Looking back we are so thankful that we chose to return to Tiree on Tuesday the 4th of January. Although the ferry was unable to berth at the Isle of Coll, it successfully berthed at Tiree, thanks to the great skill of skipper, crew and pier staff. The next scheduled sailing for Coll and Tiree was on Thursday the 6th of January.
The weather forecast for Thursday morning’s departure from Oban resulted in the cancellation of the sailing and an amended timetable was issued with a 12:00 noon departure from Oban. At 11:31 the following alert was issued – OBA-CLL-TIR 06Jan Due to strong winds and swell conditions at Coll and Tiree this sailing has been cancelled.
Later that day at approximately 5:00pm a further alert was issued. OBA-CLL-TIR 07Jan Due to the previous weather cancellations MV Clansman will operate additional sailings. Under the winter timetable there normally isn’t a Friday sailing.
The following alerts tell the story. OBA-CLL-TIR 07Jan Due to swell conditions in both Coll & Tiree berthing is not guaranteed. Passengers wishing to travel Coll-Oban should prioritise the 10:10. 07
The first attempt to berth at Coll resulted in the following alert being issued. OBA-CLL-TIR 07Jan Due to swell, MV Clansman had to abort the Coll stop and is currently in passage for Tiree and will attempt to land, this is not guaranteed.
When the the MV Clansman entered Gott Bay it was more or less high tide and the swell could clearly be seen. The vessel did not attempt to come alongside the pier and the decision was taken to head back out to sea.
Was this to be the end of the story? There had been no successful berthing at Coll since Monday. Then the next alert arrived. OBA-CLL-TIR 07Jan Due to swell, MV Clansman had to abort the stop to Coll and Tiree. The vessel is going to attempt to return to Coll and Tiree if swell reduces. The ferry had departed Oban at 7:00am. It is normally about 4 hours to Tiree. For those on board it would prove to be a much longer sailing and even longer if it failed to berth.
The next alert to arrive was encouraging. OBA-CLL-TIR 07Jan MV Clansman successfully berthed in Coll. The Vessel is on route to Tiree. The ETA is approx.1400. If successful this would mean a 7 hour crossing from Oban to Tiree, but this is much better than returning to Oban without berthing.
When the ferry arrived for its second attempt at berthing the tide was helpfully lower and the swell had considerably reduce. The big question was, “Would the skipper attempt to berth?’
As the ferry entered Gott Bay a hail laden squall passed through. The sun then made a brief appearance before another squall and accompanying hail arrived. For five minutes the hail was ferocious. The skipper brought the ferry alongside the pier but did not berth straight away. The ropes were not thrown and the ferry edged forwards. The anchor was dropped and then the ferry berthed successfully. The following photographs tell the story.
Not quite the final alert of the day. OBA-CLL-TIR 07Jan MV Clansman successfully managed to berth in Tiree. The vessel is now on passage back to Oban with an estimated arrival time of 17:40. 07/01/2
The final two alerts of the day concerned Saturday the 8th January sailing. OBA-CLL-TIR 08Jan Due to high sea and swell conditions after tonight’s south/south easterly gale this service will be liable to disruption or cancellation — 07/0 Due to Mv Clansman operating an additional sailing to Colonsay in the morning, the following amended timetable will operate – Depart Oban – 11:25 Arrive Coll – 14:05. Depart Coll – 14:20 Arrive Tiree – 15:15. Depart Tiree – 15:35 Arrive Oban – 18:55. Please Note: There is only one stop at Coll.