Alert, Arrival, Aggregates

It’s not the three ‘Rs’ – “Reading Writing and Arithmetic”. It is not even “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. Nor is it “Recruitment, Resources and Results”. In this instance it is three ‘As’ – “Alert, Arrival and Aggregates”.

CEG Cosmos entering Gott Bay from the Passage of Tiree

Alerted on Wednesday evening to Friday’s arrival of the CEG Cosmos, a high cubic capacity box hold vessel; the alarm was duly set to ensure I was down by the CMAL pier in Gott Bay, Scarinish, to see her slowly make her way into the bay.

Cautiously approaching the pier

The CEG Cosmos is owned and operated by the Great Glen Shipping Company based at their home port of Corpach, Fort William. The company states, ‘The ethos of Great Glen Shipping has and always will remain the same, to provide a vital logistics link to the Highlands and Islands with a core focus of removing lorry traffic from the Highlands road network.’

An hour after sunrise the vessel prepares to berth

Formed in January 2010 the Great Glen Shipping Company initially started transporting timber up and down the Caledonian Canal removing thousands of lorry miles from the Highlands fragile road network.

The pier staff waiting for the lines to be thrown

The company owns and operates several small coastal vessels which convey g a wide range of bulk cargoes throughout the west coast of Scotland and Irish Sea. Their coastal vessels can access relatively small ports and harbours that modern vessels cannot reach. With a draught of 3.9m the CEG Cosmos just managed to berth at the pier in Gott Bay.

Hauling in the heavy ropes

On Thursday the CEG Cosmos arrived at Glensanda (Morven) on the banks of Loch Linnhe, having sailed directly from Kirkwall (Orkney). Glensanda is one of the UK’s top ten tonnage ports and the flagship site of the Super Quarry operated by Aggregate Industries. It claims to be the largest granite quarry in Europe.

CEG Cosmos alongside

This unique site was discovered by John Yeoman on a boating holiday. The quarry is only accessible by sea due to the surrounding rugged mountainous terrain. Glensanda is renowned for being one of the most efficient mineral extraction operations in the world, whereby granite is crushed at the top of the mountain, then fed into a ‘glory hole’ taking the rock 300 metres down and out of sight into the core of the mountain, then through a 1.8km horizontal tunnel to the foreshore where the rock is washed, screened and stored ready for ship loading.

Preparing to discharge the cargo

The vessel departed Glensanda on Thursday at 22:55 with and estimated time of arrival at Tiree of 07:00. on Friday. However she did not berth until at least 07:20. On the pier the windsock was almost hanging limp with the windspeed no more than 5mph.

Th cargo being discharged.

The vehicles transporting the aggregates to the stock pile close to the pier head had to reverse onto the deck of the pier. There was a single articulated aggregate lorry and a fleet of tractors and trailers on hand to minimise the time spent alongside the pier.

A Restricted Area

It was not just the width leading onto the pier deck that was restricted. On this occasion the pier itself, behind the security gates, was a restricted area with the vessel in the past two weeks having been out of the UK.

The CEG Cosmos from the old pier

Having been alerted, this is ‘Life on Tiree’ reporting on this morning’s arrival and activity at the pier. As the day has progressed the early morning cloud has given way to warm sunshine.

‘Life on Tiree