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A familiar, friendly face is missing from Tobermory harbour, following the retiral of marine manager Jim Traynor.
Over his 16 years working for Tobermory Harbour Association, Jim has seen the Mull harbour grow to become the busiest on Scotland’s west coast.
Jim, who was brought up in Glasgow and built a love for water on the Clyde, said: ‘I saw an advert in The Oban Times for a fish farm manager in Tobermory, and I thought I will have a go. I was basically their only employee. I was with them for 30 years, building their business up. They are now the Tobermory Fish Company.’
Tobermory Harbour Association (THA) chairman Brian Swinbanks recalled Jim first began taking fees in 2001 from visitors using the old HIDB swinging moorings, which the THA had purchased from the council and refurbished.
‘Jim was soon on the permanent payroll and THA board began a massive and long-term programme to install infrastructure to deliver “facilities for all”,’ Mr Swinbanks said. ‘These included the reorganisation of all the moorings, the marking of new fairways and the installation of the step-ashore pontoons at Ledaig.
‘Jim worked alongside Morag Brown, a most dynamic project manager. They managed to find time to deliver many of the new projects agreed with the board and in some cases designed by the board: for example, extensions to the pontoons, more local moorings and more visitor moorings.
‘After delivering our iconic harbour building in 2008, Morag moved on. Jim stayed, working first with Alison Rimell and then with Mary MacGregor and now with a full team at the THA. Barbara Weir assisted Jim for many years on the marine side. She stopped work in December 2016 and was much missed by our visitors this summer.
‘This year Jim delivered a final and most successful project: the new passenger landing pontoon (PLP). The project was conceived in the autumn of 2016 and delivered on time, on budget and with all the necessary consents early in 2017. Jim was convinced that the THA would benefit if we separated the cruise liner and day trip passengers from the step ashore pontoons. This season the PLP with a helpful low gradient second bridge has proved Jim’s point and met all the expectations of the Department of Transport.
‘Jim and Barbara worked hard to make Tobermory a destination for many cruise liners to Tobermory, building that business over a number of years. This has not been easy and often involved extremely long hours on duty for the wider benefit of the town.
‘Jim always understood that the THA should deliver for the wider community and far beyond the harbour. I think that he is owed a huge vote of thanks. The pontoons have been full, the shops, pubs and restaurants have benefited. More and more boats are visiting Tobermory and waiting for weather windows to sail west.
‘Local mooring holders have small dinghy berths on the pontoon and all the moorings are inspected every year. Independent consultants now tell us that the THA is delivering a multi-million-pound benefit to the town and to the wider islands of Mull and Iona.
‘Thanks, Jim, you have played a huge part in this success and you will be missed by the THA and Aquarium staff, local harbour users and by all of our visitors afloat.’
Thanking everyone who supported the THA over the years, Jim said he was most proud of ‘what we have all achieved together, starting the pontoons up from nothing. There are more boats going through us here than anywhere else: last year we had 12,500 boat nights. It has been going up every year since we put the pontoons in. It is a great organisation: we just muck in together.’
Jim plans to travel with his wife Jane to South Africa, and enjoy more exploring with their yacht Kookaburra and Land Rover.