In essence it began the day before on Sunday the 22nd of August. The day began bright and sunny, indeed warm for the Isle of Tiree. However, as morning gave way to afternoon parts of the island were bathed in sunshine while other parts were under a blanket of fog. For most of the day Scarinish was in sunshine but as sunset approached a light mist washed the township, coming and going and coming again – just like the waves on the shore.
Sunday the 22nd was the night of the Full Moon known as the Sturgeon or Green Corn Moon. Around 10:00pm we looked out of our south facing window and there it was surrounded by clouds. At the same time mist could seen creeping ever closer. Also clear in the night sky to the right of the moon was one of the planets.
Just after 9:00am we set out for our morning walk. The first thing to strike us was how warm it felt. No coat or jumper was required! We made our way first of all to the memorial situated just off Pier Road. It affords a view across the Passage of Tiree to the Treshnish Islands and the Isle of Mull. The sea was so calm.
From our vantage point of the memorial we noticed a large pleasure craft moored in Gott Bay. It had arrived from Coll the previous day. This year, 2021, Gott Bay has proved to be a popular with those who enjoy staycation afloat. The craft was later identified as the ‘MADADH’ which is a Gaelic for a dog or dog like creature. (It is not the usual word for a dog.) Lochmaddy in North Uist (Loch nam Madadh ) is thought to be named after the rocks in the entrance to the loch shaped like dogs’ or wolves’ heads.
After a brief return home for a cup of coffee we made our way back to the vantage point of the Memorial. The MV Clansman was visible over the tidal island of Soa. Soon things would change quite dramatically. The ferry unexpectedly disappeared from sight. Then we could hear the haunting sound of her horn, repeated every few minutes.
As we made our way down towards the pier it seemed a long time, probably about 10 minutes, before we caught sight of the ‘Might One’ appearing out of the fog (mist).
In no time at all the ferry was under a blue sky and in the blue water of Gott Bay. The contrast could hardly have been more striking.
It was difficult to take in just how calm everything was today. There was a hardly any wind or breeze at all as the ferry steadily made her approach to the pier.
We watched on as the ferry berthed and then lowered her stern ramp. Mrs Life on Tiree did her usual count of the vehicles as they rolled off the ferry and onto Tiree. Not quite so busy this morning compared to the previous few days, or even weeks.
It was as we stood there watching the action that we became aware of a subtle change. The temperature dropped ever so slightly as the mist crept into the bay from the Passage of Tiree. It was not long before we could hardly see the ferry from the pier head.
With the marshalling lanes cleared and the foot passengers on board the vessel, we made our way down to the pier to observe the Clansman make her departure.
Even close up visibility was extremely poor. We could not make out the pier-head or the bow of the Clansman. It was then we decided to try and capture the sight and sound of the ferry as she headed out to sea.
As the MV Clansman pushed off from the pier there it was again that haunting sound of her horn. With nothing to see we made our way back up the pier approach. Everything was so clam, flat calm, flat-flat calm, but every so often the peace was broken by the sounding of the ship’s horn.
This week it is our turn to deliver meals on wheels. Our trip across the island took us first along Gott Bay to Ruaig. Up above was bright warm sunshine but the bay itself was shrouded in mist.
At Ruaig it was like a different island. No evidence of the fog as the tractors busied themselves in baling and gathering in the bales. Going along the bay we were back into the fog and then out of it and back into once again.
From Hillcrest, Balephetrish we looked out across the “Reef’ towards the Airport and Ben Hynish. It was a reminder that the delayed morning plane from Glasgow had to turn back as there was insufficient visibility for it to land.
At Balevullin we concluded that it was not a day for surfing of any variety. It was all just too calm. Little wonder the beach was so quiet – a contrast from last week.
From the Moss Road we looked across towards Kenavara, a high spot on Tiree.
As we made our way towards Balephuil and west Hynish we looked across a blue Loch a’ Phuill towards Ben Hynish. Yet, Balephuil Bay and beach had disappeared!
What an amazing day it has been full of striking contrasts with blue sky and banks of fog. Sometimes in the fog the sun beat down on your head. How good is to have the health to be able to get out and about and appreciate the wonderful place that the Lord our God has made it possible for us to live in. This is the first day of year nine for us.
This is Life on Tiree