Category Archives: Community Announcements

Extra Summer Flights To Tiree and Barra

Scotland’s Airline Loganair is increasing services from Glasgow to Tiree and Barra this summer through a new agreement with Transport Scotland.

Extra flights will be added on both routes throughout the peak summer holiday period from June to August. A total of 17 additional roundtrips will be added on the world-famous Glasgow to Barra air link this summer. The unique service – flown by Loganair operating Transport Scotland’s Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft – lands at Barra’s beach airport, where flight times are subject to the tides. It’s a hugely popular journey for holidaymakers, aviation enthusiasts and locals alike, and the extra flights will help to meet high demand during the holiday season.

An extra eight flights are also being added on the Glasgow to Tiree route, spread between the TwinOtter aircraft and larger 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft. Three more flights normally scheduled for the Twin Otter will be flown by the larger Saab 340s to provide extra seats around the time of the Tiree 10KinApril, the TireeMusic Festival in July and a gruelling ultra-marathon which takes place on September 10.

The boost to capacity is a result of feedback from the representatives from each island, part of Loganair and Transport Scotland’s engagement with communities. Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s managing director said:

“The summer months are always particularly busy for the airline, and we’ve worked closely with Transport Scotland to provide more seats than ever before to Barra and Tiree.”

The Glasgow – Barra, Glasgow – Campbeltown and Glasgow – Tiree air-links are extremely important to the remote communities they serve, boosting their economies. All are operated under a Public Service Obligation commitment by Loganair for Transport Scotland. Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf MSP said:

“These improvements come following consultation with local communities, so I have no doubt they’ll be welcomed by passengers who depend on the Public Service Obligation routes. “Not only will there be additional flights for both Barra and Tiree over the busier summer period, Loganair will also amend the timetables to smooth out the impact of the tidal variations at Barra on the Tiree service. This will offer more continuity and certainty for passengers.”

“These air links play a crucial role for the communities they serve and we will continue to have dialogue with island representatives and Loganair to make sure we’re offering the best possible service.”

To make a reservation on Loganair services visit

Second Meeting, Still No Decision On Beach Hut

beach hut

Councillors have met for the second time to discuss the retrospective planning application of the Beach hut located in Balevullin and have yet to come to a decision regarding the future of the hut.

You will remember that back in November, Argyll & Bute Councillors and planning representatives held a public meeting on Tiree to discuss the issue, with no decision being made. Following on from the meeting in November, the result was to complete an Area Capacity Evaluation (ACDE) which would hopefully give a more detailed evaluation of the structure and site where it is situated. The result from the most recent meeting, held in Lochgilphead, was that Blackhouse Watersports, the client, should be given more time to study the ACDE report and the decision was put off till the next Planning Protective Service and Licensing Committee.

At the November meeting we learnt that the retrospective planning application for the second hut, located on Gott Bay had been removed and Blackhouse Watersports had agreed to remove the structure, which has since been done.

Tiree’s New Ranger

rangerTiree Trust are delighted to introduce Tiree’s new ranger, Stephanie Cope. Stephanie took up the position at the beginning of this week and will be using the coming weeks to get up to speed with the project and familiarise herself with the island.

Stephanie has spent the last 4 year’s working as a ranger on the neighbouring island of Mull and is looking forward to her latest challenge on Tiree! The management of the Ranger project was transferred to Tiree Trust from Tiree Rural Development at the end of 2016 and match funding has been secured from SNH for a further 3 years.

There will be very little change to the way the project is managed, although Steph brings a wealth of experience from her time with the Glengorm Estate on Mull so we look forward to seeing how the project develops. The Ranger will still be mainly located in the office at the Rural centre, along with being out and about in the community.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Nagy for all of his hard work and effort he put into the Ranger post and wish him well in his new post with Cal Mac.

Tiree Community Council News

Your community council had their ‘December’ meeting on 30th November, as a number of Councillors were going to be away this month. It was a long and passionate meeting, with about forty members of the public attending.

Perhaps the most significant issue discussed, was a complaint brought by Iona and Marti Larg that Tiree Community Council (TCC) had not been neutral in the recent ballot re the Balevullin beach hut. Mr & Mrs Larg have complained that the ballot paper and covering letter produced by TCC are confusing and biased in favour of planning permission being refused.

In particular, the question on the ballot paper was framed by the view of the planning officer, who had recommended refusal. Mr & Mrs Larg also complained that no information about the beach hut was included with the ballot paper, and that the ballot papers were not numbered, which could have allowed fraudulent ballot papers to be copied and returned. When the Community Council published the results, no discussion had been added.

Donnie Campbell proposed that Tiree Community Council should immediately apologise to Mr & Mrs Larg, as he felt that the wording had not been agreed by all, and the ballot papers were not individually numbered, but the majority of TCC felt that this was not appropriate, and that it would be better that the Convenor give the Larg’s a considered written response in the first instance, and if they were still unhappy, they could ask for an independent island arbiter to rule on the matter. Donnie Campbell asked that his dissent to this decision be recorded in the formal minutes. The full complaint will be posted on the TCC website, where the TCC complaints procedure is also available.

TCC have been invited to go to talk to the young people in the school to encourage one or two to join the community council for a year. And we hope to take up this invitation. The subject of the language used in the pre-school unit was raised. Gaelic was used until last year, but it has largely been replaced by English. Some parents would like to see more Gaelic reintroduced, and the school has set up a new group of parents to survey the families involved to find out what the current intake would like and also to help shape future developments.

Areas of responsibility for our three new community councillors was discussed, and Rhoda Meek will lead on crofting and fishing, Jessie Gray was asked to help Donnie in the area of education and Aisling Milne will take on environmental matters.

We discussed how we best deal with matters raised by the public. At the moment we usually take up issues with the mainland body responsible. Sometimes, however there is is a perfectly good mechanism to allow people to raise their own issues, for example the Parent-Teacher Council, and we were keen not to undermine these local committees. We are still very happy to take up your problems, but if you can, have a pop yourself first!

It was brought to our attention that there were problems, including a leaking sewage inspection hatch, a derelict electrical board and a considerable amount of construction waste on the triangle of land to the west of Pier View. Enquiries to West Highland Housing Association had proved fruitless, and it became apparent that this construction debris was on ‘orphan’ land, ownership of which was unclear. We will write to Environmental Health in the first instance. It had been pointed out that the pavements along Sruthan Terrace in Crossapol were heavily overgrown with grass, and we promised to ask the Council to look at this.

The danger of driving too fast over The Reef in winter was reported to us after a ‘near miss’. Black cattle can be difficult to see in the dark. We had asked the Roads Department to comment, but appropriate warning signs are already displayed at both ends of the stretch of road. The police have reinforced the fact that it is the motorists’ responsibility to drive carefully when there are known hazards like this. We were advised by the vet that there was no current way of attaching reflective material to large animals, although research into the subject is occurring. We decided that the best way forward was more driver education at the beginning of every winter.

We heard a report about the Transport Forum meeting in November. Members of the Forum are Ian Gillies, John MacCaskill, Colin Woodcock, Susan Lamont, Stewart MacLennan, Catriona MacLennan, Tish MacKinnon and Andy Wright. Barra have asked for a third flight during the summer, and members were worried this might put pressure on the planes servicing Tiree. The Forum has also asked for extra flights to Tiree during the pressure points of TMF or the 10 k. Loganair have started ‘Tiree Tasters’, day flights to Tiree with windsurfing lessons or cycle hire thrown in. It was suggested ‘Glasgow Tasters’ might also be popular!

Tiree flights from Glasgow Airport often leave from Gate 3, which has no lift. This will be looked into. Numbers for the Tiree bus tours have fallen dramatically this year with the change from Thursday to Wednesday for the Barra run. Numbers to Coll have similarly fallen, and CalMac believe this has been caused by the new cheap RET tickets to Mull, which are encouraging visitors to take their own cars to that island.

TCC also had their quarterly meeting with the Trust. A second public meeting about the Charrette Report will take place at the end of January as efforts to bring the main island committees under one ‘Team Tiree’ umbrella continue. The Trust is set to take a lease of the old Met Office building at the airport to develop it into a Chapel of Rest.

TCC heard about plans to improve harbour facilities for the fishing fleet. The next stage is another marine engineering report. Scarinish Pier has been closed by the Estate; although two fishing boats have been allowed to use it for the time being as there is no alternative. The Trust has agreed to take over the repair of Dr Buchanan’s memorial in Baugh. Argyll and Bute Council have responsibility for the replacement of railings at the War Memorial.

The Minister for Islands and Transport, Humza Yousaf MSP, has agreed to visit Tiree in the New Year and the Trust and TCC have set up a joint group to get the most for Tiree out of his visit. The main focus with the Minister will be on what the Islands Bill might mean for Tiree, meeting with crofters and farmers,. Demonstrating ‘Team Tiree’ and the problems faced by the fishing fleet at Milton Harbour.

The meeting finished at 10.15.

Community Bonfire

Going with the trend of the last few years, The Community Bonfire and Firework display went ahead a day earlier than planned! The unpredictable Tiree weather had us in a predicament for a few days but we finally decided to go with Friday the 4th of November as the day for the event!

As usual a terrific crowd came out to enjoy the event, which was a great success! The weather was mostly favourable, but very cold! The crowd were kept warm by lovely food which was provided by An Talla committee, burgers, soup and even some home baking!

This year we had two excellent Guys prepared by the local Beavers and Sradagan group, and they didn’t take long to disappear from the top of the bonfire! Andy and Bino provided the entertainment with lively tunes and excellent lights! This year we drafted in the expertise of our local voluntary retained fire service who were in charge of setting off the fireworks! There was a good 15 minute display of spectacular fireworks, that lit up Crossapol bay, creating some stunning scenes!

The whole evening had a lovely community feel to it, with a variety of different groups and individuals involved in creating the successful event! In the weeks running up to the event, we were running a bonfire picture competition and the winners were announced on the night. The results are as follows:

Under 5: Blyth Wright, Under 10: Annie MacLennan, Under 16: Shanelle Patterson and 16 and over: Frances Khetrat – well done all!

We also ran a raffle, with the top prize being a return flight for two donated by Loganair. Well done to John Bottomley who won this!

Tiree Trust would like to thank everybody who came out the event! A special thank you to all who donated and transported wood down to the bonfire, to Lachie Brown who built it, to the Crossapol grazing committee for allowing us to hold it in the area, to all of An Talla committee for the lovely spread laid on. Thanks to Andy and Bino for entertaining the crowd, to retained fire service for letting off the fireworks, Cameron Smith for lighting the fire, Andy Phillips for assistance with lights and equipment and to both youth groups who created the excellent guys! Well done to the entire community for putting on another fantastic event!

Please visit out website www.tireetrust.org.uk or facebook for more photos!

AirTask Group acquires Hebridean Air Services

Last week it was announced that UK-based AirTask Group have taken over the acquisition of Hebridean Air Services and will now begin delivering the vital air service out of Connell airport to Tiree, Coll and Colonsay on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council.

This service is provided with the help of a £2 million subsidy from the council over a three year term of the public service obligation (PSO) contract. The PSO contract covers Tiree, Coll and Colonsay, and AirTask will also operate commercial service to Islay, which is not included in the PSO, along with various other private charter services.

Councillor Alistair MacDougall said: ‘We very much look forward to working with AirTask, building on the foundations of our successful partnership with Hebridean Air, continuing to provide vital services, keeping our island communities connected to the mainland. We particularly welcome AirTask’s significant experience of delivering similar services across Scotland. ‘We would like to take this opportunity to thank Hebridean for its commitment to the services over the course of the past six years, and to wish it all the best for the future.

‘We as a council are committed to supporting our island communities as much as we can. Despite the challenging financial climate we have dedicated over £2 million to continuing this service. AirTask’s commitment to delivering these services is equal to ours and we are confident of building a successful partnership.’

Managing director of AirTask Julie Simper added: ‘We look forward to working in partnership with the council, continuing to provide the air services for the island communities. ‘We have more than 10 years of experience delivering PSO flights in Scotland for Shetland Islands Council, and we feel that this is a good fit for us.’

Tiree Community Council News

TheCouncil (TCC)meeting lastweek was the first since the summer break and covered a huge range of issues, from fishing practices to phone boxes. The chair started off by apologising for the lack of meetings since the start of June. The summer break had grown an extra month after we had failed to meet the agenda deadline for August. This meant a very full agenda and a very long meeting. Rhoda Meek declared an interest from her new position in Tiree Community Broadband.

The joint trip to Westray planned for September with the Trust had been postponed due to a funding delay. Sgudal, the Trust/Council cleanup around the township of Scarinish had been successful, and another is planned for the autumn in Crossapol.We had been asked to look again into what was described to us as the ‘shambolic’ parking at the pier car park.We had raised this with CMAL a year ago and promised action in 2016, but would tackle the matter again. It was proposed that more prominent white lines would help and that long-term parking there should be discouraged as space was so limited. It was not clear who would police this. Another correspondent raised the matter of parking and camping on the machair at Salum. It was also pointed out that a camper van had been seen on the Balephetrish machair, near designated sites. We will ask for a meeting with the Ranger to discuss these apparent violations of the Tiree camper van code. The Community Council had met with the new factor. We had been impressed by his fresh approach, but we were not keen to become involved in the ‘policing’ of the island in controversial matters like gravel and sand extraction from beaches.

There was a long discussion about the new waste collection timetable,with fears expressed from a number of people that overflowing bins, particularly in holiday homes in warm weather,would be very unpleasant and a health hazard. It seemed very unlikely that Argyll and Bute Council would reverse their decision to reduce collections at this stage. Tiree Community Council had conducted a (largely critical) survey about this, and sent it twice to our local District Councillor RoddyMcCuish, but had received no reply.We will try again. It was suggested larger bins outside the dump (for use when it is closed) and some large bins elsewhere on the island might help. TCC will keep a close eye on the situation.

Superfast broadband has arrived on Tiree, and a few were already enjoying its faster internet speeds. However, applicants were now being told of a six week connection delay due to the Tiree exchange being unmanned. It was pointed out that an informal personal approach to the visiting BT engineer could prove helpful. Tiree Community Broadband was now partially using fibre and the speeds for some users had improved. A local transmitter problem was holding up this benefit for the west end, but a new part had been ordered.

The meeting agreed that TCC should buy all the decaying and little-used BT phone boxes for £1 each, except for the one in Baugh that still had quite high usage. We will apply for funding to restore the iconic red boxes after BT had taken out the phones, and then put them to new use. Suggestions include housing defibrillators and emergency phones,mini art galleries,Wi-Fi hotspots or use by community groups for displays. As part of this initiative we agreed that we might approach the Scottish Ambulance Service to see if a group of First Responders could be set up on the island but we will liaise with doctors and ambulance staff on the island first. First Responders are trained to respond to cardiac arrests and other emergencies. If there are enough of them, help can get to casualties faster than the emergency services.

There was much concern about delays in setting up the new Council library in Cornaig. The new library assistant’s job had not been advertised yet, and TCC had not been approached by the Library Service for its views. We will write to them to ask for a meeting. We will also write to Katie England to thank her for the wonderful service she had provided for many years.

We had received a letter about the disruption to an islander’s travel plans caused by TMF. We had written to CalMac to pass on the complaint.

There was a discussion about the proposed marine Special Protection Area around the coast of Tiree and Coll,whose purpose was the protection of two species of sea birds, the Common Eider Duck and the Great Northern Diver. Creel fishing as it is practised at the moment would be allowed, but trawling the seabed and net fishing would not. A member of the public commended it as a “balanced document” which would protect local fishermen. On the other hand, TCC had been lobbied by two island fishermen who believed it would be harder to make a living if these regulations came into force.We had been asked by Argyll and Bute Council to submit our conclusions, and we agreed to do this, while noting the complexity of the proposal and the limited time available.We will also write to the new Islands Minister to suggest he visits Tiree.

A member of the public asked what had happened to our query to Argyll and Bute about re-settling a few refugees on Tiree. We had agreed to write last November, but it was not clear if we had done so. We agreed to write again.

We agreed to take on the project to repair Dr Buchanan’s damaged monument in Baugh, and would seek funding and a contractor for some modest work that would see the present base capped with two small pieces of stone. It was suggested that we write to the Trust asking that the Charrette report about the island’s economy should be presented to the public by the consultants themselves, and we agreed.

TCC was going to Coll for the day this week, where they would meet Coll Community Council and Development Coll.

We had been approached about the ageing equipment at the Crossapol Play Park. We had received a reply from Tiree Community Business who bought the original equipment, although it nowformally belongs to ACHA.One piece had been removed and was awaiting repair, and consultants had been asked to visit to advise on new play equipment.

TCC agreed to continue organising the Remembrance Day service, as this was usually done by the British Legion on the mainland. There was some discussion about moving the service from the Saturday to the Sunday, but the general feeling of those present was that we should keep the service the way it has always been. TCC was alerted to the need for painting the railings at the War Memorial; the Tiree Association used to have a fund for this but we will look into who is responsible for this now.

Dr John Holliday chaired the meeting. Rosemary Omand, Paul Le Roux and Rhoda Meek were in attendance. Apologies were received by Ian Gillies, John MacCaskill and Donnie Campbell. The meeting finished at 9.55pm

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust in Tiree

Despite the fact that many part of the Hebrides are remote and tricky to get to, the Trust does its best to visit as many places as frequently as possible. This past weekend we got the opportunity to visit the isle of Tiree and be a part of their Regatta celebrations.

We organised two days of events for locals and visitors to attend if they were interested, focused around raising awareness of whales and dolphins in the Hebrides and how the Trust was working to study and protect them. Straight off the ferry the team was keen to get started. Friday had a full line-up of talks and workshops including our popular “Bones Box” and finishing up with a headland watch. Over the course of the day attendees learnt how to ID the most common species of cetacean found in the Hebrides and why exactly it was such an important ecosystem for these animals. Finally, participants got to put their newly acquired ID skills into practice in a survey simulator and headland watch.

Although our headland watch didn’t reveal any cetaceans, we did spot 15 basking sharks in Gunna Sound. An amazing sight for everyone involved, especially when reports of basking sharks have only been coming in for about a week before hand. With the arrival of the sharks, many feel summer has well and truly arrived. The next day we set up a stall on Gott Bay, where the Regatta itself was happening. The wind was perfect for the sailing races, although not so helpful at keeping the ID guides on our table! Despite the challenges of a few strong gusts of wind the stall was busy the whole day. Young children (and their parents) were curious about the bones we had on display and many people who visited us let us know about cetaceans or sharks they had seen recently. We talked to as many people as possible about our Community Sightings Network and hopefully the next time they see something of interest in the ocean around Tiree or the Hebrides, they’ll remember to report it to us online.

Friday finished up with an open boat at the ferry pier. Silurian, HWDT’s research vessel, was on her last night of a survey and managed to appear at the agreed time. We were kept busy transporting keen visitors to and from the boat for nearly two hours. Our poor skipper didn’t even have a chance to drink his traditional after dinner cup of tea! It was great to welcome so many people on board Silurian and show them exactly what she did when she was out on surveys. Some people were so inspired by the visit that they decided to start saving for a berth during next year’s survey season!

The next day was as sunny as the previous two, with a slight covering of cloud; perfect spotting conditions. The HWDT were at the front of the ferry as they left Tiree, scanning the sea for anything they might be able to see. Just before Coll their dedication was rewarded with a minke whale off the port bow. Like most minke whales, it was there for an instant and then gone, but some passengers managed to catch a glimpse of it, thanks to the teams excited (but professional) squeals of delight. It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend on Tiree. Many thanks to the Tiree Ranger Service for inviting us over and being so hospitable.

For more info please visit www.whaledolphintrust.co.uk

The Sun Comes Out For Show Day

The very successful Tiree Agricultural Society Show took place on Friday the 22nd of July at the Rural Centre.

One of the busiest events on the Tiree calendar, The Show has been running on the island since 1877! Once again the sun came out for the event, which was well attended by locals and visitors alike – with just under 1000 people through the gate!

The committee have been hard at work preparing for the show for many months now, along with all of the competitors who enter into the home industries and livestock sections. There was an excellent number of competitors at this year’s event, with the home industries tent stocked with a range of locally grown produce, homemade baking, crafts, knitting and much more and the livestock pens were just as busy, with cattle, sheep, horses, hens and of course a variety of dogs on show! Judging within the livestock sections started early in the morning with all 5 of the judges, David Wright, Kyle Campbell, Raymond Kennedy, Robert Wright and Julie Donn having a good look around the animals. A suffolk ewe, bred by Fraser MacLean of Heylipol Farm was crowned the Supreme Champion in the sheep section and the supreme champion in the cattle class was won by Archie John MacLean also of Heylipol Farm with his Charolais-cross bullock calf, which also went on to win Champion of Champions.

The Champion Horse or Pony which was judged by Julie Donn was won by Jan Patterson from Balinoe with Tallina. The overall pet section, which is always very popular with interesting categories such as ‘the dog with the waggiest tail’ and ‘best 6 legs’, was won by Claire Kennedy of Ruaig with her border Collie, Coll. The pet section was judged by local residents Donald and Annine MacLean from Mannal. The poultry section, which was a welcome edition to the show schedule in 2013 was won by Rhoda Meek, Caoles with her rooster, Rodney. The livestock sections were well represented and a special mention must go to the young people of Tiree who performed very well in each of the Young Stockperson’s section, with Jenna MacArthur, Lochside winning the horse and pony section, Kirsteen MacKinnon, Parkhouse winning the cattle section and Ruairidh MacDonald, Roadside winning the sheep section.

The Home Industry competitions were very well attended with a variety of winners for each sections. Most points in the Pre- School section was won by, Blythe Wright, Anna Campbell, Josh Milne, Ailish MacKechnie and Niamh MacLean. Anya Wright won the section for 5 – 7 year olds, Kathleen Munn for 8 – 11 year olds and Lewis McDowall for 12 – 16 year olds. A list of all of the prize winners can be found on website: www.tireeshow.co.uk – The Home Industry sections were judged by 4 very enthusiastic judges, Margaret Agnew for handcrafts, Elizabeth Brown for Produce, Horticulture was judged by Ian MacLeod and the children’s section was judged by Fiona MacLeod.

Also new for 2016, was the very fitting ‘Scarecrow Competition’, which was well entered and won by Ailish, Jarleth and Katie Jane MacKechnie. Throughout the day there was various going-ons to keep everyone entertained, with the Tiree Young Farmers running the main ring events with an action packed roll a bale competition which involved rolling a hay bale from one end of the ring to the other, which was won by Duncan MacLean and Sheena MacKinnon. ‘Pie, a Pint and a sheep’ was another new addition to this year’s show which allowed local crofter, Colin McKinnon to show off his shearing skills by giving us a demonstration of the task.

There was also an opportunity to browse the well stocked ‘craft tent’ where a variety of local, visiting businesses and organisations took advantage of the crowds and had various items on sale, or information to promote their group. Tiree Renewable Energy were also in attendance and promoting the recent achievement of a ‘1 million pound donation’ to Tiree Trust. The Tiree Baptist Church were also busy in the tea tent, offering a variety of wonderful homebaked goods, teas and coffees which kept everyone going. Thankfully the weather stayed dry, which allowed for Tiree Tot’s newly purchased bouncy castle to be erected which kept a majority of the children occupied throughout the day!

To bring the event to a close, Chairperson Lynne MacKinnon thanked all involved in making the event so successful and to all those who attended and took part in competitions. The prizes were presented by Mary Morrison, who also took charge of handing out the raffle prizes, which is always very kindly donated to! The top prize of £150 was won by Evan Omand, 2 FlyBe/Loganair Tickets were won by Nella Munn and £50 of CalMac vouchers were won by Ewan Malcolm – Well done all!

Having become a show tradition, Donald Morrison also ran a bidding auction for a variety of items. First was a a prime lamb, which had been donated by Heylipol Farm with United Auctions paying for the slaughter and butchery, this went for the excellent sum of £350 which is being donated to cancer charity CLIC Sargent. Another two items, a lovely painting by Annine MacLean was auctioned for £160 and a shepherd’s crook donated by Archie Cameron made £130 which will go towards Show funds. A second painting, also donated by Annine was auctioned at the dance and made another £160! As the day drew to a close, there was only one event still to take place – the iconic ‘tossing the sheaf’ which was well entered and eventually won by Gavin Omand.

As the Show grounds began to empty, the committee were still at work tidying up the grounds and preparing for the evening dance, which was very well attended. Music was provided by the talented Argyll Ceilidh Trail, who have been travelling and performing throughout Argyll over the last few weeks. Well done to all involved in organising and running another very successful Tiree Agricultural Society Show!

Nàdair Thiriodh – Tiree Ranger Service

My Ranger news article hasn’t appeared for quite a while but this is somewhat due to others reporting what the Ranger Service has been up to in their own articles (Beaver Scouts, Ian Sharp, Tiree SWI, etc.).

Officially the three year project “Conserving Tiree’s Natural Heritage” for which the Ranger Service was established comes to a conclusion at the end of July, however we have been fortunate enough to gain additional funds to keep going until the end of October which will see out this year’s tourist season and there is the potential for further funding for next year.

Several ventures we have been working on are now coming to fruition:

• The campers’ new chemical waste disposal facility has just been installed at Scarinish. This has taken four years of negotiations with SEPA, to get planning permission and another year to get all the funding in place. Funding has come from the Windfall Fund and donations via sales of the Tiree Sticker. Needless to say we are “Flushed with Success”.

• With the help of Discover Tiree and John Bowler we have a new book “Tiree Walks” in final draft which should be going to the printers in the next few weeks. The book features twelve walks with wildlife and flora information and a fantastic selection of photos. I must also thank Malcolm Steel who has stepped in a short notice and provided a number of photos for the book.

• The Natural Heritage brochure has been re-vamped and is about to go to the printers. Thanks again to all Discover Tiree, John Bowler and Malcolm Steel for all their help on this. Tiree 2016 stickers are now available and selling fast. Get yours now. The new design courtesy of Peter Ling features a basking shark. Due to the success of the Tiree Ultra, half marathon and 10K running seems to have become more popular and a lot of people are out training for the next event. Unfortunately this has brought a few complaints of livestock and ground nesting birds being disturbed. A plea therefore to all runners to take care where you are running. Avoid running through flocks of birds on beaches, be aware that some areas of beach and machair will have areas of nesting birds, so avoid these and try not to disturb cattle and sheep.

I have also had reports of a reoccurrence of a past problem. That is children digging caves into the dune front at Balevullin and unfortunately disturbing the nesting sand martins. If you see anybody doing this please politely ask them to stop. The wear and tear on car parks and tracks to them is taking its toll. We are now investigating how this can be halted and sensitive repairs made. The Tiree Trust, Argyll Estates and Ranger Service are all involved in this and will be meeting to progress how this can be solved.

On a more positive note our weekly guided walks have been ongoing since Easter and continue to be popular. They take place on Tuesday mornings starting at 10.00 a.m. and we have a three week rotation covering Ceann a’Mhara, The Ringing Stone and Ben Hough/The Maze. The programme of walks is posted on the isleoftiree.com website and on posters at various locations. If you would like to come along just turn up and enjoy a few hours relaxing walk.

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