The expression ‘Annus horribilis’ was brought to prominence by Queen Elizabeth II. In a speech at the Guildhall on 24 November 1992. It is a Latin phrase, meaning ‘horrible year’. For many reasons CMAL/CalMac must feel that 2021 is their ‘Annus horribilis’. In a press release. March 2017 CMAL stated, ‘The new vessels are earmarked for the Arran and Skye Triangle routes. . . . The first ferry is expected to enter service in the second half of 2018, with the second vessel following a few months later.’ We are now in the second half of 2021 and as yet neither ferry is near ready to enter service.
Photographs of the various vessels will be inserted in batches.
As a result of crew members testing positive for Covid on a few occasions ferries have had to be withdraw from service in order to undergo a deep clean and on occasions a replacement crew had to be found at short notice. If memory serves me correctly on one occasion this coincided with a ferry on the same route having to be withdrawn for ‘technical reasons’.
The fleet is aged and an increasing demand is being placed on them and as a consequence they suffer breakdown. Even the vessel brought into temporarily work alongside the MV Loch Seaforth has suffered breakdown twice and had to be withdrawn for repairs. The latest casualty is the ‘MV Hebrides’ which operates on what is known as the Uig Triangle serving Harris and North Uist.
The ‘MV Hebrides’ is underway in order to enter the dry dock at Birkenhead. The ‘MV Clansman’ has been transferred from the Coll and Tiree route in order to take over for 8 days on the Uig Triangle. As a consequence the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ has been withdrawn from serving ’South Uist’ leaving the island without a direct sailing to Mallaig/Oban. At least they have other options unlike Tiree and Coll.
Today Tuesday 31st August, with the ‘MV Clansman operating out of Uig, the ‘MV Isle of Mull’ left Oban at 06:25 and arrived at Tiree at 10:20 having first of all called at the Isle of Coll. Our son who lives in England but is a keen watcher of Marine Traffic alerted us to the fact that the MV Hebrides was in the Passage of Tiree at the same time as the ‘MV Isle of Mull’.
After the ‘MV Isle of Mull’ departed the Isle of Coll she was overtaken by the ‘MV Hebrides’ making her way south to Liverpool.
It was a beautiful sunny morning on Tiree as we welcome to the first visitor of the day. There was an interesting line up of ships out in the Passage of Tiree. In the distance was the ‘MV Hebrides’, the cruise ship ‘Queen Elizabeth’ and the ‘MV Isle of Mull’. The ‘MV Hebrides was little more than a dot in the distance. The ‘Queen Elizabeth’ being vastly larger was more visible, although from our perspective she was dwarfed by the ‘MV Isle of Mull’.
This afternoon the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ departed Oban at 12:30 and sailed directly to Tiree arriving at 16:20. LOTI as she is known is limited by a weight restriction – thus on Wednesday she will have to make 2 sailings to Tiree. It was a marvellous afternoon for the sail up the Sound of Mull and then down the Passage of Tiree.
The ‘MV Isle of Mull’ probably last visited Tiree in March 2021 and’ LOTI’ normally serves the island when the the ‘MV Clansman is withdrawn from service for her annual overhaul and certification.
Yesterday, once again Tiree was officially the sunniest place in the UK. Today it is even brighter and much warmer. Nothing has been spared in making these two visitors(‘MV Isle of Mull’ and ‘LOTI’) to the island feel welcome.
CalMac are have their work cut out in order to maintain what is defined as a ‘Lifeline Service’. Island communities and their economies are depend on a reliable ferry service. No matter the difficulties the crews and shore staff provide an excellent, helpful and friendly service. There is no doubt that life has not been made any easier for them with the problems dogging CMAL/CalMac. Thanks to the the Tiree staff for your helpfulness.
Heading out to sea
This is ‘Life on Tiree’.
Tiree – What an amazing place for your honeymoon!
Arriving by ‘MV Lord of the Isles’.