Upon Reflection

‘Upon Reflection” is not so much about some of the picturesque reflections that we have observed over the past week but more a consideration of the two weeks that our son Andrew spent on holiday with us this year. It is a looking back at some of the highlights of the past two weeks. Nine years ago this month, while staying at Bunree by the Corran Ferry in Lochaber, we visited the Isle of Tiree at his suggestion. The following year in August we had a week’s holiday on Tiree with him. The year after that (2013) we moved to Tiree – once again in August. It is a move we have never regretted.

The MV Clansman arriving in Gott Bay on a wild morning – Tuesday the 4th of August

On Monday the 3rd of August when Andrew arrived in Oban, Tuesday’s ferry was on an alert for possible disruption or cancellation at short notice due to the forecast high winds and associated swell conditions. It was a very interesting crossing, probably the most dramatic that he has thus far experienced. Although the MV Clansman managed to berth at Coll, it took great skill. Thankfully by the time the ferry arrived in Gott Bay the wind had dropped considerably and the ferry berthed successfully.

The Twin Otter on the stand at Tiree

‘Mrs Life on Tiree’ also known as Ursula, arrived back on the island on the Wednesday morning following an appointment in Glasgow the previous day. This proved to be a turning point in the weather. July had been more like November on several occasions.  What a contrast the past two weeks have been!

Sunset as seen from Ruaig

It became a feature of Andrew’s holiday to attempt a walk whenever there was the opportunity to observe (or photograph) the sunset. Wednesday the 5th of August was the first of many such occasions. Over the following two weeks we enjoyed walks all around the island – and not just at sunset.

Kenavara from Ben Hough

One walk involved walking up the private single track road that leads up Ben Hough to the NATS station on Beinn Mhurstat. What wonderful views we enjoyed as we looked out across the island. In the distance we could see so many of the neighbouring islands.

Kenavara and Balephuil from Ben Hynish

Andrew first saw Balephuil beach when ‘Mabel’s Famous Island Coach Tour’ stopped close to it in 2011. It has remained a firm favourite for him ever since. This year once again we joined him on his annual pilgrimage to the beach. The climb up Ben Hynish to the NATS Radar Station (the Golf Ball) affords a bird’s eye view of the bay.

Sunset from Balephetrish

Perhaps the most spectacular sunset of his holiday this year took place on Monday the 10th of August.  Having previously visited  Vaul we decided to go to Balephetrish. It was a wise move. The gloami’ was even more spectacular than the actual sunset. All the way home we kept pulling the car over to the side of the road in order to look backward at the dramatic skies.

Balevullin at Sunset

Another evening saw us drive to Balevullin much loved by surfers and sunset chasers. We arrived just in time to observe the sunset before the sun dropped behind a narrow bank of low level cloud on the horizon.

‘Jim’ the sheep dog

We thoroughly appreciated our walk at the east end of the island and which featured in a previous post – ‘A Wee Wander’.  Reflecting on this walk there were so many things that we appreciated, the  hazy view over the Sound of Mull, walking over the sand at Caolas, the MV Clansman heading down the passage of Tiree and the different land and seascape we enjoyed as we walked towards Salum. Perhaps our favourite memory and photograph was of ‘Jim’ the sheep dog helping his master as they separated the lambs from the ewes in preparation for Saturday’s crossbred lamb sale.

Sale Day – The Colourful Cavalcade Arriving and Departing

Sale Day is always a colourful occasion

Salum Beach

One of the first beaches that we walked at sunset was at Salum. It was here back in 2012 that we were first conscious of seals inquisitively following us as we walked along the shore. So it was very much a trip down memory lane when we visited the beach once again at sunset.

Cornaig Beach

One area of the island that we have infrequently visited is known as ‘The Green’. From ‘The Green’ you can gain access to Cornaig Beach and that’s where we walked on Andrew’s second Sunday of his holiday. In fact we decided to make a circular walk of the trip and walked back to our car via Cornaig, passing Tiree Primary/High School on the way.

As we walked made our way off the beach we met some ‘friendly’ cattle with one cow in particular who begged to be photographed.

As we walked back past Loch Bhasapol we enjoyed views across the island to various landmarks.

Andrew’s holiday was fast drawing to a close. He enjoyed warm sunny weather. For the most part the air was still and the water calm. However, the consequence is that this August has been marked by two unwelcome occurrences – flies and midges. The consensus is that this is worst summer for midges in many years. Thankfully Tiree does not suffer from these wee beasties as much as the West Coast Mainland.

Reflecting on Scarinish Old Harbour

What a contrast Andrew’s departure was from his arrival. There was no alert, no high wind, no rain – just sunshine!

The MV Clansman alongside the pier at Scarinish, Isle of Tiree

We were sorry when the time came to say “goodbye” but it was so encouraging to know that our son took home some treasured memories to revisit in the coming winter months.

The MV Clansman heads out into the Passage of Tiree

Andrew may have left but thus far the sun has remained. It has been a bonus to have weather that permitted us to get out walking and to revisit so many parts of the island.

Scarinish Old Harbour

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

Clouds reflecting on the waters of the Passage of Tiree