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Tiree Ranger Update

Well folks, I’ve been here for a month now and I have had the chance to meet many of you out and about or at events. So much so I’m at the stage that I’m remembering faces but not from where so please give me a helping hand if I’m looking a bit puzzled.

I’ve spent my time at work getting to grips with some of the Ranger duties as well as exploring the island. I’ve been up to the school to meet the teachers and see what topics I can help with and had a lovely lunch with the Cùram lunch club ladies. I even took them Minnie the Mink to meet (a stuffed one not a real one) and she almost got rehomed (read pinched) by one of them.

One of my favourite activities is tracking so I spent a day looking for Otters and found one female with two cubs which we watched for 15 minutes and another family who I suspect are living under the decking of one of the holiday homes. I’ve started work on an events programme for next year with the first couple happening during the Christmas holidays so why not join me for a Mince Pie Beach Buster or Hangover Cure Walk (cannot guarantee it will clear your hangover but it will make you feel better). Look out for the posters and hope to see some of you there.

With all this wintery weather there has been a lot of seal reports coming in to the BDLMR team on the Island. The pups have been turning up in strange places. I found one sleeping on the grass verge near Baugh Church. I thought it had been hit by a car and it wasn’t happy when I prodded it and it woke up. It quickly headed back into the sea and hasn’t been caught napping since. Remember if you are concerned about one please call 01825765546.

On the theme of wildlife rescue some of you will have heard of the flying hedgehog. At this time of year Hedgehogs should be hibernating and if any are seen it can be a sign that there is a problem. I found one on the road and I knew straight away it was too wee to try and hibernate. It fitted in my hand and only weighed 290g. To survive they should be more like a football and weigh over 500g. I used to work for a wildlife hospital in North Ayrshire so took it home for a feed. It was a wee bit shoogly so I thought it would be best to get it to Hessilhead rather than overwinter it myself. The next day I packaged it up in a box and with the help of the folk at the airport and a willing passenger the wee hog, who has been named Annag, made a short trip to Glasgow where she is now in the care of Hessilhead and is putting weight on. In the Spring she will be released on the mainland as I didn’t book her a return flight.

That’s all for now except for me to say have a great Christmas and New year folks!

Surgery Simulation

Following up from the simulations during the Easter weekend earlier this year, Tiree’s emergency services gathered at An Talla for a follow up session on Friday 29th November.

From 1pm the fire service, ambulance, nurses, coast guard and police spent the day doing team building exercises through simulations of emergencies, observed and advised by Dave Strachan from Pitlochry and Heather Sinclair from Perth, both who are from the British Association of Immediate Care, otherwise known as BASICS Scotland.

Heather said, “The people were great, teams were brilliant and worked well together. And thanks for the great weather!”

The simulations that took place this time around were in shorter bursts, but still offered a variety of scenarios from a victim who slipped on the rocks and lay crumpled in a difficult place to assess, a cyclist hit by a car lying on the side of the road with a blocked air passage and a casualty that had slipped on rubble and impaled their leg.

Tiree’s doctors played the convincing part of the casualties, leaving the rest of the emergency services to band together and problem solve in small groups with limited equipment. Each of the simulations lasted between 10 – 30 minutes, but each scenario gave the participants new perspectives and situations to consider that they may not have encountered before. The weather couldn’t have been better, as darkness quickly encroached with the winter season. Despite the lack of visibility, the teams met each simulation quickly, effectively and in some scenarios, good humour.

Sandy Mac said, “It was a very useful day. It was handy to see all the different services working together and learning new techniques.”

A lovely meal of fish and chips was provided by Alan, Janette and Megan Reid, warming everyone up from the crisp cold towards the end of the day.

The surgery would like to thank all participants from Tiree crews, the BASICS team, all visiting doctors and most importantly Megan, Alan and Janette for the delicious food.

Christmas Light Up

As Tiree’s nights grow colder, darker and unfortunately, wetter, it was time to chase the winter blues away with the annual light up of the Christmas tree at the Tiree Business Centre.

Though there was a slight mishap with the outdoor plugs right before the evening, Gerard McGoogan and Steve Nagy came to the rescue by fixing the lights fixture plug.

It was a wonderful evening with mince pies, chocolate biscuits, juice and mulled wine provided for free to the community by Tiree Trust. Christmas jingles were played over the speakers to get everyone into the holiday spirit, with some live performances between songs by the Tiree Pipe Band.

Following the excited countdown by the attendees, the lights were turned on to reveal not only the tree, but a new addition to the lights in the form of three reindeer. Santa Claus also paid a visit, handing out candy canes to the children.

Louise Reid would like to thank Gerard and Steve for their help with the repairs to ensure the night went without a hitch, Cameron Smith and Stuart Carr for building the set up, Marg Worsley for assisting with putting up the lights around the business centre, the Tiree Pipe Band for their performance, Santa for making a special visit despite his busy schedule and Shari for being an elf.

Tiree Community Bonfire Night

The Community Bonfire and Fireworks Night on Tuesday 5th November at Gott Bay had great attendance with a turnout of around 200 people.

The conditions for the evening couldn’t have been better – despite the chill there was no wind or rain to disturb the event.

The Trust organised the event with assistance from a group of community volunteers. The fireworks were provided by the Tiree Community Development Trust, the fuel for the bonfire was donated by Sandy MacIntosh.

The local fire service attended, they lit the fire and provided safety cover, the airport firemen brought along their portable lighting, the Cobbled Cow provided free food, Cameron and Lachie were responsible for building the fire, which was cleared by William Angus the next day and Jim and Craig handled the fireworks’ display.

Louise Reid would like to thank everyone, including those mentioned above, who volunteered their time, hands and resources.

Luke Patience In Olympic Selection

The British Olympic Association have selected Luke Patience, a member of the British Sailing Team and the Tiree Maritime Trust, to represent the UK at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo as the helm in the 470 Class Dinghy.

Luke, whose parents live in Caolis , spends much of his free time on Tiree surfing and windsurfing and relaxing away from the pressures and commitments of Olympic level sport.

The next Games, Luke’s 3rd ,will be held in Japan in Aug 2020. He won a Silver Medal at the London Games in 2012 and finished 5th in Rio in 2016 after requiring a stand in crew when his original team mate became ill. That stand in crew was Chris Grube and together they have been selected for the Tokyo Games as the first UK athletes to be nominated for 2020.

Luke has been involved with TMT, running racing/training on the Loch and a number of the school children on the island may remember when he visited the school and showed them his medal after London.

The attached photos show Luke and Chris sailing off Palma at the beginning of the Selection Trials. Image courtesy of the RYA and Lloyd Images

Tiree Trust News Bites

The Trust has been working with Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), consultancy firm Delfinity and fuel specialists Adler & Allan on an options appraisal and feasibility study for a community owned fuel facility. The study looks at site options, costs and business model and we hope to be able to present this to the community in the coming weeks. The study has been fully funded by HIE.

• HIE has also shown support for our plans to investigate the development of The Camp at Crossapol, for community owned affordable housing as well as light industrial business and storage units, by providing funding to allow staff to develop this proposal further.

• We have had stage one approval for ‘Scottish Land Fund’ funding to purchase The Camp and will now work towards a final stage two application after the community consultation process.

• The Trust has also been working with Cameron Anson from Rural Housing Scotland to conduct a housing needs analysis survey which will aim to provide the evidence required for an application to the Rural Housing Fund. You can find the survey here: https://bit.ly/32RnMDD and also an employer’s survey here: https://bit.ly/2Wn3EXp

• Further Community Consultation will be conducted on both of the above projects once we have gathered enough information.

• Congratulations to Ishbel Campbell, our Gaelic Development Officer, for her medal and trophy winning performances at the National Mòd in Glasgow in October. Ishbel also conducts the Còisir Bun-sgoil Thiriodh (Tiree Primary School Gaelic Choir) as part of her role with the Trust and they won the Rural Areas Unison Singing competition. Well done to Ishbel and the kids!

• Hayley Douglas has been appointed as the new Ranger for Tiree and will start on Monday 11th November. Hayley has been working as a Ranger and development officer at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park for the past 9 years and we look forward to welcoming her to the team!

Ishbel Leads Tiree to National Mòd Success!

Tiree was once again on the winners’ roll at this year’s Royal National Mòd in Glasgow.

Ishbel Campbell brought home the Sarah Weir Memorial Trophy for the Mull & Iona Competition and the Oban Times Medal for the Oban & Lorne Competition in the fluent ladies section.

Ishbel also supported Kieran MacDonald and Lucy Kennedy to win gold and bronze medals in their respective solo signing categories and Còisir Bun-sgoil Thiriodh (Tiree Primary Choir) took home the Rural Unison Trophy.

All of the parents would like to say a massive thank you to Ishbel for her hard work and efforts with the children. It is very much appreciated!

Tiree Wave Classic

The Tiree Wave Classic, the longest running wavesailing event in the world, opened on Sunday 13th October for its 34th year.

Hosted up at the Lodge Hotel by Gott Bay, the Tiree Future Pro’s Coaching Camp would be taking place throughout the week, which several local children are taking part in including Eddie Maclean, Charlotte Vale, Sapphire Arkless and Magnus Robinson. The event kicked off with registration with over 70 competitors making the pilgrimage to Tiree, followed up by the “Meet the Pros” in the evening at the Lodge Hotel, providing Future Pro’s, competitors and spectators a chance to interact and learn from the best.

With weather fairly sunny and calm on Monday 14th October creating poor competing conditions, contestants instead took part in a beach clean at Hough Bay, organised by Catriona Spink.

Tuesday the 15th had contestants move to Crossapol beach for the best conditions for the competition, for the Masters’ class, the Ladies’ class and the Ams’ class. Other local competitors include former Future Pro Camp attendee Tristan Levie in the Pro Fleet and Stewart Cowling and Gavin Dunlop the Amateur fleet.

The Wave Classic is sponsored this year by Event Scotland – ‘Perfect Stage’, the Scottish Salmon Company, Tiree Community Development Trust, Argyll Estates – Inveraray Castle and thanks go to the Lodge Hotel for acting as the event HQ this year.

More info: tireewaveclassic.co.uk

Island Bakery’s Grand Opening

During some of the interviews for People of Tiree, I asked interviewees about the bakery that used to be a part of the island’s culture. I was too young to remember it myself, but I will always recall the memory of my dad handing me some sweet treats from the bakery van one sunny morning in Crossapol with fondness, followed by the feeling that a bakery would be a wonderful addition to return to Tiree’s community.

On Monday 14th October 2019, Louise and Megan filled this addition with the grand opening of a pop up bakery in the small hall of An Talla, welcoming everyone on the island to come along to enjoy a selection of home baking and light lunches. The Island Bakery had only been planned two weeks prior but Louise expressed that if the day went well, she and Megan hoped to have the bakery as a pop-up at least twice a month.

When asked about the feedback from the community, Louise said “The support from the islanders has been great! It means the world to us.” It was good to see the seats in the small hall filled with customers enjoying lunches and taking the large selection of baking home. I left with a slice of Battenberg cake, courtesy of Louise and Megan, which was so thoroughly enjoyed that I had to return an hour later for another slice.

All of the food was homemade and prepared fresh – with a range of cakes, tray bakes and bread, the food offered was a wonderful value for price. I look forward to their future endeavours and hope to see the Island Bakery pop back up very soon.

If anyone would like to enjoy any tasty cakes, rolls or pies made to order, you can contact Louise and Megan via; Facebook: @Island Bakery Email: tireebakes@gmail.com Phone: 07393992852

Tiree Pierhead Project Update

Work to return the old pierhead to operational use is well underway at Tiree.

Repairs to cracks on the pier approach have commenced, and will be completed ahead of the coming winter months. Our contractor, George Leslie Ltd has also removed the old pierhead timber fenders from the front of the pier, and cleaned barnacles, mussels and other marine growth from the steel supporting piles.

Cleaning has exposed significantly more defects than originally estimated, however, repairs to these piles are now underway.

With the increased volume of repair work needed, the project is likely to take longer than planned. An updated timeline will be published in due course.

CalMac will continue to operate ferry services to timetable during these works.

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