Tag Archives: Isle of Tiree

Ceabhar is crowned Isle of Tiree’s Recycling Can Champion


Ceabhar Restaurant and Guesthouse has been crowned the Isle of Tiree’s recycling champion with a national award recognising their can recycling efforts.

Ceabhar, located in Sandaig, has not only reduced its waste by 40% but has raised thousands of pounds for the local community through the organisation of its recycling. Their business is now more efficient, environmentally friendly and its owners have become obsessed with finding even more opportunities to expand their recycling efforts.

Ceabhar’s environmental initiatives are also attracting ‘green tourists’ giving them a niche in the local hospitality industry. Speaking of Ceabhar’s achievement the Guesthouse owner Duncan Castling said:

“Every Can Counts has started a green revolution in our business. From cans to activities that impact on every single part of our trading environment, we are now aware of it and are thinking more about the environment and recycling in all areas of our business.”

Duncan and Polly invited An Tirisdeach to see the changes they have implemented and it is really impressive what the couple have achieved in a few years. They try to be as environmentally efficient as they possibly can and it is clear they live by their convictions as there are signs all around the restaurant and guesthouse proving they walk the walk.

Both are passionate about recycling and are happy to share what they’ve discovered with other people. They spend time with the guests in the self catering house explaining how they can recycle during their time on Tiree and find that their guests enjoy it and often leave with tips to take away with them.

As mentioned above they have been awarded the Trip Advisor Platinum Green Leaders Award but they are not resting on their laurels and are planning solar panels in the restaurant and a wind turbine which will provide the restaurant’s hot water. Their garden is awash with plants and home grown vegetables and in the corner is Polly’s pride and joy, the composter which is truly impressive- Duncan opened it up and gave it a huge stir up to show me just how effective it is (and whiffy!) Polly explained she has learned so much about composting and encourages anyone to get in touch as she’ll help and advise anyone who would like to “get started”.

They have sayings to remind you of how easy it is to recycle, my personal favourite relating to the can recycling is “wash it and squash it!”

They are a warm and welcoming couple keen for a greener, cleaner Tiree, they so deserved to win these awards. Congratulations :-)

Visit from Labour MSP


Rhoda Grant, Labour MSP representing Highlands and Islands, paid a visit to Tiree last week.

On her first fact finding trip to the island Rhoda toured the business centre and met members of Tiree Community Development Trust and Tiree Community Council.

Rhoda is interested in health care in rural areas and has a ‘bee in her bonnet’ about the delivery of broadband services to remote locations. She said, ” There is no better way to find out about the issues which affect folk in rural Scotland than paying a visit to talk to people. This is my first time on Tiree but I hope it won’t be the last!”

Rhoda talked at length to Tiree Community Councillors Ian Gillies and Alison Kennedy about air and sea transport and travel problems, about economic development on the island and about broadband issues and mobile phone signal coverage. She was in complete agreement with the argument that development on Tiree, as with other remote locations, was increasingly dependent upon improvements to mobile and internet services. She said, “There is no question that these things are of crucial importance and everywhere I go I am told that the extension of good internet connectivity to rural areas is vital. If these parts of Scotland are left out of the loop they will wither.”

Ian Gillies said, “We had a very productive meeting with Rhoda and hope that she will visit Tiree again soon. We did not hold back in making her aware of the most important issues that affect people here and she took it all on board.”

Tiree Trust Launches New Skills Fund

sheep shearing course on Tiiree

Last month saw the launch of the Windfall Fund’s new Skills, Education and Training (SET) Fund. The first recipients of the fund were Tiree Rural Development who received £1,240 towards running sheep shearing training on Tiree. This training, run by the British Wool Marketing Board was open to all, whether a beginner shearing a sheep for the first time or more advanced crofters, but provided a great opportunity for some of Tiree’s young crofters and farmers to build their skills.

Crofters and Farmers on the island who own sheep have to have them sheared at least once a year, and as there are a limited number of individuals with the relevant skills, off island help needs to be brought in. Now, thanks to this training, there are more locals equipped with the necessary skills to carry out the work, keeping skills and employment local.

‘We were delighted that the Windfall Fund awarded TRD with this money to facilitate the course, because the course was run on the island it meant more locals could attended than if it was on the mainland. The instructor who came along was very impressed by the high standard that was achieved by the end of the course’ Archie John MacLean- TRD Director.

The Tiree Skills, Education and training fund is now open and welcoming enquiries from local groups, businesses and individuals. For more information email admin@tireetrust.org.uk or phone the office on 220 074.

Tiree triumph over Tobermory


On Saturday 13th June a small fast craft brought 12 members of Tobermory Golf Club to take part in the annual golf matches against Vaul Golf Club.

The weather was fair and dry if a little windy and the north breeze kept it a bit cool. However, after a welcome breakfast of bacon and sausage rolls, things hotted up on the course with the Western Approaches individual competition getting underway at 11am. This competition consisted of 5 ladies and 21 men all setting off from a shotgun start.

The golf was great and the cup winner, Donald Brown from Tobermory came in with 42 points. Second was John Tyrer with 40 points and third with 39 points was Jessie Gray on a count back.

A beautiful lunch was supplied and served by the ladies and wives of the Tiree golfers and there was much to talk about as new and old acquaintances were made. The next rendezvous was Scarinish Hotel at 7pm for a pre-dinner drink in the Upper Deck followed by a fantastic three course dinner which was delicious. A Raffle was held in aid of Club funds and again prizes were donated by local golfers and friends.

On Sunday the big one, The Cadden Cup, is a team event and the four ladies got the match underway at 10am. They were followed by the twenty men in groups of four and it is a friendly but very competitive competition which was started many years ago by Gilbert Cadden and friends. Out on the course you are concentrating very hard on winning each hole in your own match but at the same time trying to gauge how the other matches are going. One of the men’s matches finished first, walking in from the fifth, and we were pretty sure Tiree had won that one. The Tiree ladies won on the 18th green so 2 up to Tiree in the Clubhouse. Tiree needed 3.5 to win and Tobermory would retain the Cup with a 3 – 3 draw. As each match came in the tension rose until we finally knew that Tiree had 3.5 points and the Cup was ours again. Group photos were taken by the Golf Club stone and the Tiree players’ smiles say it all.

It was then off to the Lodge Hotel for a late lunch where we had more tasty food and a pleasant social finish to the weekend. The Tobermory players left on the little boat at 7.30pm with a great send off from their Tiree counterparts and friends. I think we all agree that, as important as the golf is on this annual occasion, the socialising with friends old and new is equally, if not more important and thoroughly enjoyable.

Congratulations and thanks must go to Donald MacKinnon for getting all the greens newly fenced in time, to Neil Connor for the lovely greens that we putted on and to all the helpers who gave of their time to make the course and the clubhouse look so smart and beautiful and the flag flying proudly. One Tobermory golfer, Graham Davidson, has played for 32 consecutive years and perhaps that is a record but as Graham said, ‘If I played darts I would not have had this wonderful experience and made so many long term friends’.

Gilbert, your idea of this competition was a brainwave and long may the event continue. It will be in Tobermory next year which is a major challenge for Tiree golfers who are used to a flat course but we will go with every intention of trying our best to bring both Cups back to Tiree.

Land Fund Awards Tiree £141k for Crossapol Shop


The Scottish Land Fund, which is Scottish Government money distributed by the Big Lottery Fund for communities to take ownership of land and assets, has awarded Tiree £141,000 towards buying the former I&F MacLeod shop building in Crossapol which closed down in February 2014.

Tiree Community Development Trust had been exploring the feasibility of a community shop, with paid employees but managed by a committee of volunteers but has now had approval from the funders to offer the shop out for lease to a private business at commercial rates, viewing this as a more sustainable model of community ownership with any profit generated from the rent being reinvested in community projects.

The purchase price of £160,000 has been agreed with the owners, however the total project cost is £173,000, including all fees and a full structural survey and the balance of £32,000 will come from community funds generated by Tilley, the community wind turbine. The agreement also includes a plot of land to the east of the shop which will be retained by the community for future development following consultation.

The opportunity to take on the lease has been previously advertised and is still available, subject to successful completion of the purchase. If you are interested please contact admin@tireetrust.org.uk or 01879 220 074 for more details. Preference will be given to a highly valued community service, ideally a shop.

A closing date for noting interest in the lease has been set for Wednesday 17th June at 5pm. Interested parties will be asked to submit a business plan and a covering letter.

Caledonian MacBrayne announces more support for Tiree Music Festival


A long term sponsor of Tiree Music Festival, Caledonian MacBrayne has announced extra support for 2015’s event taking place between the 17- 19th of July.

Relying on substantial volunteer input, the additional sponsorship will be used to help those who are giving free of their time, alleviating some of the transport costs to and from the multi award winning festival.

The one-off commitment acknowledges the increased draw of the 10th anniversary of Skerryvore – band member Daniel Gillespie together with friend Stewart MacLennan, both Tiree islanders, founded the festival in 2010 – as well as the steadily growing popularity of the event, and builds on a strong relationship between the festival organisers and CalMac.

“Tiree Music Festival was a real nugget of an event which began in 2010 and has been a success ever since,” said Caledonian MacBrayne’s Head of Marketing, Peter Griffiths. “We have been proudly supporting the event since the beginning and, as it has grown from just 600 festival goers in year one to a sell-out 1700 now, so too has the need for an army of volunteers. “We have been in a position to offer a little more to help the organisers support their volunteers and have been glad to do so. Support to our communities is important to us and, this year alone, we will lend a hand to more than 100 events across our network. “Tiree Music Festival is also an important one for us, as it is the stage for one of the winners of our annual music competition CalMac Culture Music and this time it will be Jamie McGeechan from Ayr, known as Little Fire. Jamie impressed selectors at the competition finals in King Tut’s in Glasgow so much that he actually won two of the available five gig slot prizes – a first for the CalMac Culture Music competition. It should be a great treat for the crowds.”

Stewart MacLennan, Tiree Music Festival Director, said: “We would like to thank Calmac for their sponsorship over the years, as the festival has grown both in size and duration over the past six years their support has been immeasurable. “We are delighted that they have been able to offer additional sponsorship this year which will be used to reduce the costs of our much needed volunteers travel expenses from Oban to the island. “2015 is set to be our best yet with plenty of local foodie produce, family fun and a stellar line up including The Fratellis, Funbox, Skerryvore, Manran and Calmac Culture Music winner Little Fire to name a few.”

Setting The Record Straight

letters to editor

In response to the article in the Oban Times on Thursday 7th May, which suggested that Hugh Fernley Whittingstall had applied for a council grant for this year’s TMF, Stewart MacLennan and myself just wanted to address the inaccuracies in this article.

Stewart MacLennan, Director of Operations at Tiree Music Festival (TMF):

“The Argyll and Bute grant was applied for to help with logistical costs for Argyll Foods (eg Loch Fyne Oysters) and also to support the local efforts to deliver Tiree produce at the festival, through Beachcomber, a Tiree business. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall generously agreed to help us promote the festival – entirely out of his own goodwill and desire to help. It is the Year of Food and Drink Scotland and by approving part of the funding application, Argyll and Bute council have recognised the importance of bringing a local flavour to the festival, in turn supporting food producers, crofters and fishermen in the region.”

With his passion for local produce, and for Tiree, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall introduced me to his River Cottage star graduate chef Sam Lomas, and together with Hugh we are planning a tasty menu around what is available on the island, and in season at this year’s TMF. Our “pop-up”, (which, with Hugh’s blessing, will be called River Cottage @ the Beachcomber) will bring festival goers the very best produce from our own Tiree fishermen and crofter’s. Hugh has been very generous with his time and knowledge and I am hugely grateful for his support. Sadly his summer filming commitments mean he won’t be able to join us at TMF this year. Any assumption from the Oban Times article, that Hugh or River Cottage are profiting financially from this venture, or from council funding, is entirely wrong.

If you are selling Tiree fish, shellfish, potatoes, eggs and/or meat this summer please let me know as I am always looking for suppliers. beachcombertiree@hotmail.com or 01879 220590

Fèis Thiriodh 2015 – The 25th Anniversary Special


The Fèis Thiriodh committee are pleased to report that dates have been set and preparations are going well for this year’s event. The weeklong event of workshops, ceilidhs, talks and much more will be taking place from Sunday 5th to Friday 10th of July and we are excited to welcome back Tiree favourites ‘Trail West’ as our main tutors for the special 25th Anniversary event. Joining Trail West regulars; Ian, Alain and Andrew will be a host of other talented tutors who are all well-known to Tiree, including; Jamie MacDonald, Artair Donald, Iona Brown, John Angus MacKinnon, Eilidh MacFadyen, Eleanor Sinclair, John Holliday, Tara Rankin, Scott Wood, Linda MacLeod.

The 5 day tutoring event offers children aged 8 and over and adults, the opportunity to try their hand at a variety of different workshops including; accordion, guitar, pipes, drums, fiddle, flute/whistle, highland dancing, Gaelic conversation and film making. For the under 8 year olds, Fèis Bheag will run throughout the week along with Fèis Bheag Bheag running on four days for the under 5s.

As well as the day time workshops and activities we will also be running various evening and fringe events, which have proven to be very popular over the years. To celebrate our 25th Anniversary we are organising a ‘Ceilidh Ceann-bliadhna’ – Anniversary Concert – for the Monday evening. This will showcase a host of extremely talented and now famous past tutors and students returning to Fèis Thiriodh to entertain us with music, singing and dancing, which we hope will put everyone in the mood for a weeklong celebration of events. Other events will include; the popular children’s dance, a talk by Ian Smith on the history of whisky on Tiree and of course, the closing dance on the Friday evening, which will be led by Trail West.

After taking a year off last year we have also decided to bring back the very popular ‘Muse Cruise’ on the Thursday afternoon. This will see Fèis Thiriodh being transported on a six hour floating session with the tutors on the MV Clansman for a round trip to Barra and back. Come along to sing, play or just listen.

We only have to look at the numerous successful bands and musicians that hail from Tiree to realise that Fèis Thiriodh has had a very influential and successful 25 years, providing music and culture workshops and events to locals and visitors alike. We hope that you are all looking forward to Fèis 2015 and will join us to celebrate and ensure the 25th Annual Fèis is as popular and successful as previous Fèisean. Booking forms are now available and can be found, along with more information at www.feis-thiriodh.com

Beaver Scouts Scale The Heights On Tiree


Tiree Beaver Scouts took part in their annual Activity Day at the Hynish Centre on Saturday 16th May.

This year there was a focus on experimenting and fact finding missions. The group’s adventures included a visit to Tilley. The Beavers were shown around the turbine by TREL directors and were all very excited to go up to the control tower and see just how high Tilley is from the inside. Lots of questions were asked and there may well be a few budding engineers in our midst.Our ‘just for fun’ study outside showed that it took 11 people with outstretched arms to span the circumference of the base!

A more specific study was held at the beach at Hynish when the group completed a seashell survey led by our local ranger, Steve Nagy. A wide variety of shells were found and identified, which shows the diversity of sea life that exists around Tiree.

Raw eggs were the subject of the afternoon’s experiment, much to the delight of the Beavers! They had to make a receptacle using only straws and tape to ensure the safe delivery of an egg. This sounds simple enough, but the egg then had to be dropped from a height! There was great hilarity as each group battled to save their egg.

No day out for the Beavers would be complete without a treasure hunt around Hynish. Pirates had left coded messages which had to be worked out before moving onto the next clue. Luckily, the codes were broken and the pirate gold discovered!

Our thanks go to Lesley at the Hynish Centre for providing delicious meals and drinks throughout the day, to the directors of TREL, Derek Campbell, Steve Nagy, PC Tanner, Margaret Worsley with the Resource bus, and all the volunteers who helped make the day run so smoothly.


Whilst the Ranger Service has been silent in terms of reporting progress over the winter that doesn’t mean it has been quiet in getting things done.

Brochures and Interpretation Panels

Working closely with Discover Tiree and the RSPB we have been revamping and producing new brochures. The updated Tiree Visitor Map will be out soon along with a new “out and about” day visitor’s brochure for those making use of Thursday afternoon ferry sailings and not taking the “Tiree Tour”.

We are part way through preparing a further four tourist walk maps and a full schedule of weekly guided walks is also due out soon. Some of you may have noticed that frames have appeared at the various parking areas. These will contain information panel’s specific to each location and cover items such as machair, flora and fauna, water sports, island identification montages and identification of whales, dolphins and basking sharks. The boards should be in place during May.


Despite a wet and windy winter we do not seem to have suffered the same degree of coastal erosion as last winter.

The works undertaken at Balephetrish and Crossapol have so far helped stem the onslaught of tide and winds and the general consensus has been that if the remedial works undertaken last year had not been done then further substantial damage would have occurred.

I have also been asked about the posts with yellow markings on at Gott Bay. These have not been installed by the Ranger Service but by Argyll and Bute Council as datum points to measure the effects of erosion. Similar smaller pegs have also been installed along Balephetrish Bay.


The lambing season has barely started along with many young calves also being born and yet the first report of dogs not being kept under control has already reached me. This is a problem that occurs time and again so can I please implore both local and visiting dog owners to keep their dogs under control (preferably on a lead when near livestock) especially at this time of year.

1. Don’t take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young animals.

2. Never let your dog worry or attack farm animals

3. If you go into a field of farm animals, keep as far as possible from the animals and keep your dog on a short lead or under close control.

4. If cattle act aggressively and move towards you, keep calm, let the dog go and take the shortest, safest route out of the field.

5. During the bird breeding season (usually April to July) keep your dog under close control or on a short lead in areas such as moorland, machair, grassland, loch shores and the seashore.

6. Pick up and remove your dog’s faeces if it fouls in a public open place or where there is a risk to farming interests.

7. In recreation areas and other public places, avoid causing concern to others by keeping your dog under close control.

Tiree 2015 Stickers

Looking for something to replace that spot on your windscreen where the tax disc used to go?

The latest Tiree 2015 stickers are now in stock and available from the Ranger, Blue Beyond Gallery, Wild Diamond, Ceabhar Restaurant and Rockvale Guest House. Stickers are priced £5 and all proceeds go back into environmental improvements.


Steve Nagy, Tiree Ranger Tiree Ranger Service

07765449487 or email accesstrd@tireebroadband.com

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