It was a historic moment for the island on the 8th of September. After months of hard work and consideration, Tiree’s official flag was unveiled to the public in the small hall of An Talla.
Despite some last minute arrangements and postponing due to the plane’s delay, it gave the weather adequate time to chase away the grey clouds and reveal bright sunny weather, perfect for what was in store. An Talla was bustling with both locals and visitors for the Ultra marathon, with a few of the runners popping in to witness the ceremony for themselves. Refreshments were provided during the greeting as the small hall filled with individuals, before Dr John Holliday opened the proceedings of the unveiling. He expressed the importance of flags, stating “Tiree needs a rallying point more than a lot of other places. One thing you can say about Tiree is that over the last century and a half, is that it is a place you have to leave, for one reason or another. There are over a million people of Tiree descent around the world and bringing all this Tiree primary together is quite a difficult thing and so I thought having a flag would be a good way of doing this. Many of these people who left have had two Gaelic words engraved on theirs hearts: dualchas meaning where you come from and the second one is cianalas which is a longing for home. ”
Tiree Community Council began the process of creating a flag for the island two years ago, in May 2016. A sub committee was formed and the competition was arranged earlier this year, in April. 261 entries were submitted to the contest, originating from as far as Canada, Switzerland and South Uist. “When they came in, in this big box, we spread them out on the tables in the Trust offices, we were completely overwhelmed. There were a lot of designs to choose from. Everybody in the flag committee chose a different design, and we didn’t agree at all. I thought at that stage “How are we ever going to whittle this down to one flag? If it hadn’t been for Lord Lyon, we would have struggled.” The committee set up a stall at the Agricultural Show in the summer, they flew four of the flags at the Business Centre in Crossapol for all to see so members of the public could vote by post and there was online voting as well. The committee made their best effort to create an open competition and choose a flag that would best represent the island for years to come, with 1,598 individuals voting.
In all methods of the voting, there was one clear winner. Donald Cameron from Scarinish was revealed as the contest winner with 56% of the vote. He used the stalks of barley to remind us that Tiree is the most fertile of all the Hebridean Islands, and create an orb to symbolise the ‘sunshine isle’.
Dr Holliday went on to explain that Angus MacPhail would be raising the Tiree flag at the ‘Best of the West’ festival in Inveraray and that the winners of the Ultramarathon would have a flag to keep wrapped around them upon crossing the finish line. “The flag is not just a physical flag – it is a design that I hope will be used on mugs, hoodies and tea towels. It is a community flag, it belongs to all of us. There is no copyright. Anyone can take it. The more we use it, the more it will become a part of the communities heritage.” There was mention that the committee desired to make the 2nd September Tiree’s flag day, and do something in celebration of the islands new symbol.
Donald Cameron said, “I’m very proud to win this honour. It’s an amazing thing to become part of the history of Tiree.” He thanked the individuals and groups that had taken part in the competition and added, “A great island deserves a great flag. Flags are really public symbols; it’s a symbol of who you think you are and it’s about what you want other people to think and know about you. It could be a slightly obscure reminder of the past, but its much stronger if it projects something about the island today that people don’t know very well. I picked a universally understood positive symbol like the sun. Tiree is one of the sunniest places in Britain, as you all know, and it’s this very particular sun that Tiree is also known as ‘Tir An Eorna’, land of the barley. The summer barley is a direct link to its past, it’s present and its future. I hope the people of Tiree take it to their heart and use it as much they like.”
The public were piped outside by David Buchan where Donald Cameron and his son raised the flag officially for the first time. Once back inside the hall, John Anderson blessed the flag from the Church of Scotland. Philip Tibbetts who came from the flag institute in London and offered his expertise was invited to speak. He apologised on behalf of his boss who sent his congratulations on the winning design and the island’s accumulation of an official flag. They were incredibly impressed with the vigorous and determined nature of the flags process.
Pat Boyd made a speech on behalf of HM lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, giving thanks to everyone who got involved from the contest entries, to those who voted, to the winner. Rosemary Omand made a speech on behalf of the Tiree Association. This was followed up by a poem written and recited by Donald Meek, which can be viewed in both Gaelic and English on the flags website. Ishbel Campbell sang Am Falbhh Thu Leam a’ Rìbhinn Òig?, with encouragement for the crowd to join in. Ian Gillies explained how individuals could download the flag for anyone’s use and those who attended the event were treated to lapel badges.
The unveiling ended with John Holliday giving thanks; “I’d like to thank everyone who sent in designs. It was agonising to realise how much time people put in to make the designs. It’s a very brutal process to whittle them down to four, and then whittle them down to one. So to everyone who had the courage to put pen to paper, I would like to thank you.” He also gave thanks to other individuals and groups who supported both the project and the event including Will Wright, the Tiree Trust, the Show Committee, Lord Lyon and the Flag Committee before thanking everyone who attended the event. It was a heart-warming day for Tiree’s community. The flag is available for download from the website: http://tireeflag.com/
Category Archives: Community Announcements
It was a historic moment for the island on the 8th of September. After months of hard work and consideration, Tiree’s official flag was unveiled to the public in the small hall of An Talla.
On the hottest day of Tiree’s summer 21 hardy souls, in equatorial conditions,attended the June meeting.
The main topic was CalMac, and issues arising from the Clansman’ s extended dry docking and repairs.
Angus Campbell formerly leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar,and Chairman of the newly formed CalMac Community Board (CB) ,held the floor for nigh on an hour and half. He outlined the role and function of the CB , its bi-monthly meetings with CallMac, his direct access to the Minister of Transport ,and attendance at two CalMac Board meetings/year. To understand the genesis of the CB, and its Remit, please go to:- https://www.calmac.co.uk/community-board
Having covered the CalMac issues that the CB was currently addressing he took Q’s from the floor. These were overwhelmingly directed at CalMac’s ‘not-fit-for-purpose’ reservation system, exacerbated by Gourock’s abysmal customer information service. Peripheral issues were (a) the lack of capital investment in ferries, (b) poor contingency planning, and (c) the poverty of response from both Humza Yousaf, then Minister of Transport ,and Robbie Drummond( CEO CalMac), to the Tiree ferry issues TCC had raised with them, at the outset of the Clansman’s protracted dry-docking.
It was decided that TCC would summarise these issues in a formal submission to the CB, to be raised /addressed at the next CB Board meeting with CalMac scheduled for the end of Aug . This would also be submitted to David Gibson, CalMac’s Director of Service Delivery, to respond to ,on CalMac’s yet to be arranged Tiree visit.
TCC expressed its gratitude to Angus Campbell for addressing the meeting, and offering detailed responses to all the questions raised .
On conclusion of this lengthy CalMac discussion, it was decided to press on with the balance of the Agenda. Due to the near universal, lack of responses from Loganair, Scottish Government, and A&B CC these were expeditiously dealt with, and rolled-over to the next TCC.
Upgrades in internet connectivity have progressed ,and cleaning issues re the Scarinish Public Toilets have been resolved.
The meeting was advised that TCC has vacancies for 2 co-opted members and it is hoped that these would be filled in time for its next meeting (5th Sept ) Gratefuly, we emerged into glorious sunshine, and cool evening air .
The Tiree Flag Competition has four finalists. The month-long competition attracted an extraordinary 261 entries from as far afield as Canada, Switzerland and South Uist, as well as many from Glasgow and the island itself.
Some were sketched in crayon, some carefully hand-drawn, and some produced to the highest design standards. The quality was extremely high, with twenty or thirty exceptional designs.
The committee was led by the Lord Lyon, Scotland’s flag authority, and Philip Tibbetts from the Flag Institute, both experienced in community flag competitions. It went about its business in a methodical way, grouping the entries into groups.
Simple designs were favoured, and it was stressed that flags should be timeless: they should be as beautiful and relevant in a hundred years time as they are today. The commonest design was a variant of the Nordic cross, an off-centre cross used by Nordic countries such as Norway and Iceland, and more recently by Shetland, Orkney, Barra and South Uist. The second commonest design used stripes, often using blue, yellow and green, to symbolise the flat, fertile island and the long sandy beaches. Others used the shape of a wave, the sun, the corncrake and the Tiree black-roofed houses to convey the essence of the island.
The committee, which also included Dr John Holliday, Ian Gillies, Lachie Brown, Rosemary Omand, Donna MacLean and Annine MacLean argued over the merits of the different entries for four hours, before coming to a conclusion, although the debate continued over the finer details for over a week.
We hope to have the finalists’ designs flying at the Agricultural Show in July, and voting will be open to the public then.
We want, however, to give people a chance to see the designs before then, so we have put them up in colour on our website http://tireeflag.com.
Surprisingly for something so simple, you need to look at a flag for a long time to really appreciate it. The committee really appreciates the time and effort put into the competition by those who entered: they all contributed to the success of the project. Now over to you!
Crown Estate Scotland has opened up coastline, seabed and rural estates for local management under a new scheme launched 20th June.
The Local Pilots Scheme enables community bodies and local authorities to take on land and property to test new and innovative ways of sustainable development.
Scottish Crown Estate assets include seabed, just under half of Scotland’s foreshore and 37,000 ha of rural land across four estates. These are home to moorings, pontoons, fish farms, agricultural farms and much more.
The scheme is an opportunity for organisations around Scotland, whether a small development trust or a local authority, to develop project proposals designed to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their local area using eligible Scottish Crown Estate assets. Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP said:
“This pilot scheme paves the way for local authorities and local communities to actively manage land, coastline or seabed in a way that directly benefits communities, but also Scotland as a whole by, for example, promoting sustainable development. “Crown Estate Scotland has a wealth of expertise to share with local authorities and communities, and I look forward to seeing organisations develop and shape their proposed projects. Small changes at a local level can have a big impact on a community – this scheme creates some really exciting opportunities.”
Projects that enhance economic, social, environmental and well-being outcomes are welcome, and the type of agreement and project can vary according to what suits the applicant and the type of asset it relates to. Crown Estate Scotland Chief Executive, Simon Hodge, said:
“Connections to the land and the sea run deep in Scotland, and we really want to involve local people in managing Scottish Crown Estate assets. We’ve designed this scheme, with valuable input from a wide range of organisations. It provides a great opportunity for communities and local authorities who have ideas about how they can use Scottish Crown Estate to enhance sustainable development. “We’re really keen to hear of innovative proposals that have the support of local people and existing tenants. If you have an idea, please come and speak to us. “Whatever the project, our staff will work with applicants, helping them to develop their plans. We see this scheme as a collaboration – not just between ourselves and the applicant – but also involving other interest groups who can contribute to the project’s success and potentially widen the benefits.”
Successful applicants who go on to develop their proposed project may receive appropriate remuneration which will cover their expenses, and can, with agreement from Crown Estate Scotland, reinvest capital raised within the project. The balance of the revenue will be paid to Crown Estate Scotland which, in turn, is given to the Scottish Government to contribute to public spending.
Projects must maintain and enhance the capital value of the estate and the interests of existing tenants and other users of the estate must be protected. The Stage One Application process is open until August 16 2018. Crown Estate Scotland encourages any interested group to get in touch and discuss details of their plans. Once applications are in, they will be assessed for eligibility. Viable projects will then progress to Stage Two application when applicants will develop and submit their business plans to meet the criteria. Again, an assessment phase will follow.
Scottish Ministers will approve the final selected projects.
A new-look Community Council for the island formally took over last week at their first meeting, chaired by Tricia O’Neill, Argyll and Bute Council’s Central Governance Officer. Dr John Holliday (the new convenor), Robert Trythall (secretary), William Angus MacLean (vice-convenor),Andy Wright (treasurer) and Donna MacLean take over from the previous council. Sadly, Emma Rossiter has had to hand in her resignation because of family circumstances.
After the council had been set up, discussions moved onto the issues of the day. Chief amongst these was the difficulty resulting from the damage to the Clansman,which had meant a return for the smaller Lord of the Isles. This had been unable to cope with the surge in traffic over Easter and at the May bank holiday, but the biggest problem had been the online booking system, which proved far too inflexible to cope with the disruption.Many people had their travel plans affected. Businesses relying on visitors are likely to have taken a big hit. We have already written to the Cal-Mac management about this, but it must not be allowed to happen again and we will press hard on this issue.
The previous council had been inundated with complaints about the lack of reduced-fare tickets on Loganair flights to Glasgow. Roy Bogle has replied for the company. He effectively said that Loganair was facing big hikes in costs from airports and for fuel. To compensate, no further cut-price fares were being offered during the busier summer months. To be fair, Loganair’s contract with the Scottish Government does not compel them to offer discount fares, but the company has been selling some tickets at a cheaper rate to encourage people to travel. This contract is up for renewal next autumn, but the community council will begin negotiations with Transport Scotland in a few months time, and we will do our best to ensure reduced fares are back on the table.
The other big issue was the future of the Scarinish public toilets. Argyll and Bute Council have, in the past, threatened to close them, and the buildings were getting pretty run-down. As the only public toilets on the island, it is obvious that they are a fundamental part of our infrastructure.
The question is: should the island try to take them over, or should we fight to get the Council to put in some much-needed investment? This is rapidly becoming one of our top priorities, and we will work on this over the next few weeks. We are now down to five members, and we are going to ask two people to join the council. Rules for this have now been relaxed, and co-opted councillors are able to sit for two years.
We want to be as open as we can, and, with several tech-savvy new members, we hope that our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds can be developed. Our next meeting will be at the end of June. Let us know if there are issues you think we can help with (contact our new secretary Robert Trythall on email@example.com).
Dr John Holliday (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tiree Community Business, the owners of AnTirisdeach, are sorry to have to announce that we are saying goodbye to our An Tirisdeach Editor, Donna MacLean.
Donna is already an extremely busy lady, not only looking after an active, year round portfolio, of cultural events for the Tiree Development Trust, but in addition, she has also recently become a Councillor for Tiree Community Council. Donna has been a wonderful Editor during her time with An Tirisdeach, always producing flawless work to a tight schedule, in her usual calm and unflappable manner. The additional Community Council work will however take a lot of Donna’s time, and she feels that now is the moment to pass on the reins to someone else.
We will miss having Donna working with us, and we hope that readers will join the Directors of Tiree Community Business Ltd in thanking Donna for her time as Editor, wishing her every success for the future, particularly the important task of representing Tiree on the Community Council. However, there is also good news, as this means that it is time to say hello, and to introduce to An Tirisdeach readers our new Editor, Rou Worsely.
Rou will be taking over from Donna over the next few issues, but readers should see a seamless handover. Rou is an experienced illustrator, graphic designer, animator and creative writer, having run her own design and illustration business here on the island, since graduating from the University of Durham in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Visual Communication (Animation).
Rou has many exciting ideas for An Tirisdeach and is eager to get started, and again, we hope that readers will join us in welcoming Rou as Our new An Tirisdeach editor. You can write to Rou with any comments, ideas, articles, or just to say hello at; email@example.com
Over the last few months, Tiree Community Council has received copious amounts of comments and letters from members of the community, concerned about growing fare prices on the Tiree – Glasgow route, introduction of lower weight restrictions and lack of promotional deals available to Tiree customers.
Tiree Community Council have been actively communicating with Loganair representatives to get a response to the above complaints and Roy Bogel has now issued us with an update with regards to the pricing structure:
Thank you for your note. On every Loganair flight throughout our network, pricing relates to the expected levels of demand for the service. We continually adjust pricing in an effort to achieve sustainable route economics.
Although the Tiree service is a PSO, if our revenue falls short of the forecast we have submitted as part of our bid to fly the route over the four-year bid period, it is exclusively Loganair’s issue and we have no recourse to Transport Scotland for any such shortfall. As you may also be aware, the PSO provides for a £1 increase per year in the price of each of the five fare “buckets” we have available. This is wholly insufficient to keep pace with increases like Glasgow Airport and HIAL fees and charges, increases in maintenance costs on the Twin Otter aircraft and ground handling costs, before we even get to considering any cost of living increases for our own employees.
The increase in landing and per-passenger charges this year at Glasgow and Tiree airports amount to £1.43 per passenger before any other issues come into the equation. The result of this is that we are selling slightly fewer seats at the two lowest fares this summer than we did last year. Frankly, to cover the costs of the provision of the service, we can’t avoid it; and it is not something for which we should apologise.
With a limited increase of £1 per fare per year, it’s impossible to keep pace with the inflation of airport maintenance and ground handling costs that are an unavoidable consequence of providing the service. As already mentioned, airport charges amount to a £1.43 increase and the sum of the other costs is broadly similar. The PSO only regulates the maximum fare that can be charged, and it does not oblige any operator to offer a lower fare, let alone the range of lower fares that Loganair continues to provide.
To put this into context, we see a position where average fares paid by customers are around £3 higher than last year as a result of the changes – i.e. recovery of the extra costs but not a penny more. One could be forgiven for thinking that this had morphed into the Great Plane Robbery given the level of contention, but an average increase of £3 is the reality of what the change amounts to. We have kept a number of the cheaper fares available but the seats at those fares have now sold out for the summer ahead, and those seats remaining are at higher prices (but still well within the maximum permitted under the PSO).
I’d like to reiterate that the Saturday night stay requirements have not changed and have been in place on the lower fares for over 25 years, based on our archive of Loganair historic pricing information. It is not, contrary to opinion, a new or indeed recent change and it may well date back to policies in place well before 1992. It’s necessary to keep pace with the increases in cost of provision of the service and I can assure you that we’re only doing what we see as absolutely essential. Indeed, if we over-recover (and we’re not doing!) then any excess generated by Loganair is passed straight back to Transport Scotland under the PSO mechanism, so we have no incentive nor motivation to increase fares unduly as we stand to gain no benefit – and plenty of adverse comment – from doing so.
We remain firmly committed to providing the very best value that we can and firmly believe that we’re doing so this year.
To sum up the letter, Loganair have failed to acknowledge any sympathy towards increased fare prices and have explained that they are operating within their current PSO agreement.
The letter confirms that all cheaper fare brackets have now sold out for the summer ahead, suggesting to us that there are very limited ‘just fly’ tickets allocated to each flight.
Tiree Community Council is currently undertaking its handover period with the new Tiree Community Councillors and it is understood that the PSO document is due to be confirmed later on this year.
TCC will work on ensuring the next PSO agreement is more variable for the Tiree community and includes stipulations such that will address the current issues.
Tiree continues to be affected by the ongoing ferry situation, despite the island’s dedicated vessel, the MV Clansman now back in operation following an 8 week stay in dry-dock.
Following on from successful sea trials at the beginning of the week, the MV Clansman has now been deployed to the Uig triangle to substitute the MV Hebrides who is due in dry dock, following on from an agreed three-week extension to their operating license issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Finlay MacRae, Cal Mac Area Operations for the north, told Tiree Community Council: “Assuming no unforeseen issues, MV Hebrides should be available again for service week commencing 21st May and that in turn will allow MV Clansman to return to Tiree, Coll and Colonsay service.” However, he then continued: “The current repair to the Clansman is being permitted with a time restriction on the repaired component parts, which will have to be fully replaced by new parts which are currently being manufactured. The removal of the temp parts and installation of the new will require the vessel to attend dry dock again, we expect in June, and will be in touch shortly to discuss.”
Tiree is currently still being serviced by The Lord of the Isles, which to the most part is able to cope with the demand of Tiree traffic, at this time of year. The earlier introduction of an additional Saturday sailing has been hugely beneficial in assisting with capacity issues. However, it is looking like the capacity issues that arose over the Easter weekend, are due to be mirrored this weekend, as Tiree gears up for the annual 10K and Half Marathon event.
As An Tirisdeach goes to press, various issues were developing, however as expected it mostly transpired that the LOTI wouldn’t be able to cope with the demand and the MV Isle of Mull will be deployed to Tiree on Friday (4th) and Monday (7th May). It is still unclear as to whether this redeployment of a slightly bigger vessel will be able to accommodate all current bookings.
With limited vessels available at their disposal, I think it is fair to say that Cal Mac have done the best job possible in deploying their fleet around the various island routes. Tiree has mostly coped being serviced by the LOTI which has 65% less capacity then the Clansman. However, we are still left hugely frustrated when travel over peak weekends and island events is disrupted and affected due to failure of advance planning from Cal Mac. It is fair to say that communication from the company has not been sufficient, with various last-minute decisions being made and complaints from customers who have been given little warning of changes to their bookings.
Finlay MacRae commented on the recent booking system issue that was raised by Tiree residents, stating: “We have also been having some issues with the reservations system, largely caused by a huge volume of ship and timetable changes driven through the system over the last week, and some sailing availability was not replicating to the internet correctly, but was available via port or contact centre. This has now been rectified, but if we can suggest that where sailings online are showing as not available please double check with us at the port or by the contact number in case there are any further system issues. Grateful thanks to those who brought some of the reservations system issues to our attention.”
All issues are being closely monitored by Tiree Community Council and the Tiree Transport forum who are keeping in touch with various representatives from Cal Mac and also continue to lobby island minister Michael Russell and Transport Minister for the islands, Humza Yousaf.
As you may have read in earlier editions of An Tirisdeach, Tiree Community Development Trust is in the process of taking over ownership of the newly repaired Scarinish Harbour.
A subsidiary company (Tiree Community Maritime Assets Ltd or ‘TCMAL’) which is 100% owned by The Trust, has been set up to own and manage the harbour on behalf of the Trust. This allows any potential risk to be kept away from the Trust and also allows the Trust to appoint a board of directors to focus on the management of the harbours. A list of TCMAL Directors can be seen at www.tireetrust.org.uk
The overall aim of the project is to make Scarinish Harbour safe to use and fit for purpose for fishermen and leisure users and to ensure that it is now maintained and well managed in the future. To ensure that this can happen TCMAL will be introducing a membership scheme for users with the aim of generating enough funds to allow the pier to be operated in a sustainable manner. Costs which will have to be covered will include insurance, maintenance and administration.
We would ask that if you currently have a mooring in Scarinish Harbour please contact either the Trust Office, David Kerr or Frazer MacInnes as soon as possible to let us know. There will be 15 mooring memberships available and these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The membership scheme will operate as follows:
- Mooring rights with full use of the harbour and pier for 12 months (max. 15 boats) £100 per year
- Use of the pier and harbour to launch (no mooring) for 12 months (unlimited) £50 per year
- There will also be a ‘day launch’ option for infrequent users at £10 per day for launching and use of the pier and a daily charge of £10 for visiting boats using the pier or the harbour.
- A commercial rate has also been set for businesses (fishing and sea tours).
If you have any questions about this or the project in general please do get in touch on 220 074 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to a variety of very generous donations we are pleased to report that Tiree Community Business have now purchased and installed two brand new pieces of equipment in the playpark in Crossapol.
A brand new ‘Flower Twirler’ and a ‘Wheel Roll’ have now been installed and it didn’t take the local children long to master the art of working both pieces of equipment.
TCB are continuing their fundraising efforts to raise over £50,000 which would enable them to replace all of the equipment with new up to date pieces. To date, over £9,290 has already been raised and gone towards the purchase and installation of these new items.
The fundraising is still continuing and it is hoped that a variety of different equipment will be installed and replaced over the next couple of years. TCB are in the process of applying for the Co-op Community Fund, which will hopefully boost the fundraising pot, so stay tuned on information on how to ‘vote’.
Many thanks to Cameron Smith for installing the equipment so quickly and efficiently.