A Stunning Start

As we stood on Tiree’s pier waiting to board the MV Clansman someone commented, “You should get some great photographs this evening.” It was the first leg of our journey to Thame, Oxfordshire, a journey by public transport that would see us passing through, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.

MV Clansman preparing to berth

The island has enjoyed a period of settled weather, with blue skies and relatively calm seas. On at least two consecutive days the Isle of Tiree was the sunniest place in the UK. After a winter of unusually prolonged stormy weather, the change was most welcome.

Balephuil Bay

In one sense it seemed a strange time to be leaving the island for the Mainland. With the sun shining, and a rise in the temperature the ‘Machair’ was starting to take on its colourful mantle. On the other hand we were looking forward to spending time with our family.

Geese on the Machair as the sun set

For several evenings before our departure it was difficult to resist the temptation to photograph the sunset even although, as Mrs Life on Tiree would say, “You have hundreds of photographs of sunsets.” One evening I slipped out without a coat and went down to the pier returning home after 10pm. Imagine, no coat at 10pm and it is still April.


On arrival at the pier we were told by a friend that the author of a blog that we appreciate was coming off the ferry. We were pleased and disappointed at the same time. Pleased that at last Matthew and Muriel able to visit Tiree. They had been prevented from coming earlier because of the pandemic. Disappointed that we would not get the opportunity to meet them. It is with eager anticipation that we await his next post.

Ben Gott

The Skipper, Michael MacNeil, berthed the ferry so effortlessly. Yes! The water was calm, nevertheless he berthed the vessel with great skill. Although we do not have the Gaelic we appreciate the fact that he normally welcomes you aboard in the Gaelic.

Out in the Passage of Tiree

In no time at all we were up the gangway and in the Mariners’ Cafe. It was time to enjoy some of CalMac’s famous fayre – MacCheese and Fish and chips.

Out in the Passage of Tiree

The plane has you in Glasgow in under an hour. It is certainly convenient but somehow the ferry is like an extension of island life. This evening’s crossing was three hours twenty minutes, plenty of time to make the cultural adjustments.

Entering the Sound of Mull

It was indeed a stunning start to our holiday. The MV Clansman gliding into the bay after passing a large yacht out in the Passage of Tiree. Later, thanks to a post by Donald Meek, we were able to identify the craft as the Swedish ketch ‘Elida’. He wrote, ‘She belongs to a Christian organisation and her logo, ‘Sailing for Jesus’ can be read clearly on her side.’ Tiree itself was sitting under blue sky, while the various peaks of the Isle of Mull were shrouded by cloud. The best was yet to come.


As the ferry entered the Sound of Mull the sun was setting. Several people appeared on deck at the stern of the vessel, with their smart phones ready to capture the sunset.

A colourful wake

The scene and the setting before our eyes took us back about ten years to what was perhaps our first visit to Tiree. This evening, however, the colours were even more stunning and the sea more dramatic in a calm way.


This is ‘Life on Tiree’ at the start of a Mainland Adventure. The second leg of our journey takes us to Glasgow and from there we will we will begin our third leg via Scotland’s capital city and London with our final destination in Thame, Oxfordshire.

A remarkable passage down the Sound of Mull

‘Life on Tiree’

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