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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The Unexpected

Tuesday the 4th of August was a stormy day, both wet and windy.  The ferry was on an alert of possible disruption and berthing at Coll and Tiree was not guaranteed.  Even with fins (stabilisers) those who travelled to the island on Tuesday certainly knew that they were on board a ship. They were no […]

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Essential Lifeline Services

On Tuesday the 23 June in support of essential lifeline services there were two sailings from the Mainland port of Oban to Tiree. The first was provided by the MV Clansman which operated according to the the normal lifeline timetable. The lifeline tameable has operated throughout the restrictions placed on transport by the Scottish Government […]

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Unrestricted Travel Update

Yes! That’s correct. Unrestricted travel to, from and around Tiree by imagination. On our last trip we visited the West End of the island to’ Lag na Cleite’, or as it more commonly known ‘Happy Valley’. Today, let us take you on a walk around the East End of the island. North, South, East and West, none […]

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“How Are You?”

Keeping in touch with family and friends on the Mainland makes us appreciate our life on Tiree. We value their concern as they ask, “How are you? Or say ‘Keep Safe.” A common misunderstanding is that our remoteness somehow means that the island’s residents will be untouched by the virus. However, we have been informed […]

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With Gratitude

As I stood watching today’s ferry come into the bay and as I watched her approach the pier and berth I felt a deep sense of gratitude. I could not help but think of the skipper and crew of the ferry. Then my mind went to those who handle the ropes. Then I thought of […]

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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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