Playing Catch-Up

It feels as if ‘Life on Tiree’ is playing catch-up. I have been reminded and I am conscious that is quite some time since there has been a post. Life has just been busy in one or another.

From Scarinish, looking across to the Isle of Mull

For a start as a church family we have been unable to meet together as normal in An Talla due to the Covid restrictions. We do meet, it just has to be online at present and this involves a different set of skills and ways of communicating and sharing. However, it is such an encouragement to share together in our Sunday Gatherings in the presence of our living Lord – Jesus.

A sprinkling of snow around the remains of the Mary Stewart

We both enjoy walking and some weeks the weather has been against us, but whenever possible we get out. For much of the time our walks have been close to home, but throughout lockdown we have appreciated the freedom we enjoy on the island. At times we hardly met anyone, so social distancing was not a big issue.

It’s snowing!

A week into April and the daffodils were in bloom, yet at the same time we had snow showers. Thankfully it was only showers, unlike the experience on the Mainland. There have been cold northerly winds but frost is rare on the island, due to its position in the Gulf Stream which washes our shores.

April Showers -Snow Showers!

This past week we have had almost wall to wall sunshine. Blue skies have been the order of the day and the sea that surrounds the island turns the most amazing shades of blue.

Blue skies over Gott Bay

Whether or not it is the weather, but our daily walks are taking much longer. It is not so much that we are walking further, it is we are meeting more people and passing the time of day – naturally socially distanced!

I spy a hare outside the window

Rabbits would wreck havoc on Tiree’s fragile landscape, but as hares do not live in burrows they are acceptable. Unlike much of the Mainland they are not a rarity. We still say,  “Look over there – there’s a hare!” It is a special treat when observe one out of our window.

MV Clansman approaching the pier

For some people Monday’s relaxation of some of the Covid restrictions that will lead to the opening up of the island is a cause for concern. For other people the easing of some of the restrictions is most welcome, especially for those dependent on visitors for much of their income. 

Scarinish Old Harbour – Ready for Business

Tiree Sea Tours has been preparing for the season and both of their boats are in the water. In fact they have given them some exercise in preparation for the start of their trips. Surely a trip to see the Puffins on Lunga is a must.

Just testing and it’s all systems ‘Go!’

Tiree welcomes visitors. If visiting please respect our landscape, culture and community. Follow the guidance regarding testing before travelling to the island. We want to remain Covid free and safe. When on the island follow the guidance regarding visiting the shops. You will find helpful information at TIREE COVID-19

Sundown by Scarinish Harbour

Monday sees the start of the summer timetable for the ferry. Capacity is still restricted by social distancing measures, so make sure you book. Perhaps you never know, we meet you while out on one of our walks.

Scarinsh Harbour at Sunset

This is Life on Tiree.

Goodnight
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Tantalisingly Close

There seems to be something about Thursdays at present.  Once again on a Thursday the ferry failed to berth at Tiree. The vessel came alongside the pier, the bow ropes were thrown and caught. However, before the stern ropes were even thrown the bow ropes were released and the ferry headed back out to sea.

MV Lord of the Isles in Gott Bay

For those on board they were tantalisingly close. They were not just within sight of Tiree and the pier, the ferry was actually alongside the pier before the decision was made by the skipper to cancel the attempt to berth and head back to the Mainland port of Oban.

Swell Conditions

The status update issued by CalMac at 05:30am warned that due to adverse weather, there would only be one stop at Coll with the vessel operating to an amended timetable. In the event the vessel failed to berth at Coll.

Hopeful

Before leaving home to observe the ferry a further update had been issued stating that the vessel was unable to berth at Coll at 09:55 due to heavy swell. 

Through the Linkspan

With the MV Clansman replacing the MV Hebrides, which is down in Birkenhead for her annual overhaul and certification, the ferry relieving on the Oban, Coll and Tiree route is the MV Lord of the Isles {LOTI}. Whether or not the MV Clansman would have successfully berthed is an unknown.

So far – So good!

It was through breaking swell that the MV Lord of the Isles could be observed entering Gott Bay from the Passage of Tiree. She progressed  towards the pier and prepared to berth with her stern to the linkspan.

Still hopeful

For a brief moment the atmosphere was tense as it appeared that LOTI was not even going to attempt to berth.  However, she then slowly proceeded to come in stern first.

Slowly Progressing astern first

Although successfully coming alongside and the bow ropes being caught, the stern was never secured.  The whole operation took around 10 tense minutes. For those on board there was nothing else but a return to Oban.

Almost Alongside!

There is no sailing to Coll or Tiree under the Winter Timetable. The next crossing is 6:15am on Saturday.  The big question is will there be room on either sailing on Saturday?

Bow ropes secured

The MV Lord of Isles makes two crossings to Tiree due to limits placed on her. This was made even worse today.  Those planning to travel to Tiree by ferry had been advised – Due to shipment of lifeline supplies, passenger space will be very limited so any passengers looking to travel are highly advised to book in advance.  No doubt heavy goods vehicles are already booked on Saturday’ sailing(s) so it may prove difficult for those unable to land today to be accommodated on Saturday.

A vain attempt to berth

Whether your destination was Coll or Tiree those  making the journey today will have spent almost 8 hours on board by the time the vessel berths in Oban.  There is the prospect of spending another 2 nights in Oban, that is providing they can be accommodated on either of  Saturday’s sailings.

Sadly NOT Today

Those unable to board at either or Coll or Tiree today have faced similar prospects, but al least they did not have to spend almost 8 hours on the ferry. It looks like the CO-OP will be busy on Saturday afternoon.  

Under Way

 Life is uncertain whether you live on the Mainland or an island.  Here on the Isle of Tiree we are simply reminded of this fact in dramatic fashion. 

Heading Back out to sea

The is ’Life on Tiree’.

Oban Bound
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A Weather Window

The arrival of the ‘MV Hebrides’ was an opportunity in more than one way. The vessel is a rare visitor to the twin islands of Coll and Tiree. Her normal area of service is the Uig Triangle, sailing between Uig on Skye and Tarbert on Harris – and Uig and Lochmaddy on North Uist. A return visit of the ferry to Tiree was an opportunity not to be miissed.

MV Hebrides in the Passage of Tiree

Today, Monday, was a weather window, in what has been a been a season of storms. As stated in a previous post in the past weeks the island has only had had about one crossing to the Mainland a week. With strong winds forecast an alert has been issued that the ferry will be operating to a revised timetable and importantly stating that berthing in Coll or Tiree is not guaranteed but will be attempted.

A distant view of the MV Hebrides

The forecast is for winds gusting to over 60mph overnight and altough they are expected to drop throughout the morning swell conditions last longer. If the MV Hebrides remains on the route for one more day there is a stronger chance of a berthing. No doubt there will be pressure on CalMac to return the vessel to her normal area of service.

MV Hebrides against a hazy view of Ben More

On Saturday when the ‘MV Hebrides’ berthed the conditions were wintry – wet and windy. Today the contrst could not have beeen more marked. The sky was a welcome shade of blue.

MV Hebrides in Gott Bay

With it being a late afternoon arrival in Tiree (about 4:15) it was not long before the sun began to drop. When the vessel returned to the Passge of Tiree heading for Coll and Oban the eastern sky wass overcast.

MV Hebrides through the linkspan

Having watched the ‘MV Hebrides’ berth we headed for Ruaig to observe the ferry head out to sea. We were able to watch her pass the tidal island of Soa as she headed out into the Pssage of Tiree bound for Coll and Oban.

MV Hebrides approaching the pier

What follows are photographs of the berthing and then the ferry heading out to sea.

MV Hebrides prepares to berth

MV Hebrides
Coming alongside
Bow to the Roundhead
Midship and bow lines thrown
Securing the midship rope
Bow Ropes under tension
Brining the stern alongside

A Welcome Appearance

Handling the stern ropes
MV Hebrides ready to lower stern ramp
The view across Gott Bay
The MV Hebides from Ruaig
The view across Soa
Leaaving Gott Bay and Soa behind
MV Hebrides back out in the Passage of Tiree

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.

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A Good Dusting

Well! The weather forecast was correct for Tiree. For the most part of the week the forecast was for wintry showers turning to snow on Saturday.  Snow is not unknown on Tiree, but it is an unusual occurrence, therefore it is something noteworthy.

It’s snowing!

The island in many ways gets the best of both worlds. From a snow free Tiree we can look out on snow capped neighbouring islands and distant mainland mountain peaks. 

It may be just a dusting to you – but for us it’s a covering

Last evening around 23:30 hours we happened to look out the window and to our pleasant surprise the roof of the car had a covering of snow. It was too dark to see any distance but the road around Pier View was covered in snow.

Wow. It’s still here!

Waking up we wondered if the snow would still be around and we were not disappointed. In fact it appeared to be slightly more than a dusting. Not enough to bury the grass but certainly enough to turn it white.

Looking out to sea from home

Much as we would like to have gone out other responsibilities meant that we had to stay indoors.  Not even the thought of photographing the ‘MV Clansman’ in such a setting could draw us out.  This was all the more difficult as this was the last sailing she would make to Tiree until later in February. Tomorrow witnesses the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ (LOTI) take over the route in the absence of the ‘Clansman’.

A sharp shock of a snow shower

Before getting down to work, the opportunity was taken to photograph the view from our home,  For the time being that had to do.

What a contrast a few hours later as we set out to walk

Around 12:30 we managed to put work aside and get out for a walk, It was just our normal walk, down Pier Road to the pier and then back up and across the Machair to the old harbour. By this time Pier Road was more or less clear of snow. It was mainly the verges that had a covering.  From the pier we looked across Gott Bay and Ruaig to the snow capped Rum Cuillins. How sharp and impressed they looked. Across the Passage of Tiree Ben More on the Isle of Mull was shrouded in dark clouds.

Frozen Food

Looking across Gott Bay towards Gott and Kirkapol, we could see the sand covered in snow – right down to the water’s edge. 

Snow down to the water’s edge
Looking across to the Rum Cuillin
What a backdrop to Ruaig

The sky itself was dramatic. There was bright blue sky, jet black sky, shades of grey and shafts of sunlight. Tiree’s wide skies had it all.

Down by the harbour

It was great to be out. We didn’t meet many but the few we did see were appreciating the wonder of a snowy island landscape.

Scarinish Farm and Post Offive

Now come walk with us around the old harbour – Enjoy the views!

Around Scarinish Harbour
A Wintry Scene
Tiree Sea Tours’ New Dawn 2
A Slippery Slope
Ben More hidden from view but snow down to sea level
A snowy landscape

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

A Wintry Skyline
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True to Forecast

After three glorious days, true to forecast, a change is on the way.  Over the past three days the air has been so clear and the views simply breathtaking. This morning most unusually the cold air has persisted.  The temperature is nothing like as cold as on the Mainland where temperatures got down down to -7.6 °C. Here on the island the official temperature went as low as 0° and continued in that region for several hours. 

From our south facing window the approaching sunrise

Who could stay indoors when the sun was rising and about to rise in such spectacular fashion? As soon as breakfast was over it was out for a walk. First of all just across the road to the memorial. The timing could not have been better as the sun was just on the horizon.

The sun’s rays reaching across the Passage of Tiree and the frozen lochan

After three days of frost, walking across tracks the ‘earth felt as hard as iron’. Lochans that I have never seen frozen before were frozen over. I could hardly believe that on the sand by the water’s edge I almost slipped over. On the sand it can be difficult to see the ice! 

A frozen lochan close to the sea and in the distance the Paps of Jura.

How great it is to be able to get out of doors and breathe the clean air and enjoy the simple pleasure of the stunning scenery that is right on our doorstep. 

A change is in the air as the clouds work their way in.

The work on the old pier was completed in time for Christmas. How different the pier and the area that surrounds it is without the contractors and all their equipment.. How bare the pier looks – there isn’t even a waiting room on the pier now! With the pier sitting out in the bay a waiting room is a must for such an exposed location.

It is a long walk and wait on a wet and windy day

The pier looked particularly attractive as the sun’s rays highighted the piles which support the concrete superstructure. The waters of the bay were like a large mirror – there was hardly a ripple.

Spot the seal.

Seals can be seen all around the island. In the summer months a highlight is when we catch sight of Sammy and Sally, (well that is what we call them) in the waters by the pier. We are grateful to the Pier Master for drawing our attention to what would appear to be a young seal that has taken up residence on rocks close to the Pier. He is present in the morning and slips off in the late afternoon for a spot of fishing.

This seal has been seen on the rocks in recent days

We could not resist taking photograph after photograph of this latest attraction to the pier and its surroundings. At times this seal seemed to blend in with the black rocks and at other times he semeed much lighter in colour as the sun highlighted him – or was it her?

Ben More on the Isle of Mull

The change in the air could be seen in the build up of cloud over the Isle of Mull. The clouds certainly appeared to be releasing some of their load over parts of that island and in a most colourful way from our perspective.

Across the sea rain is falling

Gott bay was far from a wild place this morning. It was calm and colourful – a perfect setting for the Lodge Hotel. Without the telephoto lens something of the expanse of the bay is more apparent.

The Lodge Hotel by Gott Bay

Glebe House in its time has been as its name might suggest a manse, but is has also been a high class Guest House. Close by is the present manse – a kit house. Glebe House and the present manse are often the first and last views that those arriving and departing by ferry see.

Perhaps one of the most photographed houses on the island

This morning the air was so still and the sea was so calm. There was certainly no noise pollution. Just before 10:00am the distinct sound of the ‘Twin Otter’ approaching the island could be heard. Shortly afterwards the change on the engine tone could be heard as it made its final approach to the airport. Later we saw the same plane cross overhead as it flew back to Glasgow.

Behind Ben Gott the ‘Twin Otter’ makes its final approach

Perhaps it is the fact that we have not been venturing far, but there is a growing realisation that within walking distance of our home there is so much to enjoy and appreciate.  Oh! There are still can be dark grey skies and wet, windy days,  How much more then we appreciate the sunny days and the rich colours that come with the brightness.

The Rum Cuillin beyong the Isle of Coll

Around 9:00am it was crisp, clear and calm. Nevertheless it felt and looked as if change was in the air. By the time we returned home about 10:30am clouds were building up over Tiree and by 4:00pm it was a return to grey skies and no visible sunset.

Looking across Gott Bay to Ben Hynish

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

PHOTO Postcript

thought you WOULD like to see another photograph of me!

Not wet sand but slippy icy sand.

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Look To The Skies

It is hard to believe it, but Tuesday is the 1st of December. Where has the month of November gone? Believe it or not, there have been the same number of days as normal – 30 days.  Looking back over the month it appears that for much of the time, whole areas of the island have been under water. It has been day after day of grey skies and at times it seemed like incessant rain.

The Passage of Tiree from Scarinish

Yet, every so often the grey skies have parted and we have had sunshine. It is winter and the comparatively few hours of daylight have had a wintry feel to them as a consequence of the sun being so low in the sky.  

Breakthrough

‘Dreich’, which is much more expressive than drab, is a word that we have heard often throughout the month. Therefore, we have appreciated the few bright days all the more. Saturday the 28th was just one such example of the sun making an appearance at just the right time.

Scarinish Old Harbour

Throughout the month our eyes have been drawn to the skies. Sometimes to try and work out if the cloud cover is too low for the plane to land. If the plane is unable to land there will be no mail to or from the Mainland. On such days it has been so dark that you have required lights on in the house throughout the day.

A rainbow ove Pier View

On occasions the sun has shafted through breaks in the clouds. It has been like nature’s own spotlights. This morning the first few hours of daylight were characterised by low cloud cover over the Passage of Tiree. The horizon was marked by a letterbox that was filled with a red glow. How we appreciated seeing the distant Paps of Jura standing out against the narrow red backdrop. Soon the clouds were to be rolled up to reveal a welcome blue sky. 

A rainbow arcing over Scarinish Post Office

Another feature of the past month has been the frequency of rainbows. Many of them have found there way onto social media. Sometimes they have been like an early warning system to head for home before getting a soaking.

A wintry sunset

In the coming days  children will be looking to the skies to the see if they can catch a glimpse of a sleigh with a man in a red suit on board.  I have heard that in the not too distant future he will be making a special visit. to the Isle of Tiree.

The Big Guy made a trial run over Scarinish on the 28th of November

It made me think of a song by the musician and song writer Graham Kendrick. It is reminder that for the followers of Jesus, Christmas is the celebration of his coming to planet earth, when he became one of us – a real flesh and blood baby. It is also a reminder of his promise to return for those who have put their confident trust in him.

Looking out over Gott Bay from the Scarinish headland

Jesus said, “You must not let yourselves be distressed—you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am.” (The Bible – John 14)

Almost the Full Moon rising over the Isle of Mull

And the first verse and refrain of the song by Graham Kendrick
Look to the skies, there’s a celebration
Lift up your heads, join the angel song
For our Creator becomes our Saviour
As a baby born!
Angels, amazed, bow in adoration
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven!’
Send the good news out to every nation
For our hope has come
Worship the King – come, see His brightness
Worship the King, His wonders tell
Jesus our King is born today
We welcome You, Emmanuel

Graham Kendrick – Copyright © 1983 Thankyou Music

Looking over to Ben More on the Isle of Mull

At this point in the calendar we normally look back over the year. In many ways it has been like no other. From March to July we never entered a shop and in fact since then only Mrs Life on Tiree has been shopping. For much of the year we have hardly ventured out of Scarinish. We did manage a week on the North East of Scotland when we stayed in a cottage right on the harbour at Findochty. Our annual review of the year will look very different.

A fiery wintry sunset

This coming week we will be visiting Oban to keep an appointment. It will be the first time the we have been on the ferry since the very beginning of March.  We are so grateful to those who have maintained the transport links to the Mainland during the pandemic.

Over the roof tops

Jesus is revealed as Emmanuel. The name means ‘God With Us’. There is a take on a poplar saying, ‘Jesus is for life and not just for Christmas’.  How true – for he has been with us throughout the year – the year like no other. And no matter what 2021 may bring our confidence is in him.

Looking beyond Scinish to Ben Hynish

This is ‘Life On Tiree’.

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He Hit The Mark

Yes! Seán Batty hit the mark. On Friday evening following the late evening Scottish news Seán forecast that Tiree would be the warmest place in Scotland. What a stark contrast with the storms of last weekend. Today, the sun shone from dawn to dusk and the sea was calm.

The sun rising over the Scarinish headland

We have recently fitted new curtains. They are very effective thermal blackout curtains. The only problem is they shut out the light. There is no advance warning of sunrise. So it was a dash out into the garden to admire the sunrise.

The Memorial adjacent to Pier Road.

It is Saturday the 7th of November and in normal circumstances at 3:00pm there would have been an Act of Remembrance at the Memorial situated just off Pier Road. But this is not a normal year and yet another community landmark has been missed.

The sun rising on the approach to the memorial

In many ways I want the photographs to testify themselves to the amazing November day that we have enjoyed on the Isle of Tiree. The sun was just coming up and yet I had no coat or jacket on when I went to the memorial just after sunrise. Well done Seán Batty!

The Dutchman’s Cap, Ben More and the mountain peaks of Mull
Looking across the Passage of Tiree
The moon was with us most of the morning

Later in the morning, probably just before 9:00am, we had a walk around Scarinish taking in the pier and the old Harbour. The winter sun is low in the sky and our shadows were long and the reflections were so bright.

Reflections at Scarinsh Old Harbour
Few craft remain in the harbour
Reflections mean two for the price of one

With such a beautiful day I went down to the pier at 11:00am to watch the ‘MV Clansman’ berth. Having watched the traffic roll off I then made my way back up to a vantage point above the old harbour.

The MV Clansman from above the harbour
Harbour View
The MV Clansman above the roof tops
Lighthouse View

This year we have hardly ventured beyond Scarinish, but this afternoon we decided to head out west. Our first stop was at West Hynish where we looked out to Skerryvore Lighthouse, about 12 miles off shore.

Skerryvore

The next stop was at Balephuil to watch the Atlantic roll in relentlessly. It appeared to be sending up a mist.

Balephuil Bay
Loch a’ Phuill and Ben Hough

The next stop was to admire the view across Balemartine and the Passage of Tiree towards Ben More on the Isle of Mull.

Across to Ben More on Mull

This past week flocks of birds numbering in the thosands have been seen in the sky above Tiree.

Island House

At Island House we drove across the Moor Road towards Cornaig and onto Balephetrish. By this time the sun was begining to drop in the sky as sunset approached.

Clouds mask the golden globe
The Isle of Rum from Balephetrish
The Isle of Rum brought closer

We then crossed back over the island to Crossapol and on to Baugh. The view in the rear view mirror was inspirational. Then it was home for a welome cup of coffee.

Looking across Hynish Bay towards Ben Hynish

The weather forecast for tomorrow, Sunday, is not for a repeat performace. The clouds that were building up to the west were an indication that we could believe the weather forecasters – at least on this occasion.

This is ‘Life on Tiree’

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Creakin’ and Rattlin’

Creaklin’ and a Rattlin’ – that about sums it up for this weekend. The rafters creakin’ and moanin’ as the slates on the roof go a rattlin’.  Yes! It was Storm Aiden followed by the remains of ex-Hurricane Zeta on Sunday. Didn’t we know it.

A Ray of Sunshine – Scarinish

Friday had been a ‘Ray of Sunshine in what otherwise had been a mainly grey week. On Friday evening the wind began to steadily rise. In the small hours of the night the wind was gusting to at least 66mph and the gusts officially topped  out at 74mph at 3:00 in the afternoon. It was not just the gusts, the underlying speed was consistently strong. 

The car rattlin’ and rollin’

Looking out of the window the car was rockin’ and rollin’ as it was buffeted by the wind. Any wheelie bins that were not secured took off, while some strained on their tethers. Would the cranes still be standing on the pier?

Visibility almost nil in the squall

At one point in the morning there was a sudden squall. It was not just the intensity of the wind, it was the sheer volume of rain. Anyone driving in the squall would most likely have had to stop. Visibility was almost nil. The last time I remember such rain, was when we were living in Oxfordshire and the conditions led to accidents on the M4 and M40.

The viw from our living room window

After lunch the wind started to ratchet up another notch or two. Just after one electric power went down, on Tiree, Coll and Mull. On the Isle of Mull a line had come down and someone had to climb a pole when the wind was at its worst. There may well have been secondary faults as on Tiree power returned at different times. Our supply returned about 6:30pm but for others it was two hours later.

The wind is over 70mph

A visit to the pier revealed a Gott Bay that was like a boiling, seething caldron. There was no sign of any waves breaking high in the air over the pier as is often the case. But don’t be under misapprehension, it was a wild scene with frequent intense showers that soaked you in seconds. 

Gott Bay like a boiling, seething cauldron

A later visit, about an hour before high tide, revealed a similar picture. The main difference that wind, which had swung round to a westerly direction, was leading to the waves almost over topping the pier. The waves were certainly breaking over it.

Spindrift tops the angry sea

We were grateful that there was time in the evening to prepare for the ‘Sunday Gathering’ hosted by Tiree Baptist Church on the Zoom platform. We were even more thankful that we had power when the ‘Gathering’ went out live on Saturday morning. For those unable to Zoom in at that time, a recording is to be found on YouTube with a link from the church’s Facebook page.

It was another noisy night with Creakin’ and Rattlin’. The idea was to sleep, but any time we woke you were conscious just how rough it was outside.  Happening to look out the window in the morning, we observed that we had suffered some storm damage. Although at present the house seems to have come though unscathed, our shed had lost several boards.

Baugh Beach from Crossapol

On Sunday afternoon we thought that we might have a change of scenery. We were thinking about walking but decided against it as the wind was gusting up to 59mph. Instead we went for a short drive in the car. We headed to Crossapol to watch the waves driving in relentlessly and powerfully onto Baugh beach.

The waves come powering in at Crossapol

From Crossapol we drove to Kenovay and Balephetrish. From the point just before the road drops down to the bay, we could see the spray and spindrift from waves reaching higher than the nearby houses. 

The seaweed piled high

There is often seaweed on the beach at the Kenovay end of the bay, but today it was piled high. Evidence, if it was needed, of the stormy conditions in recent days. Shipping may not like the skerries that lie off Tiree, but they afford some protection to the island.

The Blue Moon

Going back to Saturday evening. Between a gap in the scurrying clouds we could see the full moon. It was called a blue moon and not for the reason you might think. It is the fact that this was the second full moon in the month and not because the moon turned a shade of blue. 

The Moon plays hide and seek with the scurrying clouds

Sean Batty, the weather forecaster, stated, ‘The last time we had a full moon on Halloween was back in 2001 – which was also a blue moon – and we won’t see another one until 2039.’  From what he says, to witness a Full Moon on All Hallows evening is a rare occasion.

Spindrift at Balephetrish

We don’t know if it was the fact that the Scottish Government told children to stay at home this Halloween or it was the fact that it was a wild evening, but we had no children call at the door. In guidance issued a week ahead of 31 October, people were told guising (going door-to-door in fancy dress) and parties were not encouraged. Instead, people were asked to have safe Halloween celebrations at home

Friday’s arrival storm bound for 2 days

Tomorrow the weather forecast is for calmer conditions. Although there is an alert out for possible disruption or cancellation to Monday’s sailing, the drivers of the remaining floats from Friday’s livestock sale will be hoping that the ferry safely berths. No doubt there will be others in a similar position.

The MV Clansman

The Creakin’ and Rattlin’ has quietened down a little. Nevertheless, there is something dramatic about such conditions, especially when you have the visibility, no matter how poor, to look out on a seething cauldron.

Not to be repeated on Monday!

This is Life on Tiree

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Restless Sea

The British people have a reputation of talking about the weather. It is a good conversation starter and normally gets a response. Living on an island lying off the West Coast of Scotland you are even more aware of the weather because so much depends on it, much more so than if you were living on the Mainland.

The ‘MV Clansman’ enterring Gott Bay

The Isle of Tiree is not flat. It is low lying and sits out in the Atlantic. There is little in the way of shelter, no high mountains and very few trees, consequently a major consideration is the strength of the wind. One of the helpful pieces of advice were were given when we came to live on the island was to be very careful with your car doors when the wind was strong. Injuries are not unknown!

The ‘MV Clansman’ through the spray

Poor visibility can result in the cancellation of the plane as the pilots have to land by sight. Wind, on the other hand, can result in the cancellation of the ferry, due to the sea conditions. When planning to visit the Mainland it is important to consult the weather forecast in advance.

Through the Spray

For several days last week there was very little wind and as a result the sea was unnaturally calm. It was a joy to out walking and with little wind it even felt relatively warm. It must have made conditions easier for those carrying out the on-going works at the pier.

Everything changed on Monday. As predicted it rained for most of the day and several island roads were flooded. The rain continued throughout the night and the wind also got up.

The ‘MV Clansman’ approaching the pier

This morning at breakfast we looked out on a restless sea. From our south facing windows we had a clear view of the waves crashing on the rocks that surround the Scarinish headland.  It was still pleasurable going for walk. It was just different. It felt like a morning to observe the ferry.

The ‘MV Clansman’ preparing to berth

As the ferry turned from the Passage of Tiree (the stretch of Water that separates Tiree from the much larger Island of Mull) into Gott Bay the wind was blowing from the south. So the ferry ran into the bay with the wind behind it. There was little in the way of a bow wave as the ferry made its approach to the pier. What was noticeable were the waves breaking on the shore and the rocks. As they broke the waves sent up spray. It added a touch of drama!

The ferry has to swing through 180 degrees in order to berth with her stern towards the linkspan. (The linkspan is like a bridge that links the ferry’s stern ramp to the pier thus enabling vehicles to roll on and off.)  As the vessel makes this manoeuvre it can appear as if she is heading straight for the pier. Thankfully the skipper and crew know what they are doing.

Hauling in the bow ropes

Although there was a swell running the ‘MV Clansman’ appeared to have little difficulty in berthing. As usual the first ropes to be cast and caught are the midship and bow ropes. Then the ferry cautiously goes aft and the stern ropes are secured. Only then is the ramp lowered.

Cautiously the vessel proceeds aft

The pier feels like the centre of island life for over an hour on the days that the ferry calls. At present it is a hive of activity for much of the time as the work continues on refurbishing the pier. Before lockdown the linkspan was replaced. Then when it was deemed safe to do so work recommenced on refurbishing the old pier. Right now the work on replacing the footway is nearing completion.

Underway

On days when the air is still and the sea calm it is easy to forget just how restless the sea can be. This morning was just a gentle reminder that the sea is restless.

A Wee Face Wash

‘Life on Tiree’ is a personal reflection of our life on Tiree and for that reason we do not normally advertise or promote.  However, just like slogan concerning Glasgow, ‘People Make Tiree’.  Yesterday we received an email for a gentleman asking us to covey his appreciation for all the help that he received from so many when he fell off his bike and broke his hip on the 23rd of September. The list of those who came to his aid is extensive and he wants you to accept his thanks. 

The MV Clansman heading out to sea bound for Coll and Oban

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.

The Pier Works – A night time view
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The Return of Summer

It’s Friday and it feels like the return of Summer to the Isle of Tiree. It has been a good week of weather, especially when you consider it is Mid-October. Today has been particularly bright and warm, when ytou take into account that this is October. A real feature of the past week has been […]

Read more "The Return of Summer"