It’s Thursday the 9th of September and sunshine might have been more appropriate for the return of the ‘Mighty One’. On the other hand the celebratory fireworks stood out against the dark, thundery skies.
Due to her sister ship, the ‘MV Hebrides’, requiring to enter dry dock in Birkenhead the ‘MV Clansman’ was sent to serve on what is known as the Uig triangle. From the port of Uig on the Isle of Skye the ferry sails to either Tarbert on Harris or Lochmaddy on North Uist.
During the absence of the ‘MV Clansman’ Coll and Tiree were served mainly by the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’. At this time of the year the Clansman is scheduled to make one crossing a day to Coll and Tiree; but with her limited capacity the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ has had to made two crossings to Tiree on most days of the week.
On Wednesday evening (08/09/21) we said goodbye to the ‘Lord of the Isles’. On board was the livestock traffic and passengersfrom the sale held in the Rural Centre. This particular sale is not so busy as other sales held throughout the year.
The skipper on this occasion was George Campbell of Tiree and he is always a welcome sight on the bridge.
The ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ was assisted on two days a week by the ‘MV Isle of Mull’ which normally sails between Oban and Craignure on Mull. Although the ‘Mull’ can carry more passengers than the ‘Clansman’ she cannot carry as many vehicles.
Grateful as we are for the services of the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ and the ‘MV Isle of Mull’ it is a relief to have the ‘Mighty One’ back serving Tiree. It was a magnificent sight watching her taking berthing in her stride today.
The Clansman’s return was under ominous dark skies that proceeded a downpour. With winter fast approaching Tiree urgently needs shelter for foot passengers waiting to board the ferry. Thankfully today the heavy rain did not fall until after the vessel had departed. CMAL are aware of the problem but they need to make providing a shelter a top priority.
The Clansman’s arrival was certainly as timetabled, perhaps if anything slightly earlier than scheduled. Her arrival was much appreciated by many – the pier staff included.
CalMac have had to face the challenges of Covid and a reduced capacity due to social distancing measures. They have had numerous ferry breakdowns that have impacted across the whole network. When a crew member has tested positive for Covid, the crew has had to be tested and the vessel deep cleaned and this has led to cancellations. In the latter respect one thing we can all do is observe the law and wear a face covering unless except.
The hope is that the MV Clansman will continue to provide an unbroken service to Coll and Tiree until she goes for her annual overhaul and certification. It was a real pleasure this morning to see familiar faces among the crew and to recognise the voice of the purser over the announcements. Long may it continue.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’