Changed Days

‘Changed Days’ or perhaps it should be ‘Contrasting Days for gone are the long dark winter evenings and instead we are enjoying the hours of daylight. Some evenings there appears to have been light in the sky almost to midnight and it starts getting light before 4:00am

A member of crew appearing to be on sentry duty as the vessel lays over at Tiree

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in terms of weather, could have been mistaken for November. The wind was coming from the north and it felt bitterly cold. In contrast today, Monday, was not far off being a warm summer’s day and the promise is for warmer weather by the weekend.

The MV Clansman berthed at Tiree during its extended stay

CalMac CalMac is currently running an essential lifeline service timetable across their network in response to the Covid19 pandemic with the timetable being extended until at least 30th June 2020. This means there is only a ferry three times a week – normally on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On several occasions the ferry has had an extended stay either at Coll or Tiree, generally by half an hour, or an hour. However on Saturday the ferry was berthed at Tiree for about six hours.

Note the rope from the port dolphin to the port stern of the ‘Clansman’

Since coming to live on Tiree almost seven years ago I have rarely seen a rope going from a dolphin (the supports for the linkspan) to the stern of a vessel.  It has either been to the MV Isle of Mull or to one of the smaller ferrys in rough weather. However on Monday’s extended stay a rope went from the port dolphin to the stern of the ‘MV Clansman’. It can be clearly seen in the photograph.

The essential traffic boards the ferry

It was reported that the Equestrian Community of Tiree had arranged for the farrier to travel over from Oban as an essential key-worker for animal welfare.  Calmac assisted by providing a layover to allow time for the farrier to trim as many horses he could fit in during his visit.  The mart committee had kindly allowed use of the mart as a central location, The farrier was supplied with all PPE/hygiene essentials and a car to borrow at the pier.  All horse owners were supplied with PPE and were given social distancing guidance.  Every measure was taken to ensure social distancing guidelines were met. Food was provided so the farrier did not need to attend the local shops. The mart was also fully cleaned and disinfected after use.

With a stiff breeze from the north the sea is choppy in the bay

While the MV Clansman was berthed at the pier in Gott Bay several members of the community were busy at the old harbour in Scarinish. My feeling is that the work was on behalf Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd’, set up in April of 2018 as a subsidiary company of Tiree Community Development Trust. TCMAL are responsible for the upkeep and running of the harbours: Scarinish Old Harbour and the Harbour at Milton. In 2018 the harbour had been refurbished and over the past weekend the area around the harbour and the harbour basin itself were completely cleaned up and buoys laid.

The sun has come out over the Old Harbour at Scarinish

Monday morning dawned fair and with the north wind dropped it turned out a glorious day. In the morning we had a walk along the road to the stile at the West end of Gott Bay and returned along the shore to Glebe House and then took the track back up to the road.

On Monday morning the sun sparkles on the waters of Gott Bay

A few days earlier I had photographed some of the wild flowers encountered on a similar walk.

Flower Collage

With the weather so pleasant I set out on another walk, This time I walked down towards the pier but turned off into the fields. Having limited ourselves mainly to the area around Scarinish we have not seen the Machair clothing the rest of the island.

The view across the Machair to the diminutive Ben Gott

What a treat it was to walk over the Machair and to enjoy the views across it towards Ben Gott and Gott Bay.

The view across the Machair towards the Lodge Hotel

On the pier the lorry which transports the catch from the local fishing boats to the Mainland and normally beyond. It was great to see the return of the lorry which must surely indicate a slight return of this industry which supports several island families.

The fish lorry on the pier

With the air still the sight and sound of the birds was a real joy.
Today the sound of the birds was particularly noticeable.

In galleries double click on a photograph for large copies

At present yellow and white are the predominantly colours of the wild flowers, although not exclusively are there are plenty of examples of other colours when you start looking for them. In June the Machair is a wonderful carpet to observe and to respectfully walk across.

Another feature of the walk in the afternoon were the number of lambs that posed to be photographed. Included are examples from several locations on this afternoon’s walk, none of them more than half a mile from our home.

The return home included going down the brae from the Scarinish Post Office to the old harbour.

Doon the brae

The Scarinish hotel had just acquired a new owner
before the island went into lockdown.

The wreck of the Mary Stewart remains in situ

Almost every day our walk includes crossing the sand
at the harbour and a walk round the lighthouse.

Where the Mill burn meets the sea – calm today but it is not always like this

Unusually, with little water in the Mill burn, and the tide being out,
I was able to cross over and head towards the Memorial just off Pier Road.

You can tell it its damp!

Here the land is often boggy and is far from arable.
Yet underfoot there is so much to see and explore .

Often we take the short path to the Memorial.
It is an excellent viewpoint across the Passage of Tiree.
From here you can see so many of the neighbouring islands.
The surrounding the monument is what is known as sliabh (pronounced slieve).
It is rough ground, peaty and boggy so not ideal for walking over on a regular basis.

A view across to the Lodge Hotel taken while crossing over the rough ground

This is Life on Tiree

Tuesday’s ferry was delayed briefly at Tiree to allow for several lifeline matters.
This was to permit cattle to be taken to the Mainland
and for the exchange of the fire-engine.

The exchange

Work continues at the Old harbour in Scarinish.
The work has involved excavation and the removal of sand.
The grandchildren will be horrified that the pirate ship appears to be going.