Rising Above The Clouds of Doubt coming back down to earth

Flights to and from Tiree are very much at the mercy of the weather. With no ground radar poor visibility at any time of the day or crosswinds in the hours of darkness can result in flights being delayed or cancelled. Technical issues with the plane or delays elsewhere can also lead to flights being delayed an cancelled. With the knowledge that the previous evening's flight had been cancelled, I approached Gate One at Glasgow International Airport with no assurance that I would arrive home that evening. It did not help that for the most part it had been a damp, grey January day.

Loganair Twin Otter on the stand at Glasgow International Airport

From the walkway to Gate One - two twin otters were visible on their respective stands. One was the 16:25 for Campbelltown, the other was the 16:35 for Tiree. First of all those travelling to Campbelltown were called forward for boarding. Shortly afterwards those for the flight to Tiree were called for boarding. So far so good. However until the flight actually takes off you can never be sure than an attempt will be made to land at Tiree. At 16:25 we taxied to the runaway, ten minutes early and ahead of the Campbelltown flight.

The view across the narrow aisle - below the Clyde and above the sunset

As we climbed steeply away from the airport to our required flying altitude the plane banked as we headed west. From my window seat the view at first was still of the grey waters of the Clyde. Across the narrow aisle the view caught my attention. The setting sun was transforming the clouds. Like snow capped mountains they were turning various shades of red as they reflected the rays of the setting sun.

The view from the port side of the plane.

Gone were the busy wet streets of the city. We were in a different world where clouds impersonated snowy mountains and were lit by the golden rays of the sun. As I lookout through the cockpit window my doubts began to evaporate. We would land at Tiree.

Rising above the clouds we are cocooned in our own tiny world

On such a small plane, where the engines are so close, converstation is almost impossible. Some try to read, others take in the view, while still others are deep in thought - some even attempting to sleep..

Looking out on a transformed world

This afternoon's flight is announced as taking about 40 minutes. Around the Ross of Mull the plane begins its descent. The clouds begin to part granting a view of the Treshnish Islands which lie between Mull and Coll/Tree. I manage to identify the Dutchman's Cap and Lunga.

The Dutchman's Cap from the air

The plane banks once again over Gott Bay to enable us to line up for our approach to the runway used for landings and take offs in the hours of darkness. Even although it is gone five o'clock there is till sufficient light to make out various Tiree landmarks.

Caolas and Port Ban, Gott Bay/Ruaig Bay, Gott Bay, Vaul and Salum

As our Twin Otter makes its approach you realise just how narrow the island is between Gott Bay and Vaul - less than mile wide! The engine tone abruptly changes as we make our final approach and then we are down. We taxi to the terminal building arriving at least ten minutes early. It was an enjoyable flight with no turbulence at all.

Te shell sandy beaches of Gott Bay, Vaul and Salum

The sun has set, the new moon is shining bright and Venus is visible. Home and it is only 5:30pm and it is not dark yet. It was great to rise above the clouds, but I don't live there. For the most part I live here on the beautiful island of Tiree with occasional trips to the Mainland.


Copyright Alan H Millar

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