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Tiree Ranger Service News

Sun, Sea and… Soil?

I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the community members who volunteered their time, tools and energy to overhaul the Balevullin parking area. The work was completed on a beautifully bright day, with an abundance of biscuits and good humour. The erosion pits have been filled and levelled, and the rope boundary has been moved inward from the steeply sloping section. A number of vehicles rolled down onto the beach this year. Fortunately, no one was injured (and how grateful we are for that) but this is obviously extremely dangerous. For safety reasons, the parking area has been re-marked to reduce the risk of this happening again. The posts to be extracted had the hallmark of Steve Nagy quality; whereby, like icebergs, only 10% is visible at the surface (the other 90% being set in dry cement, and practically scraping Australia). Rob Trythall reigned champion as the fastest post-digger in the west; setting most of our new boundary within the hour. John Bowler then had the opportunity to re-visit his trusty Cub Scout knot, and is likely still fiddling with it as we speak. I’m not 100% clear on whether the ‘rabbit’ goes up the tree or into the pond: Suspect John isn’t either… A huge ‘Thank You’ is also due to Lachie Brown, who very kindly transported the soil into the parking area for us – cutting down some serious wheelbarrow miles. Lachie’s help made an enormous difference to the logistics of completing this job, and allowed us to finish the task in one sitting. As the repairs establish themselves, can I ask that users avoid driving over them where possible. For the winter period, the space on the opposite side of the graveled track within the parking area should be sufficient for most occasions. With kind wishes and thanks again to all those who gave up their time; I am extremely grateful.

Tiree Access Forum

The Tiree Access Forum is made up of individuals from a range of different organisations and backgrounds. Those represented currently include: Argyll & Bute Council, Argyll Estates, Discover Tiree, island business owners, RSPB, SNH, TCDT, TRD, Tiree Ranger Service and local watersports operators/participants.

To ensure that the access forum remains representative of our community (and the cross-section of different viewpoints and interests within it) I would like to reiterate that this group is open to all. Please contact me on: ranger{@}tireetrust.org.uk if:

• You can attend our meetings reasonably regularly

• You are interested in access issues on Tiree

• You would like to find out more about how these issues are discussed

• You would like to share your own thoughts and ideas

• You would like to help steer access outcomes

We meet once a month; normally on a Thursday evening, between 19:30 and 21:30. If you cannot commit to regular meetings, I am happy to discuss access queries by email, telephone (074) or in person. I can then raise these matters for discussion at the next session. Remember: we cannot discuss concerns that aren’t raised. There are also many different viewpoints, interests and considerations to balance between different agencies and users.

With thanks and warm wishes to all, Stephanie.

Rubbish Dumping

I read with interest the Tiree Community Council update published in issue 659.

With regard to the paragraph on rubbish dumping and refuse collection, there is indeed a problem which has to be addressed.

The suggestion however that a commercial uplift for all holiday houses be made compulsory is inequitable. Not all second home owners let their homes and it is the multiple let properties which cause the problem.

Graeme Lees, Greenhill.

Tiree Skiff

There has been a lot of interest in building a St Ayles skiff on Tiree since the subject came up last month.

Tiree Maritime Trust has therefore decided to fire the starting gun and work will start in The Noust in Scarinish in the second week in January.

After several extremely generous donations, we are on the way towards raising our target of £3,500 for the kits, wood and glues.

We would like to sell seventy £50 shares in the boat, and have already sold ten. If you are interested in buying a share of your community’s boat, please go to www.tireemaritimetrust.org.uk where in the right hand column there is a donations button. Please let me know if you do this, so I can keep a list of supporters and donors. If you are eligible for Gift Aid, you can get the form from me.

We have had a number of kind offers of help from a whole range of people. If you have some time to help build this beautiful boat between January and June, let me know. I am told chocolate cake is an important ingredient for projects like this!

An extra ingredient was added when Coll decided they would like to build one too. The race is on!

Tiree Community Council

At our November meeting, we welcomed Jamie McGrigor, one of our new Argyll and Bute councillors. We talked about the cuts that the Council were threatening to make. Sir James said that the Council would not know the exact figure until early December, but the situation was unlikely to be as bad as recent newspaper headlines had suggested. There were unlikely to be any compulsory redundancies. We made the point that Tiree had had more than its fair share of cuts recently, and that we were not going to accept any further ones.

There have been rumours about the Council closing many of its public toilets; toilets are something that Councils do not legally have to provide. We had previously registered an interest in investigating taking the Scarinish toilets into community ownership. We needed to see the fine print, however, in particular whether there would be any funds to renovate them and keep them serviced. We also need to find an organisation on the island that would be happy to run them.

We had been sent a letter from someone concerned that police cover had not been sufficient while our regular policeman was away. We had been very concerned by the description of the incident and had contacted senior police management. We had been impressed that we had been put through straightaway to speak to the Divisional Chief Superintendent. She and her deputy have arranged to come to the island at the beginning of December to discuss the incidents with the Community Council in person.

We have been concerned with the length of time taken by the opening of the new public library. We contacted the organisation that now runs libraries, LiveArgyll. The manager of the service apologised for the delay, telling us that he had been unable to authorise the painting and new shelving for the Old Police Station until the school had reported that they were satisfied with their own move into the room that had housed the school library. Pat McCann, the Business Operations Manager told us that he “was confident that we can have the library operational by the end of [October].”

We have been nagging the Council for twelve months to replace the rusted railings at the War Memorial in Scarinish. After ignoring repeated requests from us, we have now got a reply from a Council officer, who told us he had been let down by a contractor, but that the Council was now going to use its own staff.

There have been a number of further requests to reinstate the recycling and rubbish bins outside the dump, for those occasions when the dump is closed. The bins were removed after asbestos and other unsuitable items were stuffed into them earlier in the year. We still want to talk to the Council officials involved, and Jamie promised that he would put us in touch.

We talked again about the sale of land at Pier View to MacLeod Construction, rather than to the community groups that had put in offers. We had written to HIE, and their Argyll manager had promised to visit the island so that we could put our points in person.

A number of people had contacted us telling us how disappointed they had been in the recent visit by Brendan O’Hara, our MP. His mailing arrived the day before his arrival, and his surgery had only been scheduled to last one hour. We have written to Mr O’Hara, but so far have not received a reply.

We have been trying to get to the bottom of why Loganair is not able to schedule the larger SAAB aircraft if the number of passengers is too high for the Twin Otter. This is still work in progress.

We agreed to appoint a (non-voting) Advisory Member to boost our numbers.

Dr John Holliday, Ian Gillies, Jessie Gray and John MacCaskill were present. Rosemary Omand and Aisling Milne sent their apologies.

If you want to raise any points with us, please get in touch at doc.holliday@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

Tiree Success at Lochaber Mod

We are happy to report that Tiree was well represented at this year’s Royal National Mod, held in Lochaber.

Five local school children took part in competitions, having spent the last few months learning their pieces. Saturday saw the start of the competitions and we were delighted to hear that Emily Armstrong received a Bronze Medal in the under 13s Piano Instrumental. This is not the first-time Emily has competed in the Mod, having also received a medal at last year’s event in Stornoway – Well Done Emily.

On Monday, another two Tiree girls took to the stage, with Martha Campbell (P3) receiving a 4th in the 7-8-year-old Girls’ singing competition. Her sister Anna (P1) also performed in her singing age group and received excellent feedback from both judges.

On Tuesday the two remaining Tiree High School pupils performed with Kieran MacDonald (P6) competing in the Boys’ Singing competition. He wasn’t placed for a medal, however he received an excellent score and feedback for his performance. Lucy Kennedy (P3) was competing in the Girls’ Singing for her age group and received a Silver medal for her performance, a fantastic achievement for her first time at a National Mod!

Many congratulations to all children who took part, a very nerve-wracking experience for many. They all did exceptionally well and we hope to hear them perform on a stage closer to home in the near future.

It wasn’t just the children taking part in this year’s Mod, as local singer Ishbel Campbell took to the stage to compete in the singing competitions, with great success! Ishbel was awarded a host of prizes, picking up one of the top accolades, the Silver Pendant – a very well deserved award. She qualified for the final having already won a first and second place in the qualifying competitions. Furthermore, Ishbel was also awarded an additional three prizes, receiving the Catherine Gemmel Memorial Trophy for the female with the highest marks, The Morag Robb Memorial Salver for the highest aggregate marks in Gaelic and the John A MacRae Quaich for highest aggregate marks in Music. What a fantastic achievement and massive well done to Ishbel for winning such well-deserved awards.

A variety of other Tiree connected youngsters had successes at this year’s competitions. Kyle Rowan (Grandson of Catriona Rowan, Crossapol) received a Bronze and a Gold Medal in two different under 19 year old accordion competitions. Seona Brown (Daughter of Donald Iain and Elaine Brown, Crossapol) also received a host of different prizes within her categories, a third for singing, a second for fluent conversation, storytelling and singing and a first place for poetry recital. Very well done to both.

Both this years’ Mens’ and Ladies’ Gold Medal Winners were won by familiar Tiree faces. With Alastair Currie from Islay, receiving Gold for the Men and Rachel Walker receiving the female award. For the past few years Alastair has been the singing tutor at Feis Thiriodh (let’s hope he has been passing on his singing talent to his Tiree students) and Rachel is of course known as being part of Skipinnish.

A massive well done to all who competed and won awards at this year’s Royal National Mod, a fantastic achievement and experience for all.

Next year’s event is being held in Dunoon, let’s hope we will be reporting on further successes then.

Storm Ophelia Creates a Buzz for the 31st Tiree Wave Classic

The 31st annual Tiree Wave Classic took place last weekend and what a week they had!

The island has been buzzing since the start of October, as wind surfers from all over the world flocked to Tiree to start their preparation for the Wave Classic Competition. The event officially got going on Sunday the 15th of October, as Storm Ophelia made her way across the Atlantic, providing some of the best conditions the event has seen in recent years.

The Tiree Wave Classic is classed as one of the UK’s premier windsurfing event, with professional surfers travelling many miles to take part in the event. Tiree, with huge beaches covering the coast line, makes for the perfect destination for the sport and event.With many competitors classing it as one of their favourite competitions to compete in.

This year’s event was again organised and run by local Watersports’ company, Wild Diamond, run by William-Angus MacLean who has dedicated most of his life to the sport, creating a very successful business, getting involved with the local Wind and Watersports’ Club and now organising a world class event. William-Angus is supported by an excellent team of individuals who helped to create the 2017 event. An Talla acted as this year’s event HQ, which was a hive of activity. Elephants End Café was running throughout the week, serving a host of lovely meals, the Windswept Bar was opened for business offering home brewed ales and spirits, Tiree’s newest creation, Hebri Boards, created by David, Claire and Max Vale, were on show along with Wild Diamond merchandise and Wave Classic staff who were happy to chat about the event and what was going on throughout the week.

A variety of beaches and locations were used over the week, as is the case with Tiree, the wind direction can alter dramatically within the space of a few hours. The Maze, Balephuil, Crossapol and Gott were all used throughout the week, with the Masters, Amateurs, Men’s & Ladies Professionals and Youth competitions all taking to the waves. 22 sailors took part in the competition including several international sailors.

Kyle McGinn took first place in the Masters, Lucas Meldrum in the Amateurs and Sarah Hilder received a first in the Ladies Professionals, picking up a Tiree Wave Classic Sword. Fresh from scooping a 5th place at the World Tour, Adam Lewis received the Wave Classic Sword for the men’s professionals. Scotland’s budding Youth Windsurfers were also taking part in this years’ event, with Ruaraidh Sommerville taking the top spot this year. The RYA Scotland Youth Camp was running throughout the week, with the younger generation getting the opportunity to work on their skills and techniques.

The RYA camp was an excellent experience for the younger sailors, as they got the opportunity to meet with a variety of the Professional riders and hear about their wind surfing journey and career. Wild Diamond Staff member and summer local Tristan Levie this year competed in the Professional competition, having previously been involved in the amateurs. Tristan was placed 8th out of a fleet of 22 sailors, which is a fantastic achievement for his class, going up against some of the strongest professional competition, all in his first year!

The closing party took place on Friday night, with all winners being awarded their swords and awards and Tiree’s newest budding musicians, Sean MacCallum, Kieran and Kyle Munn took to the stage to entertain the crowds. Massive congratulations to all the competitors and winners of this year’s event and a big well done to William Angus and all involved in creating another fantastic event. Let’s hope we get the same conditions next year!

For further pictures, videos and information make sure you check out all the action on Facebook or online at www.tireewaveclassic.co.uk

Help shape future of Argyll and Bute

People in Argyll and Bute will be asked to give their views on a simple, flexible, deliverable vision for the area.

Argyll and Bute Council is preparing a new Local Development Plan (LDP2), which will set out its planning and development proposals for the next 10 years from 2020 and a vision for 20 years. We are asking people to give us their views on the proposals. They can be viewed online from 16 October to 11 December.

We will be asking people to give us their views. The consultation opens on Monday via our website and there will be drop-in sessions for the public. The public consultation, called the Main Issues Report, is the first stage of the process to develop a new Local Development Plan. This report sets out, through a series of questions, how the proposed new LDP2 might differ from the existing Local Development Plan and asks people’s views on those proposals. The results of the consultation will then be used to inform a draft LDP2 so it is important that people get involved in the process at this stage and express their views via our website or at one of our drop-in sessions.

The Main Issues Report is the first consultation document in the process of producing a new LDP2 and poses questions as to what it might contain. Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services, Councillor David Kinniburgh, said:

“There are many positive developments being made across Argyll and Bute at the moment and the Local Development Plan is designed to stimulate economic and population growth. For example, we recently opened the new North Pier Pontoons at Oban which are already proving popular and bringing an economic boost to Argyll and Bute.

“The increasingly successful seafood and marine industries can be built on and over the next few years we will also see a significant employment and population boost in the Helensburgh and Lomond area with the development of HMNB Clyde as the UK’s single submarine base. In the preparation of this Local Development Plan our aim is to build on the successes already achieved to make Argyll and Bute an attractive place in which to live, work, invest and do business in.”

Some of the main ideas posed by the consultation include:

• Making the whole plan more simple, flexible and deliverable

• Identifying fewer but more deliverable potential development sites and relying on wider village and town boundaries to allow other development to come forward flexibly

• Encouraging population and economic growth in Lorn and Mull by designating a flexible growth corridor from Tobermory through Oban to Dalmally

• Exploring a solution to traffic management and parking issues within and around Oban

• Designating Helensburgh and Lomond as a flexible growth corridor, in order to deliver the opportunities for economic and population growth presented by increasing investment and activity at HMNB Clyde

• Promoting and supporting our growing economic sectors of tourism, seafood and marine-related industries, distilling, forestry and energy

• Adopting a more flexible approach to development in our non-environmentally protected countryside

• Focusing on regeneration in our main towns of Rothesay, Campbeltown, and Dunoon to help support the local economy and population growth

• Explore the possibility of a new National Park on Argyll’s west coast and its islands.

More detail on all these issues and others can be found at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/ldp2 and we welcome your views. We will use your feedback from this process to develop a draft of the replacement LDP2 during 2018 and that will then undergo further consultation at that stage.

Tiree’s Sensational Surfer Heads to Japan

Tiree local Ben Larg has this week returned from competing in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships held in Hyuga, Japan.

Ben was part of the Scottish team taking part in the event which included himself, competing in both the under 18s and under 16 competition. Ben was joined by fellow Scot, Peter Laing from Edinburgh who took part in the under 18 section. Earlier this year Ben was crowned Scotland’s under 18 year old Surfing Champion, a massive achievement for a boy of only 12 years old! It was a no brainer, that Ben would then be part of the Scotland team that was chosen to represent our country in Japan.

The ISA World Junior Championship is the largest surfing contest in the world and has launched the careers of many top professional surfers. The event in Japan will define the future stars of surfing, some of whom could be the first surfers to represent their country in the Olympic Games, as surfing makes its debut at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

The Scottish team arrived in Japan last Friday, after setting off from Tiree and Edinburgh. Ben was joined by his dad and coach Marti Larg along with a representative from The Scottish Surfing Federation who have been supporting both boys throughout their surfing careers. The opening ceremony took place on Saturday, where each team was introduced, proudly flying their flags and decanting their own locally sourced sand.

The competitions begun on Sunday with over 40 countries taking part in a variety of heats. Ben and Peter put in an excellent effort within each heat they took part in, before both were eliminated in round one of the repechage heat – a heat dedicated to those that have marginally failed to meet the requirements within the qualifying round. Ben was only 2 points away from the other two competitors who advanced to the next stage. Considering Ben still has 4 years to compete within the under 16 competition, I’m more than sure he will at some point achieve a top spot at an International level.

For a boy of only 12 years old it is fair to say that Ben has already achieved a huge amount in the world of surfing, already being crowned the Scottish Champion – I am sure he will only continue to improve as the years go on.

Congratulations to Ben who did a fantastic job of representing his country. We hope he continues to do so over the next few years and I look forward to reporting on his next surfing achievement, which I am sure will come very soon! Well done once again.

Ultra Marathon Kindness

I’ve just returned from running the Tiree Ultra and wanted to thank everyone on Tiree for being such incredible hosts.

Of course huge thanks to Will, and every member of his team who made it happen, stood out in the wind and rain to marshal, cheered us on and welcomed us back with such enthusiasm. I was also lucky enough to be the recipient of kindness from many other people on the island – when my bike fell apart 5 minutes after getting off the ferry, a gentleman whose name I didn’t catch kindly picked me up from the roadside and drove me to Millhouse Hostel.

David at the hostel went back to fetch my bike and gave it a good enough fix that I didn’t have to abandon it.

Neil, who just happened to be driving the right way at the right time, drove me back to the hostel after the run, and then gave me a lift to the ferry the next morning, which my weary legs were hugely grateful for!

Thanks of course to the landowners who let 200+ muddy feet tramp across their land and many other people who I probably haven’t even thought of but who helped it all happen. The ultra showcases not just the incredible natural beauty of the island, but also its amazing people – thank you!

Sue Gyford

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