Category Archives: Latest Stories

Tiree Pierhead Project Update

Work to return the old pierhead to operational use is well underway at Tiree.

Repairs to cracks on the pier approach have commenced, and will be completed ahead of the coming winter months. Our contractor, George Leslie Ltd has also removed the old pierhead timber fenders from the front of the pier, and cleaned barnacles, mussels and other marine growth from the steel supporting piles.

Cleaning has exposed significantly more defects than originally estimated, however, repairs to these piles are now underway.

With the increased volume of repair work needed, the project is likely to take longer than planned. An updated timeline will be published in due course.

CalMac will continue to operate ferry services to timetable during these works.

Tiree Ultramarathon 2019

On Sunday 8th of September, over 200 runners took part in the 2019 Tiree Ultramarathon.

Though the day remained a bit grey throughout, the weather certainly didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of both the participants and spectators. A majority of those taking part were solo runners who had completed the entirety of the 35 mile course around Tiree’s coastline, but there were also relay teams who had split the marathon into sections and passed the baton along as their runners followed the course.

The course record of 4hrs32 set by Alastair Buckley in 2018 still stands, but 4hrs37 was the winning time this year by Lindsay Cockburn. Will commented,

“I still think there’s someone out there who could break 4:30 – maybe next year we’ll invite back all the previous winners to try and get a fast pack together chasing for the course record.”

Alan Dix commented,

“This was my fourth Tiree Ultra-marathon, but my first no longer resident on the island. Although it took me all day to run round the island (definitely the back end of the pack) it was an amazing day and I’m already making plans for next year’s ultra. The first half was especially tough until I worked into a (very slow) rhythm, but the faces of so many familiar faces encouraging me along the way was wonderful – Alan Millar’s “would you like a cup of tea” at 26 miles was especially welcome. However, the true hero of the day is Will and the Event Team for having once again organised this fantastic event that is now known across the world.”

With the cafe an essential part of the event, Becky had worked in the kitchen for weeks preparing for the day, providing a huge selection of cakes and hot food with her team for the runners, support crews and spectators at An Talla throughout the day.

“Food like this, together with the amazing team serving, is so well appreciated by tired runners, and is such a hub of activity with happy stories of achievement shared throughout the afternoon,” said Will.

The hall was full for the prize giving, where the top finishers were awarded artwork from Sophie Scott Design and prizes from Chocolates & Charms.

Thanks were given to the community of Tiree for being so welcoming and supportive, and for making such a positive and uplifting atmosphere throughout the weekend.

The Cornaig Ceilidh Band took to the Ultramarathon stage in the evening, energizing all the runners up onto the dance floor til’ past midnight!

“We’re hugely grateful to everyone who helped at the event on the day, and for all the people on Tiree who have been so accommodating and helpful, especially people around the course who have welcomed the runners through and helped with the route planning and access. Comments from the day have been so positive, so it’s been a rewarding task to help people achieve something that means so much to them. And of course our event sponsor Cohesion Medical who have been on board since the very start in 2014. They’re a great partner to work with, and we thank them, and everyone who contributes to the event for making 2019 Tiree Ultramarathon a huge success,” Will said.

Having been on hold for a busy summer and winter approaching, Will will be returning to the gym and getting his classes running again. You can check up on future events with Tiree Fitness including the next year’s 10K & Half Marathon and Ultramarathon via their website:

http:// www.tireefitness.co.uk/

Thanks and credits to Dutch- Engels for use of their photography. www.dutch-engels.com

Instagram: @dutch_engels

-Rou Worsley

ICELANDERS’ VISIT SUCCESS

The group listens respectfully as they stand around the ruined chapel at Teampall Phàraig on the Kenavara headland.

But this is no ordinary tour. These are Icelanders, come to see for themselves the island setting for a popular novel: Vilborg Davíðsdóttir’s Auður.

Published in 2009, Auður (Aud) is the first book of a trilogy following the adventures of the Viking Auður from her childhood on Tiree to her voyage to become one of the first settlers in Iceland. Auður, a real historical figure, was notable because she was a woman in a man’s world and because she was one of the first Christians there.

Teampall Phàraig and Tràigh Bhì are the setting for the first scene of the book, when a mysterious man is rescued from the sea. The book’s fans were keen to walk along the white, shell sand beach (something they had not experienced before) and clamber along the muddy track to the ancient monastery site. Since Vilborg wrote the book, my researches into the Viking place-names of the island have confirmed many of her ideas.

The morning had been spent at the ruined thirteenth-century Kirkapol parish church and the early Christian rock-carved crosses beyond. The party, including a famous actor and a professor of Icelandic history, heard how an excavation in 2000 had found several skeletons under one of the church walls, presumably reburied from an older Norse graveyard on the site.

We then visited MacLean’s Cross in Soroby, while in the afternoon Julia Welstead took members of the party who didn’t fancy the long walk to Kenavara to the Hough stone circles and on a further tour. While we walked along the beach, I heard about the worries Icelanders have that their language is starting to weaken. There are so many foreign workers in the country now that it is becoming less common to order a meal or to be served in a shop in the capital using Icelandic. Vilborg told me how her own daughter appears to think in English, translating her thoughts into Icelandic. The country’s population is now 338,000 (somewhere between Aberdeen and Edinburgh), which is only five times greater than the population of Gaelic speakers.

At dinner that night in the Scarinish Hotel, one of the evening’s stars was our own Ishbel Campbell, who sang two Gaelic songs and became an instant hit with the visitors. I sat with Svavar Halldórsson, who I discovered was the designer of an advert that had caught my eye as I flew home from Washington to Reykjavík last year. While working as Director of the Icelandic Lamb Marketing Board, Svavar had composed the slogan ‘Roaming Free Since 874’ beside a film of Icelandic sheep. His wife, the well known journalist Þóra Arnórsdóttir, had run for President of Iceland in 2012. She was able to show me on her phone her family tree going back a staggering thirty-one generations – to Auður herself. Apparently, this is common in Iceland. And if she had been able to go back one more generation, she might have found a Tiree name.

After Tiree had been settled by Viking men in the ninth century, some Norse men decamped once more to seek new pastures in Iceland when that country was opened up. Taking wives from the islands, around half of Icelandic women today are of Hebridean or Irish descent. Many of the tour were actually coming to see their ancestral home, as much as re-living the stories in the book. This was Vilborg’s second attempt to reach the island, as her previous trip in May had to be cancelled within sight of Coll when the Clansman broke down.

They are a tough lot though, as their indifference to the muddy scramble and a heavy shower showed. And we haven’t seen the last of Vilborg as she seeks an English publisher for her book. She has two further tours booked for 2020 and even that cannot satisfy the demand. And the final twist? Her book’s front cover features a triskele, the design on the rock carving discovered a few weeks ago in Balemartine.

2019 Tiree Ultra Marathon

Around the coastline in 1 day – runners from far and wide take on the challenge.

This September we will see another day that tests the endurance of 250 visiting and local runners as they take on the 35 mile Tiree Ultramarathon. Now one of the established events on the ultramarathon circuit, Tiree boasts its own uniqueness, with no other event following the entire coastline of an island.

But it’s the community welcome and the support and encouragement that has made this event so popular. Runners will travel from as far as Canada, Finland, Germany and of course from across the UK to take part in this race.

Event organiser Will Wright from Tiree Fitness says

“these runners are looking for a challenge, something that’s a bit different and that takes them well off the beaten track. They’re always a lovely group, and their feedback has been so positive over the years, even despite some pretty vicious headwinds and hail storms!”

The event kicks off with registration and race briefing at An Talla on Saturday 7th September, and then the run starts early in the morning on Sunday at 8am on Sorobaidh.

Full race details can be found at www.tireefitness.co.uk/ tiree-ultramarathon/

Local runners Heather MacArthur and Jo Vale will be on the start line to take on the full distance. And with local relay teams running as well they will all appreciate your support and encouragement. We wish them all the very best! Expect to see runners around the island from the 8am start and eventually coming through Scarinish towards Crossapol from mid day onwards.

“It’s a tough course out there so we’re really grateful for all the help at the weekend to give these runners the best shot at getting around, and thank you for the kind cooperation from everyone around the course.”

35 miles in one day, all the way around the island. The course record is 4hrs32!!! But for everyone out there, getting over that finish line will be an achievement to be proud of. Good luck to all the runners!

If you’d like to join the team, or be involved in any way just contact Will on 07867 304640 or email {will@tireefitness.co.uk}

Tiree Art Exhibition 2019

Tiree’s stunning 2019 Art Exhibition opened to the public on Sunday 11th August in Baugh church.

On a beautiful evening over 90 people enjoyed a glass (or two) of Prosecco while perusing the very varied work on show. The show was opened in great style by Dot Sim who said,

“Thank you to all the talented artists who have submitted their work to create such a diverse and captivating exhibition which I think you’ll all agree reflects this beautiful and inspirational island that some of us are so lucky to call our home. This would not be possible without the tireless efforts of the Tiree Arts Enterprises committee and volunteers organizing, curating and hanging the work. And a big thank you to the Baptist church who have kindly let us host the exhibition here. It is an exciting time for the arts on Tiree with many creative people coming to settle here, joining the already rich cultural heritage of the island; new studios opening, the continuing success of the Feis, TMF, and local musicians, the flourishing of Screen Tiree, the second year of Screen Argyll’s Sea Change – Powering Women in Film, the celebration of the ancient art of Storytelling in Tiree Story Tent, the establishment of Tiree Art Club and the Creative Writing Group, and the exciting prospect of a community panto!

There was a lot of excitement after the show was opened with people rushing to get a red dot on their favourite piece of work and the committee are glad to report that over a third of paintings and sculptures were sold on the night.

Tiree Art Enterprises also own An Turas which is the art installation situated in Scarinish beside the pier. Sadly its condition has deteriorated over the years and it requires urgent restoration. They are using this year’s show to gather funds and have placed a donation box at the entrance to give visitors an opportunity to contribute.

On the opening night a £160 was donated – an excellent start so big thanks to all.

Tiree Regatta 2019

The day of the 2019 Tiree Regatta dawned overcast with light winds, however this didn’t deter a group of sailors determined to pit their skills against each other and the elements.

In the Dinghy race Tim and Ann Esson in their Foxer class dinghy beat Jonathon Marks single handing his laser with Dorinda Johnson and crew leading the way for the club Topaz fleet. Special mention should also go to Kris and Aidan Hynes competing in their first Regatta having only started sailing this year through Tiree Maritime Trusts Community Sailing Programme.

In the Lug Boat race the pace and slick tacking of the Cathadh Mara skippered by Dr John Holliday and crewed by Bruce Kemp and Jack Lockhart managed to narrowly beat Tony Batchelor, Sandy McIntosh and Tim Esson in the Maritime Trust boat the Daisy to win the Traditional Lug Sail Boat class.

The smaller sailed boats; Maritime Trust boat the Morag-Ann sailed by Martin Finnigan and William-Angus Maclean and the standing lug-sailed skaffie Malin sailed John Patience and Jeremy Armitage put in a creditable show in spite of being hampered by the light conditions.

The day also saw a little bit of Tiree history made with Tiree first Skiff race. With three skiff crews racing each other using only one boat the Gille-Brìghde. A time trial was set up with the teams being timed over a course parallel to the beach. Robert Trythall acted as impartial timekeeper – until he was called away to star in the last and winning crew. This was Emma the medical student in bow, Niall MacDonald, Robert Trythall and Dorinda Johnson in stroke, ably orchestrated into a team by Alasdair MacLachlan.

On the shore there was plenty to keep the crowds entertained with a very competitive paddle board race, some truly inventive sandcastles and sand art as well as tests for strength and skill in throwing wellies and creels. The cake stall and raffle also proved very popular and helped raise much needed funds. The day concluded in the traditional prizegiving including a new trophy this year awarded to the junior sailor of the year, Eddie Maclean. This specially commissioned award was donated in memory of long time Tiree Regatta supporter Roger Jarvis.

The Tiree Regatta relies on the kind and generous support of the community, without whose help the event simply would not be able to take place. We therefore have quite a long list of people to thank: Louise Reid, Willie MacKinnon, Rhoda Meek, Catriona Smyth, Clare Jones and David Vale without whose efforts on the day we could not have run the Regatta.

Thank you too, to the businesses that kindly donated prizes for the raffle including Tyree Gin, Dot Sim Jewelry, MacLennan Motors, the Farmhouse Café, The Cobbled Cow and Tiree Chocolates. Thanks also to the Lodge Hotel for their generous support for the Regatta. Special thanks to the Wild Diamond Watersports crew for organizing the SUP racing and keeping the sailors safe out on the water alongside Lochlan Morris and Steph Tanner.

Finally, a big thanks to everyone competitors, spectators and volunteers who all contributed to making the 2019 Tiree Regatta such a great success. For full results and to find out more about the work of Tiree Maritime Trust please visit: www.tireemaritimetrust.org.uk

Tish Celebrates Ruby Anniversary At The Helm of Tiree Airport

Congratulations are in order to Tish MacKinnon, who recently celebrated her ruby anniversary working at the helm of the airline’s operation here on the Isle of Tiree.

Her father, the late Archie MacArthur, headed up the airport between 1960 and 1990 as an employee of British Airways (back then it was British European Airways). Tish’s first visit to her father’s work place took place days after she was born in Glasgow and arrived back to Tiree with her mother and grandmother – she still owns the original ticket written by Archie for the trip to Glasgow Airport.

Her official duties began in 1979 when she stepped in as holiday cover for her father during term breaks while completing a childcare course in Langside College, Glasgow. Father and daughter shared duties for 11 years – where Archie famously worked the morning of Tish’s wedding that had been deliberately timed for Archie to meet the flight packed with wedding guests while Tish prepared for her big day.

After Archie’s retirement in 1990, Tish was promoted to Senior Customer Service Manager which is responsible for Loganair’s operation on the island, which welcomed around 12,000 passangers last year.

“It’s a really rewarding job and the fact I’ve been in post for 40 years shows how much I enjoy it. The air service is really important to residents of Tiree, used by locals going on holiday or to visit relatives, but also for trips to hospital, weddings, honeymoons and occasionally even funerals.” said Tish, “One of my favourite perks is being the first person to meet newborn babies as they arrive back on the island after leaving hospital in Glasgow, which is actually the exact journey I took whenever I first arrived in the world and when I gave birth to my three children. I’ve also met lots of celebrities, politicians, nobility and musicians who visit Tiree throughout the year.”

“Things have definitely changed quite a bit since I first started but Loganair ensures I’m fully trained in all the rules and regulations around aviation as well as the various technologies which are now essential to the role. With the number of customers passing through the airport increasing yearly – as Tiree’s popularity continues to grow amongst tourists, I look forward to welcoming visitors to the island for many years to come.”

Kay Ryan, Loganair’s commercial director said:

“I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Tish, from everyone at Loganair, for such an amazing service record with the company. Tish is the face of the airline in Tiree, often the first person to greet visitors from around the world while also supporting the local community with all of their travel plans. Her knowledge and passion for the job is fantastic and I can only thank Tish who is an integral part of the Loganair family.”

We will be interviewing Tish for People of Tiree in our next issue; watch this space!

Festivals 10 year praise service hit!

Celtic Worship band

On the Sunday of 14th July members of Tiree’s churches joined Festival goers at the largest service ever held at TMF.

Christian Band ‘Celtic Worship’ took the Big Top main stage and rocked the area outside with their renditions of worship songs old and new.

The Band is sponsored by Christian Charity Tear Fund and between songs an appeal was made for their work amongst Syrian refugees in Lebanon who have been living in tents for 6 years.

As worshipppers left the Big Top over £600 was collected to help in Lebanon.

– Ian Sharp

Cancer Research Fundraiser

cancer walk

On the 21st of June, islanders gathered at the Gym n’ Tonic Studio for a charity walk around the island in aid of Cancer Research UK.

The weather conditions were perfect for the summer solstice; clear skies as the sun sank beyond the Hough, with no more than a light breeze. The cheerful attendees enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and glow-in-the- dark face painting in preparation for the ten mile walk around the island.

Around 20 adults took part, alongside 9 of the island’s children; Lani, Olivia, Calin, Robyn, Keiran, Mathew, Abbey, Aedan, Lewis and Charlie.

Setting off from the Gym n’ Tonic Studio in Scarinish, the group made their way towards Baugh, across the Reef to Crossapol, up through Kenovay and turning left at the ocean towards Balephetrish where they would loop back around to Scarinish, arriving back at the gym around 1am.

The group enjoyed several Prosecco stops along the way, with thanks to Freddie Arnold, Dolina & Alec MacDonald, Janice MacInnes, the Rockvale Guesthouse, Jeanie Fisher, Fiona MacPhail at the Lodge, Beachcomber and Bùth a’ Bhaile.

A total sum of £3254.89 has been raised so far, including a gift aid of £376. Bùth a’ Bhaile will have a bucket to collect further donations over the summer months. Claire would like to thank all the donors and sponsors for their contributions!

For more information on the charity, please visit: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/

No Smoke Without Fire

Several weeks ago a bomb was thought to be discovered on Gott beach.

Steph was notified first, who cordoned off the area before notifying the HM Coastguard Rescue Team of Tiree and bomb disposal.

The coastguard were placed in charge of observing the item until the Navy Bomb Disposal Unit arrived on the island on the 8th of June. Traffic was stopped for twenty minutes in both directions at the bend on the corner near the Lodge Hotel and up towards Ruaig Farm to ensure a safe exclusion zone for the detonation.

The item in question was reported to be a smoke marker from an old ship, but the object was disposed of and made safe.

– Rou Worsley

Remember, if you see an item on the beach that you believe to be suspicious, do not touch it, just make a note of its position, then dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Photo courtesy of John Gunderson

1 2 3 39