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Tiree Ranger Service – Autumn Access Update

As we enjoy a slight lull before the competitive watersports season begins, I would like to update you all on some of our ongoing access issues:

At the beginning of this year, I informed you of our aspirations to provide a new, permanent and sustainable parking area for Crossapol Beach. This is still very much our goal. However, progress with our intended project partners has been somewhat glacial.

With support from SNH we are now working to a spring 2018 delivery. Delays such as this are extremely frustrating: Pushing this project has taken up a considerable amount of my time. Nonetheless, with the extra room for planning, we are making progress towards an improved final result. I would like to thank all of the guests, local residents and local business operators who have respected the temporary arrangement at Crossapol. Your cooperation and consideration has been greatly valued and appreciated during this tricky period – there have been no issues to speak of.

At Balephuil, access to Balephuil Bay is shifting. Following a change in apportionment, the current, badly degraded access track will no longer be in use. Recreational access to the beach will follow a new fence line to a fenced parking area. This change has been implemented by graziers through the proper and necessary channels. The beach will still be fully accessible for larger events by prior arrangement. On behalf of the Ranger Service and AccessGroup, I would like to thank the graziers for maintaining and improving access to this site at considerable trouble and expense.

At Balevullin Bay, repair work on the erosion damage commenced at the start of the season – my sincere thanks to those who assisted with this task. This autumn, we plan to continue the patch-repair of the erosion damage in the parking area; in addition to moving the rope boundary back to reduce the likelihood of vehicle rolling. New signage concerning the use of handbrakes will also be installed to this end.

I think it’s fair to say that there was a little controversy last month, with regard to the Croft Camping scheme, my role in managing it and the role of Tiree Ranger Service generally. My job is shaped by the community: I work to directives provided by the residents of Tiree, in addition to some core requirements from SNH. The Ranger Service post is fully transparent. Details of our aims and activities are available to view in the Tiree Ranger Service Development Plan – downloadable from the TDCT website. By joining community boards and committees, those with ideas for the improvement of Tiree Ranger Service and/or the Croft Camping Scheme have the power to influence the direction and remit of this post.

At present my duties include the management of Freedom Camping. I would like to remind those with strong views on the ranger post and what it achieves that I am available to discuss my work by appointment. Indeed, I welcome feedback and fresh insight.

As a professional, I extend courtesy to every person that I deal with; regardless of whether our views are aligned or not. I expect to be treated with the same level of courtesy as I dispense my duties on Tiree.

Stephanie Cope, Tiree Ranger Service

Is our ‘Sunshine Isle’ title in dispute?

Who remembers the ‘Tiree, Scotlands Sunshine Isle’ article which featured in the Guardian and was reprinted in An Tirisdeach (edition 654)?

Below is a response in the form of a letter that featured in the Guardian on Wednesday the 23rd of August:

If you want sunshine, head for East Kent

Although the Scottish island of Tiree looks idyllic (White sand, sunny skies and no midges, Travel, 29 July), the claim that it basks in “more hours of sunlight than just about any other location in the British Isles” caught my eye, as sunshine is our speciality here in East Kent.

I find that from the Met Office tables, Tiree has 1,477 hours of sunshine a year, whereas Manston, halfway between Herne Bay and Margate, enjoys 1,802 (and less than half the rain of Tiree).

Even the notoriously rainy Isle of Man gets 1,584 hours of sunshine in Douglas, and less rain.

Sun-seekers should be better informed as to where to seek their fix. (Although I respectfully doff my hat to Tiree’s many alternative pleasures.)

Jonathan Hollow

Tiree Community Council Meetings

Following a very short summer recess, the Tiree Community Council Meetings will resume as of September.

The first one will take place on Wednesday the 6th of September, following on from the usual pattern as the first Wednesday of the month. The start time is 7:30pm in An Talla and all are welcome. The agenda for the meeting is detailed below. Please also note the  Tiree Community Council took the decision earlier in the year to remove AOCB from the meeting agenda, this however doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you and would encourage all members of the community to let them know about any issues of concern. You can do so in a number of ways, email, written letter or having a chat with a community councillor. Please visit www.tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk for more information

MEETING ON WEDNESDAY 6th September 2017 7.30pm @ An Talla ALL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WELCOME

1. Welcome and Apologies

2. Correspondence

3. Minutes of 7th June 2017 and matters arising

4. Tiree Community Council Elections, co-options and forward planning

5. Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL), Pier-head proposals

6. Tiree – Glasgow Air Service, implications following removal of security

7. Scottish Government, meetings during July/August, update.

8. Transportation updates

9. Public Library

10. Tiree Flag, verbal update

Please note. Tiree Community Council holds a monthly pre-agenda private meeting, which normally takes place approximately ten days following the public meeting. The meeting is solely to agree agenda items for inclusion and discussion at the following month’s public meeting. No decisions, other than these, are taken.

Golf Workshop Weekend

Last weekend, Vaul Golf Club welcomed Colin Fisher, a PGA awarded professional to Tiree to undertake a weekend of golf training with Tiree’s junior players.

Colin led a two day tutorial, focusing on a variety of golfing skills.

There were over nine youngsters attending the sessions and they all seemed to enjoy it, gaining a lot of new skills and improving their technique. The interest in the sessions was extremely encouraging for the adult golf members who helped out at the workshops, as they are always keen to encourage new members to join, especially juniors.

The workshops have followed on from the success of the Junior Training sessions that have been taking place over the last few months.

Tiree Trust would like to thank Ian MacLeod for organising the weekend, Rosemary Omand for making lunch and to the rest of the adult members who came along to supervise and assist.

Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands Visits Tiree

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands visited Tiree on Wednesday the 16th of August.

The visit was arranged by Tiree Community Council who had previously met with the Minister back in January of this year, in Holyrood. At the meeting, they invited the Minister to visit Tiree and were delighted when it came to fruition last week.

Mr Yousaf only had a few hours on Tiree due to an earlier than usual return flight to Glasgow, but managed to jam pack a number of visits and worthwhile conversations into the day, meeting with a variety of local businesses, visiting community projects and Milton Harbour where he was updated on the ambitious refurbishment plans currently being undertaken by the Tiree Trust and the Harbours’ Steering Group.

The Minister didn’t get to see Tiree in its best weather, as the rain and wind battered down most of the day. He was still very complimentary of our island as he posted pictures on Twitter of his arrival on the twin otter with the caption: ‘Arrived on Tiree. Looking forward to day of Ministerial meetings with the local community & businesses. Even wet & windy it looks stunning’.

After a quick tour of the island, the minister was treated to a beautifully prepared buffet lunch, where Tiree’s produce was showcased with a variety of local fresh shellfish and Tiree lamb and beef. The lunch was followed by a meeting, where the minister got the opportunity to hear from members of Tiree Community Council, Tiree Transport Forum, Tiree Community Development Trust, Tiree Rural Development, Tiree Community Business and Tiree Broadband regarding various island issues.

There was a variety of agenda items, the meeting starting off with a viewing of the recently released ‘Tiree Maritime Plan’ video which was created to promote the harbours’ development project. Mr Yousef was very positive about the project, having visited the site in the morning, he got first hand evidence of the type of conditions our fishermen are currently working in. He vowed to investigate what funding, if any, might be available from the Scottish Government to support this project.

The idea of Tiree and Coll having a dedicated councillor was also discussed, with the Minister indicating that he thought this would be a very positive move and something that he might be able to assist with.

The discussion around the Islands Bill was mostly centred on Argyll & Bute Council’s involvement, with Humza informing the group that A&B Council are the only council which has not sent its leader to the working group meetings. Instead, Policy Lead for the Islands, Robin Currie has attended. It was felt that this was not adequate and something that should be raised with Argyll & Bute Council.

The Crown Estate Consultation has been on the agenda of the Tiree Community Council for some time now, with the Crown Estate Scotland coming into operation on 1st of April this year and is tasked with managing Scottish Crown Estate assets on behalf of Scottish Ministers, which includes agricultural and forestry land, most of the seabed and around half of the foreshore, areas that could be crucial to future developments on and around Tiree. Mr Yousef was again very positive about trying to assist communities to investigate the possibility of Crown Estate Revenues going to local communities, at island level, and said he would forward on further information regarding this.

Other items discussed included the current lack of availability of good affordable backhaul (internet source) from BT for community broadband providers, in this instance Tiree Broadband, which currently cover areas on the island that BT cannot reach. A paper explaining the concerns was prepared and given to the Minister in the hope that he will back the case and see the need. It was suggested that a requirement to comply with this request should be included in the contracts for the next round of publicly funded infrastructure upgrades which is most likely to be delivered by BT. It was also discussed that the Transport Forum has expressed the community’s desire to have a consistent Monday, Wednesday, Friday ferry service throughout the winter, this request will be sent in writing to the Minister.

Overall, the visit from Mr Yousef was extremely positive. Although there is no guarantee that anything will come from the points mentioned above, it is very positive that we as an island can communicate at a one to one level with the Minister for Transport and the Islands and he has given us assurances that he will support us where he can. It is extremely encouraging that he took the time to come out to Tiree and mentioned that he feels it is his role and duty to visit and support rural and hard to reach communities such as ours.

We hope, in the near future we will be able to update you with positive developments on some of the points mentioned above.

Thanks to everyone who was involved in the meeting. A special thanks to Fiona Malcolm, Neil and Alison MacPhail and Eileen Tainsh who helped to create and serve a wonderful showcase lunch.

Tiree, Scotland’s ‘Sunshine Isle’ by Paul Rees

The below article featured in the travel section of The Guardian last Wednesday the 24th of July. With the writer, Paul Rees giving a rave review of our ‘sunshine isle’. Have a read and see what you think.

The last time I sat on the saddle of a pushbike I was still in short trousers. Forty years later, I was pedalling gleefully down an undulating single-track road on a clear blue mid-July morning. Either side, the road was framed by hedgerows and, beyond, untamed croft land was gold and purple thanks to an abundance of buttercups and heather. Up ahead lay an expanse of ocean, aquamarine and twinkling. The air was rich with birdsong and the scent of grasses and sea. There wasn’t a car in sight. It was like riding into the pages of an Enid Blyton story. Until, that is, a great black-backed gull swooped from on high, plucked an enormous brown rat from a roadside ditch, soared once more to the heavens and flung its poor victim back to Earth, and its doom.

Such are the enchantments and wildness of Tiree – resident population 650, and the most westerly island of the Inner Hebrides. When I arrived the previous morning by ferry from the mainland port of Oban, it didn’t so much loom as sneak into view: pancake-flat but for Ben Hynish, the solitary, 141-metre hill, and all but treeless. Tiree, though, glories in what happens around and about its 36 miles of coastline. It both reinforces and gives lie to the cliche that the beaches of the Hebrides could belong to the Caribbean or Pacific, but for their weather, heather and midges. Tiree’s edges are indeed made up of numerous secluded crescent-shaped bays, each with fine, white sand, as picturepostcard perfect as the next, and near deserted. Thanks to the mild influence of the Gulf Stream, Tiree is the Sunshine Isle, basking in more hours of annual sunlight than just about any other location in the British Isles. Since it is also out in the Atlantic, and as such also Britain’s windiest place, it has the additional advantage of being inhospitable to the summer-long curse of most of Scotland’s islands and Highlands: midges.

The Gulf Stream also warms the waters around Tiree and its near-neighbour, Coll, and they teem with life. The latter half of my four-hour ferry journey was a marine adventure in itself. From my vantage point on the upper stern deck, I counted five surfacing minke whales, an eight-strong pod of leaping white-beaked dolphins and the arched black backs of many more harbour porpoise. Not to mention squadrons of gulls, shags, guillemots, arctic terns, marauding arctic skuas and diving gannets.

The three-mile drive from the tiny port of Scarinish to my accommodation covered a quarter of Tiree’s length. I stayed in a cosy, white-walled crofter’s cottage, Traigh Mhor, surrounded on three sides by heathland grazed by a herd of Highland cattle, and facing out to the island’s longest uninterrupted stretch of sand, Gott Bay. Other snug and hardy houses (with outer walls painted bright pink, yellow or red) are dotted along the track roads that criss-cross the island. At 12 in number, Tiree also boasts the highest concentration of traditional thatched buildings in Scotland. Tiree’s two exceptions to convention are House No 7 and An Turas. Nestled into a coastal promontory at the southern tip of Scarinish, the former is a multi-award-winning home. Designed and built for his parents by London-based architect Murray Kerr, it is a striking, but empathetic melding of an older, renovated cottage with a brace of more futuristic-looking, metal-clad, barn-like extensions. Sadly, it’s not for rent. Sited dockside at Scarinish port and Scotland’s 2003 Building of the Year, An Turas meanwhile is a standout cuboid structure of glass, metal and wood that serves as both art exhibition space and a shelter for foot passengers on the ferry. Both buildings bring a dash of daring to Tiree. Otherwise, Tiree is an escape from the fast pace of modernity and best seen from a bike (hired from various outlets around the island, from £8 a day).

On a glorious afternoon, I pedalled up and down Tiree’s southern extremity, visiting Balevullin Bay at one end and Balephuil Bay at the other. At Balevullin, surfers and windsurfers rode crashing whitewater waves. From Balephuil, the venerable Skerryvore lighthouse is visible on the horizon, standing guard on its base of jagged, treacherous rock. It was described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “the noblest of all deep sea lights”, and there is a charming museum to this 19th-century monument at the nearby township of Hynish. For lunch, I called at the Farmhouse Cafe, just around the headland from Hynish in Balemartine, which offers simple sandwich and snack fare. Sitting on a sun-dappled patio I was serenaded from the bordering grassland by the distinctive comb-scraping-on-matchbox call of corncrake. Later, I stopped off at Chocolate & Charms, a gift-and-snack shop in Heylipol, for a cup of rich, creamy hot chocolate. On this occasion, from my outside perch on a wooden bench, I was dive-bombed by batteries of swallows and sand martin.

Eating out at night in Tiree is also a rustic experience. The island has a handful of fish and chip shops, and the Cobbled Cow at Crossapol does meat and seafood dinners, but you will search in vain for fine dining. Best bet for an evening meal is to pick up something from Tiree Lobster & Crab in Scarinish. It’s basically a Portacabin in the car park next to the Co-op, and sells catch-of-the-day fish and shellfish at reasonable prices. On my last night on Tiree, I walked a mile up the road from my cottage to Salum Bay. This more rugged, tucked-away corner of the island hosts a 70-strong grey seal colony and affords a panoramic view of the Outer Hebrides, the shadow peaks of Barra, South Uist and Benbecula sweeping off into the further Atlantic.

At 11pm, the darkened sky was still gashed with the crimson of a setting sun and there was no sound but for the barking of seals and lapping waves.

Like Tiree, I was entirely at peace.

Loganair Flying Solo

It was announced at the end of last year that Scotland’s Airline Loganair will be ‘flying solo’ and operating flights in its own right from September the 1st.

With only one month to go until the current franchise agreement with Flybe and other airlines expires, Loganair has now released images of the newly painted aircrafts which will continue to operate on all current routes, Tiree included.

The tartan inspired design will be rolled out to all aircrafts and uniforms of their 600-strong team, introducing a new, definitively Scottish identity to the skies.

Loganair provide over 1,000 flights each week across 46 routes, offering unrivalled connectivity for Scotland and with operations stretching as far afield as London, Norwich, Manchester, Dublin, and Bergen in Norway. It has almost 300 flights each week to and from Glasgow, and is the largest operator at key airports throughout the Highlands & Islands including Inverness, Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Tiree.

The extensive Loganair network also includes the world-famous “times subject to tide” operations to the beach airport at Barra and the world’s shortest scheduled flight, linking the Orkney islands of Westray and Papa Westray with daily flights taking only two minutes.

Scotland’s Airline has operated its services under franchise agreements with British Airways, from 1993 to 2007, and latterly with Flybe from 2007. The current franchise arrangement with Flybe will continue till the 31st of August 2017.

Peter Simpson, Chief Executive of Airline Investments Ltd, Loganair’s parent company, stated back in November: “Although Loganair has flown as a franchise carrier for larger airlines over the last 24 years, there is still a huge level of recognition and affinity for the Loganair name throughout Scotland and beyond. We believe the time is right for Scotland’s Airline to now spread its wings once again, and are delighted to be introducing a bold new corporate identity to accompany this important move.” “On behalf of the 600-strong team at Loganair, I’m delighted that Scotland’s Airline will be taking to the skies in its own right,” says Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s Managing Director. “All of us are very much looking forward to providing the highest standards of safety, punctuality and customer service synonymous with the Loganair name. We hold tremendous responsibility to operate services on lifeline routes and provide connectivity for Scotland – operating more flights in Scotland than every other airline put together – and I am wholly confident that Loganair’s independence will be warmly welcomed by both our customers and our dedicated team of professional employees.”

The new Loganair Booking system is now up and running and all flights from the 1st of September onwards can be booked through the website at www.loganair.co.uk.

Any flight bookings in the interim can still be booked through www.flybe.com

A Predictable Response

Dear Editor,

Below, is my Oban Times Column of 06/07/17 in reply to James Laikie’s letter to this paper and his letter to the Oban Times.

“As I don’t wish to turn this column into the “Tiree Scalloping Weekly” I promise next week to be back to pleasant subjects like music, summer voyages and special people.

James Laikie’s reply to my piece of a few weeks ago was disappointingly predictable. Alongside some misinterpretation of my points, some fairly standard-type manipulation of my supposed opinions, some mistakes in analysing what I “appear to think”, an unfortunate tone, and reaffirming his lack of understanding, there were, however, some valid points.

There are, of course, many valid points on all sides of the scallop-dredging and wider marine-management issue and satisfactory resolution and a good future path will only come by engagement, education and compromise. The compromise of course must always come from all angles but small-scale, low-impact operators like Coinneach MacKinnon, whom James would like to see cease trading, should certainly not be bearing the brunt of the anti-scallop dredging campaigners.

The lack of knowledge and/or ability to differentiate between scales of fishing, types of ground worked and the vastly varying resulting impacts is a major problem with many anti-fishing lobbyists and this is displayed perfectly by Mr Laikie. To lump in this small one-boat business working on flat sand and gravel beds that have been harvested sustainably in this way for over 60 years with mass industrial fishing operations is very unhelpful for all sides and can be devastating to the lives of the individuals targeted. The jobs provided by this operation, as well as the knock-on economic benefits ashore and at sea may not be of significance on a national scale or to the Laikies, but to Tiree they are very important. Contrary to what Mr Laickie states, this issue has everything to do with “fragile island economies.”

The natural environment of the world and particularly that of the ocean is in a worrying state and action needs to be taken. Unfortunately, through ignorance and willful blindness, campaigners like the Laikies are wasting effort on easy but non-relevant targets. It is much easier to write a letter demonising a young fisherman on Tiree, than to take on big industry – fishing and otherwise – doing the real damage to the world’s oceans.

I would suggest that if Mr Laikie, as he claims, has the “utmost respect for Tiree’s fishermen….” then he might have engaged with them directly before writing letters of protest to local newspapers. Tiree is a small island and it would have been very easy to find out about the facts and individuals involved in his chosen subject of protest before putting pen to paper. If this courtesy had been shown originally then some column inches would have been saved and the fishermen – “sensible” or otherwise – referred to might have been more receptive to his views and he may have gained a different perspective on the issues.

I hope if James and Linda are on Tiree in the future when I am home we might meet over a meal of scallops to join in friendly debate. I will have sustainably dredged scallops from Coinneach and out of respect for their views I will offer them sustainably-dived ones. We may even ceremoniously swap during the evening and hopefully nobody will be eating parrot. “

Angus MacPhail

Just Over A Week Until Tiree Music Festival

  • New Acts Announced
  • Unique Audience Experience With Cinemor 77
  • Launch of Tiree’s Very Own Tyree Gin
  • A Special Guest Appearance
  • Last Few Tickets Remain

With less than two weeks to go until Tiree Music Festival 2017 a host of new acts have been announced, alongside a unique audience experience, the launch of the island’s brand new gin and a special guest appearance!

With the last few tickets available the countdown is on to get tickets to what was voted Scotland’s Best Small Festival at last year’s Scottish Events Awards.

The Island of Tiree is often dubbed ‘The Hawaii of the North’ and with picture-perfect white sands and world-famous surf, TMF is more than just a music festival but instead a true island adventure to what has been described as one of the most stunning festival locations in the world.

Gary Innes, one of the new acts to be added to this year’s line-up, and Tide Lines’ front man Robert Robertson gave the new unique audience experience at this year’s festival a trial run. Social Enterprise group Cinemor 77 will bring their Cinema Yurt to Tiree Music Festival where they will offer special film experiences alongside a number of intimate gigs.With cushions and bean bags for seats and a capacity of only 30 people this will provide a unique experience for festival goers who will be able to watch their favourite artists perform in an intimate setting. Robert Robertson,who will be playing in Cinemor 77’s Cinema Yurt, had this to say after trying it out, “It was brilliant, I have never seen anything like it before! I can’t wait to play a gig in such a unique and intimate environment, I think it will be really special and definitely one of the most memorable venues I’ll have ever played!”

An exciting new act to be announced for this year’s Tiree Music Festival is highland born accordionist, founding member of Mànran and presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s Take the Floor, Gary Innes who will be performing his new album ‘ERA’ at this year’s festival, Scotland’s only summer festival to showcase the new material.

Another brilliant new addition to 2017’s Tiree Music Festival line-up is Glasgow’s Have Mercy Las Vegas. Following their launch onto the Scottish Music scene in 2011, Have Mercy Las Vegas have gone from strength to strength with their rowdy and eclectic mix of folk and blues and their Celtic flair.

Known best for their live performances where they fully show off their range of original songs, foot stomping hoe downs and even some harmonious laments. Another addition to this year’s line-up is former front-man of the much loved Scottish Americana band The Felsons, Dean Owens.

His compelling and engaging live performance connects with the audience through an emotional hurricane of stories and songs. He will be joined by his band, The Whisky Hearts, who are a mighty all-star line-up.

Owens has been described by BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris as “One of Scotland’s best” and with Russell Brand encouraging us all to “For God’s sake buy this album”, TMF can’t wait to welcome him to the festival.

Jam Sandwich will be returning to Tiree Music Festival again for 2017.When they last played TMF in 2014 Festival Director Daniel Gillespie remembers them nearly blowing the roof off the then brand new Big Top Tent, he says, “They created an electric atmosphere with their feel-good, high energy performance – absolute crowd-pleasers from the word go.”

Tamzene, the first signing to new label Belladrum Records, will also be performing at this year’s festival. Hailing from Cromarty in the Highlands of Scotland, Tamzene’s debut single ‘Lullaby’ has been released to critical acclaim and the TMF audience can look forward to hearing more of what this highly talented multi-instrumentalist has to offer.

Flame haired songstress Sophie Rogers will be showcasing her Caledonia soul and folk/pop fusion at TMF 2017. With a new EP coming out this year Sophie will be playing an array of new material as well as some old favourites from her sold out EP ‘An Overflow of Words’ and album ‘Two Sides’.

Sophie is no stranger to performing live having toured across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada.

Tiree Music Festival also looks forward to welcoming vocalist and guitarist Marianne Fraser, of folk ensemble Cherry Grove, to this year’s festival. The keen songwriter describes her main influences as Karine Polwart, Boo Hewerdine, Nickel Creek and Regina Spektor.

The Sea Atlas, winners of the Calmac Culture 2017 competition, will also be performing their atmospheric folk rock at this year’s festival. From the Western Isles of Scotland this 4 piece draws inspiration from their Scottish surroundings when writing and performing their wealth of original material.

Another coup for the multi-award winning festival is the official launch of the Island’s brand new Tyree Gin taking place over the weekend. This brand new addition to the ‘Hebridean Gin’ is a true taste of Tiree with the flavour being achieved through six locally foraged botanicals which are ground together with Kelp and Sea-Belt from the wild Atlantic Ocean. Tyree was the original spelling for Tiree’s Post Office, established in Scarinish in 1802, the name was changed to Tiree in 1889.

There will also be a special guest performance from Anthony “Anto” Thistlewaite, long-standing member of Irish rock band The Saw Doctors, who will join Tide Lines on stage at this year’s festival.

The multi-instrumentalist was a founding member of The Waterboys and has recorded with the likes of Bob Dylan, Sharon Shannon, Eddi Reader, Chris De Burgh, Robyn Hitchcock, Fairground Attraction and Psychedelic Furs to name a few.

Festival Director, Daniel Gillespie, said: “The countdown is well and truly on! I can’t believe in less than two weeks we will be welcoming an array of talented musicians to the island and also, of course, our inimitable Tiree Music Festival audience! “There are some brilliant up-and-coming acts that are not to be missed this year, alongside some fresh new material from some well-known festival faces. “We can’t wait to welcome Cinemor 77 to the festival this year too, this will be a really unique and memorable experience for our audience who will get to watch some of their favourite artists perform in such an intimate environment!”

Artists confirmed to play the Cinemor 77 Yurt are Siobhan Miller, Robert Robertson, Gentlemen of Few,Have Mercy Las Vegas, Dean Owens and The Whisky Hearts, Tamzene, SophieRogers, Marianne Fraser and The Sea Atlas.

The full 2017 line-up includes Scouting for Girls, Dougie MacLean, FunBox, Skipinnish, Skerryvore, Tide Lines, Siobhan Miller,Gary Innes, JigJam, Gunna Sound, Trail West, Heron Valley, Gentlemen of Few,Have Mercy Las Vegas, Dean Owens and The Whisky Hearts, Dosca, Jam Sandwich, Cornaig Ceilidh Band, DùnMòr, The Defenders,Tamzene, Sophie Rogers, Marianne Fraser and The SeaAtlas.

Fèis Thiriodh 2017 off to a Fantastic Start

The 27th annual Fèis Thiriodh kicked off at the beginning of this week and what a brilliant first couple of days they have been!

The star-studded line up of tutors have been busy tutoring over 100 students who are signed up to the main Fèis, Fèis Bheag and Fèis Bheag Bheag, making Fèis Thiriodh 2017 another fantastically supported event!

The start of the event also marked the start of the summer sun and we have been making the most of the lovely weather, with a variety of sports classes and the younger classes enjoying lessons outside. Fèis Bheag and Fèis Bheag Bheag has again proven very popular with the younger generation, which is very encouraging for the future of the event. Over half of the overall numbers are attending these classes where they have been receiving guest appearances from the music, dance and sport tutors to give them an insight of what is to come when they are age to attend the main workshops. The evening and fringe events have also been a huge hit.

On Monday evening, the first ‘Taste of Tiree – Blasad den Eilean againn’ welcome event was held. Tiree Trust will be running these events for the next 6 weeks, to welcome visitors to the island and the first one was billed as part of the Fèis and was a welcomed addition to the programme. The evening was excellently chaired by local Mabel Macarthur and enjoyed by many who were entertained by a selection of Fèis music tutors and a special highland dance performance from Iona Cairns. This was followed by interesting talks from Dr John Bowler and Dr John Holliday.

Tuesday was billed as the Tutors’ Ceilidh, which is always a fantastic evening of entertainment. Fèis Thiriodh have been very lucky over the years to attract and secure a huge amount of very talented musicians and individuals who work extremely hard over the week, tutoring and entertaining at various evening events. Tuesday’s ceilidh was well attended by the community, who were kept entertained and well informed by the ‘fear an taighe’ for the evening, Seonaidh Charity.

Seonaidh introduced all the acts throughout the evening which included a variety of ceilidh sets led by musical director for the evening, Eilidh MacFadyen on the box. Eilidh was joined by a host of others including, Mairi Innes on guitar, multi-talented musicians, Micheal Steele, Wee Ewan Henderson and Duncan MacDonald who entertained on the pipes, accordion, whistle, flute and drums. We had some wonderful solo singing performances from Alastair Currie, Iona Brown, Linda MacLeod and Johnathan Gillespie, along with a fantastic fiddle set performed by Craig Espie. The tutors were also joined by the tireless, hardworking Fèis committee who took to the stage to help sing this year’s Fèis song, Lag nan Cruachan, which was chosen and dedicated to the late Bernie Smith who was a very active committee member and supporter of Fèis Thiriodh.

As An Tirisdeach goes to print, we will only be half way through the Fèis week. Wednesday will see the event shifting location for a few hours, as they take to the seas and set off on the ‘Muse Cruise’ up to Barra. This is always a very popular event and the good weather looks to be continuing for it. On the return to Tiree, the tutors will be having a few tunes in the Lean To. A family dance will take place on Thursday, in An Talla, followed by the final dance on Friday night.

The band for the evening will include a variety of the tutors, who will be sure to keep you entertained and on your feet throughout the night.

For further information on all the remaining events make sure you check out the website www.feis-thiriodh.com or look out for the official programme which is on sale throughout the island.

Well done to all the committee, tutors and students who have worked to create another fantastic event!

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