A month has passed since we last reported on our life on Tiree. On that occasion we were travelling south to meet up with our family for a celebration – our Golden wedding – although the actual date was in January. In all we were off island for two whole weeks. However, we have been back home three weeks, but they have been busy weeks
One particular highlight of the past three weeks was the wedding of Iain MacArthur to Sally Crawford, a happy and joyous occasion. The ceremony was held in Heylipol Church, while the reception and Ceilidh was in An Talla.
Whatever the reason, the weather in May has been unsettled. Recently, a nearby field was ploughed and when the wind started to gust from the north west it resulted in a ‘sand storm’. It was quite a spectacle!
With the Machair in bloom the island is now wearing its early summer attire. After the browns of winter, how we appreciate the vivid yellows and whites. A phrase has been running through my thoughts, – the flags our out. Tiree loves to hoist flags, but the kind I had in my mind was not the material variety, rather the yellow irises.
Pre pandemic, for one reason or another, we frequently traversed the island. During the height of the pandemic we rarely left Scarinish, limiting our walks to a circuit round the crofting township. Even now we do not travel very far, other than to deliver meals on wheels once a month. Petrol prices on the Mainland are high, but not as high as on the island. Here petrol is £1.98 a litre and diesel is over £2.00 a litre. On the neighbouring island of Coll, prices are even higher.
May the 31st was bright and sunny, but the breeze was from the north and consequently it brought a nip to the air.
We are very conscious that the hours of daylight are stretching. Sunrise is around 4:45am and sets around 10:00pm. Sunset on the last day of May was a true Tiree special.
June 1st was a beautiful sunny day. We enjoyed just over 13 hours of sunshine. With blue skies overhead the sea around Tiree was a myriad shades of blue.
The first of June was a Wednesday and on a Wednesday the ferry, instead of returning directly to Coll and Oban, continues on to Barra before returning to Tiree, Coll and Oban.
Her passage, out and back, takes the ferry through the Gunna Sound, the narrow stretch of water separating Coll and Tiree.
It was on her return journey from Barra to Tiree that I witnessed the ‘MV Clansman’ majestically make her way through the Sound.
As the ‘Mighty One” entered the Sound a much smaller craft sought to get under way by raising its red sail.
From Caolas the road rises before dropping down once more to Gott Bay. From that vantage point I had witnessed the ferry cross the Sea of the Hebrides from Barra. From the same vantage point t I had caught sight of the ferry make her way south down the Passage of Tiree. (Did I discern Colonsay in front of the Paps of Jura? – See photo below)
For normal I would watch the ferry from the vicinity of the Pier in Scarinish. On this occasion I witnessed the ferry make her approach the pier from Gott Bay.
I arrived back at the pier just in time to see the ropes being secured, before the ramp was lowered and the traffic (a few cars, cyclists, and foot passengers) come ashore
It did not take long for the traffic for Coll and Oban to board. With the vessel secured, the ropes were released, and the ferry got underway heading out of the Bay and into the Passage of Tiree.
All day many of the Hebridean islands were visible from Tiree. Throwing back our curtains the Paps of Jura, fifty miles distant, were a welcome sight. To the north could be seen the Rum Cuillin, and to the west several of the islands that form the Outer Hebrides.
Ben More on the Isle of Mull towers over the Passage of Tiree and as always provides the backdrop for the ferry.
This is Life on Tiree