Category Archives: Community Announcements

Tiree Community Council Makes History

First Public Meeting On Island by Teleconference

The screen was a mosaic of faces, taking turns to raise their hands to speak. This was the new face of democracy on Tiree.

Unable to hold public meetings due to coronavirus, Tiree Community Council held its May public meeting using the Zoom videoconferencing tool.

First reactions were positive. Twenty two devices tuned in from the public, some with a number of people huddled around the screen or phone; this is actually more than we get in An Talla.

One of the councillors, Ian Gillies, joined us from his lockdown in Ayrshire, while members of the public logged on from as far afield as Hampshire and Yorkshire. It had been two months since our March meeting, and they had been long months. The council had met over Zoom twice in that time to confront the threat of the coronavirus crisis, and the minutes of these private meetings are now up on our website.

Tiree Community Council had been one of the founders (along with Argyll and Bute Council, the Trust and Cùram) of the island’s volunteer group, TAIC, which is so ably led by Rona Campbell. We had set up the new Tiree food project Solar. We had helped Tiree Medical Practice in their preparations for the epidemic. And we had been part of the Trust’s ‘No One Left Behind’ project to make sure everyone can be connected to the new digital age.

Doctors Mike and Lindsay spoke about huge changes in the island’s medical practice. Numbers of coronavirus cases on Tiree have fallen to very low levels over the past three weeks, but they asked people to be patient with the lockdown as we were not out the woods yet.

The practice is starting to use Near Me, an NHS video consulting service, which allows doctors to connect to patients at home. This is proving very successful; one obvious challenge is making sure every household has a suitable smart phone, tablet or computer – and the skills to use them. They emphasised that the problem now was that some patients were worried about bothering the doctor or going to hospital at the moment, and therefore people were not getting the treatment they needed in time. Their message: we’re open for business as usual, but we’re just doing things slightly differently.

Don McKillop, CalMac’s local Area Operations Manager also joined us. He told us about the new Emergency Lifeline Timetable, giving the island three boats a week. This number of vessels was the bare minimum to cope with current levels of shop supplies, fuel, animal feed, fertiliser, and the increased volume of parcels. Cars travelling to Tiree were now stopped at ‘Box 1′ outside the marshalling area and asked for documents to show that the occupants had a valid reason for travel. This is proof of residence on the island and photo ID. Foot passengers have to do the same at the ticket desk. The staff had turned some cars away when the measures first came in, but there had been no disallowed visits over the last few weeks, and Don thought travellers were getting the message. The system wasn’t perfect; the Calmac staff had no civil powers to back up their position. But passenger numbers on the Tiree route were down 97%. The ELT is set to last until 31 May when it will be reviewed. This is a crucial question for the summer. We received a letter from a constituent who emphasised how important it was to safeguard the residents of our old peoples’ home, and asking us to endorse the Scottish Government’s advice to wear cloth facial coverings in shops where the two-metre distance might be breached. We were happy to do this.

We had also been sent a letter asking us to support an island Hardship Fund at this time. We agreed with this idea, and will take it up, in the first instance, with the Trust, which has the necessary funds. We had been asked if the Tiree waste disposal site could re-open in a limited way. On enquiry, closure was a national policy decision, and the local council staff have no discretion in the matter.

If you have any issues you want us to address, please contact me. The next public TCC meeting will be in June. You can join us with a computer, tablet, or any phone from the comfort of your living room!

Tiree Ranger News

Hiya folks, Hope you are all doing well? We had a cracking spell of weather there but it has gone pure baltic again!

Certainly, seeing the seasons change now and Tiree’s greenery is coming to life. The Sea Pink is in bloom around the coast and Cuckoo Flower and Bog Bean in the marshy areas. So, what have I been up to instead of my events and visitor management. Well I’ve been out checking all the signage to see what needs to be changed, familiarising myself with the odd bit of the island I haven’t properly explored yet, recording signs of Otters right across the island and buzzing around in my wee van delivering shopping and scrubs for TAIC. Few other bits and pieces too for when we hopefully can meet up again.

The birdlife is increasing around the island too with 4 Corncrakes calling from my front door, Linnet and Blackbirds on nests in next door’s garden and hundreds of waders on the beaches. The numbers of Fulmars were building up on Kenevara a few weeks back and it’s time to turn our eyes to the sea. For the last two weeks, the seals have been very active around the island. Most nights I’ve watched the colony at Ruaig playing and porpoising in the bay. They have been doing this at Salum and Balephetrish as well.

Next month, the Commons will start pupping so please be careful and try and to avoid disturbing them if you see them resting on the skerries. There have been a few sightings of Basking Sharks away from Tiree and it won’t be long until these giants are back around the island. If you spot any please let me know.

Finally, I just want to say thank you to you all. I’ve now been on the Island for 6 months. Applying for the Ranger post came about by chance. I was rooted on the mainland but after 9 years working for the council and seeing the changes happening in the Ranger Service and the reduction in our roles there I wasn’t happy anymore. Fast forward to now and the kindness and help that everyone has given me from the MacDonalds and Flora at Ruaig, locals around the island and to my work colleagues, has shown to me that I have made the right decision. Thank you, it means a lot.

Until next time…

Hayley Douglas – Tiree Ranger

Tiree Association News

We hope you are all keeping well, during these uncertain times.

We would normally be in the throes of organising our Annual General Meeting and summer events programme, however we are disappointed to announce that we have had to postpone and cancel all upcoming summer events, due to restrictions and uncertainty regarding Covid19.

Our AGM gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past year, event highlights, community contributions and give thanks to you all for the continued support. We have taken the decision to postpone this meeting and we will reschedule it when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, if you would like any further updates or information or would be interested in joining the committee, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

As already mentioned, we have also taken the decision to cancel our programme of summer events, including the annual Sports Day, which is a highlight of the Tiree Summer Calendar along with the concert and dance. We are disappointed that we won’t be able to go ahead with either event this year and we hope to be back with lots of activity in the Summer of 2021.

Our Annual Gathering Concert and Dance are scheduled to go ahead on Thursday the 19th and Friday the 20th of November. We very much hope that we will be able to go ahead with both of these events and will be monitoring the situation and Government advice over the upcoming months. We do hope that you are all keeping safe and well. If you’d like any further information please contact us on any of the details below.

Boost coming for the Hynish Heritage Centre and Tiree community

The Hebridean Trust was founded to celebrate our island’s strong heritage, culture and language.

Recognising the unique buildings and history we have in Hynish, they renovated what is now the Hynish Heritage Centre and linked exhibitions into what stands today.

The Hebridean Trust has always been led from Oxford: but in a move to really engrain the Hynish Heritage Centre within the social and economic structure of the Tiree community and maximise the use so it’s a real resource, the registered office and administration will relocate to Tiree this year. Trudy MacKenzie, Tish MacKinnon and Rosaleen Campbell have been appointed as new Trustees to support the move: while also working with the existing Trustees to develop the long term vision for the centre and attracting funding to bring the ideas to life. We’ll continue to share more details as we move forward.

It’s also exciting to announce that these changes will bring future job opportunities and create an excellent community hub for us to shout about and attract tourism when the time is right. A project support team has been built with the aim of involving as many Tiree people as we can to really boost the projects and get them up and running. To date the team includes Mark Vale who will focus on IT and the website, Jennifer MacKinnon driving Marketing, Fiona MacKinnon leading on Finance and Jane Isaacson will be supporting on funding.

We’re developing a lot of partnerships on and off the island and have spoken to a range of local bodies, local businesses and individuals about the options for the future. The response, support and ideas so far have been really heartening.

As a tourism and hospitality business we’ve closely followed the Governments COVID-19 advice, and just as we’re seeing other businesses around the world take a pause – we are too. Although a challenging time, it does give us the opportunity to plan and get everything in place. Our great onsite team, Fiona and Christel, are focusing on their individual online training plans until we can safely re-open.

We would love to hear from you if you have any ideas or would like to get involved in whatever capacity – from supporting the projects, to partnerships. Involving locals and people with a strong Tiree connection is key to making Hynish everything it can be.

Contact: Tish on 07887 726542 or via email

Photo By M J Richardson, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4508006

Council leader welcomes ferry funding for Argyll and Bute

The Leader of Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed an additional £954,000 from the Scottish Government for island ferry services.

Councillor Aileen Morton said: “Argyll and Bute Council delivers a number of services other councils don’t have to, for example ferry services. We have been doing a lot of work therefore to raise awareness of Argyll and Bute’s unique challenges with decision-makers. I am pleased that the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands listened to what we had to say and is providing an additional £954,000 for Argyll and Bute Council ferry services. £500,000 of this funding will be used to provide a new ferry for Lismore; the rest will support the continuation of ferry services to a number of our islands.”

The Leader and Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council met with Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands in January this year.

The announcement comes in advance of the Council setting next year’s budget this Thursday 27 February. Councillor Morton said: “We’re glad to see our island ferry services receive fair funding. While we will continue to discuss the potential transfer to Transport Scotland this funding removes one element of the financial pressures we face this year.”

Rural Centre Public Access Defibrillator Launched

Following the Cattle Sale held on Tuesday 25th February, Tiree Rural Development’s public access Automated external defibrillator (AED) was launched. Due to an issue with the supply of an outdoor cabinet to house the unit, which would withstand Tiree’s weather – the project launch date was delayed.

Archie John MacLean (TRD Director) made a speech after the sale to provide information regarding this project. Funds were raised, through various donations and a grant provided by the British Heart Foundation.

Thanks were given to the project donors – United Auctions, I A MacKinnon Haulage, Hamilton Brothers, NFU Mutual Oban (Warnock, MacDougall, Husthwaite & MacLean), AJ MacLean, Coll & Tiree Vets, AA MacIntosh, John Kennedy Transport, T Barbour, Alan & Janette Reid, Kerr Family, Heanish, Tarff Valley Ltd, SAC Consulting and an anonymous donor.

Without the very generous donations received this project would not have been possible. A fantastic sum of £2,700 was received from the sponsors – this allowed TRD to purchase the AED and an outdoor cabinet. A balance remains in this fund, and this will be ring-fenced within TRD’s accounts which will be used towards the cost of maintaining the AED (replacement batteries/pads) over its lifetime and will help towards the cost of replacing the unit at the end of the 10 year lifetime.

AEDs are compact, easy to use, safe and very effective. They can be used by anyone, whether or not they have had formal training. An AED gives the person using it voice instructions. An AED will not allow a shock to be given unless the collapsed person needs one. The AED is housed in an unlocked cabinet, that can be accessed 24/7.

Tiree community enterprise boosts island’s fishing industry

The timely delivery of a major project by a community enterprise on the island of Tiree in Argyll has provided a longterm boost to the island’s fishing industry.

Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd has completed the much-needed refurbishment of Milton Harbour and the creation of covered landing and sorting facilities. The project cost £1,164,955 in total, including just under £350,000 from Highlands and Island Enterprise (HIE). It has improved the harbour by raising the height of the quays, extending the pier and providing a new quayside facility.

Tiree’s five shellfish boats can now tie up and unload safely, and sort their catch efficiently in the new shed, resulting in increased capacity and improved catch quality.

Local fisherman Neil MacPhail said: “Since we have moved back into Milton the pier improvements have proved to be everything we had hoped for and more. Loading the catch is taking half the time with so much less manual input and more space. “The buyer is extremely happy with packaging and grading under cover in the shed and the resulting catch quality. “For the first winter in 25 years I am looking forward to sleeping peacefully when there are southerly gales and spring tides.”

Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “We were keen to support this project as improved pier facilities mean a secure future for the Tiree fleet. This is a huge benefit allowing safe berthing in all weathers and increased capacity and quality of the catch. “In practical terms, this investment means up to 20 good jobs are secured on the island, with all fishermen and most of their crews local to Tiree. This contributes to the local economy and community resilience, including supporting the schools on Tiree and Islay. “We congratulate the Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd on completing this project, which will benefit the fishing industry in Tiree for years to come.”

Tiree Ranger Update

Hi folks, Well that’s January out the way and it’s certainly becoming more noticeably light in the mornings.

The island took a bit of a battering from Storm Brendan with erosion obvious on most of the beaches. We lost about a foot and a half of sand at Ruaig and the materials from the old camp have become visible on Crossapol. The storm brought in a huge amount of litter as well. This was really noticeable along Gott Bay as it had been thrown onto the roadside rather than being caught up in the dunes. Three days and three van loads later the majority of it has been cleared up by myself. This has lead us here in the office to start to think about resurrecting The Big Tiree Tidy.

I know this went down well on the island two years ago and it would be great to get the community together again to spruce everything up and it gives us the opportunity to remove some of the bigger items that others haven’t been able to move previously. I’m thinking along the lines of having it towards the end of April and working on a team basis again. If you think you or your family would be up for the challenge please drop me a line on ranger@tireetrust.org.uk so I can gauge interest.

I’ve also got a few access tasks to complete like fixing some stiles and some ongoing repairs to a few of the car parks. If folk would be interested in volunteering and getting out for a few hours then please give me a shout. There will be cake!

The Weekend Wander walks have been going well with the next one on Sunday the 16th to avoid the cattle sale the day before. Meeting at The Lodge hotel at 11am. If these continue to go well I will look at running them on a weekly basis when the weather gets better. The Weekend Wanders are run as health walks with the idea that none of them will be too strenuous and it gives us all the chance to get out and about and to have a chat with folk. It’s certainly giving me as a newbie a chance to meet and learn. Again there is also the opportunity of eating cake. Can you see a theme here? I’ll also be adding a wee twist to them once an important delivery arrives so do come along.

Just to finish on a sad note, I lifted a young dog otter off the road at Balephetrish. I know otters aren’t universally popular here on Tiree for various reasons. (It was foxes and mink that caused issues in my old village). I’m trying to gauge what size of population we have on the island so if you see any, alive or dead or signs of them please let me know. Til next time.

Hayley Douglas

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!

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!

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