Welcome LOTI

Today the Isle of Tiree welcomed the arrival of ‘LOTI’, otherwise known as the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’. For operational reasons Tuesday’s sailing had been cancelled and there is no timetabled sailing on a Wednesday. So the arrival of the vessel was most welcome and especially as the Skipper was a ‘Tiree Man’.

The MV Lord of the Isles in Gott Bay, Isle of Tiree

Few people appear to refer to the ferry by her full title, most calling her ‘LOTI’. She was not due to visit Tiree until the 24th of January when she replaces the ‘MV Clansman’ while the latter goes for her annual overhaul and inspection or to replace another vessel due the same treatment. The official explanation for the present visit is ‘operational reasons.’ Since Monday evening the ‘MV Clansman’ has not left her berth at Oban Ferry Terminal other than to allow the ‘MV Isle of Lewis’ to use the berth.

LOTI prepares to come alongside the pier.

When a ferry breaks down the status refers to the cancellation or delay as due to ‘technical reasons’. When the cancellation is down to the weather or sea conditions the reason is clear. However in this instance the reason given was ‘operational reasons’ – make of that what you may.

LOTI coming alonhside the pier

Tiree, like many of the Hebridean Islands, is under the Scottish ‘Level Three’ resitrictions. The Mainland and the Isle of Skye are under Scottish ‘Level Four Plus’ restrictions. This week the Island of Barra has reported a few cases of the virus and the Island of Coll, Tiree’s near neighbour, has reported at least one case of the virus. It would be so easy for the virus to arrive on Tiree and perhaps more than at any other time during the pandemic there is a need for vigilance and observation of the Goverment guidance intended to stop the spread of the virus. It is an ever present danger.

The vessel alongside – the stern ropes are secured before the ramp is lowered

In the winter months the ferry traffic is light and this is especially so in the present circumstances. However, with no sailing on Tuesday inbound traffic to Tiree was up, but nothing compared to normal. Any additinal traffic was mainly freight.

Local drivers board the ferry to collect lorries etc

As the day has gone on the weather has improved and LOTI sailed in to Gott Bay with her bow facing blue skies. By the time she departed for Coll and Oban she took the blue skies with her. What a contrast today has been compared to yesterday. Most unusually we never ventured outside yesterday.

The stern ramp raised in preparation for sailing

With the vessel movements complete and foot passengers transferred the stern ramp was raised in preparation for sailing. Although the ferry would visit Coll on its way to Oban to take Coll traffic on board, all the traffic, vehicle and foot passengers, boarding at Tiree was bound for Oban.

Waiting to cast the stern ropes

It would be a pleasant sail to Oban with a flat sea and hardly a breath of wind. It was low tide and with LOTI’s low stern care has to be taken with the stern ropes. Tiree remains snow free but those arriving in Oban today would get quite a shock if they were travelling any distance. Much of the Mainland is under a blanket of snow.

Clear evidence of low tide

By the time LOTI arrives at Oban Ferry Terminal it will be more or less dark. Today’s sailing was 45 minutes later than normal – for operational reasons. ‘LOTI’ her skipper and crew were a welcome sight today. Perhaps the ‘Mighty One’ will be back on duty on Saturday, even if it is only for a few days. Those who serve on the ferries and who work on and at the pier are indeed on the frontline.

A watchful eye from the wings of the bridge

Thank You!

LOTI’s Departure

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

LOTI heads out to sea
Haste Ye Back

Read more "Welcome LOTI"

True to Forecast

After three glorious days, true to forecast, a change is on the way.  Over the past three days the air has been so clear and the views simply breathtaking. This morning most unusually the cold air has persisted.  The temperature is nothing like as cold as on the Mainland where temperatures got down down to -7.6 °C. Here on the island the official temperature went as low as 0° and continued in that region for several hours. 

From our south facing window the approaching sunrise

Who could stay indoors when the sun was rising and about to rise in such spectacular fashion? As soon as breakfast was over it was out for a walk. First of all just across the road to the memorial. The timing could not have been better as the sun was just on the horizon.

The sun’s rays reaching across the Passage of Tiree and the frozen lochan

After three days of frost, walking across tracks the ‘earth felt as hard as iron’. Lochans that I have never seen frozen before were frozen over. I could hardly believe that on the sand by the water’s edge I almost slipped over. On the sand it can be difficult to see the ice! 

A frozen lochan close to the sea and in the distance the Paps of Jura.

How great it is to be able to get out of doors and breathe the clean air and enjoy the simple pleasure of the stunning scenery that is right on our doorstep. 

A change is in the air as the clouds work their way in.

The work on the old pier was completed in time for Christmas. How different the pier and the area that surrounds it is without the contractors and all their equipment.. How bare the pier looks – there isn’t even a waiting room on the pier now! With the pier sitting out in the bay a waiting room is a must for such an exposed location.

It is a long walk and wait on a wet and windy day

The pier looked particularly attractive as the sun’s rays highighted the piles which support the concrete superstructure. The waters of the bay were like a large mirror – there was hardly a ripple.

Spot the seal.

Seals can be seen all around the island. In the summer months a highlight is when we catch sight of Sammy and Sally, (well that is what we call them) in the waters by the pier. We are grateful to the Pier Master for drawing our attention to what would appear to be a young seal that has taken up residence on rocks close to the Pier. He is present in the morning and slips off in the late afternoon for a spot of fishing.

This seal has been seen on the rocks in recent days

We could not resist taking photograph after photograph of this latest attraction to the pier and its surroundings. At times this seal seemed to blend in with the black rocks and at other times he semeed much lighter in colour as the sun highlighted him – or was it her?

Ben More on the Isle of Mull

The change in the air could be seen in the build up of cloud over the Isle of Mull. The clouds certainly appeared to be releasing some of their load over parts of that island and in a most colourful way from our perspective.

Across the sea rain is falling

Gott bay was far from a wild place this morning. It was calm and colourful – a perfect setting for the Lodge Hotel. Without the telephoto lens something of the expanse of the bay is more apparent.

The Lodge Hotel by Gott Bay

Glebe House in its time has been as its name might suggest a manse, but is has also been a high class Guest House. Close by is the present manse – a kit house. Glebe House and the present manse are often the first and last views that those arriving and departing by ferry see.

Perhaps one of the most photographed houses on the island

This morning the air was so still and the sea was so calm. There was certainly no noise pollution. Just before 10:00am the distinct sound of the ‘Twin Otter’ approaching the island could be heard. Shortly afterwards the change on the engine tone could be heard as it made its final approach to the airport. Later we saw the same plane cross overhead as it flew back to Glasgow.

Behind Ben Gott the ‘Twin Otter’ makes its final approach

Perhaps it is the fact that we have not been venturing far, but there is a growing realisation that within walking distance of our home there is so much to enjoy and appreciate.  Oh! There are still can be dark grey skies and wet, windy days,  How much more then we appreciate the sunny days and the rich colours that come with the brightness.

The Rum Cuillin beyong the Isle of Coll

Around 9:00am it was crisp, clear and calm. Nevertheless it felt and looked as if change was in the air. By the time we returned home about 10:30am clouds were building up over Tiree and by 4:00pm it was a return to grey skies and no visible sunset.

Looking across Gott Bay to Ben Hynish

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

PHOTO Postcript

thought you WOULD like to see another photograph of me!

Not wet sand but slippy icy sand.

Read more "True to Forecast"

The Wow Factor

What an amzing and colourful start to January 2021! For the third day in a row we had crisp clear views of the neighbouring islands and distant Mainland mountain peaks. The Isle of Tiree rarely gets frost but we certainly had a hard frost today and where the sun did not reach the frost lay all day.

The view from the breakfast table to the right are the Paps of Jura

From sunrise to sunset the views have been stunning. Between sunrise and sunset we have had clear blue skies. Out of necessity I had to cross the island and found the journey breathtaking. For practical reasons I had not taken the camera. I do not think I have enjoyed such spectacilar winter views. You could see over Rum to the Cuillins on Skye. The Nevis Range which includes Ben Nevis could be seen in the distance. Beyond Ben More on Mull could be seen several Mainland Mountain Peaks.

The Paps of Jura at Sunrise

As the sun ws setting I made my way down to the pier. I find that I never tire of the view or the exercise. Life on Tiree certainly has its rewards.

From the Pier the view is across to Ben Hynish

Thankfully here on Tiree we have not the full lockdown imposed on the Mainland. Nevertheless we have still to be vigilant and follow the rules. It would be so easy for the virus to reach the island and then spread among the residents

Looking across Gott Bay to Ruaig to the Rum Cuillin
A plane’s vapour trail on the Western sky
The Pink Halo that surrounds the island and lights up distant peaks
The Paps of Jura from the Pier
Ben More on Mull

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

Read more "The Wow Factor"

A January SUN-Day

Wherever our home has been, Sunday has always been a special day for us as we gathered with the church family to worship God. It is no different here on Tiree, but at present our ‘Sunday Gathering’ has had out of necessity to move online. All of us have agreed that we have missed being together in the one place, nevertheless our online services have had several advantages.  

Sunrise over the Scarinish Headland

The online gathering, especially the live edition, has enabled some people to be part of the gathering, who in more normal circumstances are prevented from being present. The online gathering has also seen the involvement of so many different people with a whole variety of gifts and skills. Later in the day a recording is posted online to further make the gathering accessible. 

Sunrise over the Passage of Tiree – Spot the cargo vessel

A first glance out of the window at first light was indicative of what a glorious day weather wise it was going to be. So after breakfast just as the sun was rising, the opportunity was taken to walk around Scarinish. First of all down by the pier and then later across to the harbour and up to the lighthouse.

Gott Bay, Ruaig and the Rum Cuillin for a backdrop

There was a nip in the air, but it was bright and sunny. With only the merest hint of a breeze, the nip in the air remained that – a nip.  The risen sun caressed both land and sea with its golden touch.

Ben More on the Isle of Mull

How I appreciate the view across the Passage of Tiree to the Treshnish Isles and Ben More on the Isle of Mull.   While Tiree remains snow free it is a pleasure to look across to the snow capped peak of Ben More. It is interesting to observe the snow line.  Some of the snow capped peaks seem lower than Ben More but many have to be higher – it is simply the distance that they are away that makes them appear lower.

Panoramic View of the Rum Cuillin

The Rum Cullin which although distant – beyond the neighbouring Isle of Coll – is snow capped. Beyond the Rum Cullin the snow capped Cullins on the Isle of Skye were clearly visible.

Enjoying the sun’s rays

Asked if I had met anyone on my walk I had to report only the Pier Master, the only other contacts were some members of the resident sheep population in Scarinish.

Scarinish Post Office at the top of the brae

Back home it was time to set up ‘ZOOM’ for the Sunday Gathering. It was a real joy to welcome visitors to Tiree ( via the Sunday Gathering) from Mainland Scotland and England. Unlike in ‘the old days’ at the conclusion of the worship, you cannot serve tea or coffee and  some of the home baking that Tiree is famous for. However, for those who want to, there is the opportunity to meet up in smaller groups for a good chat.

Low Tide at Scarinish Harbour

Daylight hours are few in number, so after lunch, around 3:00pm we headed back out into the sunshine for a walk around the township.  As the sun got lower and lower in the sky not only did we have long shadows, the golden rays worked their magic touch.

A Burning Bush

For the the third of January this really was a ’SUN’-Day. We appreciated the weather, but we also valued the time spent with the church family as we came together to worship the living God.  How uplifting it was to sing (and no one could hear us) the words written by Rend Collective to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. Below is a link to the first Sunday Gathering of the New Year. if you care to listen click on the video link.

We look forward to at some point in 2021 getting out and about around the island and not just when we are delivering meals on wheels. It looks like the settled weather will continue for a few more days.

Sunset from Scarinish Farm

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

Read more "A January SUN-Day"