Tobermory attracting cruise business
It is famous as the setting for the fictional village in CBeebies series, Balamory. But, as BBC Radio Scotland's Kevin Mackenzie reports, Tobermory on Mull is now making a name for itself as a cruise destination.
The picturesque town with its brightly coloured sea front buildings and substantial sheltered bay has just had its best year ever - attracting more than 30 cruise ship visits during the summer.
Some of the biggest vessels to drop anchor off Tobermory has been the 644ft long liner The World - which made an unscheduled stop on its recent visit to Scottish waters.
Of the scheduled liners to call, the MV Balmoral brought the largest number of visitors to the town's streets as 1,400 passengers made their way ashore.'Local cuisine'
Mary MacGregor, of Tobermory Harbour Association, said Mull's popularity as a destination had grown over the last few years.
She said: "Interest from shipping agents in bringing passengers to Tobermory has risen over the past three years and they've already got good bookings for 2014 and 2015.
"The main street is just a short walk from the landing pontoon and allows visitors to enjoy the shops, the museum and the distillery.
"Some of the passengers go straight onto coaches to go to other parts of the island, so it brings benefits throughout Mull and Iona."
However, the cruise liner business is not always a guaranteed bonanza.
Mrs MacGregor said: "It depends on the type of cruise it is.
"One gift shop owner saw his shop's shelves nearly emptied by the visiting passengers.
"On another occasion they'd stocked up specially and hardly sold anything, different demographics of passenger dictates."
She added: "Quite a lot of Americans and continental Europeans were keen to sample local cuisine which they don't get on the actual ship."
Tobermory is looking forward to continuing to attract liners and has a good list already established for 2014.
Mrs MacGregor said: "One of the more interesting ships due to call next summer is Wind Surf, quite an exclusive ship with sails."
Cruise Scotland, which promotes Scottish ports as destinations, said the value of the cruise industry to the Scottish economy was projected to rise to almost £50m this year, a near 65% increase in the past three years.