Tag Archives: Isle of Tiree


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

Windfall Fund

The Windfall Fund is open all year round and welcomes enquiries for the Community Support Fund, Community Investment Fund, Business Start Up Grant and Community Owned Buildings.

For more information or to apply then please have a look at our website or get in touch with a member of the Trust Team on the contact details above. Windfall decisions take a minimum of 2 months, so please make sure you get in touch as soon as you have an idea for a project and don’t leave it to the last minute!

The following awards were made in March 2015:

· An Talla received £3,000 towards purchasing tables and chairs.

· An Talla received £2,500 towards purchasing cutlery and table cloths.

· Vaul Golf Club received £1,281.08 to renew the fence round the golf course.

· An Iodhlann received £10,000 towards a three year project that will open up the archives of the Campbell family at Inveraray Castle, which will provide Tiree with access to historic maps, census returns, letters, emigrant lists and estate management documents over the last 340 years.

· Cùram Thiriodh received £24,000 towards running Tiree Resource Club for the next three years.

Loch a Phuill and Loch Bhasapol Fishing

letters to editor

Many’s the time I have fished these waters with my companions, catching trout on barbless hooks and returning them to the water, drinking tea and putting the world to right, and spotting the odd otter with a bit luck. But that was a few years ago.

Being a former secretary of the Tiree Angling Club I feel that you and your readers should know the position of fishing in these waters now. Several years ago the Club had the lease of the waters from Argyll Estates but one year the Estate refused to renew the lease but in fairness to them they still allowed members of the Club to fish the waters albeit each member had to purchase a permit from them.

This year one of our members applied for a permit and was told by Argyll Estates that no permits were being issued and he would no longer be allowed to fish on the waters. On pursuing this matter I have since found out that six permits will be made available for local residents so Argyll Estates are still not saying that you cannot fish they are just making it a bit more difficult to do so. Permits last year cost £90 but this year a permit will cost £200 with restrictions in as much as a permit holder will only be allowed to fish ten times.

I think it is incredible that in this day and age Argyll Estates can ride roughshod over individuals living on the island and increase the cost of a fishing permit by over 100% and stipulate the number of times they may use it. One would wonders if they are trying to keep local residents from fishing the waters by their pricing and rules policy and that they may have more lucrative rods to fish the waters and local rods would just be a nuisance.

I would be interested to hear view points from other An Tirisdeach readers on this matter.

Bill Campbell

Tiree To Glasgow Flights Every Day

Tiree is to get an air service fit for the 21st century as the Scottish Government promises that two, rather than just one flight per day will extend over the next four years.

Dr. John Holliday, the island’s GP and Convenor of the Tiree Community Council said, “This is great news for Tiree! The extra flights will provide a step change in transport to the island, and will be a major boost to Tiree’s fragile economy. They will also be a considerable help for those needing to leave the island for specialist medical attention. “

Last November islanders voiced grave concerns about the lack of capacity on the air link between Tiree and Glasgow, particularly in summer months when increasing numbers of tourists travelled to the island. Islanders, who turned up in force to a public meeting with Transport Scotland last November, demanded a better air service which would cope both with tourism and increasing demand from local residents. Some islanders were having difficulty getting to Glasgow by air for hospital appointments and vital treatments, including cancer care.

Derek Mackay, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands and Islands, has now confirmed that the minimum specifications of the Public Service Obligation (PSO) for the Glasgow to Tiree air service from October shall guarantee two flights a day Monday to Saturday all year around and a dedicated Sunday flight all year around, a significant improvement on the existing PSO specification for Tiree. Mr. MacKay said, “These air links are vital to the local economies of Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra and I want to make sure they are delivering the best service possible for the communities they serve.” He went on, “We are committed to supporting our remote communities and these improved air links will help do that”.

Tiree Community Council Vice Convener John MacCaskill added, “The Scottish Government listened to the Tiree community’s concerns and they are now delivering an air-service fit for the 21st Century for what is a remote and isolated Inner Hebrides isle. This will make a big difference to the social and economic development of Tiree. We were due to get a better service for this summer to cope with demand, but we now have an air service fit for purpose which has been extended for the next four years.”

The full details of the PSO Tendering Document for the communities of Barra, Campbeltown and Tiree will be released to the air industry on Tuesday 7th April 2015. The airline awarded the new PSO will run the air services to Glasgow from late October till the autumn 2019.

The hope now for the Tiree Community is that the airline awarded the new PSO will offer an early morning and late afternoon air service to Glasgow, particularly on weekdays, to maximise the potential of the much improved life-line air service.

A dinner, A dram, and a drama

The Tiree Association’s 2nd Dinner, Dram and Drama evening at Ralston Halls, on Saturday 28th February, proved to be a highly entertaining evening!

Following an exquisite two course buffet prepared by Alasdair – how does he manage to maintain this standard of catering excellence? – with an accompanying dram, those attending – around 65 in number – were treated to some first class singing, musical entertainment and storytelling:

many thanks to the singers – Linda, Mairi, Donald Iain and Gordon and to Billy for playing the box. An extra special thanks to Shona for her beautifully delivered story which delighted the audience and brought back many happy childhood memories!

The West End Players then took to the stage and delighted the audience with their fantastic bilingual comedy: ‘An Coigreach / The Stranger‘.

Again this year both fluent Gaelic speakers and learners could follow the exploits of those colourful characters as the hilarious plot unfolded! Many thanks to Mabel for penning this gem and to Lachie, John, Billy, Jessie, Donald Archie, Murdina and Gordon for taking to the stage and entertaining us all!

After some further delightful musical items Jessie, very bravely, took on the task of tutoring eight eager volunteers to dance an Eightsome Reel (properly!) The fact that all eight managed to complete the dance was totally down to her teaching skills – even the judges were generous with their ‘strictly ceilidh dancing’ scores!

A rousing chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ drew the evening to a close. The evening was held in memory of Joan MacKechnie who worked tirelessly for The Tiree Association and profits will go towards fundraising for A Bhuain in May 2016.

The Committee would like to thank BORD NA GAIDHLIG for their generous sponsorship as this allowed us to keep ticket prices down. Also, many thanks to all those who ventured out on a very wet and windy evening to enjoy the buffet and the entertainment………and remember, if you’re on Tiree at Easter time, our SULA, SOUP and SANDWICH evening is on at An Talla on Saturday 11th April – hope to see you there!


Anne Ronald

Harbour Development For Tiree?

This year has seen a number of success stories, due to the £9.58  million Coastal Communities Fund being available for towns and villages all over Scotland. Among many other succesful projects Stornaway has received a huge £250,000 to go towards building a floating heavy duty pontoon in Stornaway harbour.

In addition Lochboisdale Community Development has also been awarded £221,973 to regenerate an unused quayside in Southern Uist with the addition of a pontoon, along with Barra and Vatersay Community Ltd. who received a massive £698,568 to install a set of pontoons in Castleby Harbour for the use of local water sports clubs, local residents, or visiting yachtsmen.

All the above are excellent examples of what can be achieved within a small community, and perhaps something that is in great demand within our own community of Tiree? Tiree Trust are currently trying to set up a steering group to investigate the opportunity of developing a harbour project on the island, if you are interested in being involved in the steering group then please get in touch with a member of the Trust Team.

On Saturday 31st January 2015 An Iodhlann held an Open Day to give more local Tiree folk the opportunity to come in and find out about what goes on there. The building was dressed with colourful bunting to draw people’s attention, and a number of staff, committee members and Summer volunteers were present to welcome visitors and provide additional insights into Tiree’s history.

An Iodhlann first opened its doors to the public in 1997 after refurbishment of the original building, known as The Reading Room (pictured left), which was built in 1886 as a waiting room for ferry passengers. The history of the building makes fascinating reading. The extension was built a few years after 1997, and the current permanent exhibition was opened around 2008.

Entry was free and each visitor received a free raffle ticket, the top prize being won by Morag MacKenzie. The event was a success with around 25 people dropping by over the course of the day (that’s 21 more than during the whole of November through January!) one person decided to join our growing family of members, and we raised a few funds through raffle ticket sales and donations.

Many thanks to all who attended and made the day a success, to the volunteers who helped out, to those who donated raffle prizes, and to Alan & Janette at the Cobbled Cow for the use of their ‘Open’ sign.

Janet Bowler


I went along to the open day but will have to go back as it merits a full half day rather than a quick half hour.

The layout has been well considered and there’s lots to see and discover. I was lucky to grab a few minutes with Janet to find out more about her role at An Iodhlann, here’s what she had to say:

My job title is Archive Manager, a role I have enjoyed since January 2009. It is the only paid position at An Iodhlann and part-time. My job is to catalogue and care for our library and all the historical artefacts, documents, photographs, and audio recordings, to welcome and assist visitors, to search the archive in response to queries from the public, and to keep an eye on the building’s fabric.

From time to time I work on additional specific projects such as Frasan, our ‘app’ that allows users to see some of our collection as they explore the island http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/index.cfm?method=home.frasan . At the moment I am collaborating with our IT manager to create a new website, one of the aims of which will allow people to search the archive database themselves online.

Other specialised work is done voluntarily by members of the An Iodhlann Committee, most notably Dr John Holliday who is our chairman and does most of the historical research and collecting, and Mr Duncan Grant who is our genealogist and who helps people from all over the world trace their Tiree ancestors.


RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

The annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch took place over the weekend of 24th and 25th January. Here, the RSPB ask the public to record the numbers and different species of birds they see in their garden or local park. These results are then logged and used to help the RSPB target specific areas of concern.

John Bowler, our local RSPB representative, teamed up with the Tiree Trust to hold a birdwatching session at the Rural Centre to mark this national event. Those who attended made bird feeders before heading outside to see what birds they could spot. John’s expertise was invaluable, and a wide variety of birds were spotted, including snipe, golden plover, song thrush and lapwing, as well as the more common starling and herring gull.

The afternoon was rounded off with hot-chocolate, biscuits, and lots of chat. There was a good turnout, and everyone enjoyed the afternoon’s activities.

The results will be posted on the RSPB website in due course, and for any further information on birds, unusual or otherwise, you can contact John Bowler on 220748 or by email john.bowler@rspb.org.uk

Cùram’s Care Center Project

In the last issue we heard about Cùram’s day care on Tiree, and how successful we have been so far raising the money to keep this going. But our other ‘hat’ is working behind the scenes with the various bodies to build a completely new care centre in place of the Scarinish ‘Home’ at Taigh an Rubha.

Cùram Thiriodh was set up after a big public meeting early in 2011, following an unsuccessful attempt to privatise care services for the elderly on Tiree. There were two things we learned early on: no one is building old peoples’ homes any more, apart from huge private ones in cities; and, looking at other islands, the process takes a long time. The care centres on Jura and Mull both took about ten years to plan and build. A similar £10 million project on Barra has taken even longer.

The modern replacement for ‘old peoples’ homes’ is the ‘Progressive Care Centre’, like those on Jura and Mull. These are built by Housing Associations, and are basically a number of flats connected to rooms for day care and community use. Each unfurnished flat is self-contained with a small kitchen/dining room and bathroom as well as the bedroom. The residents become tenants of the Housing Association, and every resident has their own individual social work ‘care package’. But as well as a new building, there are other changes in the offing on Tiree. The nursing and the social work teams on the island are about to be brought together under a national initiative to end decades of wrangling over budgets. The artificial distinction between those carers who work in the community, and those who work in Taigh an Rubha is likely to be phased out. And, most importantly, the new ‘Progressive Care Centres’ work in a different way to the old ‘Homes’. The staff will no longer be employed in ‘The Home’, but as part of a team of carers looking after individual clients, whose needs vary from day to day.

We don’t know how this is going to work on Tiree, but Cùram has made the case strongly to the Working Group that a new building is no use if the staff is not happy. After a couple of years writing proposals to the Council, without much success, Cùram was approached by Argyll and Bute’s Housing Department to ask if we were interested in joining a group to plan a new care centre. For a year we have been part of this ‘Working Group’, along with ACHA (Argyll Community Housing Association), the Health Board, and the Council’s Social Work and Housing Departments. We meet by video conference every couple of months, and are making slow progress. So far we have agreed the following:

· Tiree and Coll do need a new care centre; the existing ‘Home’ has got to the stage where it is not worth modernising

· After analysing the number of people likely to be living on the two islands in the next twenty years, we are presently aiming to build eight new residential flats and two ‘respite’ flats, one of which will function in much the way the ‘medical’ bed does at the moment

· Dementia is on the rise. We estimate there will be twice as many people with this condition in twenty years’ time. The new centre has to be particularly designed for this and there is a world-class dementia unit at Stirling University, which has agreed to help us.

· Attached to these flats we hope to build a day care centre, where Cùram can continue and expand its work. This will include a kitchen, so that fresh meals can be made for the residents that want them, islanders coming to the day care centre and the meals-on-wheels service.

· Existing residents should not have to move out while the new centre is being built

· There will be new offices for the care staff and district nurses in the new complex

It is possible that a new ambulance station will be built next door

· The group has decided that it would not be appropriate to build a chapel of rest as part of the same development

· The two possible sites being considered for this development are:

the area around Taigh an Rubha and the Rubha Cottages; and the ground around the doctor’s house in Baugh. An architect will be employed soon to produce a report on these two options. One possibility the Working Group has discussed is integrating some of social housing next to the Home into the new centre. The Tiree Community Council has noted this and has made it clear it does not want to lose the limited social housing we have on the island.

It’s all very slow work. I suppose it has to be when there is so much at stake and there are so many different organisations involved. Our decision to start agitating for a new ‘Home’ in good time seems like a good idea!

Cùram welcomes your ideas, your contributions and your energy: we always are open to new members. Our AGM is a good place to start.

Dr John Holliday, chair of Cùram Thiriodh

A harrowing escape

I was clearing out my old emails and I’m embarrassed to admit I have overlooked this
editor’s letter.
I thought you may like to read about the reader’s frightening experience and relief to
have been rescued by local men.

I would be pleased if you could send out a heartfelt thank you to two amazing people, Adam Milne from Beachcomber and Suds from the surf school.

Saturday 9th August 2014, my boys aged 16 and 10, wanted to go wave jumping in Balevullin beach, the waves looked great and the water crystal clear. We picked a spot in the middle of the beach and jumped in and over the waves, within a few minutes I noticed that we had drifted a great deal to the left of the beach and were heading rapidly towards the rocks. My husband on the shore, called for us to swim back up the beach. I took hold of my youngest and propelled him sideward and my husband swam out and helped both boys ashore.

Unfortunately, I was not managing to make any progress and was just swimming with all my energy and getting nowhere. My husband raised the alarm on his way to shore with the boys and Adam Milne tried to rescue me but very soon we were both stuck and being pulled towards the rocks. I was also panicking by this point and my head kept plunging underwater. My husband swam back out to us both with a boogie board and we gratefully grabbed it and all 3 started swimming for shore.

Meanwhile, Suds headed out toward us on a surf board grabbed me on board and headed across the water and out on a wave. I came in to hugs from my boys and my dog. Suds explained that the place I had been pulled to was one of 2 rip currents that appear on the beach at high tide.

I have grown up next to the coast and lived near the sea all my life but was unaware of how to react in a rip current. Rip currents can move up to 8 feet per second, faster than any person can swim! They are caused by a break in the sand bank. I was unaware how to get myself out and was becoming panicked and exhausted. I would be pleased if you could tell my story to raise awareness of how to react in a rip current, and send my thanks to two people who came to help me and saved me from going under.

Thank you! – Allison Leslie

For those that are interested in learning more, here are a couple of links that explain rip currents and how to escape them:



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