Author Archives: admin

Passenger Growth at Highland and Islands Airports Reaches New Heights

Latest figures have revealed a record number of people used Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) airports in 2017, as the group reported 1,722,913 journeys during the year.

The 2017 figures show numbers were up 102,577 on 2016’s total of 1,620,336 people who used the company’s airports across Scotland, an increase of 6.3%. Highlights include a 6.3% increase at Inverness and an 18.9% jump in passenger numbers at the world-renowned Barra Airport which had 14,264 passengers using its beach runway in 2017.

Sumburgh, which serves the Shetlands and the North Sea oil and gas industry, recorded a rise of 13.9% to 386,039 – up 46,948 – continuing the growth it has enjoyed sinceHIAL refurbished the airport and enhanced facilities for offshoreworkers. Orkney’s Kirkwall Airport saw passenger numbers increase by 9.2%to 195,544 from 179,140 in 2016 and Stornoway also saw increased demand with passenger numbers up 4%to 137,103. Tiree, Campbeltown, Benbecula and Islay all reported increases year-on-year.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said the performance of the airports was encouraging and demonstrated the growing demand for regional airport services. Mr Lyon said: “These figures indicate a positive economic outlook for the regions. This illustrates the continuing need for strategic investment across the HIAL operating area.We are working with our colleagues in Transport Scotland to deliver a regional airports network that can grow passenger numbers and has long-term sustainability.

“We continue to see the benefits to passengers of increased connectivity that our airports deliver for the communities they serve.

“We are pleased that the increased numbers at Inverness which has seen strong numbers on the international connecting flights to Amsterdam, Heathrow, Gatwick and Dublin. Sumburgh is performing well on the back of an improving oil and gas industry and our other island airports have also seen encouraging passenger increases.”

Mr Lyon said an anticipated increase in international visitors to Scotland in 2018 could see the strong growth figures continue.

“The UK is very attractive as a destination for visitors benefiting from favourable exchange rates. With the number of connecting flights growing, it means they are better able to arrive in the Highlands and Islands, spend less time travelling and more time enjoying the stunning natural beauty of Scotland and experience the hospitality of the region.”

“HIAL will continue to invest in our airports and we continuously work to improve and enhance the passenger experience for all those who use our facilities.”

Passenger numbers were down 16,029 at Dundee as a result of the withdrawal of the Flybe Amsterdam service by the operator in December 2016. Figures also decreased at Wick by 7,871, due in part to reduced demand from energy sector services to-and-from Aberdeen and offshore platforms.

Scarinish Harbour Set for Emergency Repairs

Tiree Trust is pleased to report that following successful discussions with Marine Scotland we have secured emergency funds to make repairs to Scarinish Harbour. The Harbours’ Steering Group has been working with the Trust for the past 2 years to plan improvements for both Scarinish and Milton Harbours and the Trust is now seeking funds to deliver on those plans.

Marine Scotland has approved a grant of up to £200,000 for urgent repairs at Scarinish Harbour but the work must be completed by 31st March 2018. Discussions have already started with a specialist contractor capable of undertaking the work, which includes pressure grouting the end of the pier to stabilise the structure.

A funding package for Milton, which requires a larger investment of around £1.2m, has not yet been secured but discussions are ongoing with HIE and the European Maritime Fisheries Fund to secure the required funds.

Tiree Flag

The long process to create a community flag for Tiree is finally bearing fruit.

Following Barra,whose new flag, a white Nordic cross on a green background, was given the official seal of approval last year, the Tiree flag competition is now in sight. The competition itself, run by Tiree Community Council, opens at the start of April and will last one month. But there’s no harm starting to think about it now.

A similar contest two years ago in Caithness attracted over three hundred entries from as far afield as Australia and Brazil, and there is no reason why Tiree would not attract more. Young and old are all encouraged to enter. Ideas for a flag can be as simple as a scribble on a piece of paper – it’s the idea behind the scribble that is important. Designs can also be submitted fully drawn or in digital form.

Philip Tibbets from the Flag Institute will be holding workshops on the island at the end of February to show budding designers what they need to do. But designing a flag is harder than it looks! The design needs to be inspired by something fundamental to the island: its colours, its shapes, its thatched houses, its history of emigration, its music or its birdlife. The design also needs to be simple, only two or three colours are recommended, and with no lettering or crests.

Cutting the entries down to six finalists will be done on Monday 4 June, by a panel consisting of the Lord Lyon, Philip Tibbetts, Dr John Holliday, Ian Gillies, Rosemary Omand, Lachie Brown, Iain MacKinnon and Donna MacLean. The public vote will be focused at the Agricultural Show on 20 July, and in the week that follows. Formal approval then comes from the Lord Lyon, the ultimate authority on all things to do with Scottish flags.

Start looking at the Tiree landscape in a new way over the next few weeks and think what elements might make a winning design. It could be yours!

A seasonal ‘Thank You!’ from Tiree Ranger Service

As 2017 draws to a close, I would like to extend sincere thanks to the following members of our community:

William Welstead very kindly auctioned his compete collection of “Birds of the Western Palearctic” to raise funds for Tiree Ranger Service. These beautiful books are now in the hands of a professional marine surveyor – so they should be put to fine use! This was an incredibly generous gift, and I look forward to finding an exciting project for the resulting funds in 2018. Thank you, Bill.

Earlier in 2017, William Welstead also donated a second telescope to Tiree Ranger Service, for use during my guided walks and events. This second piece of equipment was extremely helpful during a recent visit from the North Argyll Carers Association; all of whom were keen to learn more about Tiree’s bird life, and to see as many of Loch a’ Phuill’s denizens as possible.

Dr John Holliday has been a generous donor of his time (for both our Welcome Evenings and our Hiking through History walks), plus two additional pairs of binoculars. As with Bill’s equipment, these extra sets came in very handy with larger groups; helping each guest to get maximum enjoyment from their experience.

John Bottomley gifted a generous amount to Nàdair Thiriodh with his membership subscription. These funds will be pooled with the book proceeds, and they were gratefully received.

Many local residents have donated their time and energy to support access work (such as the overhaul that has been completed at Balevullin carpark), and to assist with the delivery of Tiree’s Great Yellow Bumblebee Project.

I am delighted to tell you that our Nàdair Thiriodh website now boasts a brand-new project page, and a sumptuously illustrated project brochure. Many thanks to Janet Bowler, Colin Woodcock and Fiona Dix for their outstanding work here.

Finally, I would like to thank the photographers that have kindly waived charges for the use of their images. It would be infinitely harder to attract interest and support for our work without these exceptional pictures: They act to inspire our audience by demonstrating why Tiree is so deserving of protection. Image donors include: Fiona Armstrong, John Bowler, Tony Davison, Christine Hall, Ian Morrison, Steve Nagy, Malcolm Steel, Colin Woodcock and Richard Whitson.

This ‘Thank You’ has been taken from the Nadair Thiriodh blog which can be accessed by becoming a member of Nadair Thiriodh, please go to www.friendsoftiree.org.uk for more information.

Low speeds

As many are aware, Tiree’s internet isn’t exactly wonderful, but it does the job.

This past month we had reason to submit a ticket about our speed as it had gone from 1.5MBps down to a terrible 0.4MBps. This impacts me personally, as I run a shop online and need to be able to see orders and update listings.

We had a phone call from our provider last night (We don’t use Tiree Broadband, we’re getting ours via the phone line), saying that BT had brought in a new rule. They now have a minimum speed for areas, and unless the speed drops to that or below, they will not investigate. For Balemartine, perhaps Tiree, it is 0.2MBps. We’ve had that speed once, when we moved to the island. You can’t open a page with images; Facebook (where a lot of communication on the island happens), won’t open; you’ll have to try a few times to even open email clients.

I know that BT struggle to keep up with issues, but I think it terrible that the way they address this is to set such a low limit that people with online businesses suffer, as will the school’s pupils at home. They won’t be able to load educational videos, contact their friends online, or load pages such as Wikipedia.

 

Jacqui Bennett

Community Bulb Planting

As you may remember from previous An Tirisdeach editions, Tiree was very kindly gifted a selection of planting tulips earlier this year, from a Aad van Ruiten, a bulb expert based in Holland who had links to Tiree through Dr Robert Nisbet.

Mr van Ruiten explained in his letter that he planned to visit Tiree in 2018 having been fascinated by the bulb project (The Hebridean Bulb Growers Ltd.) that took place on Tiree throughout the late 1950s. Along with the letter, Mr van Ruiten had enclosed over 100 tulip bulbs which he had suggested could be planted somewhere on the island as a homage to the project.

Last Saturday a small group got together and planted the bulbs within the grounds of the Business Centre, located in Crossapol. There are two patches just at the entrance to the grounds which will hopefully come into bloom in Spring time.

Well done to all involved, let’s hope they make for a nice display for Mr van Ruiten’s visit next year.

Youth the Focus for Tiree Music Festival as it Announces New Elevate Stage

Once again, Tiree Music Festival Early bird tickets have proven very popular, selling out by Monday evening following Saturday’s ticket release. The award-winning festival has sold out every year since 2010 with next year’s dates confirmed as Friday 13th – Sunday 15th July 2018.

Brand-new to TMF 2018 will be the ELEVATE STAGE. This new outdoor stage will showcase the best talent on the Scottish music scene with its line-up focusing on up-and-coming Scottish artists. As well as opportunities for young musicians, the festival is offering a unique opportunity for an aspiring artistic programmer to shape this new stage alongside the Festival’s Directors. Applications will open on Monday 27th November for young people from across Scotland to apply for an Artistic Director Internship role for the ELEVATE STAGE programming. Anyone aged between 18 and 26 can apply for this position and will work with the TMF team between January and July 2018. Prospective applicants should keep an eye on TMF’s social media pages for more information.

The ELEVATE STAGE at Tiree Music Festival 2018 is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund, managed by Event Scotland and part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. During 2018 Scotland will put its young people in the spotlight, celebrating their talents, contributions and creating new opportunities for them to shine. The Year of Young People 2018 is a year-long programme of events and activities that will give young people in Scotland the opportunity to show the world what they are made of.

TMF has always prided itself on being a family friendly festival and 2018’s festival will see the introduction of a creative programme for young people and their families. As part of this there will be workshops, sport, music and culture that are all focused on four core elements that are a key part of life on Tiree – Sun, Sand, Wind and Water. The Island of Tiree is often dubbed “The Hawaii of the North” and with picture-perfect white sands and world-famous surf, a trip to Tiree Music Festival is a real Island adventure. Tiree has been described as one of the most stunning festival locations in the world and each year it welcomes world-class musicians from Scotland and beyond.

Daniel Gillespie, Festival Director of Tiree Music Festival, said: “We are really excited to be part of The Year of Young People 2018 and to create an opportunity through the brand new ELEVATE STAGE for young people to really show what they are made of, both through the artistic direction of the programming and the young artists performing on the stage itself. “I know from my own experiences how important it is to be given the right opportunities from an early age and The Year of Young People is a fantastic initiative to give all our young people a real chance to shine, both on a local, national and international stage, and we are really delighted to be a small part of it.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Tiree Music Festival in 2018 as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People. The festival, which always provides a wonderfully family friendly atmosphere will provide even more opportunities for young people and families to get involved in a range of different activities as part of the 2018 festival. “The addition of the new ELEVATE STAGE will give young people from across Scotland the chance to showcase their unique talents, and the exciting opportunity for a young person to be part of the artistic director internship is a fantastic way to spotlight young people’s talents and contributions during this special year.”

The Tiree Association – Annual Gathering 2017

The 117th Tiree Association Annual Gathering was held last weekend in Glasgow, with both The Concert and the evening Dance being hugely successful.

The traditional November gathering has stuck to the same structure for many years, with the concert being held on the Thursday evening followed by a dance on the Friday. This year’s concert was held in Partick Burgh Halls, with record numbers in attendance. There was standing room only as the crowd were kept entertained by their chairperson for the evening, Angus MacPhail. Angus did a fantastic job of introducing the evening’s performances, many of whom were treated to a witty poetic rhyme coined by the chairman himself. He talked proudly about the Association giving us an insight into past concerts and their chair people, which he had come across while researching information for the event. He spoke extremely highly of the quality of musicians who were due to perform, none of whom disappointed throughout the event.

The night was kicked off by our President Ian Smith, who extended a warm welcome to all in attendance, giving us a quick run-down of the evening’s activities and reminding everyone about the Songbook Project and Launch which was to take place the following Saturday. Throughout the evening we were treated to some very fine performances, tunes and sets from the highly talented Rowan Brothers, with Kyle on accordion and Alan on keys. Both boys have previously been awarded top spots at national Mods, and it was very clear to see why. It is also safe to say that the boys received their musical talents from their father, Gordon Rowan who was the Association Piper for the evening, introducing both halves of the event. Angus went on to congratulate Gordon on becoming the Director of the Army School of Piping and Highland Drumming, a position he took up in late 2016.

As Angus pointed out in his introductions, it is fair to say that the Tiree Association concerts have always managed to secure a fantastic standard of musicians to perform and the 2017 event was no different. We were entertained by three different singers throughout the evening, hearing from a man with strong Tiree connections, Norman MacKinnon who treated us to some beautiful Gaelic singing. Next up was one of this year’s BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist, Kim Carnie, who has a truly beautiful voice, again singing in Gaelic and English. Angus had plenty of interesting stories to tell about the last singer, Robert Robertson, who of course used to play alongside him in Skipinnish. Robert mesmerised the crowd with beautiful renditions of Gaelic and English songs. Many of the singers were accompanied by the regular Association pianist Kathryn Callander who did a fantastic job of accompanying the singers and also leading a sing along session, which the crowd all enjoyed and got involved in.

As the evening came to a close, we were reminded about the exciting Tiree Songbook launch which was taking place on Saturday (more about that below) before the vote of thanks from the Vice President, Margaret MacKinnon, who took the opportunity to thank everyone who made the concert so successful. This included all of the performers from the evening, Angus as chairperson; all of the committee who assisted in putting on another fantastic event; to Susan Weir who very kindly baked the dumpling and shortbread; to all who donated very generous raffle prizes; and to all those who came along to the event.

The following evening, we were off to another west end venue, the Glasgow University Union, where the annual dance was taking place. Again, numbers for this year’s event were at a record high, with the dance selling out on the Monday prior. Our very own Trail West were the band of choice, with President Ian taking to the box for the evening. He was accompanied by Alain Campbell on guitar and whistle, Seonaidh MacIntyre on whistle, pipes and vocals and Andrew Findlater on drums. The boys fairly entertained the crowd with the dance floor packed for each dance – young and old taking to the floor. The dance went on until the smaller hours of the morning, with committee members receiving excellent feedback about the event.

Much like all Island gatherings, the Park Bar is often a pit stop for islanders, with another Tiree band entertaining the crowd throughout the weekend. Gunna Sound, led by Campbell Brown and Johnny Scoular were in residence over the weekend, which proved to be very popular.

Another meeting point for many Tirisdich. The Saturday saw the launch of the Tiree Songbook, which was extremely well attended. Donald Iain has provided us with an update, within this edition. Overall, it is fair to say that the 117th Annual Gathering was another fantastic success. A great opportunity for many Tirisdich and connected Tirisdich to meet with old and new friends. The gathering weekend is a great testimony to The Tiree Association and its committee who do a fantastic job of creating such wonderful events.

The next upcoming event is the now annual Burns Supper which is taking place in Ralston Community Centre on Saturday the 28th of January. Stay tuned for more information regarding that.

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.

1 2 3 4 5 55