Tag Archives: machair


Driving on Machair

One of the top priorities I am always asked to promote is preserving our natural environment especially the machair.

One way to do this is to minimise traffic driving off road which is why we now have designated parking areas.

This is probably one of the most emotive and contentious issues I have to deal with and I often get approached by visitors quoting one rule for visitors another for locals. Put simply The Scottish Outdoor Access Code does not permit off road driving for recreational purposes (although a person with a disability using a motorised vehicle adapted for use by that person can have access).

I know most of you will adhere to the above but can I ask all local residents to adhere to the same rules as everybody else and stick to the car parks and not drive off road un-necessarily. If we want visitors to stop driving off-road we need to set a good example ourselves at a local level. Unless you are a land owner or on crofting business (checking livestock, fencing, etc.) there should be no reason to drive off-road.


Dog not under control continues to be a problem. I myself caught a dog chasing cattle at Sandaig causing them to stampede. Unfortunately there was a young family in the midst of the chaos and only luck prevented any injury. Needless to say the family were exceedingly frightened but I was fortunate to be able to take control of the dog and put it out of the way in the back of my van and the herd settled.

The issue of keeping dogs under control seems to have been worse this year than in the past so can I please implore all visitors and local residents to keep their dogs under control (preferably on a lead when near livestock).

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, forests, 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.

Guided Walks

The next batch of walks are:

Ceann a’Mhara 12th and 26th August (meet at Bird Hide car park Loch a’Phuil)

Ringing Stone from Vaul 19th August and 2nd September (meet at Upper Vaul)

Walks start at 10.00 a.m.

We now have a series of printed walks/maps available for free in hard copy at various locations around the island of you can print them off from the “out and about” section on www.isleoftiree.com Thanks

Steve Nagy, Tiree Ranger Tiree Ranger Service 07765449487 or email: accesstrd{@}tireebroadband.com

Letter To The Editor

letter to the editorThe photographs from Nàdair Thiriodh of Crossapol taken in December and again in March (An Tirisdeach 566) are a timely reminder of how vulnerable the machair dunes are to extreme weather conditions. The most damaging of the winter’s storms on 3 January 2014 was caused when low pressure drew in very strong winds and a tidal surge of about a metre on top of the high spring tides. These are the very same conditions that caused the lethal floods in East Anglia in 1953.

Walking the beaches the day after the January storm was a sobering experience. Ten years ago, when I was studying oceanography and climate change for an OU degree, the forecast was that such events could be expected once every 200 years. More recently it has come to be understood that higher ocean temperatures will cause storms to be more powerful and more frequent. We have seen what that will be like this winter. If we care about the machair we must also care about climate change. It is right that we should ask Argyll & Bute and the Scottish Executive what they are doing to protect the machair. In return they could reasonably point to their ambitious renewables strategies as contributions to achieving a low carbon economy.

We have seen the formidable spin machine of No Tiree Array in action in recent weeks as they stamp on any sign of opposition. Tiree has much to fear from climate change and how we respond to the challenge of renewable energy is much too important to be left to a single issue pressure group that feels no obligation to listen to the community or to consider the wider context of what they campaign for.

The Argyll Array may have gone away for now, but there will be other renewable opportunities for Tiree such as a re-engineered array, wave generation or building on the success of Tilley with an ambitious community owned project. It is time to hear from others in the community. For example, is it the settled will of the majority on Tiree to refuse to play any further part in implementing the Scottish Executive’s renewables strategy? If we are unwilling to make our own contribution to this strategy, what right have we to ask others to help protect our machair?

It is to be hoped that the new community council will be an opportunity for a more democratic discussion of issues in which single interest groups are not the only voices heard.

Bill Welstead, Taigh Allamsa, Baugh


bksa_parkingHow quickly a month passes by as Tiree Ranger and a busy one it has been.

The Tiree Wave Kite Masters was a huge success, but I must say a personal thanks to the BKSA organisers of the event who were in touch beforehand for information on protecting the local environment and ensuring their competitors parked responsibly.

As I write the Wave Classic is taking place and again the organisers have been very pro-active in working with me to ensure minimal impact on the machair and that the competitors behave responsibly. Unfortunately there is some bad news. Anti-social behaviour and littering has been occurring in and around the public bird hide next to the Scottish Water pumping station at Loch a’ Phuill. Together with PC Steph Tanner, we will be keeping an eye on this and urge all users of the hide to be vigilant and to tidy up after themselves – many thanks.

On a positive note another couple of guided walks have taken place and have been well attended. I have stopped these now for the winter period, but look forward to starting them again next spring.

The Tiree Ranger Service has now registered with Scottish Countryside Rangers Association. This nationally recognised organisation helps to develop and enhance Ranger services across Scotland and helps Rangers promote the enjoyment, understanding and care of Scotland’s outdoors.

Equal/Disabled Access Group/Forum

I have not yet had anybody express an interest in joining this group/forum so I am asking again. If you are not interested in joining a group, but would prefer to discuss “equal access” on a one to one basis instead, then that would be great as well. I have managed to speak directly with two visiting carers looking after a disabled person and they have given me some good simple ideas on improving access for disabled people. They also stated that they think Tiree is very good for catering for disabled people in comparison to other remote/rural places they have visited.

To re-iterate from my last article, following a number of ideas and requests for help suggested to TRD over the past two years, as part of the Tiree Ranger project, we have obtained some funding to establish and support an “Equal/Disabled Access Group”. This group with the help of the Ranger would map locations (e.g. beaches and other areas of interest) that are accessible/not accessible to disabled people, or those with limited mobility and perhaps also for pushchair users and publish this on the Isle of Tiree website to assist visitors. Once this is done, the intention would be to work with the group to look at how access to difficult to reach locations could be improved and see how these changes could be funded.

If you would be interested in joining or participating in this Equal/Disabled Access Group please contact me on 07765449487 or email me on accesstrd@tireebroadband.com or just stop me and have a word if you see me out and about.

Scottish Countryside Rangers Association

Steve Nagy, Tiree Ranger

Skills for work helps RSPB

bridge building

As part of the Skills for Work programme Ruaridh Munn and Ewan Brown have been helping at The Reef Reserve since 2009.

The help they have given includes building a stock bridge over a burn – ensuring easier accesss for cattle to different parts of the reserve, providing new areas of nesting habitat by raking out gravel and sorting out waterlevels in the wetland area of the reserve.

John Bowler from the RSPB says “ Both Ruaridh & Ewan have been a real asset to the reserve over the last few months and have worked really hard to learn new skills and then put them to good use. They built the new bridge in around 2 hours, but it will hopefully last for years and make it easier for stock to move between wetland compartments without them churning up the ditch-banks as they had been doing”