Category Archives: Latest Stories

Tiree Flag Finalists Chosen

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

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!

Tiree School Sports Day

Tiree High School Sports Day started of with a Rainbow Olympics for Pre 5-P3 children. The Rainbow themed events saw children jumping (over the rainbow), running, balancing, throwing and pulling, showing everybody the skills and qualities they have been developing in PE lessons.

The afternoons Inter House Track and field saw pupils from P4-S6 battle it out for their respective houses – Clansman, Columba and Claymore. Every pupil took part in seven events whereby they tried to achieve their best possible time, distance or height to achieve one of the four standards-participation (5 points), Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond (25 points). The emphasis is on being the best you possibly can be and having fun whilst doing so.

It was a great afternoon with bags of determination, grit and school spirit on display. The afternoon finished with the Tiree pipe band playing whilst the crowds cheered on the houses pulling with all their might in the Tug of war.

All the children were able to get a lovingly made rainbow fruit stick to refresh them, made by the Parent council. The family watching treated themselves to something from the Cobbled Calf.

After all the results were tallied up Clansman won the day by just two points but the Johnny MacKenzie Trophy for Inter-House Sport was shared between Clansman and Columba due to results in other interhouse events throughout the year. Claymore were only just behind and are looking strong for next year…..

New community land management scheme launched

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.

Be Charlotte Embraces The Elements For Tiree Music Festival

  • Final acts announced for TMF 2018
  • Brand new ‘Elements’ Programme launched – with something for the whole family
  • Official Beer Sponsor confirmed

Scottish singer-songwriter Be Charlotte has been announced as a headline act for Tiree Music Festival 2018.

Pop, rock band The Hoosiers have also been announced as headliners for the Sunday night of the festival. The Paul McKenna Band have also been confirmed to play as well as Mary Ann Kennedy.

The festival has also today launched their brand new ‘Elements’ programme – a strand that offers something for the whole family to enjoy.

Earlier this year Be Charlotte signed a worldwide record deal with Columbia/Sony Music. With her inimitable vocals and her unique style – a blend of digital and analogue pop with some beat-boxing and rap thrown in – she is sure to be a huge hit with the TMF crowds.

While on Tiree to announce her headline slot, Be Charlotte, said:

“I’ve been lucky enough to take my music to festivals throughout the UK, Europe and South East Asia but I really can’t wait to play Tiree Music Festival – before arriving today I had seen so many amazing pictures of the white sands and blue seas and I couldn’t wait to get here to experience them myself.

“It was great getting a taste of what to expect in July and now I really can’t wait to play to the TMF crowds in this amazing setting.”

Tiree Music Festival prides itself on being a family friendly festival and TMF 2018 will introduce a brand new creative programme entitled ‘Elements’ – this strand will explore the four core elements that are a key part of life on Tiree – Sun, Sand, Wind and Water.

The festival takes place on the island of Tiree between Friday 13th – Sunday 15th July 2018. Early bird tickets sold out in less than 48 hours in November for the multi award-winning event.

Brand-new to TMF 2018 will be the already announced ELEVATE STAGE. This new outdoor stage, that is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund, will showcase the best talent on the Scottish music scene with its line-up focusing on up-and-coming Scottish artists. As well as opportunities for young musicians performing on the stage, the festival has also appointed a Youth Artistic Programmer Jamie MacDonald, who is from Tiree and has taken the lead on programming.

The Elements Programme and the ELEVATE Stage at Tiree Music Festival 2018 is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund, managed by Event Scotland and part of Visit Scotland’s Events Directorate.

Tiree Music Festival is also delighted to announce that Innis & Gunn have been confirmed as their official beer sponsor for the weekend event.

Dougal Gunn –  Sharp, Innis & Gunn Founder and Master Brewer, said:

“We can’t wait to be part of The Tiree Music Festival experience as official beer sponsor, and are busy brewing up a fantastic range of Innis & Gunn craft beers for people to enjoy over the weekend in Tiree’s stunning island setting. We’re really thrilled to be supporting one of Scotland’s best festivals and looking forward to an amazing weekend of music.”

Daniel Gillespie, Festival Director of Tiree Music Festival, said: “BeCharlotte is an amazing musician as well as a fantastic ambassador for music in Scotland and we are really looking forward to welcoming her to the Tiree Music Festival stage this summer. “We’re also delighted to be announcing our Elements Programme which the whole family can enjoy. This strand further strengthens the family offering at the festival and we hope visitors to the island enjoy learning and experiencing the four key elements that are integral to daily life on Tiree. Tickets are selling fast so we recommend getting in there quick!”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events said:

“We are delighted to be supporting Tiree Music Festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People celebrations. The festival has given the next generation the chance to shine with young people at the heart of the planning and programming this year. It is no surprise that this year’s line-up showcases some of Scotland’s best young artists and musicians. With so much incredible young talent, Scotland really is the perfect stage for events and festivals.”

The Elements Programme includes:
•Sand The amazing Sand in your Eye will be making the most of Tiree’s white sandy beaches and creating some
spectacular sand sculptures and designs. Festival goers will get the opportunity to get involved with interactive
workshops taking place on the Sunday.
•Sea Having only launched in April this year, TMF will be offering festival visitors the opportunity to see Tiree from
a slightly different angle with Tiree Sea Tours who will be running sea tours over the weekend.
•Wind Tiree, the Hawaii of the North, offers some of the best wind surfing conditions in Scotland – festival visitors are
invited to try their hand at extreme watersports, or a more relaxed paddle board session. Local company Wild
Diamond will be on hand offering a variety of activities.
UZ Arts will also be onsite offering flag design workshops throughout the weekend, suitable for all ages, this
interactive workshop will invite visitors to design their own flag.
•Sun The Sun element at this year’s festival comes in the formofDeLighterswho are a Physical PerformanceCompany
based in Edinburgh. They specialise inmulti-artformperformances and will be leading flashmob workshops and
performing a fire show all centred around the sun.
Acts Performing at Tiree Music Festival 2018 include:
Big Top
(STMA Community Project of the Year)

Tiree SWI Steal the Show

The Mull and Tiree Federation Scottish Women’s Institute met on Wednesday the 6th of June for their annual show at An Talla, Crossapol.

The Tiree Federation SWI meet monthly, offering those involved a chance to form friendships while getting involved in a wide range of fun activities and events such as talks and demonstrations that cover an extensive span of subjects including art, cooking, travelling, aerobics, computing, wildlife, and much more.

It’s through these meetings that thirteen participants from Mull’s four Institutes, which include Fionnphort, Salen, Tobermory and Torosay, travelled over to Tiree to compete with the local SWI ladies in several classes of individual competitions, ranging from the beautiful flower arrangements, colourful cushion covers, mouth-watering baking, creative card making – all the way to the quirky and imaginative entries of the children’s class.

With An Talla set up the evening before, the participants spent Wednesday morning setting out the displays with their entries that had been worked on as long as a year prior to the show, while other perishable items such as the food and the flowers had to be prepared on the very morning of the competition.

The community competition, which involved creating a display with no more than five topics, taxed everyone’s imaginations with the chosen theme of “Island Living”, but the ladies of Tiree came out on top with their ensemble which combined elements that represented music, fishing, crofting, travel and crafts, winning not only the community competition category, but holding the most points in all the competitive classes.

A beautiful meal was prepared and provided by Josie Brown, Fiona Munn and Rona Campbell, for both the local ladies and the visiting institutes in the small hall of An Talla, starting the night off in high spirits and a really good, friendly atmosphere between the groups. The public were invited to the main hall in the evening to see the countless hours of hard work and preparation that each lady had contributed to the event, before the prize giving ceremony commenced.

Congratulations to all the participants for their hard work and well earned awards!

Fèis Thiriodh 2nd to 6th July 2018

The days are long, the sea is almost warm, summer has arrived and our Fèis Thiriodh is but a few short weeks away!

The Tiree Fèis, established in 1990 by a group of islanders seeking to foster and promote the language, culture and music of Tiree, has been going strong ever since. Every July we promote this week-long festival of traditional culture with classes for young and old, and evenings filled with dances, cèilidhs, lectures and walks. ’S ann sa bhliadhna 1989 a chuir buidheann de mhuinntir Thiriodh Fèis air dòigh airson cànan is ceòl an eilein a bhrosnachadh. An luib seo, tha eòlas air dualchas Thiriodh air a shnaigheadh a-staigh do dhòigh-beatha an là ’n diugh ann an dòigh a tha taitneach agus tarraingeach do shean is òg. Chan fheum Gàidhlig a bhith agad a’tighinn, ach fàgaidh sibh le beagan a’ bharrachd, agus, tha sinn an dòchas, le ùidh agus tuigse ann an cànan, cleachdaidhean agus dualchas Eilean Thiriodh. “thig crìoch air saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is ceòl.”

Most of these traditions have been handed down to us through the medium of Gaelic, and we try to use the language as much as possible. Even if you come with little or no Gaelic, we hope you leave with a little bit more, and an enthusiasm for – ar dualchas – our traditional culture – which Tiree has in such riches.

Alongside Tiree’s very own rich pool of talented musicians, Fèis week attracts some hugely talented musicians from far and wide. This year from Tiree we have Anna MacDonald teaching Clàrsaich, Doc Holliday teaching flute and whistle and Iain MacKinnon holding Gaelic conversation classes, while Kenny Rankin (of Lochalsh, but now living here in Tiree) is teaching guitar. Our visiting tutors include Màrtainn Skene of North Lochaber on accordion, Ally Murray from Kyle of Lochalsh (and long-time member of Tiree’s famous band Skipinnish) on drums, Anna Garvin of Oban teaching fiddle and Ally Maclean, also from Oban, taking pipes and chanter classes. Originally from Canada, Tara Rankin will be joining us to teach keyboards and also taking afternoon step-dancing classes. Also helping us to step up the pace will be Josie Burgess coaching us in a variety of sports. Lewis-man Kenny Nicolson is making the trip to help us all to raise our voices in song, while from Mull we have Alasdair Satchel coming to tutor film-making whilst also creating and producing a Fèis Thiriodh film for us.

And for the wee ones we have Fèis Bheag (5-8 yr olds) and Fèis Bheag Bheag (under 5’s) packed full of fun and ably run by Tiree folk Mhairi MacKinnon, Adam Smith, Emma MacKinnon and Donna MacLean.

Alongside the daily classes, every day will include time to learn the Fèis songs, and every evening will provide a chance to tune in, stamp your feet and dance along to the music of this fabulous gathering of musicians.

Added to this we have everything from a quizz to a tug o’ war, and there will no doubt be a goodly supply of Tiree’s fabled homemade cakes and many other goodies besides!

Do join us for a week-long celebration of all things Tiree – it’s not just for the kids, everyone is welcome! Booking forms are available via our website and Facebook:

Tulips Make A Comeback

Bulbs planted in February outside the Business Centre in Crossapol have added a vivid splash of colour to Tiree’s late spring. And this week, the Dutch bulb grower who donated the bulbs made the trip from Holland to see how they had turned out. It’s a long story. Aad van Ruiten, 75, took over the family bulb farm at Noordwijkerhout, halfway between Amsterdam and The Hague. The company is now known as FlowerBoost and run by Aad’s son and daughter-in-law. A local flower festival in April organised by Aad attracts over one million visitors. As a young man, Aad studied horticulture in Britain, becoming friends with a young man, whose family farm in Lochgilphead was later bought by Baxter Nisbet. Dr Nisbet, as a young horticulturalist, worked as a consultant for the Hebridean Bulb Growers Ltd, set up in 1957. Tiree was their first and principal centre of operations, and many crofters grew tulips and daffodils for a decade. Eventually, the island’s small-scale production and frequent wind damage forced the company to close in the face of an increasingly dominant Dutch bulb industry and crumbling import quotas. Aad and his wife Corry have visited Scotland over fifty times over the years. They became friends with Baxter Nisbet, and their conversation often returned to the Tiree bulb industry. At the turn of the year, he sent a large box of tulip bulbs to An Iodhlann, including the varieties Yellow Flight, Passionale, Match, Carnaval de Rio, White Flag, Oriental Beauty and Golden Parade.One red variety, Roosevelt, previously grown on Tiree, is now no longer commercially produced, and Aad went to considerable trouble to get the last bulbs from the Amsterdam Tulip Museum. Despite the grey conditions on Monday, Aad and Corry enjoyed their visit to the Business Centre, where the tulips, one month behind the Dutch crop, were in full bloom. He showed several of the Trust officers – Andy, Donna and Steph – how to behead the flowers, allowing the plants’ strength to stay in the bulb. He has donated another huge box of bulbs. There are still several fields on Tiree, for example in Ruaig,where daffodils from the 60s brighten the spring.We hope Tiree’s new tulip field will be doing the same for the next fifty years. Although Holland, now the producer of almost half the world’s flowers and bulbs, has a bit of a head start, Tiree could grow to challenge this position. Although a million visitors a year might be a challenge. Thank you Aad and see you both next year!

Loganair Respond to Communities Fare Concerns

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.

Ferry Disruption Continues to Cause 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.

Dark Sky Discovery Site

Last Month, Balevullin Car Park was recognised as a Milky Way Class, Dark Sky Discovery Site.

This accreditation is highly sought after and held by locations with little light pollution which allow for some magnificent star gazing!

Our neighbouring isle of Coll currently holds an international status of dark sky discovery site. There are many other aspects taken into consideration when trying to gain this level of award such as sky photography, and sky metre readings – this is something that we aspire to.

If you would like to get involved or can offer some assistance with Night Sky Photography then please email: for more information!

We also have the telescope available at the Trust office for any keen star watchers. You can also follow us on facebook by searching: Tiree Dark Skies.

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