The weather has not been the most conducive to venturing further afield on the island thus the lack of recent posts. With a dental appointment on the Mainland we were keeping a close watch on the weather forecast. The appointment was on the Friday so this meant sailing on the Thursday and returning on the Saturday. Matters were further complicated by our hotel booking being cancelled due to the hotel being extensively flooded due to a burst pipe.
As this was probably our last visit to the Mainland before Christmas we wanted to make the most of our brief stay. One by one the various items on the checklist were crossed off – dental appointment, hairdresser, visit to a favourite vegetable shop, purchasing items not readily available on the island, Christmas shopping including purchasing cards and gifts and of course eating out.
On the Friday the weather was inclement with drizzle and downpours throughout the day. About 7:00pm CalMac issued a statement that due to a technical issue with another ferry on the network our sailing would be delayed from 7:15am to 10:30am. Instead of a continental breakfast at 6:15am we would be able to have a cooked breakfast at 8:30am.
What a contrast Saturday! No rain in Oban and relatively bright for November. Importantly it was calm. Oban Bay was particularly pleasing to the eye. Although there were dark clouds overhead there was also sunlight breaking through. On the Friday the mist had enveloped the bay while on Saturday there was a panoramic view.
The delay to our sailing was due to a main engine failure and rope entanglement afflicting the MV Isle of Arran. The ‘Arran’ was deputising for the ‘MV Isle of Mull’ which in turn was covering for another ferry and all down to the annual ferry overhaul programme. The ‘MV Clansman’ returned about 10:00am from Craignure on the Isle of Mull. This was to prove the only crossing to Mull until the evening.
Just after 10:30am the ropes were cast and we drew away from the pier. As we headed out into the calm waters of the bay we had a clear view of ‘NLV Pole Star’ moored at the Lighouse Pier. Next we looked down the Sound of Kerrera.
The Skipper welcomed us on board stating that our passage up the Sound of Mull would be calm but there was a possibility of swell when we made our way down the Passage of Tiree. His forecast was accurate.
Leaving Oban Bay the ferry crosses the often troubled waters of the ‘Firth of Lorne’ before entering the Sound of Mull. In the distance ‘Lismore Lighthouse’ on Eilean Musdile in the Firth of Lorne at the entrance to Loch Linnhe. Enlarging the photograph the superstructure of ‘MV Isle of Mull’ can just be made out.
As we made our way across the ‘Firth of Lorne’ the ‘MV Isle of Mull’ passed to our port side. In recent days due to the annual programme of overhauls she has had to venture from her normal crossing from Oban to Craignure on the Isle of Mull.
At Lochaline in Morven we encountered our next ferry the ‘MV Lochinvar’ which sails across to Fishnish on the Isle of Mull. The winter colours we witnessed stood in sharp contrast to the lack of visibility the previous day.
As we left the Sound of Mull and entered the ‘Passage of Tiree’ bound for the Isle of Coll we passed the ‘YEOMAN BRIDGE’ to our port side. As we sat down for lunch we passed another cargo vessel, the SJARD.
The sky and sea were a lovely shade of blue when we berthed at the Isle of Coll. It was hard to take in that is was just a month ago that we had spent thirty enjoyable hours on Coll, staying at the Coll Hotel. Today through the winter sun we looked back across to the Treshnish Isles.
As we left Coll we could make out the clouds beginning to overshadow the Isle of Tiree. There was definitely a change coming in the weather. The promised swell, probably down to weather the previous day, was felt as we made our way down the ‘Passage of Tiree. It was just a gentle reminder that we were on board a ship.
It is a fifty five minute sail by ferry from Coll to Tiree and as advertised the ferry berthed more or less on time at 2:20pm. We were home – well just a short walk from our home close to the pier.
It was a close run thing, but we were home just in time to join in the Act of Remembrance at the Memorial in Pier Road. As the ferry departed for the return sailing to Coll and Tiree people were beginning to assemble at the memorial.
Mr Pat Boyd had made it home just in time to lead the Act of Remembrance. How we appreciated his thoughtful, sensitive leading of the short service. The silence was observed and the pipes were played. We were home on Tiree.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’