About Turus Mara
Turus Mara was begun as “Croig Cruises” back in 1973 when Iain Morrison, a native of The Isle of Mull, took extended leave from his career as a deck officer in the Merchant Navy.
"Plastic soap dish" is the term we now use to describe small, light, noisy GRP craft like the 7 metre motor launch which chugged from Croig to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles with a handful of intrepid (and frequently seasick) holidaymakers for the first few summers.
Happily, by 1980, a new larger purpose built craft improved conditions for operators and passengers alike. In 1982 , Turus Mara, (Gaelic for a journey or excursion by sea) became the official company name. By ’89 there were two vessels with a total capacity of 130 operating from Ulva Ferry daily throughout the summer taking cruises to Staffa, The Treshnish Isles and Iona.
Iain still lives in the crofthouse where he was born at Penmore Mill, near Dervaig. After 10 years as deck officer in the Merchant Navy, he returned to his roots and family.
The mission statement at this point would have been considered as a bit vague, certainly the profits nonexistent but the good days perhaps indicated that there was potential for a quality of
life which might avoid the motorways, dollar chasing, backstabbing business practices of the 20th Century. Clearly crofting had reached an all-time economic low and would not sustain a
family so, the tourist industry in its relative infancy on Mull, was the likely future.
When these words were first uttered:- "what's it like to have the best job in the world?" and repeated a few times over the years - we have to consider - life's maybe not bad after all! "As long as it's not blowing up a hooly and we have no horizontal stair rods, the vast majority have a great time and that is very satisfying for us"
Here is a recent article published in the Boston Globe about Iain
Colin, Iain's son, was born on Mull and grew up at Penmore Mill, where his grandfather and great grandfather had been crofting tenants. Education includes Dervaig Primary, Tobermory & Oban High Schools, Scottish Studies and History at Strathclyde University, travelling in Europe, New Zealand & Thailand.
He started as crew in the nineteen eighties, and after his soujourn in higher education returned to his roots and the family business and now skippers the "Island Lass".
Iain’s better half, Pat, to whom he has been married for over a third of a century, takes bookings and generally keeps the organisational wheels running smoothly. Born in Ayrshire, she grew up in Prestwick, headed to Mull as itinerant Teacher of Art, having completed 4 year course at Edinburgh College of Art and a year at Moray House Coll of Education. After a brief time teaching, married Iain and has been here ever since!
Iain and Pat's daughters, Rae and Rhona, have both played their part over the years as crew and general backup when necessary. Currently busy attending to the next generation of Turus Mara personnel in the Antipodes - it s likely they will return to more active service in future years.