Essential Lifeline Services

On Tuesday the 23 June in support of essential lifeline services there were two sailings from the Mainland port of Oban to Tiree. The first was provided by the MV Clansman which operated according to the the normal lifeline timetable.

The mV Clansman arrives in Gott Bay, Isle of Tiree

The lifeline tameable has operated throughout the restrictions placed on transport by the Scottish Government due the current pandemic. Under this timetable there have been three crossings a week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The ferry departs Oban Ferry Terminal at 7:15am and first of all visits the Isle of Coll and then arrives at Tiree at 11:05am.

The MV Clansman has swung round in order to berth stern first against the linkspan

Normally the ferry departs Tiree for Coll at 11:35am and then onwards to Oban. On several occasions there have been extended stays in Coll and extended layovers at Tiree in support of essential lifeline services.

The midship and bow lines have been thrown and caught and the ropes are being hauled

Due to safe distancing measurers the ferry capacity is reduced down to 18 percent of its normal passenger loading. Up until now those travelling by ferry to and from the island has been restricted to essential journeys only. It is anticipated that in the not too distant future these restriction will be eased.

The MV Clansman berthed and the stern ramp lowered

There are particular pressures on Scotland’s Wet Coast islands. Yet, in many ways in common with the Mainland there are the same issues – the health crisis, the crisis facing businesses and schooling and so on. Just as important is how we relate to one another and handle our differences.

The arrival of yet another portakabin

The MV Clansman arrived in Gott Bay to bright sunshine. In the present circumstances, seeking to avoid walking down the pier, and with the expansion of the site occupied by George Leslie Ltd (who are working on the old pier) new vantage points have had to be found.

In galleries double click for larger photographs

With preparatory work for the ongoing refurbishment and reinstatement of the old pier all kinds of materials and several portakabins have been arriving. An interesting load was the arrival of a mobile home on the back of a lorry. It proved to be a tight squeeze on the way up the pier approach.

Getting Underway

The second sailing was provided by the MV Isle of Mull which berthed at Tiree around 2:50pm. She too arrived under blue skies. It was low tide and this provided the opportunity to view and photograph the vessel from a different angle.

The MV Isle of Mull alongside the pier

The MV Isle of Mull was lightly loaded on her arrival but there was more traffic heading to the Mainland. It is not always obvious why there should be extended layovers or a second sailing. Certainly today traffic that had arrived on the first sailing were enabled to return to the Mainland without having to remain unnecessarily on the island until Thursday.

Returning Traffic with a MacKinnon Piggyback included

Two different vessels on the one day is not unknown but even in normal circumstances it is unusual. Apart from a Saturday in the height of the summer there is normally only one sailing a day. Recently when the MV Clansman has gone for its annual overhaul and MOT the replacement vessel is the MV Lord of the Isles and occasionally we see the MV Hebrides when she is leaving or returning to the UIG Triangle.

Just recently it has struck me how different Gott Bay is from Oban Bay in terms of ferry movements. Apart from the nature of the bays, there are just so many more ferries coming and going on a daily basis in Oban. This consideration will have to form the subject matter of a future post.

The MV Isle of Mull heads out to sea

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.

The MV Mull departing Gott Bay

Additional Photographs

MV Clansman
MV Isle of Mull
MV Isle of Mull