With a sense of relief, at long last we appear to have a respite from the relentless gales that have battered the West Coast of Scotland including the Isle of Tiree. Yesterday, Sunday, lived up to its name – a sunny day. In fact by the evening it felt rather odd as there was no sound of rattling slates. Looking at the forecast for the next few days it appears that this respite might well continue for a few days.

The MV Clansman approaching the pier and preparing to berth stern first

On Sunday mornings we appreciate meeting with the church family for worship. This commitment meant that we were unable to witness the arrival of the ferry. Due to previous weather related cancellations and the impending replacement of the linkspan at Tiree, the ferry was operating to an amended timetable. In the morning the ferry sailed directly to Tiree and made only the one stop at Coll. This enabled an afternoon/evening sailing to Tiree and subsequent return to Oban.

The MV Clansman alongside the pier as she berths

It felt rather strange walking the short distance to the pier without having to brace yourself against the wind. By the time the MV Clansman arrived in Gott Bay darkness had descended. As we made our way to the pier her lights, along with those of a fishing boat, could be seen out in the bay.

The ramp lowered drivers prepare to collect their lorries or vans

It is always interesting watching the ferry manoeuvre in order to berth stern first. There are so many factors including wind speed and direction, swell and state of the tide, which the skipper must consider when determining his approach.

Mobile crane arrives on Tiree

Compared to even just the day before the wind speed had dropped. However listening to the stern ramp groaning against the linkspan it was clear there was still a swell running. A look towards both the bow and stern ropes was confirmatory.

The lorries leave two by two

Although there were a few private cars and foot passengers, most of the traffic consisted of heavy good vehicles. This included the first livestock lorry for the livestock sale at the Rural Centre on Tuesday. There were several articulated trucks and vehicles belonging to haulage companies on the island.

Piggyback syle

With recent cancellations and Friday’s month long closure of the linkspan there is pressure to transport essential goods before that date. There was a lorry with a hydraulic crane, which may well have arrived to offload the limited goods which will be able to be brought to the island in small shipping containers.

The steep gangway is lowered

Oban bound traffic was primarily made up of returning haulage vehicles,
with some of them piggybacked.

With swell conditions a watchful eye is kept on the stern ropes

There was to be no hanging around. As soon as the last vehicle was on board the ramp was raised, the safety checks completed and the ferry got under way.

The ropes are released in sequence

The MV Clansman slipped out into the darkness of Gott Bay and the Passage of Tiree.

With ramp raise and the vessel secured the MV Clnsman thrusts off from the pier

Monday may not be sunny, but the weather is calmer. For the time being the rain has stopped, but the landscape itself bears witness to the recent heavy rainfall. The ferry berthed, the plane landed and the mail arrived.

The MV Clansman slips back into the darkness of Gott Bay

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.

The MV Clansman heads out to sea bound for Oban