GRATITUDE

At present there is much uncertainty on the world stage.  The news media have shifted their focus from covid and ‘partygate’ to the threat of war in Europe.  Closer to home on Tiree there is also uncertainty, but not of the same magnitude.

MV Lord of the Isles preparing to berth this morning

CalMac, the ferry operator’ speaks in terms of ‘ongoing adverse weather conditions’ and ‘extreme and unprecedented weather disruptions.’ Today, Saturday the 19th of February, saw the first ferry since Tuesday to make the crossing from the Mainland port of Oban to Tiree and to safely berth. 

The stern ropes being secured

For a whole variety of reasons island residents were grateful the safe berthing of the’MV Lord of the Isles’.  First of all, it meant fresh supplies to the islands two food stores.  While there was still some food on the shelves they were devoid of many items including green vegetables.

The Cattle truck traverses the link-span

Crofters and farmers were pleased that the cattle sale held at the Island’s Rural centre, postponed from last Saturday, was able to go ahead today. It was one of the smaller sales requiring only three cattle trucks and the news was encouraging as prices were good. Prices need to good for animal foodstuffs and fertilisers, like everything else have become very expensive.

A well loaded truck belonging to I.A. Mackinnon (Isle of Tiree)

This morning one vehicle at least was heading for the bull sale at Stirling. This evening a small trailer arrived with foster calves. A reliable ferry service is vital for the well being of crofting on the island.

Job complete – SSEN vehicles head back to the Mainland

Historically, before the advent of roll on roll off ferries islands such as Tiree were far more self-sufficient, being less dependent on the Mainland. The island imports far more than it exports as is evidenced by the number of trucks arriving fully loaded and leaving empty.

MV Lord of the Isles in the Passage of Tiree today – heading Oban via Coll

Many use the ferry for business purposes, to visit family, for hospital appointments, to go on holiday and a multitude other reasons. As an island we are grateful to have the ferry and a daily flight to Glasgow.

The month of February has been unusually dull, grey, wet and windy so it was a real treat this morning to have bright blue sunshine. With only a slight breeze it felt warmer. 

A snow free Ben Hynish today

Walking to the pier this morning the view across the Passage of Tiree was of a snow capped Ben More. Tiree itself is snow free at present although there was a sprinkling of snow on Ben Hynish. On the rare occasion it does snow it never lies very long due to our position in the waters off the West Coast of Scotland. Throughout last night there were sleet showers and even at 10:00am some sleet could still be seen lying on the ground – even down on the ole pier..

MV Lord of the Isles arriving at Tiree about 7:00pm

Mid-afternoon  the weather dramatically changed. The wind began to rise, it started to pour down and it felt bitterly cold when the ferry arrived about 7:00pm.

One of several I.A. MacKinnon trucks arriving this evening

One thing is certain, as expected Sunday’s sailing has been cancelled due the strength of the wind. Looking at the weather forecast for the week ahead there is no certainty when we might see another ferry. However, that is simply a fact of island life.

Cattle trucks heading back to Oban

Tomorrow, due to the weather forecast of high wind speed and gusts, the Baptist Church is holding its Sunday Gathering online. The church is grateful to be able to meet this way, something that it adapted during lockdown. As the situation has improved and many restrictions have been lifted the church has decided to provide a hybrid, service – in person, on Zoom and also recorded. 

Conditions were unpleasant for the pier staff

In these uncertain times, for the disciples of Jesus Christ there are great certainties. God’s Word the Bible can be trusted. God is faithful and can be fully trusted. Jesus, God’s Son has promised to return in power and glory. He has given his word, the only uncertainty is when this will be. Jesus said, Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (The Bible – John 14)

Waiting to board

This is ‘Life on Tiree’ grateful to God for living in the midst of a caring community on a beautiful island and knowing that my future is safe in his hands. 

Uncertain when we will next see ‘LOTI’

‘Life On Tiree’