All aboard for Oban to Coll on the Bal­moral

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

I have never had the op­por­tu­nity to take a sail­ing ship out of Oban and to visit some of my favourite places by sea.

So when the op­por­tu­nity arose to take a trip on the MV Bal­moral, a boat owned by a trust, which nor­mally lim­its her­self to the south of the UK, I was de­lighted.

I took with me a friend who, de­spite liv­ing in the town for more than 30 years, had also never had the op­por­tu­nity to take to the high seas.

We set out in bright sun­light and headed to­wards Coll, on the way pass­ing all the places you imag­ine – the edge of Ker­erra, Duart Cas­tle, Craignure, Salen, Tober­mory and then past Cail­leach Is­land at the top of Mull to views over to Staffa, the Dutch­man’s Cap, Lunga and the Tresh­nish Isles.

The weather be­came very stormy on the pas­sage be­tween the tip of Mull and the is­land of Coll. Cap­tain David Howie made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion not to take the boat out into the wilds of the Tresh­nish is­lands and in­stead he would al­low us 30 min­utes on the Isle of Coll and then he would turn and take us up to the Cor­ran rapids.

The wind would have hit the boat broad­side and would be ‘pretty un­com­fort­able for pas­sen­gers’.

So in­stead we dis­em­barked the ves­sel. It was the first time the MV Bal­moral had been into Coll, and she and her 20-plus crew wanted to make a good im­pres­sion.

‘Be back by 2pm’ was ring­ing in our ears as we touched down on terra firma.

Be­ing the ad­ven­tur­ous types we are, we de­cided to talk to four islanders who had come down to the ferry to meet the ship.

One of them, David Warner, who spends at least four weeks ev­ery sum­mer on the is­land, and has done for the past 40 years, gave us a lovely tour of the is­land – both roads.

Coll is much big­ger than I would have ever known. It was 2.01pm.

Coll wel­com­ers.

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