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Extra Summer Flights To Tiree and Barra

Image: airteamimages.com

Scotland’s Airline Loganair is increasing services from Glasgow to Tiree and Barra this summer through a new agreement with Transport Scotland.

Extra flights will be added on both routes throughout the peak summer holiday period from June to August. A total of 17 additional roundtrips will be added on the world-famous Glasgow to Barra air link this summer. The unique service – flown by Loganair operating Transport Scotland’s Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft – lands at Barra’s beach airport, where flight times are subject to the tides. It’s a hugely popular journey for holidaymakers, aviation enthusiasts and locals alike, and the extra flights will help to meet high demand during the holiday season.

An extra eight flights are also being added on the Glasgow to Tiree route, spread between the TwinOtter aircraft and larger 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft. Three more flights normally scheduled for the Twin Otter will be flown by the larger Saab 340s to provide extra seats around the time of the Tiree 10KinApril, the TireeMusic Festival in July and a gruelling ultra-marathon which takes place on September 10.

The boost to capacity is a result of feedback from the representatives from each island, part of Loganair and Transport Scotland’s engagement with communities. Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s managing director said:

“The summer months are always particularly busy for the airline, and we’ve worked closely with Transport Scotland to provide more seats than ever before to Barra and Tiree.”

The Glasgow – Barra, Glasgow – Campbeltown and Glasgow – Tiree air-links are extremely important to the remote communities they serve, boosting their economies. All are operated under a Public Service Obligation commitment by Loganair for Transport Scotland. Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf MSP said:

“These improvements come following consultation with local communities, so I have no doubt they’ll be welcomed by passengers who depend on the Public Service Obligation routes. “Not only will there be additional flights for both Barra and Tiree over the busier summer period, Loganair will also amend the timetables to smooth out the impact of the tidal variations at Barra on the Tiree service. This will offer more continuity and certainty for passengers.”

“These air links play a crucial role for the communities they serve and we will continue to have dialogue with island representatives and Loganair to make sure we’re offering the best possible service.”

To make a reservation on Loganair services visit

Second Meeting, Still No Decision On Beach Hut

beach hut

Councillors have met for the second time to discuss the retrospective planning application of the Beach hut located in Balevullin and have yet to come to a decision regarding the future of the hut.

You will remember that back in November, Argyll & Bute Councillors and planning representatives held a public meeting on Tiree to discuss the issue, with no decision being made. Following on from the meeting in November, the result was to complete an Area Capacity Evaluation (ACDE) which would hopefully give a more detailed evaluation of the structure and site where it is situated. The result from the most recent meeting, held in Lochgilphead, was that Blackhouse Watersports, the client, should be given more time to study the ACDE report and the decision was put off till the next Planning Protective Service and Licensing Committee.

At the November meeting we learnt that the retrospective planning application for the second hut, located on Gott Bay had been removed and Blackhouse Watersports had agreed to remove the structure, which has since been done.

Special ‘message in a bottle’ washes up on Tiree!

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At the beginning of this week some people onTiree had been alerted to an exciting ‘message in a bottle’ that looked like it was going to be washed up on the shores of Tiree.

We received information from a company in Iceland who were conducting an experiment to track the journey of a ‘bottle’ that had been tossed out of a coast guard helicopter 40 kilometres, southwest of Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland. The two ‘bottles’ contained a GPS tracking device that recorded their year long journey through the ocean, having set off just over a year ago on the 10th of January 2016.

Both bottles have made a remarkable journey over the last year and have travelled over 14,500 km to date. The original prediction, having studied weather and current patterns of the previous year, were that the bottles would have travelled east towards Norway. However, due to the position of the bottles on the ocean surface, it is believed that the prevailing winds controlled the path of the bottles.

The bottles were both equipped with a satellite transmitter that locates and records the position of the bottles via a GPS receiver, being updated every 4 hours. This was then pinned on a live map which can be viewed at the following link: www.gps.verkis.is

The accompanying picture shows the amazing journey the bottles took, traveling west and circling a couple of times through the Irminger Basin, until April of last year, then traveling on to the Cape Farewell, which is the southernmost tip of Greenland. From then on to and throughout summer the bottles were in the Labrador Sea, circling in the fairly peaceful summer weather until they moved towards the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. In August, the winds started blowing from the north, pushing the bottles southeast towards the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The bottles made a remarkable journey through the Atlantic Ocean onto the coast of Scotland and approaching the most outer Hebrides. Both bottles have travelled hand in hand, with bottle one keeping a steady lead, about 300km ahead of bottle 2, and took a course between the islands off Barra, heading between Mingulay and neighbouring small islands, remarkably not being washed up somewhere here, it continued south west and headed for Tiree.

It was washed up on the north side of the island, at Miodar in Caolas – not far from Sandy and Judith MacIntosh’s house. The last transmitted signal received and recorded on the live map was at 9.19am on Monday morning, just before it was located by Rhoda Meek, who had received information about its arrival from a journalist friend. Rhoda was asked to film her discovery and has since made an excellent video of her experience. You can view the video at the following link: https://youtu.be/ CITF5I6zDDY .

gps_bottle She explains how she didn’t know what exactly it was she was looking for and was slightly surprised by it’s appearance which you can see pictured on the right.

The news of the bottle’s arrival on Tiree has got everyone in Iceland very excited, having been reported on various social media and TV. Rhoda has now packaged the ‘bottle’ up and sent it back to Iceland, who will be closely following the journey of the second bottle to see where it ends up! You can do so too, by following the link included at the top of this article! Wouldn’t it be interesting if it was also to land on Tiree! We will follow this up in the next edition!

50 Years of Music from the Park Bar

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The Park Bar is an institution, one that many Tirisdich will be very familiar with! It has been going strong for many years now, offering a warm highland welcome and the good chance of meeting a familiar face all within the centre of Glasgow!

For many Tirisdich it will have been venue for many a special party, a pre Tiree Gathering meeting place and perhaps a part time job for some. But one thing that has not changed over the years is the quality of live music that takes place in the Park, something which is probably one of the most defining aspects of the pub! And this year the Park Bar decided to celebrate that achievement by producing a CD – The Park Bar 50 Years of Ceilidh Music.

The CD has been recorded to mark the anniversary of 50 years of live music and includes a host of musicians who have performed in the Park over the last five decades, this includes Tiree locals, Skerryvore, Gunna Sound and Trail West! The track list is a variety of ceilidh tunes along with traditional songs in English and Gaelic and includes artists such as Donald MacRae, Willie Cameron, Eriskay Lilt, Robert Robertson and a host of others! The CD was launched on Sunday the 15th of January with a day of live music from the Park Bar, including a variety of those who perform on the CD and some special performances, one from another Tirisdeach Bernie Smith who has sung many a song in the Park Bar!

For those who are on Facebook, can view footage of the event which has been uploaded to the offical Park Bar Facebook page. The CD was produced by the very talented Ross Wilson, and all profits raised from the sale of the CD are being donated to the RNLI – a very worthy cause!

The CD is currently being sold through Ebay, if you go to www.ebay.co.uk and search for ‘The Park Bar’ then it will be the first on the list!

The above picture from the event, of Tiree’s own Campbell Brown accompanying the great Gaelic singer Donald MacRae, was posted on Facebook and includes the following quote: Here’s a photo from yesterday’s CD launch party featuring Park Bar stalwart Donald MacRae accompanied by Campbell Brown from Gunna Sound, if you look closely you can see a picture of them both performing in the Park some years ago.

Well done to all involved in creating, what I am sure is a fantastic album of music! Here’s to many more year’s of live music and visits to the Park Bar.

Tiree’s New Ranger

rangerTiree Trust are delighted to introduce Tiree’s new ranger, Stephanie Cope. Stephanie took up the position at the beginning of this week and will be using the coming weeks to get up to speed with the project and familiarise herself with the island.

Stephanie has spent the last 4 year’s working as a ranger on the neighbouring island of Mull and is looking forward to her latest challenge on Tiree! The management of the Ranger project was transferred to Tiree Trust from Tiree Rural Development at the end of 2016 and match funding has been secured from SNH for a further 3 years.

There will be very little change to the way the project is managed, although Steph brings a wealth of experience from her time with the Glengorm Estate on Mull so we look forward to seeing how the project develops. The Ranger will still be mainly located in the office at the Rural centre, along with being out and about in the community.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Nagy for all of his hard work and effort he put into the Ranger post and wish him well in his new post with Cal Mac.

Tiree Community Council News

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Your community council had their ‘December’ meeting on 30th November, as a number of Councillors were going to be away this month. It was a long and passionate meeting, with about forty members of the public attending.

Perhaps the most significant issue discussed, was a complaint brought by Iona and Marti Larg that Tiree Community Council (TCC) had not been neutral in the recent ballot re the Balevullin beach hut. Mr & Mrs Larg have complained that the ballot paper and covering letter produced by TCC are confusing and biased in favour of planning permission being refused.

In particular, the question on the ballot paper was framed by the view of the planning officer, who had recommended refusal. Mr & Mrs Larg also complained that no information about the beach hut was included with the ballot paper, and that the ballot papers were not numbered, which could have allowed fraudulent ballot papers to be copied and returned. When the Community Council published the results, no discussion had been added.

Donnie Campbell proposed that Tiree Community Council should immediately apologise to Mr & Mrs Larg, as he felt that the wording had not been agreed by all, and the ballot papers were not individually numbered, but the majority of TCC felt that this was not appropriate, and that it would be better that the Convenor give the Larg’s a considered written response in the first instance, and if they were still unhappy, they could ask for an independent island arbiter to rule on the matter. Donnie Campbell asked that his dissent to this decision be recorded in the formal minutes. The full complaint will be posted on the TCC website, where the TCC complaints procedure is also available.

TCC have been invited to go to talk to the young people in the school to encourage one or two to join the community council for a year. And we hope to take up this invitation. The subject of the language used in the pre-school unit was raised. Gaelic was used until last year, but it has largely been replaced by English. Some parents would like to see more Gaelic reintroduced, and the school has set up a new group of parents to survey the families involved to find out what the current intake would like and also to help shape future developments.

Areas of responsibility for our three new community councillors was discussed, and Rhoda Meek will lead on crofting and fishing, Jessie Gray was asked to help Donnie in the area of education and Aisling Milne will take on environmental matters.

We discussed how we best deal with matters raised by the public. At the moment we usually take up issues with the mainland body responsible. Sometimes, however there is is a perfectly good mechanism to allow people to raise their own issues, for example the Parent-Teacher Council, and we were keen not to undermine these local committees. We are still very happy to take up your problems, but if you can, have a pop yourself first!

It was brought to our attention that there were problems, including a leaking sewage inspection hatch, a derelict electrical board and a considerable amount of construction waste on the triangle of land to the west of Pier View. Enquiries to West Highland Housing Association had proved fruitless, and it became apparent that this construction debris was on ‘orphan’ land, ownership of which was unclear. We will write to Environmental Health in the first instance. It had been pointed out that the pavements along Sruthan Terrace in Crossapol were heavily overgrown with grass, and we promised to ask the Council to look at this.

The danger of driving too fast over The Reef in winter was reported to us after a ‘near miss’. Black cattle can be difficult to see in the dark. We had asked the Roads Department to comment, but appropriate warning signs are already displayed at both ends of the stretch of road. The police have reinforced the fact that it is the motorists’ responsibility to drive carefully when there are known hazards like this. We were advised by the vet that there was no current way of attaching reflective material to large animals, although research into the subject is occurring. We decided that the best way forward was more driver education at the beginning of every winter.

We heard a report about the Transport Forum meeting in November. Members of the Forum are Ian Gillies, John MacCaskill, Colin Woodcock, Susan Lamont, Stewart MacLennan, Catriona MacLennan, Tish MacKinnon and Andy Wright. Barra have asked for a third flight during the summer, and members were worried this might put pressure on the planes servicing Tiree. The Forum has also asked for extra flights to Tiree during the pressure points of TMF or the 10 k. Loganair have started ‘Tiree Tasters’, day flights to Tiree with windsurfing lessons or cycle hire thrown in. It was suggested ‘Glasgow Tasters’ might also be popular!

Tiree flights from Glasgow Airport often leave from Gate 3, which has no lift. This will be looked into. Numbers for the Tiree bus tours have fallen dramatically this year with the change from Thursday to Wednesday for the Barra run. Numbers to Coll have similarly fallen, and CalMac believe this has been caused by the new cheap RET tickets to Mull, which are encouraging visitors to take their own cars to that island.

TCC also had their quarterly meeting with the Trust. A second public meeting about the Charrette Report will take place at the end of January as efforts to bring the main island committees under one ‘Team Tiree’ umbrella continue. The Trust is set to take a lease of the old Met Office building at the airport to develop it into a Chapel of Rest.

TCC heard about plans to improve harbour facilities for the fishing fleet. The next stage is another marine engineering report. Scarinish Pier has been closed by the Estate; although two fishing boats have been allowed to use it for the time being as there is no alternative. The Trust has agreed to take over the repair of Dr Buchanan’s memorial in Baugh. Argyll and Bute Council have responsibility for the replacement of railings at the War Memorial.

The Minister for Islands and Transport, Humza Yousaf MSP, has agreed to visit Tiree in the New Year and the Trust and TCC have set up a joint group to get the most for Tiree out of his visit. The main focus with the Minister will be on what the Islands Bill might mean for Tiree, meeting with crofters and farmers,. Demonstrating ‘Team Tiree’ and the problems faced by the fishing fleet at Milton Harbour.

The meeting finished at 10.15.

No Decision In Beach Hut Planning Row

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On Monday the 28th of November, a public meeting was held in An Talla to decide the fate of the two Beach huts that have been at the centre of a planning row for some months now.

Two beach huts, one at Balevullin and the other at Gott were built by local watersports company Blackhouse Watersports without planning permission and the retrospective planning application which was submitted by Blackhouse Watersports received the recommendation from the planning department that both should be removed.

At the beginning of the meeting we were made aware that the applicants had removed the planning application for the hut at Gott – stating that the structure would be removed by January of 2017, therefore the focus of the meeting would solely be on the application for the remaining Balevullin hut. The meeting was chaired by David Kinniburgh, Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee and another 6 councillors were present along with representatives from the planning department and the applicant, Iona Larg and her agent Eoghainn MacLean. Both the planning department and the applicant got an opportunity to speak at the meeting.

Tim Williams introduced himself as Area Planning Manager for Oban, Lorn and the Isles and went through a power point of information relating to how they had come to the decision to deny recommend refusal of retrospective planning before the applicant got the opportunity to state their case. Comments were also received from our local Community Council Convener, Dr John Holliday who commented on the recent ballot carried out on the island to determine the community’s view on the planning decision. There was some controversy surrounding the wording of the information sheet and the voting question, which Dr Holliday addressed and acknowledged.

Members of the public were also given the opportunity to speak, as long as they had registered their interest to do so prior to the public meeting and we heard from six supporters and one objector.

The lengthy meeting then went on to hear questions from councillors for both the planning department, applicant and our local community councillor before councillors debated the decision.

After various comments from councillors and an apparent tie in opinions for and against the decision it was decided that the committee should continue consideration of the retrospective planning permission at meeting of the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee on 18 January 2017 to allow Members to seek advice from officers in regard to a competent motion to support approval of the application and to allow for arrangements to be made for any requirement for an Area Capacity Evaluation (ACE).

Tiree’s Own Batman Completes Charity Walk

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Local man George Bruce has today completed the 124 mile walk from Oban to Dundee on Tuesday 22nd November to raise money for Oban Mountain Rescue!

George, who has been training for the charity walk for some time now, left Tiree last Thursday to start the challenge and arrived in Dundee on Tuesday afternoon at 1:30pm – well ahead of schedule. He has been dressed as Batman and been accompanied by his companion – ‘Robin’ the family Cockapoo, Strummer!

George took on the walk in order to raise money for Oban Mountain Rescue Team and to date the online donations stand at £3420 with the total still rising! Oban Mountain Rescue Team provide search and rescue cover throughout Argyll. The team consists of 37 unpaid volunteers who dedicate their time to helping people in need and were the group in charge of conducting the search for Margaret Ann and Dave, who lost their lives in an aircraft crash in April 2015. George is Margaret Ann’s brother in-law and he decided to take on this challenge to promote and show his appreciation to the team at Oban Mountain Rescue who conduct some very hard and sensitive work.

The 124 mile trek took George 5 days as he walked through a variety of towns and cities, stopping off in Taynuilt, Tyndrum, Lochearnhead, Crieff, and finishing in Dundee. Conditions were reasonable for November, very cold and a little wet! George will now be taking a few days to recover and give his feet a very well deserved rest! An Tirisdeach would like to congratulate George on his amazing achievement and amount raised for Oban Mountain Rescue. If you would like to donate, then please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/georgebruce1 or look out for donation boxes locally.

Tiree Association Annual Gathering November 2016

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Thursday 17th November ushered in the Tiree Association’s Annual Concert and the warm, welcoming atmosphere in the Partick Burgh Halls contrasted sharply with the chilly wet weather outside.

However, despite the poor weather conditions, the audience turned up in droves and the excellent numbers meant that seating in the hall was at a premium! All present were delighted to have Gordon Connell in the chair this year and, after Ian introduced him, made clear their pleasure with an extended round of applause and roars of approval. As Gordon then proceeded to regale us with his impressive stash of jokes and stories howls of laughter emitted from the crowd.

John Campbell got the evening off to a great start with some lively pipe tunes and the electric atmosphere persisted as the delighted audience was treated to a marvellous array of songs from Ellen MacDonald, Arthur Cormack and Calum Ross. A brilliant selection of tunes from the Rowan brothers kept the toes tapping and, when Kathryn Callander invited the crowd to a sing-along they responded with great zest. The interval gave folk time for a good natter and, more importantly, the chance to savour, once again, Susan’s inimitable shortbread and dumpling – fantastic!

The committee would like to thank all those who performed on the night and Susan for her wonderful home baking. Thanks also to all those who attended on this very chilly night – especially those who made the journey from Tiree to be there on the evening. This year was the first that the concert was broadcast as a Facebook Live event and this proved to be a tremendous success – much appreciated by those who couldn’t make it in person! …. and, if Thursday night ushered in the concert, then of course, on the Friday, the dance must follow! And what a dance!

Glasgow University Union Debating Room proved to have a very busy dance floor the whole evening. Trail West started with a Gay Gordon’s and from that point on the dancers hastened to the floor when invited to do so – be it for a St. Bernard’s Waltz or a Hooligans Jig! It was fantastic to see such a huge number – and such a huge range of ages – in attendance. The committee would like to thank all the generous individuals\companies who provided raffle prizes. Thanks also to Trail West for the awesome music which inspired dancers to take to the floor and stay there for most of the evening! To those who travelled out from Tiree – it was great to see you there. As the end of the year rapidly approaches we’d like to wish you all a very merry festive season and hope to see you in January at Celtic Connections: Tiree Songbook on 22nd January and\or the Annual Burns Supper (details to follow) www.tireeassociation.co.uk

30 Years of Tiree Wave Classic

Photo by Malcolm Steel

The island was a buzz last week as Tiree hosted the 30th annual ‘Tiree Wave Classic’! The event, which is the oldest running windsurfing event in the world and has been running since 1986, attracted some of the top professional surfers from all over the world!

It was an action packed week of activity as Tiree produced some of the best conditions the event has seen in a number of years. We have been having a fairly calm and pleasant October, and the starting competition on the Saturday had to be postponed. However, Sunday saw the weather pick up and conditions improve immensely allowing all classes the opportunity to take part in the competition held at Balephuil.

Each day’s activity was documented in very lively daily videos which have been posted online at: www.tireewaveclassic.co.uk There is some excellent footage that shows off the dramatics of the sport and perfect conditions for this year’s event! Make sure you check them out!

As the perfect weather continued, there were competitions at Crossapol and again Balephuil as all competitors battled it out for a spot on the podium and by Tuesday evening the winners of each heat were announced. It was a tough and very close battle within each heat as the pro, junior and youth fleet all competed in a double elimination, while the amateurs and masters went to a triple elimination and the ladies finally being confirmed after 5 rounds!

In the professional division, Phill Horricks claimed 1st prize for the second time as he had previously won in 2014, with Andy Chambers coming 2nd and Chris Muzza Murray in 3rd place. Justin Bennington was crowned the masters’ champion, Louie Morris claimed the trophy for the amateurs and Sarah Hilder won the women’s section. The youth and future of the windsurfing world were also highly involved in this year’s competition, as the Royal Yachting Association RYA have gotten very involved in the event over the past few years. This year there was a record number of children entering the competition and Erin Watson was crowned the champion within the youth section! The Youth Camp within the Tiree Wave Classic is an excellent opportunity to motivate and inspire the young people who are interested in windsurfing and water sports in general. This year they were fully submerged in the event, getting the opportunity to meet with the professional riders and hear all about their journey while also getting the chance to compete in a highly regarded competition!

Weather conditions began to tail off during the middle of the week, returning to surprisingly calm winds and beautiful crisp mornings. The last two Tiree Wave Classics have been run and organised by local Tiree business Wild Diamond which is run by William Angus MacLean. William Angus has been highly involved in the event for a number of years now and he and his crew have been working hard to evolve the event and create something special for the 30th anniversary, which they did very well! As the week was coming to a close and the competitions decided, sup/paddle board competitions were put on to entertain the masses, along with a host of evening activities.

The event was finished off in style in The Tiree Lodge Hotel on Friday evening, as the prize giving got underway and celebrating continued – an excellent end to another very successful Tiree Wave Classic – here’s to the next 30! Well done to all competitions, winners and event crew involved in creating a very special event!

 

Photo courtesy of Malcolm Steel Photography

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