Tag Archives: beaches

Tiree Community Council Update

Coastal erosion, planning and rubbish were three important issues that came up at this month’s community council meeting.

This was held using Zoom, although a return to face-to face meetings may be on the cards in future depending on a future Argyll and Bute Council consultation. Unfortunately, a slipup meant that there had been little advertising for the meeting and our audience was much smaller than usual.

The Dynamic Coast project is funded by the Scottish Government and involves a wide range of bodies from the University of Glasgow to the Ordnance Survey. Its goal is to pinpoint lengths of the Scottish coastline that are particularly vulnerable to erosion over the next generation. Running since 2015, researchers have compared 1890 and 1970 high water marks marked on old Ordnance Survey maps with modern models of the landscape to make predictions of the what the 2050 coastline might look like. (See www.dynamiccoast.com and go to the map section). For example, while sand has been deposited at the two ends of Gott Bay’s An Tràigh Mhòr, sections in the middle have receded up to 25 m between 1975 and 2006. By 2050, it is predicted that 1.3 km of the road here will be lost. On Cladach a’ Crògain or Balephetrish Beach, both ends of the beach have receded by 26 m over the same time, and lengths of the road here too are likely to disappear by 2050.

The second phase of this research will be published this week. It focusses on the most vulnerable stretches of coastline – and Tiree has several – and seeks to put forward solutions. One researcher keen to take this further is Julian Sartorius, a geographer at the University of Dundee. He is coming to the island in September, and would like to make contact with a representative group of us to help him research what people who live in these at-risk areas think about coastal erosion. He will be advertising for volunteers soon.

There was another discussion of the Community Council’s latest draft of the Planning Policy. Following two public meetings, an online survey and some feedback, we have refined the document. If a planning application generates eleven or more comments from island residents (which can be made in confidence to the community council); departs significantly from Argyll and Bute’s current Local Development Plan; raises important matters of principle for the island; might reasonably be predicted to have an impact on the broader community of Tiree; or impacts on a Listed Building as designated by Historic Environment Scotland, we will discuss in public whether to send a response to Argyll and Bute’s Planning Department. Having gone back over the last one hundred application, we think that this would have been the case four times over the last four years. The latest draft is on our website, and we welcome final comments before the September meeting.

We have had some correspondence about bags of rubbish left beside bins. The final public bin – one at the pier – has been removed by the Council after nondomestic rubbish was left in it. It was pointed out that rubbish is a year-round issue for the island, and that we all have a part to play in keeping the island tidy. Part of the problem is that a number of owners of rented houses do not pay for a weekly commercial uplift. Part of the solution is to make greater use of the dump, open six days a week. We decided that we would write to the Council to ask for more facilities. Finally, concern has been expressed about police cover for the island, particularly at the height of the tourist season. Marlene Baillie, the Area Commander, wrote back promptly to our enquiry to say: ‘I can advise that wherever possible we will continue to provide cover by sending an officer over from the mainland … As I am sure you will appreciate, I cannot guarantee cover on every occasion as sometimes the requirement to cover can be at short notice with insufficient time to identify staff and secure accommodation on the island. However, every effort will be made to send an officer over at the earliest opportunity if required.’

Dr John Holliday, Iona Campbell, Gerard McGoogan, Phyl Meyer, John Patience and Stewart Carr were in attendance. Please send us any comments and questions. Our next meeting will be on the second Wednesday of September.

Tiree Ranger Service News

Sun, Sea and… Soil?

I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the community members who volunteered their time, tools and energy to overhaul the Balevullin parking area. The work was completed on a beautifully bright day, with an abundance of biscuits and good humour. The erosion pits have been filled and levelled, and the rope boundary has been moved inward from the steeply sloping section. A number of vehicles rolled down onto the beach this year. Fortunately, no one was injured (and how grateful we are for that) but this is obviously extremely dangerous. For safety reasons, the parking area has been re-marked to reduce the risk of this happening again. The posts to be extracted had the hallmark of Steve Nagy quality; whereby, like icebergs, only 10% is visible at the surface (the other 90% being set in dry cement, and practically scraping Australia). Rob Trythall reigned champion as the fastest post-digger in the west; setting most of our new boundary within the hour. John Bowler then had the opportunity to re-visit his trusty Cub Scout knot, and is likely still fiddling with it as we speak. I’m not 100% clear on whether the ‘rabbit’ goes up the tree or into the pond: Suspect John isn’t either… A huge ‘Thank You’ is also due to Lachie Brown, who very kindly transported the soil into the parking area for us – cutting down some serious wheelbarrow miles. Lachie’s help made an enormous difference to the logistics of completing this job, and allowed us to finish the task in one sitting. As the repairs establish themselves, can I ask that users avoid driving over them where possible. For the winter period, the space on the opposite side of the graveled track within the parking area should be sufficient for most occasions. With kind wishes and thanks again to all those who gave up their time; I am extremely grateful.

Tiree Access Forum

The Tiree Access Forum is made up of individuals from a range of different organisations and backgrounds. Those represented currently include: Argyll & Bute Council, Argyll Estates, Discover Tiree, island business owners, RSPB, SNH, TCDT, TRD, Tiree Ranger Service and local watersports operators/participants.

To ensure that the access forum remains representative of our community (and the cross-section of different viewpoints and interests within it) I would like to reiterate that this group is open to all. Please contact me on: ranger{@}tireetrust.org.uk if:

• You can attend our meetings reasonably regularly

• You are interested in access issues on Tiree

• You would like to find out more about how these issues are discussed

• You would like to share your own thoughts and ideas

• You would like to help steer access outcomes

We meet once a month; normally on a Thursday evening, between 19:30 and 21:30. If you cannot commit to regular meetings, I am happy to discuss access queries by email, telephone (074) or in person. I can then raise these matters for discussion at the next session. Remember: we cannot discuss concerns that aren’t raised. There are also many different viewpoints, interests and considerations to balance between different agencies and users.

With thanks and warm wishes to all, Stephanie.

Shaien’s Tiree Beach Clean Up


The Maze clean-up

The Maze clean-up

My daughter Shaien is 17 years old and lives with profound Autistic difficulties. Ever since coming to Tiree she seems to have been able to distinguish between what should be on the beach and what should not – always bending down upon our walks to pick up a plastic bottle or some wrapping tape/fishing line/bottle top left at high tide by the sea, depositing man’s rubbish back into the environment lover’s path.

At Easter this year I decided that we should put Shaien’s skills to good use, so we headed for The Maze, a beach I have been in awe off, for thirty years now since high wind wave sailing days, Shaien being well used to this walk.

We approached from below Benn Hough, followed the track and entered the dunes onto the beach – already we had a bag full.I was amazed at Shaien’s ability to either hold the bag open or to pick up the rubbish and put it in with little or no help from me, her willingness to keep searching, clearing the area of throw away plastic, we found very little else!

Onto the beach through the twisting ravine of dune, then headed for the far right hand corner, for a long time this area had become swamped with the non-degradable ‘stuff’. It took us four days, several hours each day, to clear this 20 square feet space-a friend helping us on the last day. 16 pink recycling bags later it once again became sand, marram and machair.

Shaien and Michael cleaning up Ceann a Mharra

Shaien and Michael cleaning up Ceann a Mharra

Over the Summer we collected odd bags of rubbish from wherever we were walking and by chance a friend bumped into Michael Czernuk from surfhelp. He too spent his days walking and collecting rubbish from our coastline, I believe he began his two month trip on the East Coast of Fife, travelled north and then west – through the outer isles onto Tiree. I contacted him to ask if he wanted to join Shaien and I along the Ceann a Mhara stretch of beach, which like the Maze had progressively becoming swamped in plastic waste. He was delighted to and told stories of various people joining forces with him, locals to the area he was clearing along his journey and the disbelief of the volume found on our island.

That afternoon we collected another 5 large bags – only half the beach cleared, but from the furthest point along, looking back it was lovely to see the crystal shell sands, without the bright blots and spots of man’s rubbish behind. The only shame being what approaches on the next tide.

I am so proud of Shaien with her deep Autistic difficulties for being able and willing to work to improve our environment for everyone to see, which goes to show there is a place for everyone on this Earth.

A note to visitors and islanders alike, following the recent suffering of Balevullin and Balinoe beaches, historically there have been many fire pits left within high tide full of rusty nails, I suspect folk would think differently about their actions if their offspring played amongst the surf, a tender foot waiting to be pierced!

Organised beach clean ups have been happening for years on Tiree, this year saw an increase in both the need and effort shown by various groups and individuals on the island to keep our shores beautiful and I would like to recognise these efforts.

The sea is purely a dispersal vessel for what we have laid aside. Please be mindful and take your litter home, if at sea try not to lose it overboard or delight in watching it float away – take a stick out/small piece of paper with you instead. On a picnic – you carried your snacks and drinks there, it is lighter on the way back, if you leave it, be it on hill or sand the wind will scatter it somewhere. Sea life dies by it, birds, seals, whales, even the pull tag from a can or a bright bottle top can be swallowed. From below or above to bird or beast it looks enticing the colouring of a fish, a meal never to be digested.

Think, drink, put it in your bag. A little effort by many creates a tide of change.

Thank you. Sith agus Gaol, Catriona Spink

Storm Washes Up Tuna Tag

tuna tag

Ella holds the tag after a cleaning

The recent storms brought winds of up to 60 miles per hour, which meant that for two days the plane from Glasgow to Tiree was cancelled and, on two consecutive Thursdays, the ferry from Oban was disrupted.

The first Thursday it was decided on the Wednesday that due to expected gales they wouldn’t try to sail to Tiree, even though they would go to Barra later in the day. The second Thursday, the boat was in sight of the pier when it was turned back due to the heavy swell.

It was after the weather had calmed that Cameron Smith took his daughter Ella for a walk along the beach at Balephetrish. The rough seas had washed up all manner of objects, but one in particular caught Cameron’s eye, a tag with identification numbers and details of who to contact if it was found. Cameron sent an e-mail saying where and when he had found the tag and with in a couple of hours received a reply from Guillermo Aranda at the University of Cadiz, Spain.

The tag had been implanted into a Bluefin Tuna near the Balearic Islands in July, to allow scientists to follow the horizontal movements of the fish during its summer migration to the breeding grounds in the Mediterranean Sea. After the summer the fish swim out to feeding areas in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Guillermo said that they knew this tag had been released prematurely from the fish near Ireland, as they had received satellite information at the time of deployment, so the ocean currents must have carried the tag to Tiree. The University offer a reward for any tags found because it is vital that they are able to retrieve the information of depth and temperature stored on the tag.

Tiree Wave Classic Confirmed


After months of uncertainty it has now been confirmed that the Tiree Wave Classic (TWC)will be held from 9th to 15th October.

Now in its 24th year,competitors from all over will compete in some of the most difficult conditions in the UK in order to win the “Tiree Wave Classic” title.

Entrants will also be hoping to pick up points to improve their chances of winning the BWAUK Wave Championship.

The TWC is open to professionals and amateurs, and the event on Tiree is as well known for its on shore entertainment -especially the prize giving dance -and its friendliness, as for the sport.

More details will be revealed in future editions of the newsletter.