Category Archives: Latest Stories

Swine Flu – Is the Health Service on Tiree prepared?

docs_surgery_signWith daily newspaper reports of this new flu virus, An Tirisdeach wondered just how prepared our own medical service was if a much feared flu pandemic was to occur here on Tiree.
What is a pandemic? A pandemic occurs when a new flu virus which people have no immunity to occurs and spreads as easily as normal flu with simultaneous epidemics worldwide. Last century three occurred; in 1918, 1957 and 1968. The pandemic of 1918, took 18 million lives compared with WWI which also ended in 1918 and claimed 8.5 million lives. The pandemic of 1957 took 1.4 million lives and the 1968 outbreak took one million lives. We now find ourselves at the beginning of the 21st Century contemplating such a possibility again. But is our medical team prepared ? Are we prepared ?

“the commentary has become less measured”

In the winter of 2008, we suffered, according to our G.P. Dr. Holliday “a two month flu epidemic” which decimated, in Tiree School alone, staff and pupil levels. Dr. Holliday informs An Tirisdeach that the surgery has had a Flu Disaster Plan for the last two years and has received a small amount of Tamiflu from the government. Discussing the current media coverage of swine flu and the concerns that people had he felt that the commentary has become less measured. .
Dr. Holliday explained that the first phase would be mild due to the time of year. Autumn and winter would be the critical months and that Tamiflu was no panacea as it only shortens the disease by a day. Dr Holliday was frank and to the point. “ By far the most important measure that everyone could take responsibility for is hygiene, this is crucial “ he said.

“Sing Happy Birthday twice”

“Washing hands with soap and water while singing Happy Birthday to yourself twice then drying hands on clean towel or paper towel would go a long way to protecting yourself against the virus”. A sanitiser gel would also do the same job as soap and water. Dr. Holliday is under no illusions as to how difficult it is to wash our hands conscientiously and constantly to wash away the germs one comes into contact with. He is also aware that children will say they have washed their hands when in fact they have only ran them under a tap. Singing Happy Birthday to yourself while hand washing actually takes quite a time. Longer than one would normally spend on such a task, but it is a critical element. All households have been given a Swine Flu leaflet by the government. The guidelines on sneezing and nose blowing should also be strictly adhered to with hand washing following. Not always easy, and this is when a Sanitiser gel would be useful to have on hand at all times.

“I would hope and expect the strength of Community to rally round”

If the Tiree Community found itself in the throes of a pandemic Dr. Holliday felt that a close knit community such as ours would cope well with it. “I would hope and expect the strength of Community to rally round”. This virus is virulent. Normally a flu would infect one in ten , this virus is expected to infect one in three. Dr. Holliday has been informed that there will be a flu hotline in the Autumn with increased stockpiling of drugs. We can be sure that Dr. Holliday and his team will be keeping a close eye on developments.

Argyll & Bute have the worst roads in Scotland

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The simple fact is Argyll & Bute have the worst roads in Scotland, and Oban Lorn and the Isles the worst roads in Argyll..
“Councillor, when are you going to do something about our roads”
This is one of the questions I’m asked with alarming frequency. My colleagues and I dread those words. Although, my colleagues and I constantly battle for better roads and will continue to do so on our constituents behalf.

While nothing can fully excuse the chronic underfunding of our roads network, it has to be seen in context. Our biggest spending department is Social Services. As with any council it is wide ranging; from schools, the elderly and the vulnerable. These areas are scrutinised by outside agencies. Any council seen to be failing will face sanctions from the government. However, there is no such direct scrutiny for roads (although public transport is monitored by various bodies). Therefore, year on year underfunding has led to a situation where restrictions and closures loom. We are not the only council in this predicament – we simply have less flexibility than most because of our geography.

Tiree has an extra “streetscene” operative newly recruited to the post. Currently, priorities for ditching work are Balevullin, Cornaigbeg & Cornaigmore. As well as the chicane at Crossapol due to be resurfaced in the next month or so. In my next article for An Tirisdeach I will explain what a “streetscene” operative means.

I am due to be over in June with my team mates from Tobermory Golf Club for our biennial visit, when I hope to meet up with many old friends (and opponents). See you then.

I can be reached on 01688 302 689 or by email on gordon.chalmers@argyll-ukbute.gov.

Gordon Chalmers

The Spirit Of Adventure

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The Spirit Of Adventure Cruises Into Tiree on 26th May 2009

The National Trust of Scotland has chartered the cruise liner The Spirit of Adventure for three weeks as part of Scotland’s Homecoming Year. The three week trip will cruise round the West Coast of Scotland before heading off to Iceland. The three hundred passengers will have Lecturers and Entertainers on board too.

David Munro, Former Director of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society will be giving lectures on geographical topics. Billy Kay, Broadcaster and Writer will be lecturing in Scottish Diaspora and Rabbie Burns. Entertainers will include the gaelic singer Anne Lorne Gillies and George Donald from Scotland the What?

The vessel will be arriving on Tiree around 8am on Tuesday 26th May until 6pm. The passengers will disembark for the day. Everyone will enjoy Tiree hospitality throughout the day, and some will take a bus tour round the island, our R.S.P.B. Officer John Bowler will conduct wildlife walks, and for others a Rib to Staffa. A great day on Tiree seems to be awaiting the lucky people aboard the Spirit of Discovery.

Anyone interested in such a trip with the National Trust of Scotland can call them on 0844-493-2457 Or look at their website on www.nts.org.uk. Prices start around £1,000

Scottish Youth Parliament

YOUNG PEOPLE URGED TO STEP FORWARD FOR SCOTTISH YOUTH PARLIAMENT

Attention 14-25yr olds

Young people in Argyll & Bute are being urged to put their names forward for election to the Scottish Youth Parliament.

The two youngsters who are standing down said
“It’s a great opportunity to find new ways of making things better for young people”.

The role of a MSYP is to represent the views of other young people both locally and nationally. To be an MSYP, you must be aged between 14- 25yrs and live in Argyll & Bute. Argyll & Bute Council Leader Dick Walsh urged young people to put their names forward
“This is Scotland’s leading rural area, and it is vital that we have an effective voice at all levels. This is an excellent opportunity for any young people who want to make a difference.

A chance to have your voice heard as a representative for your generation. If you have any questions about what is involved in being an MSYP, EMAIL Argyll & Bute at youngscot@argyll-bute.gov.uk.

Sheaves from the Stackyard

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H. M.S. Sturdy The Final installment

Once all of the 105 crew were accounted for, the captain’s priority was to remove all the secret papers from the vessel. Most of the crew, including the injured, were taken to Oban that evening on HMS Rhododendron, leaving a salvage party of 22 on the island.

The wreck held provisions that were too tempting to ignore for warhungry Tiree.
Angus MacLean, Scarinish recalled “I never saw so much tea in my life.”
He saw an old man from West Hynish wearing an old tweed coat with patch pockets at the Sturdy wreck. He held the pockets open and someone literally poured the loose tea into them.
“It would have done him for a year!”
“The first ‘Crunchie’ bar I had to eat was from the Sturdy”. Mairi Campbell, Corrairigh.

“It wasn’t very safe. It’s a wonder to me no one was hurt or even drowned. I was there myself looking for souvenirs, and I’ve got one of the clasp knives out there in the workshop. And as for tobacco! My goodness, tobacco! Cigarettes by the million! Rum if you wanted it, plenty of rum too. And some of the boys [the Navy salvage party]would pinch a drop for a person, too”. Hugh MacLean, Barrapol.

Willie MacLean, Balinoe, watched another old islander searching on the beach afterwards. There were piles of oilskins and boots tangled up in the seaweed and he stripped off his old trousers and put on the new Navy oilskin trousers. The Sturdy’s chief engineer had fractured his knee during the evacuation of the boat. His son, Mike Gibson, was sent to Tiree to collect what personal possessions he could:

The preceding was extracted from the paper version of An Tirisdeach.

RSPB Info – April

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April brought some warmer dry spells interspersed with periods of wetter southerly and westerly winds, which kept the lochs and wetlands topped up, but also kept many fields wetter than normal. In general, spring migration was a little earlier than last year with the Barnacle Geese departing en masse from Ruaig on the evening of 12th – three days earlier than in 2008, with the bulk of the Greenland White-fronts setting off northwards the day before. Some spring arrivals were also early with the earliest ever record for the island of a Blackcap at Balephuil (11th) and the earliest ever Cuckoo at Carnan Mor (17th). By the end of the month, most of the regular breeding migrants were back, albeit in small numbers so far, including Willow Warbler (from 10th), Little Tern (from 14th), Arctic Tern (from 25th), Sedge Warbler (from 28th) and Common Sandpiper (from 29th). The first Corncrake was also early (9th) and some 30 or so calling males had been widely reported around the island by the month-end. Co-ordinated night time counts of calling male Corncrakes will start later in May to see how numbers compare to last year. With numbers of birds dropping on both Coll and the Outer Hebrides in 2008, Tiree’s currently thriving Corncrake population has become even more important.

The preceding was extracted from the paper version of An Tirisdeach.

Changes At An Tirisdeach

Changes at An Tirisdeach mean that Mr. Ian Sharp will be the new editor, and Ms. Angela Sutherland will be sub-editor, and business centre administrator.
Both are looking forward to working on An Tirisdeach, and hope to produce an Island paper which reflects the broad spectrum of people, businesses, and interests of Tiree.
This issue has been published by Mhairi Byfield & Angela. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mhairi for her invaluable help and support during this transitional time.
Due to staff changes at An Tirisdeach you have no doubt noticed that the Business Centre opening times have been rather erratic. Sincere apologies for the disruption of normal operating times to anyone who has come into the business centre and found the office closed!
Normal Opening times will resume on Monday 30th March 2009
Opening times will be 9:30am – 12:30pm

Funny For Money For Comic Relief

On Friday 13th Tiree High School was dressed in red!

All Dressed In Red

All Dressed In Red

Pupils and staff entered into the spirit of raising money for Comic Relief by paying to dress in red, buying cakes and biscuits, buying and wearing red noses, and taking part in a talent show.

The total amount raised was £406, and of that £40 was sent to the British Heart Foundation with £366 going to Comic Relief. Also included in the Comic Relief total were discreet donations from two families. Thanks to all those who helped in any way to make this a succesful fundraising event.

Gardeners Corner

Winter really limits outdoor work, although many useful tasks can be done now.
If Crocuses or Snowdrops are overcrowded lift, divide, and replant them after they have bloomed.
Now is also the time to get your Roses ready for the Summer. Prune to reduce the size, remove diseased stems, or stems that are crossing each other. As a general rule, prune back stems by about half to two thirds.
Dig over any empty beds in preparation for Spring sowing. Now is the time to plant Gladiola, Dahlia, Begonia, etc.
Newspapers will often show good plant offers at this time of year, so be on the lookout!

Written by Peggy Cameron

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