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Dark Sky Discovery Site

Last Month, Balevullin Car Park was recognised as a Milky Way Class, Dark Sky Discovery Site.

This accreditation is highly sought after and held by locations with little light pollution which allow for some magnificent star gazing!

Our neighbouring isle of Coll currently holds an international status of dark sky discovery site. There are many other aspects taken into consideration when trying to gain this level of award such as sky photography, and sky metre readings – this is something that we aspire to.

If you would like to get involved or can offer some assistance with Night Sky Photography then please email: louise@tireetrust.org.uk for more information!

We also have the telescope available at the Trust office for any keen star watchers. You can also follow us on facebook by searching: Tiree Dark Skies.

Scarinish Harbour Moorings

As you may have read in earlier editions of An Tirisdeach, Tiree Community Development Trust is in the process of taking over ownership of the newly repaired Scarinish Harbour.

A subsidiary company (Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd or ‘TCMAL’) which is 100% owned by The Trust, has been set up to own and manage the harbour on behalf of the Trust. This allows any potential risk to be kept away from the Trust and also allows the Trust to appoint a board of directors to focus on the management of the harbours. A list of TCMAL Directors can be seen at www.tireetrust.org.uk

The overall aim of the project is to make Scarinish Harbour safe to use and fit for purpose for fishermen and leisure users and to ensure that it is now maintained and well managed in the future. To ensure that this can happen TCMAL will be introducing a membership scheme for users with the aim of generating enough funds to allow the pier to be operated in a sustainable manner. Costs which will have to be covered will include insurance, maintenance and administration.

We would ask that if you currently have a mooring in Scarinish Harbour please contact either the Trust Office, David Kerr or Frazer MacInnes as soon as possible to let us know. There will be 15 mooring memberships available and these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The membership scheme will operate as follows:

  • Mooring rights with full use of the harbour and pier for 12 months (max. 15 boats) £100 per year
  • Use of the pier and harbour to launch (no mooring) for 12 months (unlimited) £50 per year
  • There will also be a ‘day launch’ option for infrequent users at £10 per day for launching and use of the pier and a daily charge of £10 for visiting boats using the pier or the harbour.
  • A commercial rate has also been set for businesses (fishing and sea tours).

If you have any questions about this or the project in general please do get in touch on 220 074 or admin@tireetrust.org.uk

Tiree Sea Tours to launch this Easter!

An Tirisdeach is delighted to introduce you to Tiree’s newest business venture, Tiree Sea Tours, which is set to launch this Easter, conducting boat tours out of Scarinish Pier.

Uncle and nephew duo, Donnie and Frazer MacInnes have recently purchased a 12-passenger capacity Rib, named ‘Aurora’ which will be visiting popular locations such as Skerryvore, The Treshnish Isles, Fingles Cave and Iona. Tiree Sea Tours aims to run trips throughout the season from April to October, with set visits for each day and also the opportunity to charter or customise your rib journey.

It’s been over 10 years since any type of organised sea tours were conducted out of Tiree, the last to operate excursions were Iain and Angus MacPhail (also an uncle and nephew duo) who ran Skipinnish Sea Tours. Frazer told An Tirisdeach ‘For many years now, I’ve heard of various visitors and locals alike asking about the availability of sea and boat trips out of Tiree. We are surrounded by some spectacular scenery and landmarks, such as the legendary Skerryvore therefore it made sense to try and satisfy the demand. I’m very excited to kick start the first season of Tiree Sea Tours – there will be a little bit of trial and error as we get going, figuring out what routes work and which are most popular, but enquiries have been positive so far.

The first scheduled trip to take place this season is a visit to Skerryvore lighthouse, on Friday the 30th of March, departing at 2pm. Spaces are limited so please get in touch to book. Other trips will be advertised in due course.

Tiree Lobster and Crab will also be reopening this Easter for its second season. Selling a range of locally sourced seafood and shellfish and freshly prepared snacks.

More information at: Tiree Lobster and Crab on Facebook.

To Book or for general enquiries call: Frazer: 07765422831 or Donnie: 07881 950 952

‘Ceabhar’ named a Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant

Huge Congratulations to local restaurant, Ceabhar, who have recently been crowned the ‘Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant’ by the Society of Independent Brewers Association (SIBA).

Duncan and Polly have been running the popular Tiree restaurant for many years now and have recently developed a small micro brewer on site, which brews craft beers and ciders.

Bun Dubh Brewery has been a huge hit with locals and visitors alike and it is fantastic to hear that it has now been honoured with this award, beating off stiff competition from much larger breweries in more urban locations.

Ceabhar Restaurant stunned the judges with the ‘beauty of the locations and the quality, locally sourced menu’. With Duncan commenting ‘It’s amazing to win, we are so enthusiastic about food and have tried to do something different with Ceabhar. We’re an environmental restaurant – no packaging, no waste, only locally sourced food and beer that is brewed on site. It’s all about being true to the area and championing this amazing community.’

Duncan told An Tirisdeach that they had originally entered the ‘Green Business Category’, with Ceabhar being among the three finalists! Ceabhar is committed to being environmentally friendly and next year aims to have a growing range of green fingered, sustainable initiatives. They plan to develop more carbon neutral brewing business skills and are on the lookout for the top ‘Green Brewery Award’.

Ceabhar restaurant opens for the 2018 season on Friday the 30th of March. Places are usually in very high demand, so make sure you book your table soon and go along and try Tiree’s award winning restaurant!

Congratulations to both Duncan and Polly and their team at Ceabhar.

New Playpark Equipment Installed

Thanks to a variety of very generous donations we are pleased to report that Tiree Community Business have now purchased and installed two brand new pieces of equipment in the playpark in Crossapol.

A brand new ‘Flower Twirler’ and a ‘Wheel Roll’ have now been installed and it didn’t take the local children long to master the art of working both pieces of equipment.

TCB are continuing their fundraising efforts to raise over £50,000 which would enable them to replace all of the equipment with new up to date pieces. To date, over £9,290 has already been raised and gone towards the purchase and installation of these new items.

The fundraising is still continuing and it is hoped that a variety of different equipment will be installed and replaced over the next couple of years. TCB are in the process of applying for the Co-op Community Fund, which will hopefully boost the fundraising pot, so stay tuned on information on how to ‘vote’.

Many thanks to Cameron Smith for installing the equipment so quickly and efficiently.

Repair Works Start On Scarinish Harbour

Tiree Community Development Trust and the Harbours Steering Group are pleased to report that repair work on Scarinish Harbour has begun this week.

Lochshell Engineering Ltd have arrived on site to begin the estimated 6-week repair project to both the main harbour and the smaller mid tide pier. Funding has been secured through Marine Scotland to conduct the repairs which will involve rebuilding the end section of the main pier, reinforcing with internal steel bars and concrete, resurfacing the top and finally adding new ladders and mooring rings. The mid tide pier will be shored up to ensure the current damage doesn’t get any worse.

The Trust and the Steering Group have also been investigating development and extension of Milton Harbour, with plans costed out at £1.2 million. Efforts are still being made to secure the funding for Milton Harbour, but the Trust are at an advanced stage of discussions with two major funders for that project and will report back on progress soon.

A new company, Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd (TCMAL) has now been set up as a subsidiary of Tiree Community Development Trust and will own both the Scarinish and Milton Harbours. Both Scarinish and Milton Harbours are being gifted to TCMAL by Argyll Estates.

It is great to report such positive developments on both Harbour projects, something that has been on the community agenda for many years now. Nine local fishing boats now use the piers throughout the year employing around 18 people and development and improvement of the harbours’ working conditions will be welcome news.

Last year as part of a wider marine development strategy, 10 moorings were installed at Gott Bay, designed for visiting yachts and boats of up to 15 tons, something that is now being advertised and encouraged via the sailing community. The Moorings are currently owned by Tiree Community Business who received LEADER and Windfall funding in order to complete that project.

Well done to all of those who have been involved in the planning and delivery of these projects, certainly some positive developments made to support the future of Tiree’s marine industry.

Tiree Flag Competition Announced

It’s finally here!

The committee behind the project is officially launching Co-fharpais Bratach Thiriodh, the Tiree Flag Competition, this week, with the launch of their new website, http://tireeflag.com

Tiree is seeking to join a select, but rapidly growing, movement in Scotland of communities that have designed their own flags: communities such as Shetland in 2005, Orkney in 2007, and Caithness, South Uist, Barra, Kirkcudbrightshire, the town of Denny and Dunipace in Stirlingshire, and Sutherland over the last two years.

This project is being organised by Tiree Community Council, the idea for a flag having been overwhelmingly backed by a public vote last year. The competition starts on April 2nd and runs until May 1st, and is open to everyone, on and off the island. In fact, the two joint winners of the design for the flag for Denny and Dunnipace were Spanish and Brazilian.

Tiree has a huge worldwide diaspora numbering hundreds of thousands following the emigration of a quarter of the island’s population in the nineteenth century, and the committee hopes to attract entries from Tiree heartlands in places like Canada. People can also enter more than one idea. Designs can be submitted digitally. But entries can be as simple as a doodle on a piece of paper – Orkney’s flag was designed by a local postman, DuncanTullock, who sketched his initial idea over a couple of hours using his granddaughter’s crayons. Children are particularly good at competitions like this: the winner of the Black Country flag competition in the English Midlands was just twelve.

Philip Tibbetts, the Communities Vexillologist at London’sFlag Institute, is visiting the island next week to hold classes on good flag design. He will be holding sessions with two of the youth clubs at An Talla, visiting the school on Friday 2 March, and holding a tutorial for adults on Wednesday 28 February (details to be advertised). There should be no shortage of inspiration. Dr John Holliday, the Convenor of the island’s Community Council said:

“Tiree has such a distinctive signature, from its rich summer carpet of white, yellow and purple machair flowers, its corncrakes, its dazzling, white shell sand beaches, its leaping windsurfers, the unique silhouette of its thatched houses, and the recent success of its bands such as Skipinnish, Skerryvore and Trail West: plenty for designers to get their teeth into.”

The well-known Tiree Association crest, with a sheaf of barley crossed by a fork and rake, is bound to be influential.

All the details of the Tiree Flag Competition are on the competition website, at http://tireeflag.com. Entries will be judged by a panel including the Lord Lyon, Scotland’s highest flag authority, along with members of the committee who have organised the competition: Dr Holliday, Ian Gillies, Lachie Brown, Iain MacKinnon and Donna MacLean. The designs of the six finalists will be flown at the Tiree Agricultural Show on July 20th, where those attending will get a chance to have their say. There will also be a chance to vote online and by post. The winning design will then be submitted to the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh for registration.

Lachie Brown, a member of the committee, summed it up neatly: “Cumaibh suas air bratach! [Encourage the flag].” Philip Tibbetts said: “It is wonderful to see another community develop their own flag. This will give Tiree a symbol for the people, grow awareness externally and help preserve part of the rich fabric of the nation. I have enjoyed my time working on the island and have seen at first hand the island’s rich history. As such I can’t wait to see the ideas that will come in for the Sunshine Isle.” Ian Gillies, another member of the flag committee, said: “As someone who regularly flies a flag, I feel that a flag says a lot about the land – in our case island – and the people that the flag represents. A strong identity and purpose is important for every community, and while in itself a flag can not wholly provide this, it does its part to bring any community together.”

The flag competition has been funded by the Windfall Fund.

Tiree’s Newest Coastguard Recruits

Four Tiree residents are currently undertaking a training course to become qualified Coastguard Rescue Officers, which will allow them to join our own local Coastguard Team.

Louise Reid, Duncan Urquhart, Tony Bachelor and Laken-Louise Hives have recently finished their 2nd weekend of intense training which has seen them conduct a number of water based rescue exercises, first aid training and various classroom assessments.

They have one more weekend to go before they become fully qualified Rescue Officers and can join our local team which already consists of Lachie Brown (officer in charge), Billy MacLean and Tearlach MacDonald.

The four newest recruits will be a welcomed addition to the local team, who help to provide this life line service. Adrian Kay the Senior Coastal Operations Officer based in Oban has been conducting the training along with a colleague and would welcome contact from any other members of the community who would be interested in getting involved.

More information can be found at: www.gov.uk/coastguard-volunteers

Tiree Trust February News Bites

Apologies, as it has been a while since we have updated our news-bites via An Tirisdeach.

Please see below some snippets of what’s been happening over the last month. More detailed information can be found on our website.

• Lochshell Engineering (based in Wick) has been appointed to undertake the repair works at Scarinish Harbour and an agreement with Argyll Estate to gift the Harbour over to the community is at an advanced stage. A grant has been secured from Marine Scotland and work is due to commence in late February/early March.

• Funding has been awarded from the Scottish Land Fund to cover the costs associated with the Trust taking ownership of the Hynish Buildings from The Hebridean Trust. This includes funding for a 2-year development officer post. This is currently being developed and more information about the post will be announced in due course. The legal process is lengthy, and we are still not at the point of taking on the buildings quite yet.

• We have recently funded a variety of training courses on the island, including ‘health and safety at work’, ‘food hygiene’ and ‘personal license’ which over 25 members of the community have benefitted from.

• We are pleased to welcome Youth Worker Willie MacKinnon back to the office, following a short period of absence due to a leg injury. Willie will be conducting desk duties for the next month or so, we are delighted to report that he is slowly but steadily on the mend!

• You may have noticed that Tilley has not been turning over the last month. This is due to a generator fault and we are working with manufacturers to try and resolve this as part of our maintenance contract.

• The Tiree Ranger Service Guided Walk Programme for 2018 is now available online at: www.isleoftiree.com

We’ve got three new routes for you to enjoy this year, and the programme will commence in April (rather than June as has previously been the case).

• Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative held a Mini Tourism Summit at the end of the month which was attended by various people involved in the tourism industry.

Trail West to Singapore

Tiree exports, Trail West have recently returned from their first overseas trip to Singapore, where they were performing at a variety of venues to celebrate our national poet, Robert Burns.

The boys, pictured(from left to right, Ian Smith, Alain Campbell, Seonaidh MacIntyre and Andrew Findlater) were made very welcome in Singapore and their west coast tunes went down well, as they performed at three different events. At Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, The British Club – Singapore’s Hilltop Retreat, and lastly at the St Andrew’s Society Burns Supper.

The boys are back to Scottish venues this weekend, playing at the legendary Park Bar on Friday and Sunday night and finishing off February in style, playing alongside Gunna Sound at the Royal Hotel in Oban, 23rd – 25th February.

For a list of all upcoming gigs and all band news please visit the website: www.trailwest.co.uk

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