An Historic Day to Coll


The 10th day of her Highland Fling was to see Waverley modify the history of Scottish maritime once again for she was to sail to the island of Coll and become the first paddle steamer to call their since the Pioneer cautiously entered into the old harbour and approached the stone quay in 1943 on a special livestock sailing.


Leaving Oban she retraced her course of 6 days earlier to Iona and the still seas and clear atmosphere of the earlier sailing were excelled with view out to remote Dubh Artach lighthouse on the outcrop of the infamous Torran Rocks. History making commenced when, for the first time Waverley did not turn into the Sound of Iona; instead she continued past its southern shore and uniquely, cruised its western coastline before heading north to part circumnavigate its famous neighbour, Staffa


Waverley approaching Staffa



Off Staffa, Mendelssohn’s famous overture was played as we watched passengers from Gordon Grant’s little ferry Ullin of Staffa make a close inspection of Fingal’s Cave which lends it name to the music





Ullin of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave


After Staffa we had time to explore another island en route to Coll, the distinctively shaped Bac Mor which is also known as the Dutchman’s Cap. It is one of a little archipelago know as the Treshnish Isles


The Dutchman’s Cap



Just before 2.30pm Waverley berthed alongside the ‘new’ pier that was built in the 1960s to serve the island of Coll and its principal settlement Arinagour. First ashore was a gentleman who had witnessed the last visit of a paddle steamer to Coll, almost 60 years earlier. Waverley looked magnificent with her new paintwork gleaming in the sunshine as she lay at the pier.



Waverley’s historic first call at Coll


After a short while she sailed for a short cruise to the Gunna Sound which separates Coll from neighbouring Tiree, affording natives of Coll a chance to sail on this amazing, historic ship.

Passengers enjoyed two sunny hours on Coll before rejoining Waverley for the return to Oban by the Sound of Mull



Arinagour, Coll


En route they were entertained to fine views of the Barra group of Outer Hebrides and the lighthouse of Ardnamurchan



However, as we returned that night to our homes in the South our thoughts returned to the fine sight of the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer, Waverley, going full astern from Coll. 10 wonderful days were over



Stuart Cameron

Glasgow, May 2002

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