Category Archives: Latest Stories

Tiree Music Festival Crowned ‘Best Small Festival in Scotland’ for Fourth Time!

Tiree Music Festival has once again been awarded the ‘Best Small Festival in Scotland’ at the 2016 Scottish Event Awards in Glasgow! Some of the TMF team were in attendance at last week’s award ceremony and were delighted to walk away with the award for the fourth time!

TMF, which has gone from strength to strength over the last 7 years was up against stiff competition in the category for ‘best small festival’ including RZSS Edinburgh Zoo’s Penguin Festival and Edinburgh University Innovative Learning Week, among others.

Since its launch in 2010 Tiree Music Festival has continued to grow year in year out, and 2016 was no exception. With the biggest attendance to date, with 2000 people, festival goers were entertained by some of the best musicians around. The festival is a family friendly event and caters for all ages – this year Eden Court were in attendance to entertain the children throughout the weekend. Tiree Music Festival was also up for ‘Best Cultural Award’ at this year’s awards and was given a commendation for their efforts, losing out to Hinterland which was part of ‘Scotland’s Festival of Architecture’. They were also nominated for a third award ‘People’s Choice Event of the Year’ which was a public vote and was won by Highland 2015 – World Orienteering Championships and Scottish 6 Days.

Plans for TMF 2017 are very much under way with the date set as 14th – 16th of July. This year’s strap-line for the event is ‘let there be sun’ – a plea to the weather gods, having suffered some of the worst July weather at the previous two events in 2015 and 2016!

Each year Team TMF work to improve and enhance previous events and are always keen to hear the thoughts of the community and festival goers. This year’s visitor survey was launched at the end of last month and there is still time to fill it out. It can be found through the TMF facebook page or by going to the following address:

The information obtained from this survey is key to the planning of the festival and the team would very much appreciate the feedback. By filling out the survey you will also be in with the chance of winning tickets for TMF 2017! An Tirisdeach would like to congratulate Tiree Music Festival for winning this prestigious award and for all the hard work they put in to creating this fantastic festival! – Well done all!

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 Wind & Surf Club and Coll Children’s Club Joint Water Sports Day

Last week saw the young people of Tiree and Coll get to gather to enjoy a day of water related activities and learn some important information about water safety!

The children from Coll arrived for the day on Wednesday and started the day with a lovely lunch at the Cobbled Cow. After lunch it was down to business and the children got the opportunity to learn about water safety, watching a RNLI video on respecting the water and listening to an interesting talk by Tiree Trust Youth Worker Willie McKinnon, covering the dangers and risks of the open sea, something that is very important for children on islands such as Tiree and Coll.

After the classroom bit was over, the children then got the chance to have some fun down at Balephuil. They played some games on the machair before enjoying a boogie boarding session with Gavin Dunlop and John Isaacson of Wild Diamond, who also gave a safety briefing – reiterating and emphasising many of the points that had already been raised throughout the day! Gavin and John were excellent coaches and their enthusiasm helped the children enjoy their day together!

Pictured are the children along with Gavin and John, Willie Mackinnon and Andy Wright of the Tiree Trust and Jim McDowall of the Tiree Wind and Surf Club.

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.

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A Blast From The Past

As an Tirisdeach went to print, it was reported that the residents of Sandaig had been asked to evacuate their homes from 10am on Wednesday morning (3rd of August), in order to allow specialists to investigate the discovery of an old WW2 bomb.

The bomb was found by local Billy MacLean on Tuesday morning, most likely washed up from the sea. It was reported to local police and coastguard and the situation was taken very seriously, with a 5 unit bomb disposal team arriving on Tiree on Wednesday to investigate and control the situation. We understand, that thankfully the bomb was empty and no controlled explosions had to take place. However, all precautions were taken to ensure the safety of islanders as the blast could have travelled as far as a mile and a half and caused a lot of destruction to homes and surrounding areas. Local Sandaig resident Maurice Wright is pictured with the ‘Royal Navy – Bomb Disposal’ Van which was on the island as a result of the discovery!

Noted on An Iodhlann website, it is not the first time that a bomb has washed up on Tiree: ‘“A few weeks later a gale refloated the mine and it crashed against the rocks below the Banker’s House, exploding violently. All the windows were smashed. A piece was recovered from Beinn Gott and the key fell out of the door at Adavale, half a mile away. – Hugh MacKinnon, Baugh Thankfully there was no explosion this time round!

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: – 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!

TMF 2016

The population of our small island more than tripled last weekend as over 2000 people attended the award winning Tiree Music Festival!

TMF has grown year on year, in every way possible, from the capacity to the site to the acts and much more – and it never fails to impress! Ferry and flight capacity was increased with additional sailings and flights put on to cope with the demand. A good number of festival goers took advantage of the early campsite opening, and set up camp as early as Wednesday, as the campsite and the Community Village went live.

The main event started on Friday afternoon, with Jesse Terry taking to the CalMac Live Lounge stage to officially open the festival! This years weather could definitely be described as a ‘mixed bag’, with rain, mist, wind and sunshine all making an appearance and a fantastic lightening storm only days after the event! The weather didn’t seem to dampen many spirits as all festival goers were raring to go each day.

Friday had an excellent line up of music, such as Breabach, Gunna Sound, Dùn Mòr, Jam Sandwich, Skerryvore and lots more! The weather caused a few problems for the organisers as the ‘Cairn Capital’ Main Stage couldn’t be used, meaning all acts performed on the CalMac Live Lounge or TMF Big Top!

It wasn’t only music on offer at TMF 2016, there was a variety of different activities for all of the family! The Eden Court Creative team were in residence all weekend, running various workshops and activities for children, including Tiree’s first flashmob which was practiced throughout the weekend and performed on Sunday! The Tiree Tots were also onsite to entertain the children, with a dedicated area set up for them. A few of Tiree’s businesses and craft makers set up stalls at TMF, taking advantage of the extra 2000 people on the island! There was also an excellent variety of food available throughout the weekend, with delights such as ‘Thai-ree’, exquisit Argyll sourced meat and seafood from Food from Argyll and new for 2016 was Sharon Shannon’s Vegan catering van, which brightened up the site with a funky van!

The second day of live music got off to an excellent start as the Socks in the Frying Pan opened the Open Air stage for the first time. Due to a technical hitch during the performance the band came down from the stage and played among the crowd! Saturday also saw performances from Sharon Shannon, the very popular Jam Sandwich, headliners Levellers and closing the show with a variety of tunes from their new album ‘Rescattermastered’ – our very own Trail West!

The final day of the festival came too soon for many, however the cracking line up definitely made up for it! There was an excellent number of local musicians gracing the stage with performances from The Cornaig Mor Ceilidh Band, The Defenders, Dùn Mòr, a variety of performers from A’ Bhuain 2016 and the fantastic Skipinnish closing the festival in the Big Top! Sunday also saw the annual Joint Church Service which took place in the Cal Mac Live lounge, with some special performances from TMF performers. Tide Lines, Macanta, Scott Wood Band, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and many more performed to a packed out tent of festival goers who looked to be enjoying themselves throughout the weekend!

I think it is safe to say that the 7th Tiree Music Festival was yet again another roaring success and An Tirisdeach would like to say congratulations and well done to all of those involved in making it happen!

Dates for next year’s festival have also been confirmed as the 14th – 16th of July!

Local Nurse Attends Patrons’ Lunch

Last week on Sunday the 12th of June, Tiree’s local district nurse, Catriona Cowling attended the Patrons’ Lunch in London!

The Event which was organised to celebrate The Queen’s patronage of over 600 charities and organisations on the occasion of her 90th birthday, was a great success and enjoyed by all!

Catriona was one of the lucky 12 nurses who were picked from a draw by The Queen’s Nursing Institue Scotland to attend the lunch. She told An Tirisdeach that she very much enjoyed her trip to London, despite the rain and even managed to have a chat with Princess Anne, who remembered being in Tiree on two occasions in 1991 to open The Hynish Centre and the extension to Tigh a Rudha.

Catriona is pictured with her hamper full of goodies which she received at the event. Well done to Catriona!

News From Tiree High School

From Tiree To Kaoya

Last year we were delighted to be able to purchase new reading schemes for pupils in the English primary classes. Since then, several hundred ‘old’ reading books have been taking up space in various corners while we searched for a suitable home for them. Although the books were no longer meeting our needs, we knew that somebody somewhere could make good use of them. We were put in touch with the charity Free 2 Be which is based in South Yorkshire and which supports Khaoya School in rural Kenya.

Having contacted the charity which said they would be delighted to make use of our books, the next challenge was to find a way of transporting them to Rotherham by the middle of June! An appeal on FaceBay solved this problem and we are extremely grateful to Mr Adrian Pope who kindly offered to transport the books for us. He is delivering around eight boxes of books to Free 2 Be on Sunday 12th June and these will be added to a container of clothing, tools and other goods being shipped to Kenya later this month. We are delighted that our books are going to benefit children in another part of the world.

Playground Working Bee

Last Saturday a group of parents and teachers spent the morning tidying up the primary playground. We were able to put up the climbing wall again, strim around the play equipment, tidy the courtyard and remove grass and weeds from inside the play equipment. We also brightened up the Gaelic primary toilets with stickers. The weather did not defeat us, even though it got drizzly towards the end and the donated tea and cake kept our spirits and energy up. A big thank you to all who took part – we hope to make this a more regular activity.

Quiz Night For Cancer Research

An enterprising group of pupils from P.5, 6 and 7 recently decided that they would like to raise some money for Cancer Research UK. Roxanne le Roux, Emily Armstrong, Gabrielle le Roux, Skye Gunn, Kathleen Munn and Ruth MacIntosh put their heads together and planned a Quiz Night with raffle and refreshments which was held on Friday 10th June in the school.

The girls worked extremely hard on the run-up to the event, making decorations, creating questions, ensuring a good supply of baking and gathering prizes for the raffle. On the Friday afternoon they set up tables and chairs and ensured that everyone knew their particular responsibility for the evening ahead. A good number of families and friends came along to participate and showed tremendous generosity in purchasing raffle tickets and home baking. Gaby and Emily welcomed everyone and spoke about the importance of Cancer Research and how cancer affects so many families. The questions which had been put together by Kathleen and Ruth provided lots of challenge and there were several groans as participants endeavoured to answer such puzzlers as, ‘What is the life expectancy of a wild mouse?’ and ‘How high is the crossbar in rugby?’! At the end of the evening the Hillcrest team comprising Elspeth MacKinnon, Finlay MacKinnon, Innes MacKinnon and Rhoda Meek emerged victorious, largely due (they claim) to Finlay’s superb knowledge of countries and their flags. Roxy made an excellent closing speech where they thanked everyone who had contributed towards the success of the evening.

The total amount raised for Cancer Research UK was £407.11. This was a fantastic result and the girls’ efforts were recognised at Monday’s school assembly.

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