Sunday evening, all cooried in for the night and a call comes through. “We are just heading to check out a seal at Balevullin, meet you there.”
It’s that time of year here on Tiree, the wind that attracts all those who love watersports is pretty constant and it’s been a bit rough all day. By the time I arrive Louise Reid and Margaret Worsley, two Marine Mammal Medics with BDMLR, have already assessed the seal and are on the phone to control.
The seal is a young Common and it looks exhausted. The waves are crashing in at Balevullin and it’s obvious this one has had a bit of a time of it. The decision is made and the wee one is going to head to the vets for the night to get some fluids and rest. However, how to get it there? After a bit of a discussion, the seal is wrapped up in a make shift stretcher, Louise’s Barbour coat, with its head in a sleeve so it doesn’t bite and after struggling across the sand we get it into a holdall to transport it to the vets. However, I hear the zips coming undone as we drive along and sure enough its head is poking out the bag when we arrive.
The next day was full of excitement as the seal decided it wasn’t happy being at the vets after a night’s rest and it was agreed to release it as soon as possible. A couple of fish boxes tied together were used to transport it this time and the seal was off like a rocket when it arrived back on the beach. We were all ecstatic but also discussed how we could improve on our rescues in the future. Being a volunteer team and based on an island it has always been a case of make do. I used to work for a wildlife hospital on the mainland and knew there was equipment we could use but it is expensive. One of the key items was a seal stretcher which would make carrying the seals along the beaches and rocky shoreline a lot easier. Now seal stretchers are specialist bits of kit and hard to come by so I spoke to 1-2-1 Animal Handling Products who make shark carriers for moving animals between aquariums. They were intrigued by our request and offered us one of their carriers at a discounted price. So that evening we put the story out about the seal rescue along with a link to a Just Giving page and a target of £500.
Within an hour of the page being set up I got a message from Frazer MacInnes. Frazer co-runs Tiree Sea Tours which take folk out looking for dolphins, whales, seals and basking sharks. Tiree Sea Tours wanted to pay for the stretcher! In Fraz’s words “Our business relies on the wildlife in our seas around Tiree and it’s important that we also help to look after them”. I let the team know and by the next day we were buzzing as not only had we had this great news, we had exceeded our fundraising target to £695. Our new stretcher arrived last week and the team have had a chance to practice with it and it’s all ready to go. We are also in the process of ordering some other essential pieces of kits such as transport carriers to keep the seals safe on their journeys off the island into rehab. If required.
We are incredibly grateful to Tiree Sea Tours, 1-2-1 Animal Handling Products and all the generous supporters of our appeal which will ensure the safety of rescued seals and cetaceans in the coming years on Tiree.
On the morning of Tuesday 15 September 2020, a very rare bird was spotted in the gardens at Balephuil. This proved to be a young Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a colourful migrant that breeds in the northern spruce forests of North America during the summer and winters in the tropical forests of Central America. This species has never been seen before in Europe, let along the UK, and had presumably been blown off course across the Atlantic by the fast-moving depression that hit the island on 13 September.
Knowing that such an exotic vagrant would attract much attention from other birders wishing to see it, and given the current Covid19 situation, we decided not to publicise the sighting. Unfortunately, one of the other birders present on the island at the time let the news slip to a friend of his and by midnight it was clear that the news had been broadcast widely. Together with Hayley Douglas, the Tiree Ranger, we therefore had no option but to manage the ensuing “twitch” following strict ScotGov Covid19 guidelines.
Some 120 people arrived over the following three days, car-parking was organised with help from neighbours, and a strict queuing system was put in place. Fortunately, everyone who came was well behaved and followed the advice given, such that they were all able to see the bird safely. Access to the gardens was closed on the Friday night to give everyone and the bird a rest.
A further 40 people arrived in much smaller groups over the following five days and most were able to view the bird from the adjacent track. After nine days of busily feeding up on insects, including many of our neighbours’ honey-bees, the bird finally departed on the night of 23 September. This was a cold clear night with a light northerly breeze, ideal for the bird to continue its journey south. Quite where it will end up is a mystery. Let’s hope it will refuel again in Spain and end up wintering in the tropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa.
As a thank-you gift, the visiting birders (and some who didn’t come) donated generously to the Tiree Community Trust via a bucket on the site and through a just-giving page. To date this has raised at least £1,800 so far for the island.
Bringing you the latest and the best information from the entire range of sources that we currently have access to. We will update these pages as soon as any new information becomes available.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates
Tiree Medical Practice Update 25th April 2017
Due to the COVID 19 outbreak we are now offering video consultations using ‘Near Me’. This will help us continue to provide appointments in a safe way, minimise face to face contact and hopefully keep infection rates low. Over the next few weeks we will continue to offer the same telephone consultations and face to face appointments if required but when we call you back we might offer you a video consultation. I thought it would be a good idea to post this video to explain a bit more about it. Some hospitals are now using this as an option rather than offering you a face to face appointment on the mainland. We are keen for all Tiree patients to get in touch if you are not feeling well. We are open for business as usual but are trying to consult in as safe a way as possible. Please click on this link if you want to find out more.
Lachie Brown, Officer in Charge of Tiree Coastguards has asked people to stay out of the sea during the lock-down in case there are accidents at a time when the emergency services are so stretched. Some in this country have argued that surfing, windsurfing or sailing count as their permitted daily exercise. However, lifeboat crews were called out last week in Devon to incidents involving a kayaker and dinghy sailor. The RNLI has made this statement: ‘While you are allowed out for daily exercise, we do not recommend that this exercise is in or on the sea. ‘Swim England have consulted with Public health England. They say that ‘Open Water Swimming is an activity that is not currently permitted.
Update from the Medical Practice 31st March 2020
Things have changed a lot for everyone since our last message. It is great to see the effort being made on Tiree to follow advice and keep as distant as possible from one another.
Probably the hardest place for everyone to keep their distance from those around them is the COOP, but we all need to eat. We are really grateful to all the staff at the COOP for their continued efforts to make distancing possible whilst shopping.
At the surgery, we are doing as many consultations as we possibly can by telephone. We are grateful for your co-operation with this and with the new arrangements for picking up medication. We now have a temporary Assessment Room beside the Dentists Surgery, which will be for assessing people with symptoms that could be Covid-19. This will allow us to prevent the virus being passed on to patients or staff at the surgery building.
We have prepared a temporary ward at Baugh Church. This will allow us to look after anyone unwell with the virus, who cannot manage at home. We hope we do not have to use it, but we need to be prepared. We will be contacting those who have volunteered to be staff at the ward this week.
We have heard more about the ambulance services arrangements for anyone who needs to be evacuated with Covid-19. There will now be an air ambulance service using the fixed wing aircraft.
We are seeing a few people with cough and fever symptoms, but as time goes by, it is becoming clearer that some people with coronavirus do not always have both of these. If you feel unwell and have any cold, cough or fever type symptoms, please let us know. We may not always need to see you face to face, but we would like to hear from you please.
You have probably heard talk of Covid-19 testing in the news. Unfortunately, we still do not have access to testing except for front line health care workers, in order to get them back to work if they are suspected of having the virus.
There is a huge amount of effort going in from people across the community, be it helping move equipment, building partitions for the Ward at Baugh Church, making uniforms for volunteers at the Ward, plumbing and electrics installation for the Assessment Room, helping those more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection to isolate by doing their shopping or administrative and organisational work. It’s a long list and we are really grateful to everyone who is helping to hold back the spread of the virus, and make preparations for whatever it may bring.
Many of you may have noticed activity around Baugh Church. Whilst we hope we never have to use it we have set up Baugh Church as a potential ward ( not hospital) so that we can look after a number of unwell people at a time if we needed to do so. The church now has a couple of hospital beds and is equipped with supportive treatment such as oxygen, fluids and medicines. As you are all very well aware we have limited medical staff and we are hoping to make a list of potential volunteers who might be able to help us keep the ward going. In particular we are looking for people who may have had carer or nursing backgrounds but we are basically keen for anyone that thinks they might be able to help. Volunteers could not be in an ‘at risk’ group. To give an update on the current situation on Tiree: we have a few families self isolating but this has not increased a huge amount over the past few days. Please let us know if you think you have symptoms and are self isolating as it will help us get an idea of levels of the virus on the island. Thanks so much to everyone for paying attention to all the advice regarding self isolating and social distancing we really hope it will pay off so keep it up! Also thanks to all our amazing volunteers who are helping with prescription deliveries and with shopping please contact Rona if you need assistance with this.
Mike,Linds,Ali and Andy
CalMac state ferry travel across Scotland must be for essential travel only
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced today, Sunday 22 March 2020, that ferry travel across Scotland must be for essential travel only.
From now on ferries will be for those who live on our islands, who have an essential need to travel to or from the mainland, and for essential supplies or business. Nothing else. The return of non-residents from islands back to the mainland will also be deemed essential travel.
If you have already bought or booked a ticket but your travel is not essential, then you should not be travelling, and you must contact us for a refund. We expect the travelling public will listen to this new guidance to keep everyone of us as safe as possible
Glasgow-Tiree Air Service Public Service Obligation (PSO)
Tiree Community Council and Tiree Transport Forum are in dialogue with the Aviation Sector of Transport Scotland on our Glasgow to Tiree PSO through the COVID 19 health crisis which is seriously impacting on the numbers using the Glasgow flights, Michael Bratcher, Aviation Department, Transport Scotland has responded to us this week as follows; ‘There are no immediate plans to change the network further but things are moving quickly so that may change’“
Update on Glasgow-Tiree Air Service
Michael Bratcher, Transport Scotland, Aviation Dept. 23 March 2020
As you may be aware, capacity is being scaled back on the Tiree-Glasgow service at present in light of the significantly reduced demand. This will initially involve doubling up the Campbeltown and Tiree service using the existing Twin Otters. I think there may have been a misunderstanding that the Saabs were getting brought in to increase capacity but, in fact, the opposite is the case. I’m sure you’ll agree that it makes little sense to fly empty or near empty planes so a capacity cut in the short term is inevitable. Things are moving pretty quickly so it may be the case that capacity is cut further if demand continues to remain at these very low levels. I am of course conscious of the need for connectivity to be maintained so that residents and supplies can get on and off the island where necessary.
One issue to note is that the Twin Otter aircraft may be needed by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to augment the existing air ambulance capacity. The Twin Otters can be fitted out to carry stretchers and are capable of landing at airstrips that other aircraft are not. If a Twin Otter aircraft is not available then a Saab may operate but please note that this would only be because the Twin Otter was not available and not due to any capacity requirement. It is anticipated that passenger levels will remain very low for some time to come.
Covid-19 CalMac prioritisation of goods for transport-statement
Information is from Elizabeth Ferguson, CalMac Community Board Member
As the situation around the Covid:19 outbreak develops, it is critical that essential goods are transported to where they are required. At CalMac, we have a key part to play in this supply chain. To assist everyone during these challenging times, a list of goods which are deemed priority has been created. Any vehicle – be that an articulated vehicle, van, car with or without a trailer, involved in the transportation of these goods will be given priority on all routes and on all sailings. They include:
· Vehicles carrying food and other goods for supermarkets and shops
· Vehicles carrying drugs and other medical supplies
· Vehicles carrying medical oxygen
· Vehicles carrying items required by the emergency services, in particular medical items related to the current Covid-19 outbreak
· Vehicles carrying fuel
· Vehicles carrying livestock.
As you will understand, this may result in vehicles with non-urgent goods that may or may not have a booking being moved to a later sailing. In the current situation, this is unavoidable, and we will do our best to clearly communicate the reason for any booking being moved to a later sailing.
If there are any issues or problems relating to this, please speak to the relevant Port Manager.
Shop Safely on Tiree
As you know, coronavirus is circulating on Tiree. Keeping away from other people is an effective way to reduce the chance of you catching the disease and the chance of you passing it around our community.
We are really lucky to have the shops we have on Tiree. But with most meetings and gatherings cancelled, they are one of the few places left on the island where you might bump into someone else. Shopping safely has therefore become very important.
Here are some basic rules to follow:
· If you are at risk of getting a more severe illness from the virus – if you are over 70 or if you don’t keep in the best of health – consider asking someone else to shop for you (phone Rona Campbell on 01631 572975)
· Shop once week rather than every few days
· Shop on your own rather than in a group
· Stay at least 2 metres away from other shoppers from the moment you enter to the moment you leave. If the shop is crowded, wait in your car until there is more space. It is usually quiet early and late in the day
· Do not stop to chat. This goes against our very nature, but it’s important for the next few weeks!
· When you get home, wash your hands thoroughly, leave your shopping in the porch overnight and wipe down hard containers like milk bottles with hot, soapy water
The Coop on Tiree is now offering the time between 8 and 9 am that is dedicated to those over 60 and the carers of vulnerable people.
Dr John Holliday
It has been a while since I
put this series to bed, but I thought I would resuscitate it since we are
officially in The Thick of It.
It is so important not to
touch our faces at the moment. And so difficult! A study from New South Wales in
2015 filmed 26 medical students who had been told that they were under
observation and that they should try to keep their hands under control. Despite
this pressure, they touched their faces 23 times an hour on average. That is
once every three minutes. Half the time this involved their eyes, nose and
mouth, those little bits of us that are lined with sensitive membranes that
viruses home in on.
So if you are stuck at home,
wondering what family game to play, sit around the table for three minutes and
try not to touch your face. Let me know how you get on!
Dr John Holliday 24/03/2020
THINK OF OUR POSTIES!
Most of us are all getting
used to a new life tucked up at home, and a lot of us are spending more time in
front of our screens. It is very tempting, when we can’t get out to the shops,
to order stuff online. Please remember, though, that every order we make needs
the attention of staff in some warehouse or other and a whole network of
couriers including our own Tiree posties and delivery drivers. Every time a
packet or box is handled and delivered to your door, there is a chance that it
picks up the virus. We know that the virus can survive on cardboard for up to
24 hours. In the present circumstances, we depend more than ever on online
shopping, but please think of all the people working in the supply chain. Don’t
click unless you really need to!
Dr John Holliday, 24/03/2020
TIREE AND CORONAVIRUS
For a hundred years Tiree has welcomed visitors and won worldwide fame for its sunshine, its beaches and its welcome. The season to visit the island is upon us and we would normally expect to see over 20,000 people before the end of the year.
However, the current coronavirus epidemic is a once-in-a-century event. The virus is already circulating on the island. We know from past experience that epidemics have a particularly intense effect on our small, isolated community, which in winter numbers just 650 and contains a high number of elderly people. We need your help to get through the next few months as safely as we can.
The doctors and emergency services on Tiree are now at full stretch and working in very difficult circumstances. An increased workload from a large number of visitors is going to increase the strain.
We are trying to keep contact between people down to a bare minimum. Almost all meetings, church services and group activities have been cancelled. We are encouraging people to shop responsibly: that means a single person shopping just once a week with as little social contact inside the shop as possible. Many vulnerable and elderly islanders have retreated into their homes, and, often, would like to keep visitors to a minimum.
We would ask you to think carefully about your visit to Tiree at the moment. It is not that we are worried about you bringing coronavirus to the island. There is plenty here already. But we need to be able to work without distraction on the challenges we face: treating people and reducing the penetration of the disease into the community.
When coronavirus is all over and we are able to party again, normal service will be resumed!
We are grateful for your help and support.
Drs Mike McIver, Lindsay Kerr, Ali Ambrose and Andrew Clark, supported by Dr John Holliday and the members of Tiree Community Council
January was very wet and windy, thanks to a succession of Atlantic storms, although it remained unusually mild.
The rare birds from December remained as they were, including the Todd’s Canada Goose in with the Barnacle Geese at Kirkapol/Vaul and the pair of Ring-necked Ducks, which commuted between Loch Bhasapol and Loch a’ Phuill.
The Atlantic storms brought in a few “white-winged” gulls from the Arctic including a young Iceland Gull at Loch a’ Phuill (19th) and an adult Glaucous Gull at Loch a’ Phuill (4th) followed by juvenile birds at Gott Bay (14th) and Loch a’ Phuill (19th).
Other good birds included 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Heylipol (17th-22nd), a Black-throated Diver off Traigh Bhi (24th), Short-eared Owls at Ruaig (20th) and Balinoe (20th), 9 Common Scoters including a flock of 7 in Gott Bay (22nd-28th), a Jack Snipe at Balephuil (27th) and a Snow Bunting at Gott Bay (30th).
The Big Garden Birdwatch weekend on 25th-26th January found moderate numbers of birds visiting garden feeders in the mild conditions, including a few Greenfinches and odd Dunnock. The January goose count (22nd-23rd) found a total of 5,612 Barnacle Geese, as well as 741 Greenland White-fronts and 2,243 Greylags, plus 143 Whooper Swans on the lochs, 20 Pinkfooted Geese, 2,290 Golden Plover and 2,500 Lapwing.
A dead Common Dolphin came ashore at Gott Bay (14th) but mostly the bays were alive with mixed feeding flocks of waders. Many garden plants began flowering much earlier than normal in the mild conditions, including banks of primroses in sheltered spots.
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.”
The Tiree community has been given a once-in-a generation opportunity to meet Scottish politicians at an event in March.
The organisers hope the event will celebrate the island, kick-starting a stronger relationship between Tiree and policymakers. And everyone’s invited!
The idea was the brainchild of Ian Gillies after a 2018 visit to the island from Leslie Evans, Scotland’s top civil servant. Receptions like this are a regular feature at the Holyrood home of the Scottish Parliament.
The idea is to take all the energy, all the good ideas spilling out of Tiree, and take them into the heart of government to showcase the island as it stands today. Side-by side with a celebration of all things Tiree will be a series of face-to-face talks with ministers, MSPs and top civil servants about the problems we are facing: our need for skilled jobs and affordable housing, the increasingly urgent problem of how to replace Tilley, even the threats to our land from a changing climate. Plenty to talk about!
The reception, hosted by our MSP Michael Russell, takes place from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday 18 March in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament. The evening will feature music by the prize-winning Còisir Bun-Sgoil Thiriodh, some tunes from Tiree musicians, a refreshment from Tyree Gin, and three new short films made by Jack Lockhart.
Funding for the evening has come from the Tiree Trust, whose directors see this as a chance for Tiree to make a real impression where it matters, as well as the Tiree Association. Invitations will be going out this week to many active members of the Tiree community, on the island and beyond. But there is an open invitation for anyone with a connection to Tiree to come along. Numbers are limited to around 180, so please let us know if you would like to come by replying to email@example.com o.uk or by dropping a note to Tiree Community Council at the Crossapol Business Centre.
An extra flight to Glasgow has been set up to cope with the numbers travelling. Since we are not sure whether the linkspan will be operational by then, a special bus service from Oban has also been arranged to take islanders to parliament for the day.
A fantastic array of films by talented filmmakers, schools and community groups from across Argyll have made it into the shortlists for this year’s Gaelic short film competition – FilmG.
Judges had a tough job whittling down the impressive field of a record 103 entries, who were all competing for the top prizes. Christine Morrison, a documentary producer with 25 years of experience was on this year’s Youth judging panel. She said: “It was a pleasure to watch the many original, inventive films made by talented young filmmakers as a member of the FilmG 12 – 17 youth category judging panel. Competition was tough as film-makers tackled a wide range of subject matter with verve and style.”
The shortlists showcase a wide variety of film styles, from time travelling comedy and classic who-dunnits to bicycle travelogues, historical documentaries and commentary on social media and the Gaelic language itself.
This year’s theme for entries was “Treòraich”, meaning ‘guide, or lead’, and was interpreted by the filmmakers in a variety of clever, funny, serious and inspiring ways. In the hotly-contested Youth category, which received a record 75 entries this year, Ardnamurchan High School in Acharacle received four separate nominations for their two highly entertaining films. ‘Reòite’, which involves time travelling using a whisk, has been nominated in both the Best Film and FilmG International Representative categories, while pupil Parker Dawes has received a Best Performance nomination. ‘An Cuach, Na h-Iuchraichean agus an Dròn’, which was produced by the Gaelic learners class, and also involves a bit of time travelling, this time with a quaich, has been nominated for the FilmG Award for Gaelic Learners.
Tobermory High School also picked up two nominations for their football film, ‘Alasdair Dionghmhalta’. Alongside a nomination in the FilmG Award for Learners category, pupil Cailean MacLean has also been nominated for Best Performance.
Ìle Bheò, a drama group formed of Gaelic learners from Islay High School, have also been nominated in the FilmG Award for Gaelic Learners category for their film ‘Bodach na Mòine’, where a young blogger uncovers another side to the booming tourist industry on the island.
Talented individual filmmakers have also been recognised in the Youth category. Annie Sìne NicNìll from Fort William has been nominated in the Most Creative Production and Best Young Filmmaker categories for her powerful animation, ‘Tarraing’, about a young boy going off to war, while Thomas Young of Dunoon, received a Best Documentary nomination for his film ‘Eachdraidh Dhòmhnaill MhicLeòid’, a film about the world famous piper Donald MacLeod, MBE.
In the Open category, eight filmmakers picked up at least two nominations each. Tiree’s Eoghan MacIllEathain has been nominated in both the Film Dùthchais as Fheàrr and Best Industry Director categories for his film Tìr an Eòrna, which looks at Tiree’s whisky making past, and how the industry is seeing a revival on the island.
Shannon NicIllEathainn of Tobermory has also received two nominations for her film, Seònaid, a documentary about the wonderful Janet MacDonald, who has done so much for Gaelic on Mull. Shannon has been nominated in the Film Dùthchais as Fheàrr category, and also for Best Film.
Oban’s Coinneach Lindsay has been nominated in the Best Script category for his film script, ‘Na Cnàmhan’.
FilmG Project Officer, Ross Christie, said: “It’s encouraging to see entrants from every part of the Gaelic community – from primary and secondary schools, to students, professionals in the industry and amateur filmmakers of all ages. It’s clear that every one of them has a story they want to tell, and FilmG provides the perfect medium for this, and brings the work of Gaelic creatives to the fore.”
Murdo MacSween, Communications Manager for MG ALBA, said: “FilmG is an integral part of the Gaelic media environment, sparking creativity and developing talent to the extent where the next step could be employment and a career working in the sector. The quality of the films has been outstanding this year and it will be an exciting awards ceremony.”
All the shortlists are available to view on the FilmG website, and voting for the People’s Choice Award is still open until the 31st of January. All the winners will be announced at the annual FilmG Awards Ceremony, to be held in the iconic Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow on 14th February.
FilmG is the Gaelic short film competition, funded by MG ALBA and delivered by Cànan Graphics Studio on the Isle of Skye. For more information visit, www.filmg.co.uk
Argyll and Bute Council is appealing to residents on Coll to save the island’s air service by filling airport-safety jobs.
The council advertised four posts each on Coll and Colonsay. These roles will enable flights to land and leave from the islands by ensuring that their airports meet CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) regulations. The council received a good level of response from Colonsay. More roles however need to be filled on Coll if the island’s air service is to continue.
Councillor Robin Currie, Policy Lead for Islands said: “As a council we are doing all we can to make an air service from Coll possible. Despite financial challenges, we have put funding in place to run a service. “We can’t make this happen on our own though and so are appealing for the help of islanders in delivering a service that works for them. “We will make training available, so that local people have the chance to develop additional skills and the expertise that is needed by the island is kept on the island. “We are asking islanders to get involved in a service delivered by the local community for the local community.”
Coll has had an air service for 12 years. The council currently operates flights between Coll and Tiree and Oban. The island is also served by a ferry service to and from the mainland. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) previously provided fire safety cover through a Memorandum of Understanding set up by what was at the time, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue. This enabled SFRS Volunteer Firefighters to undertake the additional role of Airport Firefighters. Following a review of this arrangement, Argyll and Bute Council and the SFRS agreed that community safety and resilience would be improved with dedicated Airport Firefighter roles. The council has therefore created and funded posts that bring together fire safety and grounds operation duties, to make it possible for the airport service to continue.
All applicants to the new posts will have training provided, which is funded by the Council. Paul Devlin, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire, said: “We have worked in close partnership with the local authority to identify and achieve the best outcomes for community safety. There is no doubt that the creation of an airport fire service further to a dedicated SFRS crew will enhance safety on Coll and Colonsay and is therefore good news for the community.”
Details of the roles can be found on www.myjobscotland.gov.uk. Applications are requested by 4 February 2020.
Following up from the simulations during the Easter weekend earlier this year, Tiree’s emergency services gathered at An Talla for a follow up session on Friday 29th November.
From 1pm the fire service, ambulance, nurses, coast guard and police spent the day doing team building exercises through simulations of emergencies, observed and advised by Dave Strachan from Pitlochry and Heather Sinclair from Perth, both who are from the British Association of Immediate Care, otherwise known as BASICS Scotland.
Heather said, “The people were great, teams were brilliant and worked well together. And thanks for the great weather!”
The simulations that took place this time around were in shorter bursts, but still offered a variety of scenarios from a victim who slipped on the rocks and lay crumpled in a difficult place to assess, a cyclist hit by a car lying on the side of the road with a blocked air passage and a casualty that had slipped on rubble and impaled their leg.
Tiree’s doctors played the convincing part of the casualties, leaving the rest of the emergency services to band together and problem solve in small groups with limited equipment. Each of the simulations lasted between 10 – 30 minutes, but each scenario gave the participants new perspectives and situations to consider that they may not have encountered before. The weather couldn’t have been better, as darkness quickly encroached with the winter season. Despite the lack of visibility, the teams met each simulation quickly, effectively and in some scenarios, good humour.
Sandy Mac said, “It was a very useful day. It was handy to see all the different services working together and learning new techniques.”
A lovely meal of fish and chips was provided by Alan, Janette and Megan Reid, warming everyone up from the crisp cold towards the end of the day.
The surgery would like to thank all participants from Tiree crews, the BASICS team, all visiting doctors and most importantly Megan, Alan and Janette for the delicious food.
As Tiree’s nights grow colder, darker and unfortunately, wetter, it was time to chase the winter blues away with the annual light up of the Christmas tree at the Tiree Business Centre.
Though there was a slight mishap with the outdoor plugs right before the evening, Gerard McGoogan and Steve Nagy came to the rescue by fixing the lights fixture plug.
It was a wonderful evening with mince pies, chocolate biscuits, juice and mulled wine provided for free to the community by Tiree Trust. Christmas jingles were played over the speakers to get everyone into the holiday spirit, with some live performances between songs by the Tiree Pipe Band.
Following the excited countdown by the attendees, the lights were turned on to reveal not only the tree, but a new addition to the lights in the form of three reindeer. Santa Claus also paid a visit, handing out candy canes to the children.
Louise Reid would like to thank Gerard and Steve for their help with the repairs to ensure the night went without a hitch, Cameron Smith and Stuart Carr for building the set up, Marg Worsley for assisting with putting up the lights around the business centre, the Tiree Pipe Band for their performance, Santa for making a special visit despite his busy schedule and Shari for being an elf.