Category Archives: Letters To The Editor

Notice of Thanks

Derek Wilson Carrier Services was owned and run for many years by Derek Wilson himself. He has recently sold the business and begun his retirement.

I would like to extend my very sincere thanks to Derek for the excellent service he has given to me over the years, from the day he delivered the new kitchen to Urvaig (twenty years ago) to present day deliveries of vehicle parts.

Derek has always gone beyond a basic service: for example going to Home Base to buy a tin of paint for me so I could get the painting finished; delivering my items in good condition and at a very reasonable cost and taking parts to be returned free of charge.

When I was desperate for a vehicle part and he wasn’t sending a van to Tiree, he would go out of his way to get it to me by taking the package to the pier and finding someone who could bring it over to me.

Derek, I would like to thank you for the fantastic service you have given to me and I wish you a long and happy retirement.

Sandy Macintosh

A Bird’s Eye View

Dear Editor

Well, they do say a warm welcome awaits Canadian visitors to Tiree.

I was lost, tired and hungry after riding the weather system across the North Atlantic, and could easily have perished. Instead, I found sheltered gardens buzzing with tasty insects on a remote Scottish island, where I could rest and feed, and where I was protected from over-zealous ‘twitchers’.

The Great British Twitcher is a peculiar species: dark muted plumage adorned with paired neckwattles which flick up to the eyes when stimulated, their characteristic call of “have you got it?” joining the dawn chorus.

Rarely forming lasting pair-bonds, they migrate in loose flocks of (mostly) males and are tunnel-visioned when pursuing their prey. Feverishly competitive, they are prone to exaggeration and territorial clashes when hunting. They tick a lot.

I’m glad I didn’t land on public land on the mainland. I could have been surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of these strange, twitchy predators each desperate to take rapid-fire multiple shots. The stress and disturbance caused by such scrutiny could have finished me off as surely as if I had plunged into the Atlantic.

So my thanks to all on Tiree who made my unscheduled visit to your continent so safe and fascinating: that Birdy-man and the Ranger-lass who ensured that all twitchers were masked and herded into socially distanced groups, and the neighbouring water-bearers who prevented unprepared twitchers from dehydrating.

The weather is too cold for me now, so I’m heading south. Perhaps I’ll stop off in Spain for a bit, hopefully avoiding Los Twitcheros.

– Y B McFly

Piping Campaign

Dear Editor,

My late husband, Iain C. Macdonald was a piper with family connections both on Tiree and Mull.

Piping bird While sorting through his pipe music I came across the enclosed printout of a rare species of bird which I thought may be of interest to the island bird watchers.

The Avisfisulasaccus tiriensis was created from the Latin – avis-bird: fistula-pipe : saccus-bag : tiriensis – belonging to Tiree.

I believe it was part of a campaign mounted by Robert Beck (the vet), with the help of Iain Mackinnon (Hillcrest) and my husband, to persuade the education authorities to provide Tiree pupils with a piping tutor and to give the same opportunities to them as were available on other islands. Until this time (2008), Robert Beck had been the voluntary tutor for school pupils teaching up to Highers in music. He was worried that, due to poor health and failing eyesight, there would be no one to carry on his work.

His campaign was successful and for several years a tutor was provided.

Let’s Hear It for Tiree

How lucky are we to be living on Tiree just now? Although we are each isolated in our own way, there is still a sense of being part of a community, and a caring, proactive and responsible one at that. We also have vast, empty open spaces for our prescribed daily exercise. Spare a thought for those crammed into anonymous city flats. A lot of messages of gratitude have been conveyed to our front-line medical staff and carers, and rightly so, but there are many unsung heroes on the island that must continue with their jobs and voluntary work in order to provide lifeline services to the rest of us. So, a huge THANK-YOU! to all food providers, shop staff, delivery drivers, pier and airport personnel, posties and postal staff, internet providers, telephone engineers, water and electricity supply personnel, petrol and fuel providers, waste disposal staff, police, emergency services personnel, and An Tirisdeach. All these services help us stay safe and connected at this strange and difficult time.


On Being Rescued

letters to editor

I had the doubtful pleasure of being a ‘rescued casualty’ in the Tiree Multi- Agency Emergency Responders Exercice held over Easter Week – end.

On the Sat night, in the 1st incident I was the ‘voice’ to the dummy casualty trapped under a quad bike, on the machair, with a broken femur and pelvis. I became the casualty, after the ‘dummy ‘ had been moved onto a stretcher sledge.

On the Sun morning, in the 2nd incident, my ‘wife’ and I had capsized our kayak in rough seas. We lost the kayak and swam to shore, only to be battered onto the rocks of a headland, to await rescue. My ‘wife’ was semi concious, ‘bleeding’ from her ear with a possible bad head injury. I was a Type 1 diabetic.

In both incidents I was in awe at the professionalism of Tiree’s Rescue services and the resources at their disposal.

Tiree, you are in very safe hands.

Off-season visitor

letters to editor

When I first landed on Tiree at the end of November, I was greeted by the cold, dark winds that bustle about the island. It swept me right into the airport, greeted by the cozy warmth of freshly strung Christmas lights and familiarity among the strangers around me.

As a first-time traveller, everywhere I went seemed so big and new and daunting. Coming to Tiree feels like coming to a home I’ve never been before, but I feel as though I’ve settled right in.

Although the island is small, it’s full of personality and beauty of its own. From the soft mushy grass to the hard and slippery sea-shaven rocks, there’s so much to discover and appreciate here. Each time I go out it feels like a new exploration to me. The beaches here are quiet and open, a stark difference to the commercialized California coastlines I’ve visited. When you go on a walk, it feels like the whole world is your own to wander.

People have given me funny glances and told me it’s off-season to visit for so long, and I can see why, when the island seems too quiet and ghostly without a breath of anything happening in sight. But I don’t regret the cold, sunny day picnics I’ve had on the beach, nor the snuggly days inside when the fog hugs the island tighter in the sharp cold.

Maybe it’s the differences in American and British culture, but people around here have a strong sense of community with each other, and I’ve never felt more welcome anywhere. Spending the holiday season here was one of the best choices I’ve made, and I look forward to the day I can park my suitcase here and never have to move it again.

Elizabeth Hanson, CA, USA

Unleashed Dogs

Dear Editor,

I am surprised by the amount of dog owners –both local and visiting– that do not carry a leash with them for their furry companions and allow them to wander freely unattended, especially in public areas, including the beaches.

I understand that we place a lot of trust in our animals. We consider them a part of the family, but we put far too much belief that they won’t hurt another creature. We need to remember that dogs are pack animals and can act aggressively towards others without prior provoking.

I have been regularly informed that “My dog is very friendly!” when their dog wanders up to mine, who I make an effort to keep on a leash when I know there are animals or people nearby. I don’t think these individuals take the time to consider that perhaps my dog is on a leash because they may not be friendly. I don’t want to risk the safety of my dog or anyone else’s animal because of their naivety.

We need to also consider that there are other human beings who are uncomfortable with dogs and to children many dogs can appear terrifyingly enormous. Having a strange dog that they have either never encountered or don’t know very well creates a stressful situation that could be easily avoided if the owners took responsibility and kept their dog on a leash in public areas. It isn’t funny to see someone react in fear to a dog or interrupt their day with a dog dashing through their outdoor activities.

It’s not my intention to put a damper on anyone’s day or holiday if they are visiting the island with their dog(s) with this letter, because we are very lucky to live in such a beautiful open space, but people need to take more consideration when it comes to their dogs; both for their own enjoyment and for the comfort of those around them.

– A Local Resident (Name & Address supplied)

Low speeds

As many are aware, Tiree’s internet isn’t exactly wonderful, but it does the job.

This past month we had reason to submit a ticket about our speed as it had gone from 1.5MBps down to a terrible 0.4MBps. This impacts me personally, as I run a shop online and need to be able to see orders and update listings.

We had a phone call from our provider last night (We don’t use Tiree Broadband, we’re getting ours via the phone line), saying that BT had brought in a new rule. They now have a minimum speed for areas, and unless the speed drops to that or below, they will not investigate. For Balemartine, perhaps Tiree, it is 0.2MBps. We’ve had that speed once, when we moved to the island. You can’t open a page with images; Facebook (where a lot of communication on the island happens), won’t open; you’ll have to try a few times to even open email clients.

I know that BT struggle to keep up with issues, but I think it terrible that the way they address this is to set such a low limit that people with online businesses suffer, as will the school’s pupils at home. They won’t be able to load educational videos, contact their friends online, or load pages such as Wikipedia.


Jacqui Bennett

Rubbish Dumping

I read with interest the Tiree Community Council update published in issue 659.

With regard to the paragraph on rubbish dumping and refuse collection, there is indeed a problem which has to be addressed.

The suggestion however that a commercial uplift for all holiday houses be made compulsory is inequitable. Not all second home owners let their homes and it is the multiple let properties which cause the problem.

Graeme Lees, Greenhill.

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