Eleven-year-old Finn Macdonald is believed to be the youngest skipper to win the Concise Cup after he sailed to victory at last week-end’s annual Tiree regatta.
Last year Finn was crewed in the race by his sailing instructor and although he came in third, he lost his place because of a mix up. This year young Finn, crewed by his dad, Karl Hughes, made up for his disappointment during last year’s centenary regatta, by winning the coveted sailing prize.
After the prize-giving as he proudly held the silver cup which will have his name inscribed on it his father, Karl, said:”He must be the happiest boy on Tiree tonight.”
Finn’s mum Lorna, of Balevullin, said:’‘We are all so proud of Finn’s achievment. He worked so hard to win the cup this year. I have been told that he is thought to be the youngest ever skipper to have won the Concise Cup.”
The dawn of Sat 30th July, Regatta Day, was a stunner. Cloudless, sunny with a brisk S.SE wind. The forecast for the day was to cloud over, and the wind to drop. At 2 o’clock, on the start line, the sun still shone, the brisk S.SE had eased, and a glorious day unfolded.
The start line was impressive, with 16 boats jostling for position. The boats included 7 classic Tiree dipping lugs, a number which Tiree Regatta has not seen for many a year, and possibly a Scottish Record for the class. Even more impressive was the actual start, with most of the boats making a perfect start into what was to develop into a very competitive race.
After 2 hard fought rounds of the course, Angus MacKinnon’s “Mary Ann” swept the field winning both the lug class and the overall handicap. Being the Centenary regatta, the Centenary Cup, the original Skipinish Cup, was awarded to the ‘Mary Anne’ winner of the lug class. With this award went a presentation scroll of the earliest record of a Tiree Regatta found in the Oban Times April 1911, in a profound Gaelic poem “Oran do Reis a’Chuain bha an Eilean Thiriodh”.
Finn Macdonald aged 10, crewing his own Pico made a very strong statement as to his being a contender in future years.
The traditional shore events were well contested, with 2 new additions in the programme with the introduction of the new Hawaiian craze of stand up paddle boarding, and a Jet Ski race. The sand castle competition was the “ star “ shore event, with the judges having a very difficult time in their deliberations, having to make a separate award for “ Sand Art “.
The Tobermory lifeboat made a surprise visit, allowing many spectators to enjoy going aboard, to hear the life boat crew offer an insight into their very important work.
The Regatta drew to a close with the traditional Trawler race being fought out in its unique colourful way, after which the event adjourned to the Marquee for an evening of revelry, which lasted well into the wee sma’ hours.
TRC wishes to acknowledge the support of Argyll Estates, David Kerr, Andy Hayes and the Co-op, and many others who made the day such a success. TRC looks forward to seeing you all at Regatta 2012.
The Cùram Thiriodh working group received a knock back in May as their bid to apply to manage the Eventide Home and the home care service was not accepted by the Council.
The group had spent three months preparing themselves to tender for the services the Council is trying to privatise, in an attempt to keep control on the island. However, in the last few weeks it became apparent that the Council wasn’t allowing bids from new groups after all – only organisations already running care homes were being allowed to submit offers. That leaves Tiree at the mercy of the Council and the market – if even one outside company puts in an acceptable bid for either service, the Council can give them the contract.
Before Cùram became aware that their bid would not be accepted they had moved quickly – it became a legal company, elected directors, opened a bank account and is well on the way to becoming a charity. Contacts were made far and wide as ideas poured in from around the country. The working group believe that Cùram’s longer term aim should be to bring together the medical, nursing and social carers (from the Eventide Home and the community) plus volunteers into one team, working as much as possible under one roof. They would also like to have the resources to help people stay at home longer, including starting day care.
Although Cùram did not qualify for the tender process, the Council asked Cùram to send in their ideas and if there are no acceptable private bids the way could be cleared for some of the new group’s plans to be adopted. We will not know until mid-August if contracts to run the Home Care and/or Care at Home services have been awarded.
In the long term the working group wants to build and run a new care centre for the island. Here there is some good news as the Health Board, Council and a local housing association have all said they would be willing to start discussions and the first meetings will take place in the next few weeks.
Cùram chairman, Dr Holliday, said, “To put in so much work since the New Year, it is obviously disappointing not to get a chance to bid against the private companies. We had to get our act together quickly – but the pressure will be a good thing in the long run. We’ve formed a strong team, we know what we want and are a significant step closer to bringing together a partnership to build a new care centre.”
“The Eventide Home could close as the Council thrashes around seeking huge savings at a meeting this week.”
That was the stark warning given by Dr Holliday as he spoke to a packed Windfall Fund meeting at An Talla last Saturday.
The 1960’s Dorran building is nearly at the end of its life and the Care Commission want a big modernisation programme – something Argyll and Bute Council has been reluctant to look at. The new Tory/Liberal/Independent coalition leading the Council decides on Thursday what to do with their six loss-making old people homes.
Giving the contract to run the Tiree Home to a private company is on the agenda, but leaks within the Council suggest the nuclear option is being strongly considered – total closure, with the possible transfer of residents to other facilities.
Dr Catherine Todd told An Tirisdeach, “Although most people prefer to be cared for in their own homes, there are very definitely situations when the Eventide Home is absolutely invaluable. Closure would be a huge loss. It would be a tragedy.”
There are currently six residents in the Home, well down on the figure a few years ago. However, Tigh an Rudha also cooks meals on wheels, gives invaluable respite for families, and provides much of the care for the medical beds in the Continuing Care Unit. Dr Holliday said, “If you close an old people’s home in Oban, there is another one just down the road. If you close the Eventide Home on Tiree, you separate families at a crucial stage in their lives. It would be unthinkable.”
The Trust, in conjunction with a number of islanders, had already begun the process of putting together a package to build a new Home. More recently, the Council had encouraged local people to take over the running of the service and the situation is being closely monitored in the Trust office.
The latest news has put a bomb under the process. “I was concerned before,” Dr Holliday told An Tirisdeach. “Now we have a full scale emergency. I call on the island to stand ready to defend the Scarinish Home and the medical Unit. They are cornerstones of life on Tiree.”
A meeting has been called on Thursday 10th February at 7.30pm in An Talla to push on with the project, and if necessary to plan for the defence of what we have, all Welcome.
The morning of Sat 7th Aug, Regatta Day, was no different from most days this summer;
damp, grey and windy. Not very promising, but by noon, the skies had cleared with the wind easing back to a brisk northerly, giving Regatta Day glorious conditions for both sailing and shore events.
The start line was impressive with 13 boats jostling for position, the most Tiree Regatta has had for some years. The boats included the Tiree renovated lugs, Daisy and Morag Anne, and a stunning 26 ft gaff ketch Freya, which had sailed in from Iona the previous evening. Even more impressive was the actual start, with most of the boats making a perfect start. To the non sailors on the shore it was obvious that a very competitive race had begun.
At the 1st mark, a gybe, there was some very aggressive tactical sailing with Angus Maclean’s Catadh Mara taking the perfect inside line forcing Magnus Laird’s Soa to the outside. Spark, the catamaran, was revelling in the brisk conditions, and notwithstanding having to make an additional round of the course, won the Concise Cup.
The Lugs battled it out with Morag Anne taking the Skippinish Cup just nudging the “all-lady” crewed Passing Cloud on the line. Regrettably 2 of the lugs were forced to retire with jammed rudders which had been caught in creel lines.
Shore-side, Anna Macdonald and Christine Macarthur were having a marathon pillow fight contest. The referee had to call a time-out for everyone, including spectators, to get their breath back, after which Anna and Christine slugged it out to an epic conclusion.
For the Raft Race, the Airport Fire team entered the most radical raft design Tiree had seen for many a day. It was a light alloy monocoque hull with asymmetric outriggers. Alas the conditions on the day did not favour such advanced technology, as on the mark, the raft’s windage caused a capsize, upending the crew, who then had to battle to prevent their raft sailing off, unmanned, to Mull.
The Regatta drew to a close with the traditional Trawler race being fought out in its unique colourful way, viewed closely by many visitors, and Tirisdich, from Skippinish Tour’s Rib, on a high speed cruise around the bay in the warm afternoon sun.
As a community retailer it is appropriate that we involve the community
Tiree High School pupils take on star status to perform the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the revamped Co-op store on Tiree.
The children, from left, Frazer MacNeill, Kara Rennie, Michael MacDonald, Lewis MacDowall and Rory Kavanagh, were presented with a donation of £200 for school funds by store manager Andrew Hayes to mark the occasion.
The store has been transformed following a £350,000 revamp and features the consumer-owned business’ new identity, The co-operative, which aims to highlight improved service standards and its support for local communities and ethical trading policies.
As well as contemporary décor, new flooring, fittings and ecorefrigeration, there is an improved range of products with an emphasis on chilled and fresh foods including fresh meat, fruit and vegetables.
“As a community retailer it is appropriate that we involve the community in our special events and we are delighted that our local school could play a central role,”