Not unexpectedly the ‘MV Hebrides’ returned to the Mainland port of Oban without berthing at either Coll or Tiree. CalMac issued a statement at 14:16 stating that, due to adverse weather conditions the MV Hebrides did not berth in either Coll or Tiree and is currently returning back to Oban with an ETA of approximately 17:00.

Waves cresting the pier approach

About 12:30pm a walk to the pier was undertaken with great difficulty. The wind was gusting to 57ph (at least – it certainly felt stronger!) At that point visibility was poor and Gott Bay was filled with white horse after white horse. On occasions on the way back home the force of the wind almost brought you to a halt.

Wild Water

Looking at the sea conditions, especially the swell, you felt that there was no way in which even the ‘MV Hebrides’ would be able to berth. The weather forecast was for the wind speed to drop. However, there was still the matter of the swell!

At the roundhead the swell was obvious

With the aid of Marine Traffic the progress of the ‘MV Hebrides’ could be observed. We watched her leave the more sheltered waters of the Sound of Mull and briefly enter the Little Minch before heading south down the Passage of Tiree. The revised timetable had her sailing direct to Tiree but the decision to return to port was taken just after she had passed Arinagour (Coll).

The swell running along the pier

Surely this period of stormy weather will come to an end soon. The next timetabled crossing is on Thursday and it will be intersting to see which vessel is rostered on that occasion. No doubt Harris and North Uist will want to see the return of the ‘MV Hebrides’. The ‘MV Clansman’ is not expected back from her overhaul and certification until at least the 4th of March.

The MV Hebrides on a much brighter day

Across the Clyde and Hebridean network most of the sailings were cancelled today. Many of the islands are complaining about the ferry service at present. However there was no way even one of the larger ferries would have safely berthed at Tiree today.

The ‘MV Clansman’ on a sunny day in 2020

The ‘MV Hebrides’ is an extremely rare visitor to Tiree and with her expected imminent return to the Uig Triangle we say to the vessel affectionately referred to as ‘The Mighty One’ (MV Clansman) – Haste Ye Back!

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.