Monday, 2 November 2015

Ships in the Sound Special

The arrival of CalMac's Raasay for this morning's 8.00am crossing to Tobermory coincided almost exactly with the arrival of the sun.

A trip to Tobermory on a fine day - and even in a slightly exciting sea conditions - is usually a pleasure: the crew are always welcoming and friendly, there's a good chance of seeing sea life such as dolphins, and there's the opportunity to get up close to some of the ships we usually watch from afar.

For ship-watching, today's sailing was a rewarding one. On the way over we passed Oban-based North West Marine's MV Meercat, a 'multipurpose road transportable multicat'  - which presumably means that, if necessary, she could be loaded onto a truck and moved to an inland loch. She's used in surveying, marine civil engineering support, aquaculture support, in offshore operations and in wind farm support, amongst other things. She's recently been working on a major remedial project at Oban's North Pier.

Maclean's Nose is seen in the distance,

Close on her heels came the Eileanan, a landing craft towing a RIB. Nowhere on the internet can I find anything about her. She doesn't seem to be one of North West Marine's boats, but she looked as if she was following the Meercat.

Tobermory, for those readers who don't know it, is a pleasant little town boasting one of Scotland's best whiskies from its small distillery at the end of the High Street, but my journey today was to the town's very efficient and cheerful dentist - a visit which turned out to be not as bad an experience as I had anticipated.

On our return we passed the fishing boat Ensis, OB1004, close inshore.  She was built in Norway in 1992, has a fibreglass hull, and on one of the trawler websites is described as a dredger, which surprised me. She seems to have been working out of both Fort William and Oban.

Th last ship was CalMac's Clansman, which came past us at her usual good speed. Normally it is the Clansman and the Lord of the Isles which make the daily runs from Oban to Coll, Tiree, Barra and South Uist but the Lord of the Isles must be away for her annual service - the Isle of Arran has taken her place.


  1. The Lord of the Isles is in Birkenhead.

  2. Yes Cammell Laird must be competitive. They have LOTI, Hallaig and Loch Seaforth all in dock.