Tag Archives: Isle of Tiree

A’ Bhuin – The Tiree Homecoming

ABhuain

After months of organisation and planning, A’ Bhuain week is almost upon us!

In just over a week’s time Tiree will welcome a host of people from all over the world who are returning home to join the rest of Tiree for this week long event!

An excellent programme of activities has been planned, including talks, workshops, ceilidhs, site visits, dancing, classes, a play, whisky, a book launch, live music and lots more!

Everyone is invited to take part and I’m sure there will be something that interests most people. The whole programme can be viewed and downloaded by visiting www.tireehomecoming.com.

An Talla will be a hive of activity throughout the week, so make sure you pop in to see what is happening. Lunches will be served daily, merchandise will be on sale and hopefully there will be lots of people milling around, chatting and having a great time. The committee look forward to seeing you all there and hope you enjoy the week. If you have any questions or would like further information then please visit the website above or get in touch with Jessie Gray (jessiegray49{@}gmail.com) or Rosemary Omand (rosemary.tiree{@}icloud.com)

A Tiree Flag?

Barra flagBarra has one (green with a white Nordic cross).

South Uist also has one (green with a white and blue Nordic cross). The Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Angus all have one. The Scottish saltire was everywhere during the independence referendum. But should Tiree get its own flag?

 

 

South Uist flagWhen I go to Shetland, I am always struck by the number of houses that fly the Shetland flag. They send the message: we are proud of this part of the country, and we belong here.

I wondered at the last Community Council meeting whether it was time to think about a Tiree flag again. Designing a flag might look easy, but it’s tricky to find something new, something simple, and something beautiful. We would need a competition where designers here and all over the world could submit their thoughts, and then an island-wide vote to choose a favourite.

But first we need to decide if we want a flag at all! Some people love flags. Others think they are a waste of time and money. So Tiree Community Council is launching a consultation: let us know by the end of June what you think, yes or no. Write to the Community Council in Crossapol, post a vote in Bùth a’ Bhaile or the surgery, or go to our website and vote there. Have your say and take part in the Great Tiree Flag Vote!

Scottish Hydro Store Closing

Scottish Hydro closing

Two weeks ago Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced that they planned to close their 37 remaining Hydro Electric stores, including ours in Tiree.

The Hydro store has been operating from their premises in Scarinish for many years and will be a big loss to our community, including the loss of a job. The press release from SSE stated that all shops were expected to close by the 15th of May and we received confirmation that the Tiree branch will be closed as of the 2nd of May.

SSE director of domestic retail Stephen Forbes said changing shopping habits and more customer choice meant the shops have been loss-making for a number of years. He said: “Customers’ shopping habits have changed considerably since these shops were first opened with more and more people shopping online, especially for larger electrical items. We know some of these shops have been on local high streets for a long time so we did not take this decision lightly but footfall and sales have reduced considerably and there is, unfortunately, no realistic prospect of that long-term trend reversing.”

Island Communities Take Action Against Council Library Cuts

The Council cuts have been described as ‘salami slicing’; this is throwing the whole sausage away

 

Tiree High School Parent Council and Tiree Community Council have issued a press release in response to the proposed cuts to the library service, which will result in the loss of library facilities in Tiree.

Tiree High School Parent Council, Tiree Community Council, and local residents of Tiree are furious over the Council cut to their library service, joining the community of Mull who are also up in arms about the proposal. Argyll and Bute Councillors decided, as part of their budget for next year, that Tiree, along with Mull and Iona, should lose their secondary school libraries. This decision has sent shock waves through the community, as the librarian on Tiree also serves the thriving primary school and the wider community. Paul le Roux, Vice-Chair of the Tiree Parent Council told the Oban Times, “We are appalled by this short-sighted decision. The Scottish Government has made the improvement of literacy and numeracy a priority, yet Argyll and Bute want to take our only public access to books away from this island community by removing our librarian at a time when use of our library by the community and children is growing year by year.”

A Tiree resident, who has children at the school but asked not to be named, said, “Tiree High School library caters not only for the High School, but also for the island generally, including Bookbug for under 5s. This is a community that cannot head down the road to another public library – it is our only library. Buying books online is not a replacement for a public library service. Not only does it cost money, but on the one hand we are encouraging children to reduce their screen time, while taking away the opportunity to be able to offer them a good old-fashioned book in its place. Tiree will be losing our library while Argyll and Bute Council reassures us that their hanging baskets will be protected – although I haven’t seen many of those on Tiree.”

Dr John Holliday, Convenor of Tiree Community Council, said, “The Community Council is outraged by this decision by Argyll and Bute, which is possibly in breach of their statutory obligations. If this cut goes ahead our nearest public library will be a four hour ferry ride and an overnight stay away. Our librarian, as part of our community school, provides a wonderful service for older members of the community, for many of whom their day out to the library is one of the high points of their week. It works both ways; the school pupils benefit from the books that the Library Service sends out to Tiree. The Council cuts have been described as ‘salami slicing’; this is throwing the whole sausage away.”

The two bodies are calling upon Argyll and Bute council to engage with the Tiree High School Parent Council and Tiree Community Council and to rethink their decision to deny their community this valuable resource. A petition has already been set up to gather support for all libraries affected in Argyll and Bute. You can sign it here:

www.change.org/p/shout-out-for-school-librarians-in-argyll-and-bute

Your Community’s Council

There was another good turnout for the last meeting of the Community Council on the 4th of November in An Talla.

We welcomed our two new members: Iona Campbell from Baugh, and Sam Bouchnak from Scarinish, who was the only applicant to put himself forward when we put out a public appeal last month.

One of the main topics was a detailed report on the possible ferry timetable for next summer. There has been some hard bargaining between John MacCaskill and Ian Gillies on the one side for the Tiree Transport Forum, with Cal-Mac and Transport Scotland on the other. Tiree’s argument has been that the island was being given less ferry space than other islands, and that we had had no increase in sailings when RET flooded the Tiree route a few years ago. The draft timetable now has all morning boats leaving Oban at 7.15am; the Tuesday sailing restored to 2.45pm; the Barra connection moved to the Wednesday; and for two boats to come out on Saturdays during the summer season, leaving Oban at 7am and 3.30pm. There are some extra fuel costs that will need the approval of the Scottish Government, and it’s by no means a done deal yet. The Council formally voted to back the proposal.

We also talked about the forthcoming Islands Bill, which is up for consultation. We can all see that Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles are well organised when it comes to lobbying Edinburgh. Scotland’s other scattered islands are easily forgotten, especially the 23 inhabited islands within Argyll and Bute. During last year’s referendum Edinburgh grew nervous that Shetland would declare independence by itself, and the moment is right for Scotland’s islands to push for more resources. Ian Gillies is leading the fight for the ‘forgotten islands’.

Some members of the Community Council met with Stokes Memorials regarding Dr Buchanan’s monument. We all walked up to the remains of the monument itself and then down to the quarry to inspect the broken pieces. Stokes are now going to price up an amended scheme to use the existing granite to re-build a shorter pillar, as well as a scheme to make a cast-iron structure. We’ll take these plans back to a Council meeting for a decision, in tandem with Professor Donald Meek who has led the project, and then look for funding.

We had a private Councillors’ meeting a fortnight ago to thrash out new procedures. We agreed it had been so useful that we will hold one every month, in-between public Council meetings. These private meetings are closed to the public, but we do have to report back to the next open meeting in general terms what we have been discussing. The public meetings remain the place where all major decisions will be made.

We discussed our planning procedure too. We will only become involved at the stage when the project reaches the public planning list, if we think the project will affect most islanders, or if it’s a really groundbreaking building. Our job then will be to find out what people think, possibly by calling a meeting or having an on-line questionnaire, and then sending these opinions to the Council planning department. Most building projects won’t involve us at all. Our role is to reflect your opinions. We did agree that islanders could write to us with their thoughts and we would keep their identities confidential if they requested this. Enormous projects, like another wind farm, will definitely involve us from the start.

The Council is planning £9 million pounds worth of cuts this year, with the same again next. They have distributed questionnaires (available at the Crossapol office and on-line at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/forms/planning-our-future-public-consultation) to ask where we would like the cuts to fall. Some people thought we should fill these in, to show what services we valued most, but quite a few others said we should have nothing to do with it – Tiree was a community on the edge, and any cuts were completely unacceptable. The Council have agreed in principle to send an official and a Councillor out to hold a public meeting on the island about this, and we will let you know when that is. We will need a huge turnout at that.

We agreed to take over the organising of the War Memorial service from next year. We also agreed that we would write to the local Housing Associations to ask if we could encourage a family of refugees to come and live in one of their unused properties on the island.

Rosemary Omand, Alison Kennedy, Dr John Holliday, Iona Campbell and Donnie Campbell were in attendance.

Tiree Community Business – Update

TCB AGM:

Following the article and appeal in the last issue of An Tirisdeach, the Directors of Tiree Community Business were delighted and encouraged by the turnout at the recent AGM. The office bearers were elected as follows:

Chair – Catriona MacLennan, Vice Chair – Jessie Gray, Secretary – Mabel Macarthur, Treasurer – Myra Brown

The following were elected as new Directors: Alan Millar, Rosaleen Campbell, Louise Reid, Ian Gillies, Fiona Malcolm, Stewart Meikle, John Bottomley and Carole Stoker.

This is an exciting time for TCB and the addition to the board of these new Directors will help to ensure a strong and healthy future for this well established local business.

BUSINESS HOURS:

At present we have one member of staff, Norma Omand, and the hours of business are as follows until further notice: – Monday – Friday 11.00am – 3pm.

AN TIRISDEACH – the way forward:

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things:

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax Of cabbages and kings And why the sea is boiling hot And whether pigs have wings.”

Could this be a description of An Tirisdeach – A collection, every fortnight, of interesting, mundane and normal events?

After 25 years at the helm the group in charge of An Tirisdeach feel that the time has come to let a new group, with different ideas and skills, have a go!

We envisage a group of people running all aspects of the paper in the future rather than one editor. It is Tiree’s paper so we would like Tiree people to get behind it and run it. Whoever takes on An Tirisdeach will have the backing of Tiree Community Business and its facilities to enable the group to continue to produce the paper.

TCB Directors have various ideas which we would discuss with the new group – one of them being to perhaps move to a monthly paper rather than fortnightly – and there is also the possibility of some of the work being carried out at home.

There must be several people out there who could bring enthusiasm and new ideas as well as IT skills to the running of An Tirisideach. We are not looking to reinvent the wheel – just to take over the pushing of it. Eg.-

  • Collation of articles
  • Graphics/Layout
  • Finance/Advertising/Marketing
  • Ear to the ground
  • New ideas

 

TCB plan to upgrade the IT hardware and software in the office but this would form part of the discussions with the new group before anything is purchased. At this stage TCB is looking for names of interested persons and then discussions will take place as to the way forward. If you would like to be involved in this exciting new development please contact either Catriona MacLennan – catriona{@}maclennanmotors.com or Jessie Gray – jessiegray49{@}gmail.com before Friday 11th December 2015.

Ceabhar is crowned Isle of Tiree’s Recycling Can Champion

ceabhar_green_award

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

Ian_Rhoda

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

golf_comp

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.

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