Tiree Ranger Service – Winter Storms and Tidal Surges

beach_erosionThe tourist season is almost with us. Yes it is March already and the Easter Holidays are only a few weeks away. What will they find when they arrive?

I guess we are all fed up with the wind and rain that seems to have plagued us incessantly since November and have left the machair a flooded quagmire. Along with this winter storms and tidal surges have devastated the dune systems around the island. It is roughly estimated that the equivalent of three to four years normal erosion has taken place in the matter of a few months. It will take years for the damage to rectify naturally, but we can all help to prevent further damage.

Some areas of dunes are no doubt unstable and in some areas war time materials have been unearthed. Both of these pose a potential for accident and potential injury. So what can you do to help?

  • ?Be careful where you walk – try to avoid dune edges and exposed wartime material
  • ?Watch where you park. Stay back from the dune edge which may be undercut and likely to collapse
  • ?Try not to access beaches by walking down dune fronts but by using established tracks
  • ? If accessing beaches with vehicles please use tracks that are already established
  • ?If you are crofting and need sand/shingle please take this from as close to the sea as possible rather than at dune fronts or behind dunes to give dunes a chance to re-establish themselves
  • ?If you have friends or visitors coming to the island in the next few months please ask them to follow the advice given above.

The devastating erosion to Tiree’s dune systems has been raised with Scottish Natural Heritage and Argyll & Bute Council to see what, if any, actions we can take to protect and prevent further damage to our dunes. I will keep you informed in future editions of An’Tirisdeach of how this progresses. Above are pictures of Crossapol in December and March, which show the stark differences from before and after the storms.

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