Mission Accomplished

The primary aim of our brief visit to Oban was to meet our son and to travel with him to our island home. With only one crossing a day, except on summer Saturdays in high season, Tuesday’s 3:00pm sailing makes it possible to come out to Oban on a Monday and have almost twenty four hours in town.

North Pier, Oban

With such a short stay, we naturally wanted to make the most of our mainland trip. After breakfast, while our son visited a bookshop, we dealt with clothes shopping and an all important haircut. Naturally, time was found for a coffee. After lunch, we purchased the remaining items on the shopping list.

MV Courisk, MV Isle of Mull, MV Loch Striven and the Cruise Ship Hebridean Princess

It had been a morning of sunshine and short sharp showers that had curtail any hopes of a walk along the esplanade. Around 2:00pm there was a dramatic thunderstorm that meant taking refuge in a supermarket until the rain abated. Next, it was a quick dash to collect our luggage and head for the ferry terminal.

Hebridean Princess

We were later to learn there had been a robbery on that very afternoon. Around 3.20 pm a man entered the Marks and Spencer Food Hall in Oban, where he approached the checkout and threatened the 17-year-old shop assistant with what appeared to be a firearm and demanded money. He then walked out of the shop with a three figure sum of cash. Although we had been in the area earlier in the afternoon, our ferry departed at 3:00pm.

Oban Bay

One of the pleasures we enjoy while in Oban is watching the coming and goings of the ferries. From the port ferries sail to at least nine different islands, mainly those of the Inner Hebrides, but also to Barra in the Outer Hebrides - and occasionally to South Uist..

McCaig's Tower

Meet son - Done! * Good Night’s rest - Done! * Coffee.- Done! * Shopping - Done! * Mission almost completed. Just one more task remained - to make the journey home. It was a task - not a trial - and it is a task we thoroughly enjoy.

Ferry Terminal

Perhaps like any other form of transport, the ferry can seem like an extension of the island. This is especially so sailing to Tiree where the crossing is normally around four hours. When travelling as a foot passenger, you are not so aware of who is travelling by car until you board the ferry. However, as a foot passenger you immediately see known faces as you wait in the lounge to be called forward for boarding.

Cardingmill Bay

On board we prefer to be outside if the weather is accommodating, otherwise our first choice would be to sit towards the stern. You are close to the Coffee Cabin, but more importantly you have easy access to the outside deck areas. On this particular sailing we sat to the stern but for much of the crossing we were out on the outside deck.


Other than the bridge, the skipper’s domain, the only area with clear view over the bow of the ship is the observation lounge. From the stern you mainly have a view of where you have been and not where you are travelling towards. Naturally there is also a view to port and starboard.

The Sound of Kerrera

Right on time the ropes were cast and the MV Clansman pushed off from berth number two and headed out into the bay and into the Firth of Lorne.


Oban enjoys a favoured position in the landscape. It is surrounded by mountains of varying heights and the bay is protected by the Island of Kerrera.

Storm Clouds

On Tuesday afternoon, as we headed out to sea. The sun was shining down on Oban but many of the surrounding mountains were shrouded by dark clouds.

Silver Seas

To the port side, the sun had turned the Firth of Lorne into what appeared to be liquid silver. The yacht under sail was the finishing touch to this amazing phenomenon.

MV Isle of Mull in the Firth of Lorne

Minutes later the MV Isle of Mull crossed the Firth as she made her way from Craignure on Mull to the ferry terminal in Oban. It was a pleasure watching her progress as she headed to the narrows between Kerrera and the mainland.

MV Isle of Mull

Built in 1833 by Robert Stevenson, Lismore Lighthouse is situated on Eilean Musdile in the Firth of Lorne at the entrance to Loch Linnhe and the Sound of Mull. Even on the calmest of days the seas here can be troubled.

Lismore Lighthouse

As we headed up the Sound of Mull, the MV Lochinvar crossed our wake as she made her way from Fishnish on the Isle of Mull towards Lochaline in Morven.

MV Lochinvar

At much the same time the Tobermory lifeboat appeared to depart from Lochaline and head for Tobermory. As she got underway, her wake bore witness to her powerful motors

Tobermory Lifeboat

For the remainder of our journey the pattern of sunshine and showers continued. As we left the Sound of Mull and progressed down the Passage of Tiree, in the distance we could made out Ben Hynish on Tiree bathed in sunshine. Yet, as we came alongside the pier at Coll, the heavens opened. The foot passengers must have been drookit*! (*drenched)

In the Passage of Tiree

Fifty five minutes later we descended the gangway at Tiree, pleased to be home once again and with a real sense of mission accomplished.

Gott Bay, Tiree

For the majority of people on the island a trip to the mainland is all part of 'Life on Tiree'.

Created By
Alan Millar


Life-on-Tiree, Alan Millar

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