The 22nd of August marks the 7th anniversary of our coming to live on the Isle of Tiree. Today it is Saturday, but seven years ago it was a Thursday, Back then on a Thursday it was possible to come to the island for a day because the ferry sailed from Tiree to Barra before returning later in the day on its way back to Oban. In more recent times the Barra sailing changed to a Wednesday, but this year due to the restricted covid timetable there has been no direct Barra sailing from Tiree.
‘Lashing Points!’ It was important that whichever firm we engaged to move our belongings from Somerset to Tiree understood the need for ‘lashing points’. Without ‘lashing points’ CalMac would have refused to allow the removal van to board the ferry. Thankfully we finally managed to find just such a firm and they could not have been more helpful.
The day we made the crossing was calm. Indeed there was a slight sea mist in Oban Bay. The sun shone for the sail and we had perfect conditions for unloading the van. The driver even had time to go for a cycle around the island on the bicycle that he had brought with him.
The weather continued in a similar vein for the rest of our first week on the island and when the unpacking was more or less completed, we were able to explore the island with our son Andrew who had come along to help.
What a contrast this past Thursday was with wind and rain. When the MV Clansman departed Oban at 7:15am the wind on Tiree was gusting up to 59mph. Having studied the weather forecast we marvelled that the Skipper had decided to leave port. We thought that when he left the shelter of the Sound of Mull the decision would be made to turn back. But no! The MV Clansman berthed at Coll and then sailed on for Tiree. By the time the ferry entered Gott Bay the gusts had dropped to about 40mph and had swung from the east to the south. The ferry berthed.
Thursday was wet and windy with sudden heavy downpours and the high winds lasted into Friday. On Friday evening, as our seventh year on Tiree drew to a close, an orange glow could be seen in the sky. Was it possible that the sunset would be visible? It sure was – although the gloamin’ did not last for long.
There was no stunning sunrise to mark the beginning of our eighth year on the island. It has been grey day with occasional showers of drizzle. It is highly unlikely there we will be able to see the sunset. The weather does not matter because we believe that we are living in the place God intended us to live.
Prior to moving we had only visited the island for a day in 2011, for a week in 2012 and for four days in June 2013, just before moving in the August. It is a move that we have never regretted. On each occasion that we have moved home (for work related reasons) we have become part of an even smaller community – Tiree being the smallest with a population of around 650 people.
Seven years ago, far less 12 months ago, we could never have imagined the impact the pandemic would have upon Scotland, the UK or the world at large. How grateful we are for the Tiree Medical Practice. This has been especially so over the past few months of lockdown.The level of care is truly remarkable. However we have found that on the island, there is a real sense of inter-dependence and care for one another.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’