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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August Anniversary

The 22nd of August marks the 7th anniversary of our coming to live on the Isle of Tiree. Today it is Saturday, but seven years ago it was a Thursday, Back then on a Thursday it was possible to come to the island for a day because the ferry sailed from Tiree to Barra before […]

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Quietly Busy

Later this month we mark the anniversary of our arrival on Tiree. In 2011 we came for a day on a visit; in 2012 we came for a week’s holiday and then in 2013 we came to live on the island. It is strange, but for the first time in the seven years that we […]

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RESPECT

Out of respect for fellow islanders and in accordance with government guidelines our travels around Tiree have been limited. Most of the time we have hardy travelled very far from Scarinish and understandably that includes Scarinish Old Harbour and the Pier at Gott Bay.  Naturally the ferry is a major feature of our ‘Life on […]

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News Roundup

It’s gone 10pm and excited children’s voices can be heard over the sound of what appeared to be a trawler in the bay. With the level of light in the sky it is hard to take in that the sun is about to set. Weather wise it has been warm and sunny with hardly a […]

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Pier Works To Recommence

On the 10th of June CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd) issued a press release announcing that the Tiree Pier Head Reconstruction Work is to restart. The plan is for preparations to resume the repair work to begin sometime during the week commencing Monday 15 June 2020. Today, Monday the 15th of June, was sunny, warm and calm. It was […]

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Changed Days

‘Changed Days’ or perhaps it should be ‘Contrasting Days for gone are the long dark winter evenings and instead we are enjoying the hours of daylight. Some evenings there appears to have been light in the sky almost to midnight and it starts getting light before 4:00am Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in terms of weather, […]

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Lifeline Services

CALMAC – Ferry Service CalMac introduces Essential Lifeline Timetable in light of Covid-19 outbreak A new reduced timetable, which runs for an initial three-week period, comes amidst a lockdown on all but essential travel across the UK. It will be subject to continual review in a rapidly changing environment. Please check the service status of […]

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Please – Now Grateful

“Please can you come quickly the camera battery is flat.”  “Where are you?” “Near the pier but not too close!” “OK.” “Keeping my distance.” “Be down soon.” Yesterday the ferry was the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ and due to the low tide and the wind gusting from the SSE around 38mph she struggled to […]

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Behind Every Cloud

Proverbial.  Perhaps the word ‘proverbial’, whether used as an adjective or noun, best sums up the action at the pier today. For starters there is the saying that you wait ages for a bus (in this instance a ferry) and then two come along one after the other. Then there is the saying, ‘ships that […]

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