Wednesday, February 17, 2010


This is how you disembark nowadays from the ferry at Craignure, the principal "entry port" for the island of Mull:-

Photo credit - Lyn Mac

And this is how you did it before the pier was built at Craignure in 1964:-

Refer back to my post about ferries and steamers. This is the ferry ashore from the steamer from Oban shown in that post.

Medieval as it looks, in fairness Craignure wasn't the main port for Mull before 1964. Back then, there were two main ports where there were piers - Salen, further up the Sound of Mull, which was the pier for people living on the west coast of Mull, and Tobermory, the island capital. The steamer from Oban sailed to both these piers and Craignure was just a minor "ferry call" en route for people living locally in the south east corner of Mull. Tourists going to Iona and Staffa went direct to these islands on a separate steamer from Oban operating in summer only.

Note how on that 1950's map the Class A roads (red as opposed to brown) are centred on Salen and Tobermory. It's a reflection of the transport ethos that prevailed before the 1960s which may be summarised as:

Where there's not a railway, go as long a distance as possible by ship and as short a distance as possible by road.

On Mull, that changed in 1964 when the leisurely steamer from Oban to Tobermory via intermediate calls was replaced by a car ferry to the new pier at Craignure whence you went by road to Salen, Tobermory and points west. The road through Craignure is now red and Salen pier is slowly rotting away through disuse.

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