NÀDAIR THIRIODH – TIREE RANGER SERVICE

Dear Readers,

This is my first bulletin as the new Tiree Ranger.

As a community, you have made me feel very welcome and at home on your island. The kind smiles and jolly waves have been much appreciated – especially in the face of a rather daunting move. I would like to thank everyone who has helped to make the last four weeks so enjoyable.

By the time this article reaches you, you will doubtless have seen the post on Facebay and/or the new temporary signage regarding the carpark closure at Tràigh Bhàigh. Regrettably, there are several sites where erosion has made parking areas difficult to use. These are also under review and I will update you accordingly.

I would like to assure each of you that the Access Steering Group is on-task. As you know, balancing the needs of different users is challenging on Tiree. The delicate structure of dune and machair systems, plus an overarching desire to preserve the “natural look” of coastal locations, makes management a bit of a juggling act. Currently, the discussions of the access group favour measures that have minimum visual impact and which can be implemented with the generous assistance of local residents. An example of this approach is the Balevullin site – which we will be working to restore over the coming weeks.

Crossapol has presented a rather more serious problem. Initially, the idea was to run three parking areas on rotation; allowing recovery time between each period of use. However, the popularity and exposed nature of this location are acting against us.

As many of you have noticed, the condition of these parking areas tends to deteriorate rapidly once the surface vegetation is worn away. Further, previously used areas are not recovering fast enough to allow rotation back into the system. Whilst it is highly desirable to have parking areas on the dune head, in practice, this has proved unsustainable at Tràigh Bhàigh.

Maintaining good access for all users that doesn’t conflict with on-going landmanagement is at the heart of what the steering group does. We understand the desire to get vehicles close to the beach, and we are working towards a solution that still allows this but reduces damage to valuable habitats and grazings. I will keep you informed of our progress. In the meantime please feel free to use the parking area in the middle of Tràigh Bhàigh at the end of the track to the wartime buildings.

With my thanks and kind wishes to you all,

Stephanie Cope

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