When we went to bed around midnight on Sunday evening the slates on our roof were rising and falling, rattling and rolling. Throughout the afternoon and evening the wind speed had been steadily ratcheting up so that by midnight the gusts were officially 68mph at Tiree Airport. (No doubt higher on Ben Gott and in Gott Bay.) Remarkably we slept soundly! It was only after 8:00am that the gusts began to drop below 60mph and then after 12 noon they suddenly plummeted so that by 4:00pm they wind speed was in single figures. Storm Franklin was over.
Throughout Monday morning photographs appeared on social media of the swell conditions around the island. Those of the west coast were probably the most dramatic, but even on the east the breakers and spindrift were remarkable.
The skipper of the ferry, the MV Lord of the Isles, chose to delay his departure from Oban. It had been announced the previous evening that the ferry would depart Oban at 1:30pm and sail directly to Tiree, with no stop at the isle of Coll at all. Berthing was not guaranteed. Walking down the long approach to the pier to observe the arrival of the ferry it was clear there was still some residual swell. The question on most folks minds was, ‘Would she berth.’
By arriving at 5:10pm not only had the wind dropped to single figures, it was around low tide. Thus it was that ‘LOTI’ successfully berthed. Even so there was still a fair degree of movement, with the vessel rising and falling and rolling from side to side. In such conditions it is always an anxious wait to see that the island based drivers of the commercial vehicles who load them onto the ferry get off successfully. If the ropes suddenly snap it is not unheard of them making an unplanned trip to Oban.
During the inbound crossing from Oban to Tiree it was announced that due to forecast weather and swell conditions, tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s)service was cancelled. Consequently some vehicles and their drivers quickly decided to return directly to Oban without even touching land.
I almost titled this post ‘’Till We Meet Again’. Looking at the weather forecast it is hard to predict when we will next see a successful berthing. Perhaps on Friday there will be a weather window. We will just have to wait and see.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’