People of Tiree
Claire Urquhart, who runs Gym ‘n’ Tonic, took the time to speak to me and answer some questions about her life and work here on Tiree.
Where were you born and raised originally? Have you always been interested in health and fitness from a young age?
I was born and brought up in Farnham Surrey. I moved to Tiree seven years ago with my husband Duncan and three children: George, Charlie and Olivia.
I have always been a keen sportswoman with athletics being my favourite. I competed in high jump and sprints as a teenager.
What brought you to Tiree and how did you find it compared to where you came from?
Duncan’s father’s family are from Tiree. Gym ‘n’ Tonic is based in Duncan’s grandparents house ‘Mary T’ and ‘Willy McPhee’. Their son Duncan McPhee has been extremely supportive in this venture and I couldn’t have done it without his help.
Tiree is very different from where I grew up. It’s beautiful here with its fresh clean air and I love the open space.
What is your favourite thing about the island?
I haven’t got just one. I love the colours of the sea sand and machair. The Tiree Lifestyle. Since I moved here I have been made to feel very welcome. When I talk to extended family they are very envious when I describe Tiree and the way of life here.
What sort of things beyond your work and the island itself are you passionate about?
My family, wildlife, health & wellbeing.
What made you consider opening a gym on the island? Did you encounter any challenges and how did you overcome them?
I have been working in Tiree taking spinning classes, massage and beauty treatments for the past five years. I move my bikes many times from Farmhouse cafe, to the auction ring, to the Hynish Centre and just wanted a permanent place.
We invested a lot of time and money to renovate the house. I had to get a business loan to purchase all the equipment. We also had to go through the planning application process which I’m delighted to say has gone through smoothly. Thanks to the Tiree community and Michael Hollidays support to whom I’m very grateful.
How have the service(s) you provide impacted the island?
I hope to have contributed positively to the community’s health and wellbeing, and to have provided a positive experience to visiting holiday makers.
Do you have other plans to expand the gym or the services you provide?
I strive to improve and learn so I can provide a better service.
Health, fitness and beauty is always changing and improving so I am trying to do my best to provide what’s most beneficial and value for money.
What do you consider your greatest achievement – professional or personal – thus far?
I qualified as a fitness instructer, sports therapist and beauty therapist when I was eighteen. I’ve worked in the industry since, which is over twenty-five years.
Having Gym ‘n’ Tonic at this stage in my career is a dream come true.
Gym ‘n’ Tonic is open Mon – Fri between 10 – 6am. Please call Claire on 07739969949 for further details.