Stranded on the mainland

Sunday 02 March 2014

My recent trip to my publishers in Edinburgh was very productive. I spent 2 days with Clare from Fledgling Press, doing final editing of my book before it went to their proof readers. We did around 16 hours over 2 days, it was a gruelling session but we finally finished it late Monday afternoon. It was a tight schedule as I was booked on the 7.15am ferry from Oban to Coll on Tuesday, so I had to head for Oban, around a 3 hour drive from Edinburgh to get booked into the Royal Hotel for the night. However it was a bad forecast of gale force 9 winds, subsequently Tuesdays ferry was cancelled.

Consequently, I now had a 2 night stay in the hotel and an extra day ‘stranded on the mainland’. It’s one of the drawbacks of living on an Island, you’re at the mercy of the weather and particularly wind and rough sea conditions. Next day I used my time wisely, spending a big part of the day sitting in the lounge bar on my laptop going over the editing work done with Clare from Fledgling, with bar staff keeping me happy with pots of tea. I’m a real tea jenny, for sure.

Later that afternoon I went for a well-earned drink at a seafront bub in Oban, which turned out to be a good move, as I met a member of the crew from my cancelled ferry.

I know most of the crew quite well, as I work with them on an almost daily basis, when the ferry comes to call at Coll. He asked me what I was doing tonight saying that some of the crew weir coming ashore for a meal, and would I like to join them?

I of course said yes, and duly met them at the newly opened Weatherspoon’s Pub. It turned out to be a great night, we all had a steak dinner and stayed there drinking-socialising all evening, and a great time was had by all. Even the Captain and 3 of the ships officers put in an appearance, although they were a bit more reserved than we were. So all in all I put my ‘stranding’ to good use, and got home a day later.

    • Doing the ropes for one of the huge ferries
    • Working the ropes of a huge ferry

Bad weather affects many aspects of Island life, if the ferry is disrupted. Apart from no fresh milk and newspapers getting to the shop, there are things like the doctor can’t take blood samples to go for testing in Oban, no mail comes and goes, the school kids can’t get to high school in Oban, even funerals have been known to be rescheduled because mourners can’t get to the Island. Almost everything is dependent on the ferry getting in, and it’s a big deal for some if it doesn’t.

As someone who is responsible for helping dock the ferry I, along with my colleagues at the ferry terminal take our work very seriously indeed, and as far as I am concerned I am disappointed if the ship fails to dock, but as I said earlier we are at the mercy of the sea, and nothing will ever change that.

In my next blog I’ll talk more about my London experience and how things are progressing with the book.


    • Coll Ferry Terminal during a strom - yes the ferry was cancelled!
    • Coll Ferry Terminal during a strom - yes the ferry was cancelled!