Tobermory Harbour in the past
In the early days there were no pontoons or visitor moorings and most of the activity was centred around the Mishnish Pier. The traditional puffers would berth regularly bringing coal and other supplies. The local fishing boats landed mainly shellfish such as scallops, prawns and lobster.
By 1821 the Highland Steamer offered a regular service to Loch Don on the South-east coast of Mull and it wasn't long before she started coming up to Tobermory, calling at Salen on the way. MacBrayne's, initially known as David Hutcheson & Co., began in 1851 as a private steamship operator and ferries were linked from Tobermory to Oban, and to Coll and Tiree.
Tobermory harbour is full of history, particularly during the Second World War when there was a naval base in the town. For more information on Vice Admiral Gilbert Stephenson, known as The Terror of Tobermory click here.
Tobermory has always been a most convenient harbour for yachtsmen: a place to wait for a fair wind for Ardnamurchan, within easy reach of stores and hostelries and a very welcome haven for the southbound yacht that has just rounded that intimidating headland. Visitors that sailed into the harbour would have to scramble up the wooden ladders attached the to pier wall, to gain access to Tobermory Main Street.
In 1983 Caledonian Macbrayne announced that the Mishnish Pier was unsafe and they intended to close the pier, and the ferry link to Oban would be a thing of the past. The local people objected strongly and the Government agreed in February 1984 to refurbish the pier comprehensively to make it fit for purpose by the Coll/Tiree car ferry. The new pier extension was completed in 1985, but sadly, all calls by the Coll and Tiree ferry ceased in 1998. This is when the MV Lord of the Isles, was replaced by a larger vessel, the Clansman, which was too big to berth at Tobermory.
Tobermory Harbour today
In 2007 construction began on Taigh Solais (Gaelic for lighthouse), the harbour building and on 3rd July 2008 Taigh Solais was officially opened by HRH Princess Anne. This also created a landscaped car park, a large 5 bay bus park, a boat park, a new slip, a small boat landing stage and new toilet blocks, showers and a laundry.
For current information about the Tobermory Harbour and facilities, click here
The Mull Aquarium is located in the Harbour building and is Europe’s first catch and release Aquarium, with a seasonal display of magnificent local marine life that is returned to the sea every couple of weeks.