Tag Archives: Argyll

Tiree Remembers HMS Sturdy

HMS Sturdy

“It was a Thursday, I remember it well. Willie got up – he heard something moving outside, something being blown by the wind…This would be about 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning. It was quite a rough morning and it was raining. I would call it force 9-10, a severe gale… Just before we got down there we could make out it was a naval vessel – the paint, the colour, you see. There were a lot of people there; you’d hear “Help!” [The wreck] would be about 60 yards from the gravel beach on the rocks out there. I remember – I’m sorry, I’m getting emotional – the first thing we met there, a body, a beautiful, young fellow. I picked him up and took him beyond the reach of the ocean and put him on the grass”

– the late Hugh MacLean, Barrapol.

Tiree had seen its fair share of wrecks driven ashore, but the scene on the rocks off Sandaig at first light on October 30th 1940 brought home the sickening reality of the Second World War. A Royal Navy destroyer broken in two, beaten up onto the oil soaked beach with scores of stunned sailors sheltering from the storm and five bodies left behind by the tide.

I was not able to walk very well because I had cut my feet on the rocks but the islanders seemed suddenly to appear…I was taken to a cottage where the people were very kind, my clothes were dried and I had a hot bath. I fell asleep exhausted in a beautiful bed.

– Leading Seaman Harry Springett, from the Sturdy

To honour the five seamen who lost their lives and to remember the great kindness the islanders showed to the shipwrecked sailors, a memorial has been built above the beach in Sandaig where the ship hit the rocks. 70 years, to the day, after the tragedy this memorial will be dedicated at a service on Saturday 30th October at 2pm. Relatives of the crew, along with Commodore Charles Stevenson, CBE, (Naval Regional Commander, Scotland and Northern Ireland), families of the islanders who showed such kindness to the seamen and the Tiree pipe band will be there.

After the ceremony there will be another short service in Soroby Cemetry to lay wreaths on the graves of those who lost their lives. Afterwards there will be teas at An Talla at 4pm where everyone will be welcome to meet the visitors.

In the evening at 7.30 Mike Hughes will give an illustrated talk on Tiree during the Second World War in An Talla (the last talk Mike gave at the Fèis was a sell-out! Be there early).

The memorial has been built by Bernie Smith and Sons and organised by Cmdr Mike Gibson, the son of the Sturdy’s chief engineer. The committee of An Iodhlann hopes the island will support this historic day.

Do you have anything salvaged from the Sturdy or connected with it? If so, we would love to borrow it for the evening of the 30th October. We plan to have a table of things from the wreck at Mike Hughes’ evening talk.

Please contact Dr John.

Tiree Community Trust Update

“These are exciting and challenging times for the Trust and Tiree”

The Trust welcomes two new members of staff this month. The posts attracted a lot of interest and there was strong competition for both positions.

Ann Kirby will be taking over as Trust Development Manager and Lynne MacKinnon as Local Development Officer. Lloyd Gudgeon is moving into a new role for the Trust as its Strategic Development Liaison Officer. Lloyd will now concentrate entirely on lobbying with government, the Council and SPR to ensure that Tiree’s needs and concerns are central to any development of the Tiree Array. This is a separate post from the one advertised by SPR in the last issue of An Tirisdeach. Trish O’Neil continues as Finance and Governance Officer and Sophie Isaacson as Youth Worker.

These are exciting and challenging times for the Trust and Tiree and we are fortunate to have such a strong team on board. Ann has been a director of TREL since 2006 as well as being a co-opted director of the Trust. She was instrumental in delivering Tilley, the community wind turbine for Tiree. She is a Chartered Accountant, qualified for over 20 years, as well as Vice Chair of Community Energy Scotland. Ann’s home number at Balemartine is 755. Lynne was born and brought up on Tiree and has been looking for the right opportunity to come back to live on Tiree. Her work leaves her job as In Flight Trainer for Loganair to return home. Lynne sees this role as an exciting opportunity to be a part of developing the future of the Island and working within the community.

All staff can be contacted on the office number 220074 or by email tireetrust{@}tireebroadband.com

Turbine update

September was a cracking month and Tilley produced 334 MWh, 40% over the prediction for the month. This was also after nearly 5 days of down time because of a technical issue, scheduled maintenance and training. This takes us 244 MWh above the expected output for the period 27 March to end of September, which gives us a cushion to cover unexpected downtime or calm periods.

October has started even better: 114 MWh in the first 5 and half days. Tuesday 5th was a red letter day, generating over 22 MWh. The wind hit 32 m/s or 70 mph at 4.20pm with an average speed of 19 m/s (43 mph) for the whole day! This week is Wave Classic so we all know what that means, flat calm.

We are still waiting for the first Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments to come through but these are expected shortly. These payments are guaranteed for the next 20 years and are based on how much Tilley produces each quarter. We also receive payment for the electricity exported to the Grid. Once these payments start to come in and the initial costs are covered, TREL hopes to be able to make its first payment to the Trust before the end of the year.

The Trust will be launching the Windfall Fund in the next few weeks. Please look out for more information in An Tirisdeach and posters around the Island.


The Trust’s website is being updated with a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), which we hope will help to keep people informed. There should also be the ARC monthly reports in full, along with records of the Tiree Array Forum meetings.

Youth Worker

Sophie has started the Duke of Edinburgh award group Monday 3.30pm at the school. There are already 10 keen members who are planning what to do for their bronze award. After the holidays this is moving to Wednesday evening.

The P1-4 Saturday morning club has been advertised and we’re still looking for a few more volunteers to commit to helping out. We really do need a couple more for this to go ahead. Please get in touch if you can help.

Sophie is also investigating the possibility of setting up a Sailing Club. We would like to know how many young people on the Island are interested in learning how to sail and taking part in races or sailing activities.

Tiree Array

This has been a busy time. The date for SPR to submit its detailed plans is getting ever nearer: they hope to be ready to ask for planning permission in early 2012.

We are concentrating our efforts on lobbying to be included in the planning process so we can influence decisions and so try to ensure that Tiree’s interests are covered.

SPR recently held public information days on Coll and Tiree. The event here on 23rd September was well attended, SPR estimate over 70 people during the day. They’ve reported they felt the day was useful, with lots of queries and general discussion from people who have previously been unable to attend meetings or join the Forum.

We are encouraging SPR to hold more of these days as soon as more information is available. Whilst the project is by no means certain to go ahead, with or without the Community’s support, these events are good opportunities to come along and talk directly to the people involved.


The Tiree Array Forum has been working hard to uncover as much information as possible about offshore windfarms and their impacts on local communities. This information is fed back to the Trust. We still have very little detailed information about what the Tiree Array will look like or its impact upon us, but we hope that the work of the Forum will go some way towards identifying the likely outcomes.


Argyll Renewable Communities (ARC) has responded to the SPR scoping document, raising a number of the concerns that the Trust raised in its own response.
In addition, ARC has written to the Scottish Government with concerns over its draft plan for development of offshore waters.

ARC is currently working on collecting case study information from 12 offshore sites in order to draw a picture of what happens elsewhere. We will be able to use this information when they have completed the work. ARC will meet with senior officials in Argyll & Bute Council to push for communities’ involvement in the planning process around the Array developments.

Tiree’s First County Capped Rugby Players

rugby players

There could hardly have been a better way for Tiree RFC to have ended their first full season than to have had four of our players represent Argyll and Bute against Uddingston RFC’s touring U16 and U17 sides.

It has been an excellent year that has seen the number of pupils attending the rugby club increase both at primary and secondary levels. We have had a couple of visits from Billy Thomson, the SRU’s representative for Argyll and Bute, which have been extremely useful and thoroughly enjoyed by the pupils. The skills of all of the youngsters who have attended the Saturday morning club have increase drastically and this was very evident in our four players that went to Mull last weekend.

Three of the four boys had never played in a rugby match before and I am sure that the thought of going into a full contact game against extremely experienced players must have been daunting but our boys never showed it. Jamie MacDonald and Daniel Hayes both played the first half of the U16 game and put in very solid performances.

Jamie was the first to put all his practice to the test by putting in a thumping tackle against a significantly larger opponent, who ended up landing on top of him, much to Jamie’s surprise. Daniel, not one to be upstaged, decided to take on two of the opposition and ended up at the bottom of an eight man ruck (pile-on). He did win the ball for his side but unfortunately ended up with a twisted ankle for his efforts and had to sit the rest of the game out. Bruce Thomson, the club’s only experienced player, was on for the full match as a wing forward and despite having never been in a scrum before seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He was the nemesis for the Uddingston team as not one player was able to get passed him and he seemed to be everywhere. His performance was so solid that it drew the attention of the Argyll and Bute county team scout. Ewen, unfortunately, only got onto the pitch for the last 10 minutes of the U16 game but still managed to stamp his mark. The first time he got his hands on the ball he made a great run, breaking through one tackle and making 10 yards on the ‘gain line’ before he was brought down but he retained possession for his team. He then went on to play for the U17 side where he was positioned in forwards and continued Tiree’s new but rising reputation of producing formidable tacklers.

All of our boys put in excellent performances and played a crucial role in securing a 19-5 victory for the U16s and an 18-5 victory for the U17s. A special mention should also be made to Sean, Finn and Jack who have attended almost every training session since the club started. Also to George, Joseph, Connor, Beatrice and Colin who have attended regularly as well as all of the others who have started to turn up.

The club is growing in numbers and ability and it would not have happened if it wasn’t for these youngsters coming along on Saturday mornings. Of course nothing would have happened at all if it hadn’t been for the time and effort that has been volunteered by Tiree’s rugby champion, Aurélie Stevens, and the coaches Steve Thomson, Bruce Kemp and Robert Trythall.

The rugby club would like to thank ‘Active Schools’ for the funding that they have provided which will help us get more equipment and subsidised last weekends trip to Mull. Also to Tiree School for making the premises available on weekends and the support we have received from the PE department.

The club has gone from strength to strength and will hopefully continue to do so as Tiree rugby has already started to get a reputation for itself and I am confident that this is just the beginning of great rugby achievements for the youth of the island. As for future Scotland players, watch this space……………

Allaying the Closing Fears

Councillor Mary-Jean Devon

Further to the article in this weeks Oban Times with regards to “Tiree named on school closure draft”, I am writing to allay the fears and concerns of the people of Tiree.

Due to the difficult financial time every council in Scotland is facing various efficiency options . As far as Argyll and Bute Council is concerned no decisions , discussions, meetings, or consultations have taken place regarding Tiree High School. As your elected member I can categorically assure you of this.

The infrastructure of Oban High School and its Hostel could not accommodate the pupils of Tiree High School as you will have read recently in the press. The Oban Hostel has just undergone a major refurbishment which allows them to accommodate 104 pupils. They are nearly at capacity presently as is the roll of the High School.

Please be assured if any discussions let alone decisions had been taken regarding Tiree High School I would have been in contact with the people of Tiree as they are the first to be consulted.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding this matter or any other issues you have.

Councillor Mary-Jean Devon 01688 302792 07912 949073.

Tiree High School

You will no doubt be aware of rumours circulating about the possible closure of Tiree High School. Whilst I appreciate that you are obviously worried by these reports, may I please assure you that no plans have been drawn up to close any school.

As we all know, difficult financial decisions lie ahead for all local authorities within the next few years.

Argyll and Bute Council has made it clear that the severe budgetary pressures will require it to review every aspect of its service provision, including education.

Those reviews are ongoing, and are likely to continue for some time.

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