Hebridean Shuffle

Twin OtterIn a diversion from normal patterns, Central Belt Shuffler travelled last weekend on a rather different mode of transport – a de Havilland Twin Otter, en route for Tiree in the Inner Hebrides. (A work trip, hence a commute, of sorts.)

This was a scheduled flight, but the tiny plane was a very different experience from the normal commercial routes. The Twin Otter has a sliding door to the cockpit, but it was left open, giving us a view straight onto the flight controls and the pilot. We lifted off over Paisley and the Clyde, with Loch Lomond coming into view between the clouds to the north. Patchy cloud continued through the route, but enough to see down over Mull and the open seas towards Tiree and Coll, and to let a stream of sunshine into the cabin and cockpit. Apart from one bump, our route was very smooth, and the young children on the plane all slept for most of the 50-minute route.

As we began our descent to the airstrip at Tiree, the clouds lifted, the sun glistened on the ocean, and we could see the small figures of people on the beach, silhouetted dark against the white sands. On arrival, our hire car was to be found awaiting us in the airport car park, key in ignition. As we set off on the single track roads, mindful as much of the grazing cows and calves as other vehicles, we were welcomed to a world away from the Central Belt…

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