Turus Mara began 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 and 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 an 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!
The Mission Statement
Given that we are one of the oldest established tourism businesses on the Island of Mull, we should point to what we think has made us the many regular friends and clients who return for their Puffin Therapy and savour the edge of the Atlantic with us each year.
In facilitating access to a heady mix of sensory pleasures, breathtaking scenery and unique entertaining wildlife, we always hope to retain a measure of traditional highland hospitality. We aim to provide a knowledgeable experienced humourous and memorable picture to round off the sensations and impressions the vast majority find so attractive.
It is always a heartening experience for us to be able to offer the public the privelage of wilderness and witness their appreciation, on many occasions hearing the statement - " that was the best day of my life"
As a Gaelic speaking indigenous family, we are hopefully able to give a little insight to the historic formative cultural influences both in the local community and in our newly emerging nation.
In welcoming the world to our natural attractions, we also benefit and appreciate the twoway street of learning about other cultures from all parts of the world and for that, we thank you, the intrigued visitor.
Finally, we will always try to treat everyone fairly, with respect as human beings and hopefully never as numbers on a floating bus.
"Big enough to cope, small enough to care"