Oban - Coll - Tiree
Arinagour - Scarinish
Mainland - Coll - Tiree
Crossing Time: 2 Hours 35 Minutes (Coll)
3 Hours 35 Minutes (Tiree)
of the Isles / Clansman
1975 - 1978:
1979 - 1988:
1989 - 1997:
of the Isles
of the Isles / Clansman
1999 - 2002:
2003 - Present:
of the Isles
/ Isle of Mull /
JUMP ON A VIRTUAL
3 storey terminal building with ticket office, waiting area and toilets.
Two linkspans, one of which is undergoing redevelopment. Raised walkways
under construction to replace the older passenger loading gangway.
Large vehicle marshalling area.
Pier and linkspan are located at the islands main village; Arinagour.
Terminal office contains usual facilities and ticket sales etc. Nearby is
the pick up point for island tours.
Tiree: Ferry terminal comprises the
office, vehicle marshalling area, pier, linkspan and passenger gangway.
The main village on the island is Scarinish.
Before the placement of the much travelled favourite Columba
on the route from Oban, the islands of Coll and Tiree were served by the
and then the Loch Seaforth. She was a reliable and popular vessel, if a little slow, but upon her
withdrawal the two islands she served were provided with a car ferry for
the first time. The Columba,
in addition to her Coll and Tiree duties also served Colonsay and,
following the withdrawal of King George V, carried out the Iona cruises as well. This ferry was
rarely off duty.
also called at Tobermory as part of her service to Coll and Tiree. She
called both on the way out from and when returning to Oban. This was
particularly useful to the islanders as it allowed the easy transfer of
people, vehicles and supplies from one isle to another without the need
for a time-consuming trip to the mainland. Loading at all of her ports was
via the hoist (Oban had a linkspan but the ferry did not have suitable
ramps to use it) and this did lengthen the round trip to some extent. From
1979 winters saw the island being served by the new Claymore
whereas the Columba
returned for the summer timetable.
The latter half of the 1980s was a time for change and as part of a
modernisation programme initiated by Calmac, it was announced that Coll
and Tiree would be receiving a new ferry.
Columba leaving Tobermory for
Coll and Tiree
The Lord of the Isles entered service on a very hectic schedule in 1989.
Her duties not only included Coll and Tiree but also the long sail
from Oban to the Outer Isles (previously by handled by the 1978-built
Calls at Tobermory were still a regular feature although these soon became
for passengers only so as to save time and avoid shunting cars round on
the car deck.
Hoist loading continued on Coll and Tiree until 1992 when linkspans
were finally installed and the ferry could use her bow and stern ramps.
This greatly accelerated her timetable and she could now fit in a morning
run to Coll and Tiree before returning to Oban and then loading up for a
round trip to Barra and South Uist in the afternoon and evening.
Columba loading at Tiree
Lord of the Isles heading down the Sound of Mull
Clansman arriving at Tiree
Clansman en route for Coll
In 1998 another new ferry was placed on the route; the larger Clansman
which had just been brought into service. Calls at Tobermory were no
longer possible due to the size of the new ship - not a popular move with
the people of Mull who had visions of an overland route from Oban via
Craignure and Tobermory to Coll and Tiree. Nevertheless the new ferry
settled in quickly and made the route her own over the next few years and
into the new millennium.
Lord of the Isles was back on the scene in 2003 however when she was
reintroduced on the routes out of Oban in a bid to enhance services to the
islands. Coll and Tiree were now served by two ferries and enjoyed more
regular services. This is still the case today, although with the return
of the smaller ferry, Tobermory calls were not reintroduced.
Images from Ships of CalMac Collection