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
Off Staffa, Mendelssohns famous overture was played as we watched passengers from Gordon Grants little ferry Ullin of Staffa make a close inspection of Fingals Cave which lends it name to the music
After Staffa we had time to explore another island en route to Coll, the distinctively shaped Bac Mor which is also known as the Dutchmans Cap. It is one of a little archipelago know as the Treshnish Isles
The Dutchmans 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.
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
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 worlds last sea-going paddle steamer, Waverley, going full astern from Coll. 10 wonderful days were over
Glasgow, May 2002
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