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Trip to Eriskay

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:46 pm
by Tom Carreyette
See the Foghorn section for my update on the memorial bench for Angus & Frances Mac Kinnon and also a look at the POLITICIAN whisky incident on Eriskay. This part of the selection deals with the ferries I used getting to and from Eriskay.

Getting there 1
I mentioned that my arrival in the Outer Hebrides in Wednesday 5th April was at Lochmaddy (North Uist), which is almost 60 miles to the north of Eriskay, the way the bus goes. I had planned to use the Mallaig – Lochboisdale (South Uist) route because that is much closer to Eriskay, but the ferry was cancelled due to weather conditions on the previous day, when I intended to travel. The route from Uig (Skye) to Lochmaddy (North Uist) is much more reliable with harbours at both ends less susceptible to conditions. So this is HEBRIDES at Uig Pier on Skye on Wednesday 5/3/17 as I join for the 09:40 sailing.

Getting there 2
A couple of internal shots aboard HEBRIDES. Aft lounge on 4 Deck and the Mariner’s Cafeteria at the forward end of 4 Deck. She was launched at Ferguson’s, Port Glasgow in August 2000 by HM the Queen, the first time a reigning monarch had christened a CalMac ferry. She measures 99m (325ft) carries up to 612 passengers and 98 cars and has a good turn of speed at 16.5 knots.

Getting there 3
Approaching Lochmaddy on North Uist after the 1 hr 45 min passage from Uig. The wee davit is ready to hoist the shore gangway.

On arrival at Lochmaddy I had a spare couple of hours before the long bus journey south to Eriskay. So I had plenty of time to watch HEBRIDES sailing again for Uig at 11:50. I then had time in the Taigh Chearsabhagh for a coffee, snack and to look at the exhibits, including POLITICIAN model, already seen. The bus journey from Lochmaddy to Eriskay is almost 2½ hours, involving 2 bus companies and 4 buses, but they are very well integrated so you step straight from one smart minibus to another at each change. In fact they are so well integrated that when I left my camera case on the first bus and mentioned it to the second driver, they arranged for it to be delivered to me the next day at the village shop in Eriskay! In most places if you left something on a bus you would be unlikely to ever see it again.

Re: Trip to Eriskay

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:53 pm
by Tom Carreyette
LOCHALINE on Barra Ferry
On my two previous visits to Eriskay by bicycle, I continued south to the Isle of Barra by means of this small ferry. On this occasion I departed by South Uist from Lochboisdale on the ferry back to the mainland at Mallaig, the way I had intended to travel out. This meant I had opportunities to watch the Barra ferry coming in and out of Eriskay without travelling on it. In this view we are looking down from the road at the ferry LOCHALINE at the slipway on Thursday 6th April as a couple walk on the sands at Prince Charlie’s Bay. Barra is in the distance.

More views from the beach and above it on a rather wetter day, Saturday 8th March as LOCHALINE enters and leaves the little Eriskay ferry harbour. It’s the 16:25 arrival leaving again at 16:35 for Barra.

Re: Trip to Eriskay

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:56 pm
by Tom Carreyette
Getting away 1
On the afternoon of Saturday 8th April Stella kindly gave me a lift from Eriskay to the Lochboisdale Hotel on South Uist where I would get the ferry in the morning. The LORD OF THE ISLES arrives at 21:00 ready for the 07:00 sailing to Mallaig in the morning.

Getting away 2
Views of LORD OF THE ISLES as I board and we depart Lochboisdale for Mallaig at 07:00 on Sunday 9th April. You can see how handy the Lochboisdale Hotel is to the pier, top and bottom right views. The ferry, known as LOTI or ‘Lottie’ was also a product of Ferguson’s in Port Glasgow, in 1989 when they were part of the Appledore Group. She is 85m long (278ft), can carry 506 passengers and 54 cars and is also quite fast, at 16 knots.

Getting away 3
This time conditions were benign and we reached Mallaig Harbour on time at 10:30 having passed quite close to the Isle of Canna, top left. I had rather a long wait at Mallaig on a dull, wet, chilly day with not much open, before getting my train back to Glasgow. Altogether though it is quite an adventure going to Eriskay. It is wonderful to keep the ties going with the descendants of Angus and Frances, sadly missed here, but gladly remembered as friends. I feel like one of the family now.

Re: Trip to Eriskay

Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:39 am
by alasdairmac
Very many thanks for these Tom. I still retain my many great memories of Angus - what a gentleman, what a character, and what a good friend to so many.

Hope that you are well and now settled into retirement. Hope that I might bump into you one day this summer on the Auld Tub somewhere between Pacific Quay and Tin-a-Beans. All the best.