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© David Williams

Paddleship Waverley trip to Tiree

9 May 2004

Page 2
The Waverley is heading through the Sound of Mull, with Mull on the left and Morvern on the right.
The Waverley edges towards the ferry terminal at Tobermory and the crowds are gathering to board her. Tobermory`s colourful buildings make it one of the most distinctive and easily-recognised towns in Scotland.

Heading up the Sound of Mull, the ship passes the mainland peninsula of Morvern, whose southern extremity is a sparsely-populated land that is seldom visited. Its ruined Ardtornish Castle is a visual reminder of the district`s turbulent history over the centuries. Farther along the Morvern coast is the small village (and ferry terminal) of Lochaline, the site of a mine producing high-quality silica sand which is used in the manufacture of camera lenses and paperweights.

A sleek white yacht passes by, probably heading for Oban or one of the numerous marinas on the Argyll coast. The sound's relatively-sheltered water attracts yachts from many parts of Europe and there are usually some sailing through; the crews must get quite a surprise when they see a 1947 paddleship steamer ! The next craft is a local fishing boat, laden with boxes of crabs; I muse over whether they will be eaten locally or exported to Northern Spain.

After passing the long sea loch of Loch Sunart on Ardnamurchan, there's a view of Tobermory, our first port of call. The town, Mull`s "capital", is partly hidden by Calve Island which gives Tobermory Bay superb shelter. As the sun is now fully out and shining brightly, all the keen photographers head to the ship`s port side, elbowing or just gently easing their way to the best places from which to take pictures of the town, its colourful buildings and the crowds on the pier who are there either to board or just to see what is happening. While some passengers disembark to explore Mull for a few hours, most passengers stay on and once the new passengers are aboard we manoeuvre back out to the Sound of Mull.

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