fish farming industry.

RONJA SUPERIOR

Next to starboard was Ardnamurchan Lighthouse. It sits at the most westerly point of the British Mainland. We have treasured memories of visiting it on several occasions and so it is always a pleasure to see it as we make our way between Tiree and Oban.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

As we made our way down the Passage of Tiree the moon was still visible in the sky above. To think it was after 9:30am. We had first sighted it before we left Oban Ferry Terminal.

The Moon above the Passage of Tiree

The crossing on the MV Clansman normally takes about 3 hours 50 minutes. On this occasion the time seemed to fly by. The stop at the Isle of Coll came and went and in just under an hour later we arrivied in Gott Bay. As we prepared to berth we could see work had progressed on the old pier. The work is part of the pier refurbishment and linkspan replacement which should be completed before the end of March 2020.

The crane employed in the pier works

Any doubts as to whether we would be able to berth because of sea conditions were dispelled. Once again the Clansman and her crew had brought us safely home.

In sight of home

A friendly crew member helped with one of our cases by carrying it down the gangway. We were back on Tiree. As we walked up the footway my brother and sister-in-law passed us in their car as they made their way down the pier approach in order to board the ferry. In our absence they had spent just under a week holidaying on the island. Home at last, we looked back fondly on the time spent celebrating the wedding of a young couple, followed by time spent with family in Chester.

This is ‘Life-on-Tiree’.