The Isle of Tiree has had a busy summer with many visitors, old and new, heeding government advice to have a staycation. Recently our church family on the island have had the pleasure of welcoming visitors to the Sunday Gathering. It has been a particular joy to welcome visitors to our home and sometimes taking them on a tour of the island.
With the much anticipated visit of relatives from Dundee last Saturday we took the opportunity on the Friday to visit our nearest neighbouring town, Oban, four hours away by ferry. Much needed haircuts had been arranged for mid afternoon. Under the summer timetable the ferry crossing is earlier on a Friday, giving you most of the afternoon and evening to do the necessary.
In spite of the rain we managed to achieve everything we had planned before meeting up with our relatives for our evening meal. What a relaxing time! With an early start in the morning we tried and failed to get to bed early.
With a 07:00 sailing we had to be at the ferry terminal by about 06:30 so it required the alarm to be set for 05:50. Thankfully our overnight accommodation was only a five minute walk away from the port. With it being a holiday Saturday there was hardly a ‘kent’ (known) face on board.
What a contrast on Monday morning! It felt as if the MV Clansman was an extension of Tiree. Many were taking advantage of the half term holiday to spend some time on the Mainland. On this occasion we were only crossing over to Coll, our closest neighbour
What a treat to be staying at the award winning Coll Hotel. Our rooms were on the reconfigured ground floor and were well appointed, with views across the loch, and with access to the garden. The food was excellent and we appreciated Tuesday’s packed lunch which enabled us to make the most of the day.
Tiree and Coll are often referred to as “the twin islands of Coll and Tiree”. They are certainly not identical twins. To mention just a few of the differences: Tiree is surrounded by beaches, whereas Coll has far fewer beaches. Tiree is low-lying and fertile. Coll on the other hand appears more highland. Tiree is historically a crofting community, while Coll is based on farms.
It was only an overnight stay, but it felt much longer because in the summer timetable the Tuesday ferry does not arrive at Coll until 17:35. It gave us plenty time to explore the island by car. Naturally, it would take much longer to explore the island in depth, especially if you wanted to reach the various beaches.
Considering this is October, the weather was mild and calm. It was not wall to wall sunshine, instead it was cloudy and on the Tuesday mist rolled in from the west. We were afforded a view of Tiree from Coll’s famous dunes, but it was through the mist.
All too soon our visit came to end as we boarded the ‘MV Clansman’ for fifty five minute crossing to Tiree. There was time for tea on board – CalMac’s famous macaroni and cheese. It certainly felt as if we were heading for home with so many friends and neighbours on board.
As we drove up the linkspan the pier lights were piercing the darkness. It was a reminder that towards the end of the month the clocks go back. Already the daylight hours are short.
It’s good to go away, especially when visiting the neighbours, but it great to be back home.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’.
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