Tag Archives: tiree

Second Meeting, Still No Decision On Beach Hut

beach hut

Councillors have met for the second time to discuss the retrospective planning application of the Beach hut located in Balevullin and have yet to come to a decision regarding the future of the hut.

You will remember that back in November, Argyll & Bute Councillors and planning representatives held a public meeting on Tiree to discuss the issue, with no decision being made. Following on from the meeting in November, the result was to complete an Area Capacity Evaluation (ACDE) which would hopefully give a more detailed evaluation of the structure and site where it is situated. The result from the most recent meeting, held in Lochgilphead, was that Blackhouse Watersports, the client, should be given more time to study the ACDE report and the decision was put off till the next Planning Protective Service and Licensing Committee.

At the November meeting we learnt that the retrospective planning application for the second hut, located on Gott Bay had been removed and Blackhouse Watersports had agreed to remove the structure, which has since been done.

30 Years of Tiree Wave Classic

The island was a buzz last week as Tiree hosted the 30th annual ‘Tiree Wave Classic’! The event, which is the oldest running windsurfing event in the world and has been running since 1986, attracted some of the top professional surfers from all over the world!

It was an action packed week of activity as Tiree produced some of the best conditions the event has seen in a number of years. We have been having a fairly calm and pleasant October, and the starting competition on the Saturday had to be postponed. However, Sunday saw the weather pick up and conditions improve immensely allowing all classes the opportunity to take part in the competition held at Balephuil.

Each day’s activity was documented in very lively daily videos which have been posted online at: www.tireewaveclassic.co.uk There is some excellent footage that shows off the dramatics of the sport and perfect conditions for this year’s event! Make sure you check them out!

As the perfect weather continued, there were competitions at Crossapol and again Balephuil as all competitors battled it out for a spot on the podium and by Tuesday evening the winners of each heat were announced. It was a tough and very close battle within each heat as the pro, junior and youth fleet all competed in a double elimination, while the amateurs and masters went to a triple elimination and the ladies finally being confirmed after 5 rounds!

In the professional division, Phill Horricks claimed 1st prize for the second time as he had previously won in 2014, with Andy Chambers coming 2nd and Chris Muzza Murray in 3rd place. Justin Bennington was crowned the masters’ champion, Louie Morris claimed the trophy for the amateurs and Sarah Hilder won the women’s section. The youth and future of the windsurfing world were also highly involved in this year’s competition, as the Royal Yachting Association RYA have gotten very involved in the event over the past few years. This year there was a record number of children entering the competition and Erin Watson was crowned the champion within the youth section! The Youth Camp within the Tiree Wave Classic is an excellent opportunity to motivate and inspire the young people who are interested in windsurfing and water sports in general. This year they were fully submerged in the event, getting the opportunity to meet with the professional riders and hear all about their journey while also getting the chance to compete in a highly regarded competition!

Weather conditions began to tail off during the middle of the week, returning to surprisingly calm winds and beautiful crisp mornings. The last two Tiree Wave Classics have been run and organised by local Tiree business Wild Diamond which is run by William Angus MacLean. William Angus has been highly involved in the event for a number of years now and he and his crew have been working hard to evolve the event and create something special for the 30th anniversary, which they did very well! As the week was coming to a close and the competitions decided, sup/paddle board competitions were put on to entertain the masses, along with a host of evening activities.

The event was finished off in style in The Tiree Lodge Hotel on Friday evening, as the prize giving got underway and celebrating continued – an excellent end to another very successful Tiree Wave Classic – here’s to the next 30! Well done to all competitions, winners and event crew involved in creating a very special event!

 

Photo courtesy of Malcolm Steel Photography

Tiree Community Council News

The Tiree Community Council met on the 1st of June in An Talla. The first part of the evening was made up of the AGM. The chair ran through a list of the areas where progress had been made: securing two flights a day all year round; a summer double ferry sailing on Saturday and taking our place on the Argyll Ferry Users’ Group; lobbying to keep the laying of the fibre-optic broadband cable to the island on programme; putting the Tiree case for the upcoming Islands Bill; and fighting for the library service and the Crossapol office in the face of Council cuts.

We have had less success convincing the roads department that the island’s roads were in need of significant investment, and moving some derelict vehicles. The Treasurer reported that we had £1,826 in the bank, much of that a Windfall Fund grant of £1,000 which we have not had to call upon this past year.

Angus John MacKechnie, Frazer MacInnes and Alison Kennedy had resigned as Councillors during the year, while Iona Campbell, Paul Le Roux and Rhoda Meek had been coopted in their place until the next elections in November. We had a new website, Facebook page and Twitter feed, and had met in public eleven months of the year. Dr Holliday was re-elected Convenor, Ian Gillies took on the post of Secretary and Rosemary Omand was re-elected Treasurer. We then went on to a Business meeting.

We had asked for the holiday closure of the Council Service Point office in Crossapol to be advertised in advance, as far as was possible. The management had agreed to this in principle.

We had met with the Tiree Trust and it had been agreed to set up a monthly litter tidy, township by township. We agreed this should be called Sgudal.

We discussed changes to the Pre-5 schooling, where Gaelic medium was being re-placed with a bi-lingual programme after a consultation with the parents. This would be looked into by the Parent- Teacher Council.

Tiree Community Council has a proposal to buy some of the rotting phone boxes on the island, restore them, and put them to community use. There is a public consultation about this at the moment, so if you have any ideas or objections, do get in touch with us.

The Community Council and the Trust were looking into setting up a Chapel of Rest in an unused building near the airport.

We agreed to set up a group of interested people to oversee the Tiree flag project, and we had been asked to commission a Tiree tartan at the same time. If anyone is interested in joining this group, please let me know.

We agreed to write to the committee who had run A’ Bhuain, thanking them for the wonderful week they had organised.

We had had an estimate from Stokes Memorials to refurbish Dr Buchanan’s monument in Baugh, and we will consult on this.

We had been approached by the estate to join a group of island organisations to develop policies about sand extraction from the beaches and beach access. We agreed to write to the new factor, welcoming a meeting.

We had been approached by a resident of the new houses at Pier View,who told us how expensive the houses were to heat. We agreed to write to West Highland Housing Association to hear what could be done about this.We hope to visit the Orkney island of Westray in September to see how other, similar, islands are managing.

The meeting lasted over two and a half hours, for which apologies!

We gave a lunch for Alison Kennedy, who is leaving Tiree, to thank her for years of hard work at the Secretary’s coalface. We are really missing her!

Dr John Holliday, Rosemary Omand, Ian Gillies, Rhoda Meek and Paul Le Roux were in attendance. John MacCaskill sent his apologies. The Council has no meeting in July due to the busy summer schedule, so we meet again in August. However, the behind-the- scenes work will go on, and if you have any issues you would like to bring up, do get in touch.

Dr. John Holliday

A’ Bhuain – The Tiree Homecoming – A Great Success

An Talla was once again packed with a crowd on Friday the 27th of May as a wonderful week of activities to celebrate the Tiree Homecoming came to an end! The final concert and dance organised by An Commun Tirisdeach – The Tiree Association was an exceptional night which finished off an even better week.

A’ Bhuain 2016, ten years in the making but worth the wait, was described as many visiting ‘homecomers’ as the best week of their lives. With over 130 people from all over the world descending on Tiree the island was a hive of activity with an action packed week of talks, ceilidhs, plays, workshops, dancing, music, storytelling and much more!

We covered the beginning of the week in the last edition of An Tirisdeach, when we reported on the wonderful opening ceremony chaired by local man Gordon Connell along with a talk on Tiree’s Whisky heritage and launch of Tiree Whisky Company – which you can read more about on page 12. On Monday we were also treated to an interesting lecture by Donald Meek who talked about his life growing up on Tiree, family and memories of Tiree. Tuesday marked the beginning of the workshops that were on offer throughout the week. There was an excellent turn out for each workshop, which included tutoring from Tiree’s elite! You could choose from ceilidh dancing with Jessie Gray, accordion lessons with Eilidh MacFadyen, Ulpan (Gaelic) classes with Rhoda Meek and singing lessons from Ishbel Campbell. Workshops ran from 10am through to lunchtime, when attendees were then able to indulge in delicious soup and sandwich lunch, and a variety of homebaking. Each day a different local committee took their turn in the kitchen, using the opportunity to fundraise for their group or activities. Lunches were open to everyone and each day there were special guests from the Tiree community in attendance.

Tuesday saw our second talk of the week, from Alison Kennedy and Mary MacLean who gave an informative talk about Captain Donald MacKinnon. That same day, local RSPB officer, John Bowler led a walk and bird talk, looking at Tiree’s special birds.

Tuesday continued to be a very busy day indeed! In the evening we were treated to a fantastic performance from Tiree’s ‘West End Players’ who performed the Napier Play, written and directed by Mabel Macarthur. The play was excellently written, directed and performed, telling the story of the Napier Commission Enquiry, which was held in Kirkapol Church on the 7th of August 1883, which led to many of Tiree’s residents emmigrating to foreign lands. And Tuesday is still not finished. After the play attendees got the opportunity to dance to two of Tiree’s finest accordion players, Ian Smith from Trail West and Eilidh MacFadyen from Dùn Mòr.

The sun shone all weekend, with Tiree living up to its name of the ‘sunshine isle’, giving us perfect conditions for Wednesday’s walks and tours. Doctor John kicked the day off with a talk on the Vikings of Tiree, a subject that he has been researching for some time now! Following on from this talk there was then a graveyard tour led by Catriona Smyth, who has worked on a project with An Iodhlann to map and transcribe old gravestones from three of Tiree’s oldest graveyards!

During Wednesday afternoon participants also got the chance to go on the very popular Tiree Tour with Mabel Macarthur and Nancy Kennedy. The bus tour takes attendees all over the island giving them an insight into a variety of interesting facts about Tiree, from history and present day! The tour was very well attended and gave everyone the opportunity to see Tiree at its very best! On Wednesday evening we were treated to an excellent night of tunes, songs and stories from the very popular Skipinnish! Lead accordionist and Tiree native, Angus MacPhail and his band had the whole hall toe tapping and singing along to their very popular songs along with a variety of famous Tiree tunes! It was an excellent night, enjoyed by all!!

With the week nearing an end, Thursday saw us hearing from another Tiree local, Ian Smith who was joined by ‘homecomer’ Sharon Clayton, to tell us about the Balephuil Fishing Disaster of 1856. An interesting talk took place along with a field visit to the site of the disaster. In the evening, homecomers got the opportunity to experience a traditional Tiree ceilidh in the homes of various locals. There were tunes, singing, storytelling and poetry from a host of local and visiting guests, an excellent experience for all!

Friday brought us to the last day of this terrific week long event, but there was still lots to cover! The morning was started with the crofting tour, organised by the Cattle Show committee. This fully booked bus tour stopped at various crofts and farms around the island, looking at old and new farming practices along with hearing about some of the history of crofting on Tiree! Back in An Talla there were back to back talks, starting with ‘The Black Factor’ presented by Robin K Campbell who talked about the infamous factor, John Campbell. Straight after this we heard from Archie Henderson who talked to us about his research into the ‘Kirk Session Minutes’. And on Friday evening, we come to the last event of the week, the final concert and dance organised by The Tiree Association! Both events welcomed a host of extremely talented musicians,some who have never performed on Tiree before and others who are native to the island. The concert was put together by the musical director for the evening, Mary Ann Kennedy and we were treated to an excellent mix of tunes and song, that complimented the theme of the homecoming event!

Many stayed on for the dance which followed the concert and An Talla was full of people dancing, singing and socialising – creating an excellent atmosphere to round off a fantastic event! From start to finish, A’ Bhuain, The Tiree Homecoming 2016 was a wonderfully organised event, which will leave people with excellent memories for years to come. An Tirisdeach would like to say a very big well done to all of the hard working committee and people who were involved in making the event so special and we are eagerly waiting on confirmation of ‘take three’!

For more pictures, videos and accounts of the week’s activities, make sure you log on to the website and social media pages!

Gordon Connell Enters Traditional Music Hall of Fame

FOR only a small island with a population of not much more than 700, Tiree has produced an inordinate number of accordionists, not least those playing in such well-known west coast bands as Skipinnish, Skerryvore and Gunna Sound, as well as in up-and-coming young outfits such as Trail West and Dùn Mòr.

Much of the credit for this must go to local resident Gordon Connell, a self-taught piano-accordionist whose enthusiasm for the music and dedication as a teacher has inspired some 100 accordionists on the island which has been his home since 1962.

Voted Music Tutor of the Year in the 2010 Scots Trad Music Awards, Gordon first arrived on the island to take up a post as history and later modern studies teacher at Cornaigmore School – now Tiree High School – and by 1970 he was teaching accordion there. Described as “a natural teacher”, he taught initially by ear, although the arrival of a music teacher on the school’s staff in the mid-1970s enabled his pupils to read music, making it easier for Gordon to teach them – although he describes his own music-reading skills as “still pretty basic”. His teaching may have been on a voluntary basis, but his impact on the island’s young musicians has been huge. On a BBC Alba documentary about the accordion, Beò air a’ Bhogsa – “Outside the Box”, a few years ago, one of his students, Ian Smith, the accordionist of Trail West and a finalist in the 2014 Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition, commented: “I don’t think anyone could match what Gordon did – an immense amount of work as a tutor.” “Gordon is quite different to any other music tutor I’ve ever had,” says Daniel Gillespie, accordionist with the now internationally renowned west-coast folk-rockers Skerryvore. “It’s unbelievable how natural teaching is to him and how much patience he has. Gordon would be first to say that he’s not a world-class accordion player but he is a world-class teacher. And he’s never taken a penny for his teaching.”

Yet Gordon didn’t actually take up the accordion until he arrived on the island. Born in 1940, he grew up in the village of Blairmore, nine miles outside Dunoon. He attended Strone Primary School & Dunoon Grammar school, then went on to gain a degree at Glasgow University before doing his teacher-training year at Jordanhill Collage. Rather than music, his main interests while growing up were golf and football, and he still maintains an enthusiastic interest in the latter sport. He recalls, however, listening to the Saturday evening Scottish country dance music programme on the radio. It wasn’t until he arrived in Tiree, however, that he took up the box, and in hindsight describes his initial efforts as “rather painful to listen to”. With perseverance, however, his playing improved and by 1970 was teaching the instrument as a leisure activity at the school. Gordon was also a regular at local dances and functions, taking to the stage with band members Murray Omand and the late Stewart Langley. The band entertained Tiree for many years and earlier this year Gordon and Murray took to the stage once again to play at The Tiree Associations very succesful event – Tiree Memories. Many people commented that the music on the night took them right back to the ‘good ole days’ of dancing to Gordon and Murray’s music in the old hall in Crossapol and other venues throughout the island.

The island’s accordion scene started to really take off around 1990, says Gordon, who credits the fact that students were starting to compete at the National Mòd and also that Tiree started its own annual Fèis.He retired from his teaching job at the school in 1996, but was persuaded to carry on teaching accordion by the enthusiasm of his pupils. “What still motivates me is the great response I get from my students,” he says. “At present I have a really keen group at various stages; they’re all fantastic people and are a pleasure to teach.”

Tiree, he adds, is “a small and friendly community. Most of my former students still keep in touch – many of them I count as friends.” So far as his own playing is concerned, he declares simply that “teaching youngsters who are about to overtake you is motivation enough for me to keep practising and trying to learn new tunes – I wouldn’t really class myself as a player. “I guess the most satisfying thing for me is seeing my students progress – some to form their own bands – at least four of them are making a living from their music and a couple of others are bandleaders with day jobs, but extremely competent just the same.”

A’ Bhuin – The Tiree Homecoming

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

Tiree Represented At Thistle Awards

Two local events have recently been flying the flag for Tiree at the Scottish Thistle awards in Edinburgh.

Tiree Music Festival and Tiree Wave Classic were both up for awards at the prestigious event described by organisers as the Scottish Tourism equivalent of the Oscars, but sadly lost out to very strong competition. Tiree Music Festival received a commendation within their category for ‘Best Culture Event or Festival’, which was won by ‘Festival 2014’, a host of events that was organised to celebrate the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Tiree Wave Classic were also pipped to the post by the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which won the category for ‘Best Sporting Event’.

Both events did very well to reach the national awards, having both won their categories at the regional awards in Inverness back in November – an excellent achievement for both events and for the island of Tiree! A Tiree contingent was in attendance at the event and I’m sure they all had an excellent night regardless of not winning any awards.

Tiree Music Festival 2016 is set to take place this July from the 15th to the 17th and they have recently announced some of their lineup with the Levellers and Red Hot Chilli Pipers taking to the stage, along with the local talent, Skipinnish and Skerryvore! Tickets are still available for the event and they can be bought through the website www.tireemusicfestival.co.uk. A select amount of local tickets are also on sale and can be bought from Donna at The Trust office within office hours 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday!

The dates for this year’s Tiree Wave Classic have also been set as the 15th to the 22nd of October and local man William Angus MacLean and his company Wild Diamond will be leading the organisation of this event once again! Tiree Wave Classic and William Angus this year starred in Visit Scotland’s ‘Spirit of it’s Own’ global marketing campaign which used shots from last year’s event along with an interview from William Angus. The advert is another excellent piece of exposure for Tiree and you can view it by youtubing ‘A Spirit of it’s Own – Tiree’.

Congratulations to both events for reaching the final of the Scottish Tourism Oscars, a great achievement for both organisations – well done!

1 2 3 24