Tag Archives: Isle of Tiree

Tiree Ranger Updates

cattle grid Isle of Tiree

Hiya folks, How are we all doing?

The seasons are certainly changing and the last few days have had a bit of a winter twinge to them with the light in the morning and evenings. It does also feel like the island is getting a bit quieter and it’s time to start thinking of winter tasks and what needs repaired and replaced over the coming months.

Last weekend I helped marshal at the Tiree ultramarathon. It was great to see events like this starting again on Tiree but there was one activity linked to this event that really stood out for me. I had spoken to Iain MacArthur recently about his track that he put in at Balephuil to allow folk to access the beach here. In the conversation, he mentioned the cattle grid gets filled up with sand and the cows then get out and about. I offered to get a team together to dig it out but our first attempt to do so was called off by the weather.

It was a few weeks before it came to mind again, however the previous volunteers all had work commitments and couldn’t come this time. After having a chat with some friends who were over for the Ultra I put a shout out on the Ultra Facebook group. I headed out to do an Otter Walk and came home to find the broadband had gone down across the island and I had no way of checking the Facebook group to see if anyone had volunteered.

I got up on the Tuesday morning thinking I was going to have a busy day of digging ahead before managing to get onto Facebook on my phone and saw that some folk had offered to help. However, because I hadn’t been able to reply to the comments I was unsure if they would make it.

Off I headed and I needn’t have worried as volunteer after volunteer arrived at Balephuil including three folk staying on one of the Croft Sites who I had jokingly asked to come and help. We also had a delivery of extra spades from Claire Jones. Iain and his team arrived and lifted out the cattle grid and boom the folk all got stuck in. I didn’t even get a chance to grab a spade as they were all taken so resulted in being the photographer. Within an hour it was all done and the grid was put back in place.

I’m very grateful for the volunteers’ time, especially as most of them had ran 35 miles around the island only two days before. Hopefully more work parties like this can happen at future events.

That’s all for now. My contact details are as follows:

email ranger@tireetrust.org.uk or phone on 07391239502 as the Trust staff are still home working

Until next time…

Hayley Douglas – Tiree Ranger Service

Fuel Station Update

Since our last update TCE Ltd are pleased to announce that we have now obtained our planning permission and have instructed the contractor to proceed with the construction works.

The programme is now finalised and the work will commence on 6th September and last for approximately 14 weeks, with handover on 7th December – all going well.

Three local businesses have been successful in securing portions of the work for the contract. We understand that Mr David Gunn is to be appointed to provide quality control consultancy services to Adler & Allen, our main contractor, with I A MacKinnon Haulage Ltd providing logistics, storage and materials while John Mackinnon (Builders) Ltd will be undertaking the civil engineering works.

It has always been our intention to install an electric vehicle charging station. The infrastructure required to achieve this is being installed under the contract and it is hoped that the charging unit will be likewise. However, we have been forced to seek additional funding for this item and await the outcome of the grant application which has already been made. It is possible that the charging unit may have to be fitted after the main contract is completed.

TCE Ltd have decided to run two competitions, the first to name the fuel station and the second to name each of the three pumps and the electric vehicle charger. To this end we will be inviting all children of school age, whether attending the community schools or not and who’s families are resident on the island, to name the pumps. The island community as a whole (children and adults) will be invited to name the station. The local schools have agreed to help in this task. They will promote the idea to all their pupils and collect the entries from that group.

Those school pupils who are not attending the local schools should send their entries to fuel@tireetrust.org.uk. All the received entries will be considered, filtered and anonymised by a panel of the teaching staff at the school and the resulting entries will then be passed to a panel of older pupils, set up by the school, to judge the winning names. Entries for the station name should also be sent to fuel@tireetrust.org.uk. TCE will pass these to the school for inclusion in a second and similar judging process. There are no rules for any of the names as long as they are appropriate. However it has been suggested that at least one name should be Gaelic.

We will have one red diesel pump, two petrol and white diesel pumps and one electric charger. The competition will run from 1st to 30thSeptember, 2021. The winning names will be announced by TCE once the school has picked the winning entries. Good luck!

May Meeting of Tiree Community Council

Working our way towards a new planning policy for the community council, a debate on water saving measures, news on the redevelopment of the pier marshalling area and a reduction in the number of same-day ferry tickets were some of the subjects that came up at the May community council meeting.

John Patience and a subcommittee of councillors has been working on a new planning policy for the community council for a few months. A draft is finally ready. The Scottish Government recommends that community councils have ‘a special role [in the planning process], representing a broader yet still local view which can be set alongside the comments of those with a more individual interest’. Our proposal is that if a local planning application has the potential to impact on a significant number of people in the community, raises important matters of principle for Tiree, departs from the Local Development Plan, or concerns a Listed Building, we will consider it. These are likely to make up a small proportion of the total planning applications.

John explained that the community council’s status as a ‘statutory consultee’ simply meant that Argyll and Bute Council had a statutory duty to inform us about planning applications; it does not mean that we had to comment on every application. We agreed the draft presented by John. This is now out for consultation on our website, following which there will be a public meeting to allow us to collect feedback.

Scottish Water came to one of our public meetings a few months ago after several new house builds had been knocked back because the company could not guarantee supply during times of peak demand. They rowed back on this decision – for the time being. Now they have become keen on water saving measures for the island. Leaks in the network, according to company figures, are surprisingly low. But Scottish Water are now proposing a trial of shower timers for part of the island. These are designed to nudge us away from long showers. Their effectiveness would be monitored by the company, comparing water usage in the area being studied with the rest of the island. This sparked quite a debate. There was a school of thought that this was a good ‘green’ measure and we should be doing this anyway to save the planet. Others felt that this was a cheap way for the company to wriggle out of building expensive new boreholes and pumphouses that would really solve the capacity problem. We agreed to support the proposal, but keep the pressure on the company to provide us with robust supplies for the years ahead.

We have been in dialogue with CMAL – who own the Gott Bay pier and marshalling area – and CalMac – who operate them – about their plans for redevelopment, now that work at the business end of the pier has finished. We know that significant safety concerns around the marshalling area were logged in a 2019 consultant’s report. But try as we might – and we have tried at the highest level – CalMac have refused to give us access to the findings. Our own survey about the pier, which attracted 99 replies, brought together a lot of useful suggestions from those who live around, work in and travel through, the pier. We have passed these on to CMAL. It is a complicated patch of land, with ten landowners to consider. We are looking for better-managed parking, a safer separation between pedestrians and cars, a dedicated bus stop, a separate marshalling area for cyclists, good refuse facilities, clearer signage and a waiting room at the end of the pier. We know the budget for the work is £350,000, which pays for less tarmac than you think. We will do our best.

We also heard just before the meeting that the turn-up-and-go ferry passenger tickets are being restricted to just four – for Tiree and Coll. These tickets were introduced last year as a way to allow islanders to get to and from the mainland at the height of the tourist season. This seems too few, and will keep a close eye on the situation.

Dr John Holliday was in the chair. Phyl Meyer, Gerard McGoogan (who joined us from the Oban ferry), Alison Clark, Stewart, John Patience and Louise Reid were present.

Tyree Gin Spreads Festive Cheer

A Hebridean distiller is set to spread some festive cheer this December by giving a free miniature bottle of local gin to every islander on their native Tiree.

Tiree residents over the age of 18 will be treated to a free miniature of Tyree Gin or Hebridean Pink Gin in the run up to Christmas as distillery bosses add some unexpected joy to what has been a difficult year.

Rather than coming down locals’ chimneys, owners Ian Smith and Alain Campbell have teamed up with the island’s local shop, Buth a’ Bhaile, so that lucky residents can collect their miniatures from the store in Crossapol on the island. Ian Smith, owner of Tiree Whisky Company, said:

“2020 has been a challenging year for most people so we wanted to inject a bit of festive cheer into the lives of everyone in Tiree and give them a small gift. “We’ll be taking orders and delivering to Buth a’ Bhaile from today until 23rd December. Together, as a community, we can reflect on 2020 and raise a glass to the New Year.”

Islanders over the age of 18 among Tiree’s population of 650 people can apply for their gift by filling out a form on the Tyree Gin website.

The Isle of Tiree has a fascinating distilling heritage which Tiree Whisky Company Ltd has resurrected in recent years. Their distillery is the first on the island in over 217 years.

The company’s first product, Tyree Gin, was launched at Tiree Music Festival 2017. This product reflects the landscape in which it is distilled, incorporating kelp harvested from the icy waters, coastal salty flavours and a range of botanicals from the machair ground inland from the shore. Earlier this year, the small spirits’ producer launched Hebridean Pink Gin, which comes in a striking pink bottle and is distilled using juniper berries, raspberries and sweet peels.

Despite the challenges of 2020, the company also recently invested in new stills and equipment for future production planned for 2021 as they look ahead to a positive year.

Crossapol Playpark Needs Your Help

No matter when you pass the Playpark at Crossapol you will probably see someone in it. Whether you are a child, parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle or friend you will have enjoyed the experience of ‘playing’ there. It is a very well used park by both locals and visitors and the users all make very positive comments about what a great Playpark it is.

Tiree Community Business in partnership with ACHA take care of the Playpark and keep it as safe as possible for all to enjoy. However, most of the equipment has had its day and has outlived its safe lifespan. This means that it needs replacing and this means a large amount of money – about £24,000.

Tiree Community Business have funded some new pieces of equipment over the last few years with the help of many generous donations and these newer pieces will remain. If you feel able to donate towards the replacement of the equipment please contact Norma at Tiree Community Business:

Tel: 01879 220 520 Email: tireecommunitybusiness@btconnect.com

Cheques should be made payable to – Tiree Community Business and sent to Tiree Community Business, The Island Centre, Isle of Tiree PA77 6UP

Remember “Every Little Helps’ and Thank You

Your Views Needed On Amenity Services

Argyll and Bute’s council has to identify options to meet a projected budget gap of £6.7 million in 2021/2022, and as part of that, is asking for your views on amenity services.

Savings can only come from a relatively small proportion of the council’s budget (32%), because of national priorities and other factors outside council control:

• Teacher posts are protected nationally

• Social work costs are managed by the Health and Social Care Partnership

• Utility, loan and other costs depend on external factors.

Some savings have to come from amenity services, which cover everything from bins and grass cutting, to parking, road repairs and public toilets.

The council is therefore asking people to give their views on how best to make savings in amenity services by answering a short consultation. The survey also gives people the chance to give their thoughts on whether local communities would consider stepping in to save a service at risk, and what if any support they would want to be able to do this.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Depute Leader and Policy Lead for Strategic Finance, said:

“Another year and millions more expected to be cut from council services for Argyll and Bute. It’s not enough to say that these are tough times for councils. Years of budget cuts are eroding Argyll and Bute’s council services, and at a time now when they have never been more important – look at how much our communities have depended on council services to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to focus on the support that is most vital for the area. We have to look again at the work we do that is above and beyond the ‘must-do’ duties of a council. I would encourage anyone who uses our amenity services to give their views.”

You can answer the consultation on the council’s website:

https:// www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/ consultations/amenity-servicesconsultation.

If you have difficulty accessing the web version, you are welcome to contact the council at 01436 658 981.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at Balephuil

On the morning of Tuesday 15 September 2020, a very rare bird was spotted in the gardens at Balephuil. This proved to be a young Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a colourful migrant that breeds in the northern spruce forests of North America during the summer and winters in the tropical forests of Central America. This species has never been seen before in Europe, let along the UK, and had presumably been blown off course across the Atlantic by the fast-moving depression that hit the island on 13 September.

Knowing that such an exotic vagrant would attract much attention from other birders wishing to see it, and given the current Covid19 situation, we decided not to publicise the sighting. Unfortunately, one of the other birders present on the island at the time let the news slip to a friend of his and by midnight it was clear that the news had been broadcast widely. Together with Hayley Douglas, the Tiree Ranger, we therefore had no option but to manage the ensuing “twitch” following strict ScotGov Covid19 guidelines.

Some 120 people arrived over the following three days, car-parking was organised with help from neighbours, and a strict queuing system was put in place. Fortunately, everyone who came was well behaved and followed the advice given, such that they were all able to see the bird safely. Access to the gardens was closed on the Friday night to give everyone and the bird a rest.

A further 40 people arrived in much smaller groups over the following five days and most were able to view the bird from the adjacent track. After nine days of busily feeding up on insects, including many of our neighbours’ honey-bees, the bird finally departed on the night of 23 September. This was a cold clear night with a light northerly breeze, ideal for the bird to continue its journey south. Quite where it will end up is a mystery. Let’s hope it will refuel again in Spain and end up wintering in the tropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa.

As a thank-you gift, the visiting birders (and some who didn’t come) donated generously to the Tiree Community Trust via a bucket on the site and through a just-giving page. To date this has raised at least £1,800 so far for the island.

John Bowler & Hayley

Image courtesy of John Bowler

Community Council Set For November Poll

Tiree will see an autumn byelection for its Community Council as six candidates put themselves forward for election.

The poll was called by Argyll and Bute Council after a spring date for community council elections throughout the authority was pulled due to coronavirus.

Four vacancies in the island’s community council were declared. With nominations now in, six candidates have put themselves forward:

• Jacqueline Bennett, Schoolhouse, Balemartine

• Iona Campbell, 4 Baugh

• Stewart Carr, Sanderling, Balephetrish

• Iona Larg, The Two Harvests, No. 2, Balemartine

• John Patience, Taigh an Altire, Caolis

• Louise Reid J, 11 Sruthan Terrace, Crossapol

On Thursday 15 October, Argyll and Bute Council will send out postal ballots to everyone whose name was on the Electoral Roll on 1 September 2020. These have to be returned by 4 pm on Thursday 5 November 2020.

The ballots will contain the candidates’ statements, and we are looking to see if there might be other ways for candidates to set out their stall before votes have to be in. One way might be for them to introduce themselves at the Community Council public meeting on 14 October. We will post details with the agenda of the next meeting.

Dr John Holliday, Convener,

Tiree Community Council

Tiree Regatta 2019

The day of the 2019 Tiree Regatta dawned overcast with light winds, however this didn’t deter a group of sailors determined to pit their skills against each other and the elements.

In the Dinghy race Tim and Ann Esson in their Foxer class dinghy beat Jonathon Marks single handing his laser with Dorinda Johnson and crew leading the way for the club Topaz fleet. Special mention should also go to Kris and Aidan Hynes competing in their first Regatta having only started sailing this year through Tiree Maritime Trusts Community Sailing Programme.

In the Lug Boat race the pace and slick tacking of the Cathadh Mara skippered by Dr John Holliday and crewed by Bruce Kemp and Jack Lockhart managed to narrowly beat Tony Batchelor, Sandy McIntosh and Tim Esson in the Maritime Trust boat the Daisy to win the Traditional Lug Sail Boat class.

The smaller sailed boats; Maritime Trust boat the Morag-Ann sailed by Martin Finnigan and William-Angus Maclean and the standing lug-sailed skaffie Malin sailed John Patience and Jeremy Armitage put in a creditable show in spite of being hampered by the light conditions.

The day also saw a little bit of Tiree history made with Tiree first Skiff race. With three skiff crews racing each other using only one boat the Gille-Brìghde. A time trial was set up with the teams being timed over a course parallel to the beach. Robert Trythall acted as impartial timekeeper – until he was called away to star in the last and winning crew. This was Emma the medical student in bow, Niall MacDonald, Robert Trythall and Dorinda Johnson in stroke, ably orchestrated into a team by Alasdair MacLachlan.

On the shore there was plenty to keep the crowds entertained with a very competitive paddle board race, some truly inventive sandcastles and sand art as well as tests for strength and skill in throwing wellies and creels. The cake stall and raffle also proved very popular and helped raise much needed funds. The day concluded in the traditional prizegiving including a new trophy this year awarded to the junior sailor of the year, Eddie Maclean. This specially commissioned award was donated in memory of long time Tiree Regatta supporter Roger Jarvis.

The Tiree Regatta relies on the kind and generous support of the community, without whose help the event simply would not be able to take place. We therefore have quite a long list of people to thank: Louise Reid, Willie MacKinnon, Rhoda Meek, Catriona Smyth, Clare Jones and David Vale without whose efforts on the day we could not have run the Regatta.

Thank you too, to the businesses that kindly donated prizes for the raffle including Tyree Gin, Dot Sim Jewelry, MacLennan Motors, the Farmhouse Café, The Cobbled Cow and Tiree Chocolates. Thanks also to the Lodge Hotel for their generous support for the Regatta. Special thanks to the Wild Diamond Watersports crew for organizing the SUP racing and keeping the sailors safe out on the water alongside Lochlan Morris and Steph Tanner.

Finally, a big thanks to everyone competitors, spectators and volunteers who all contributed to making the 2019 Tiree Regatta such a great success. For full results and to find out more about the work of Tiree Maritime Trust please visit: www.tireemaritimetrust.org.uk

Tiree’s Annual Art Exhibition Opens Doors

Tiree’s annual art exhibition opened its doors at 7pm at Baugh Church on July the 2nd.

The opening night held a marvellous atmosphere with people excited to see the show. Miss Norma Omand was the Guest of Honour, opening the 24th Exhibition with a wonderful speech. She said, “Having always looked forward to seeing the art work submitted to the annual art exhibition myself, I was delighted to be invited to open this year’s exhibition. I am always amazed at the talent and confidence of the exhibitors who are prepared to put their work on display for others to admire, comment on and purchase! As a native of Tiree, it is no surprise to me that people are inspired to produce works of art…but the way each individual chooses to interpret the colours and places I know so well is always something I enjoy. This year is no exception and it is always pleasing to see works from new contributors as well as those who regularly exhibit.”

Though missing a few“faithfuls” this year due to various reasons, the exhibition was happy to welcome new faces to the event. High quality, interesting work was put on display, with this years pieces providing an energetic, almost ‘Mediterranean-fresh’ vibe within the heavenly vibe space of the church, which is the perfect setting for the expression of the island’s artistic talents. Shona would like to give special thanks to Bear (without whom it would not have happened); the Baugh Church Leaders, Liz Kerr, Norma Omand, Neil Connor, the artists, Maya Sutherland, the Co-Op staff, loyal crew of “Show-Sitters”, her daughter Daisy Johnston for being her “Emily” on the opening night and of course, the general public.

“Thank you so much and I really do hope you love Tiree Art Enterprises 2018 Summer Show as much as I do,” – Shona Johnston.

The Tiree Art Exhibition is open every day through July , except Friday and Sunday, between 1pm- 4pm and everyone is welcome. This years donation box is for Miss Maya Sutherland who will be traveling to Cambodia via Project Trust to teach English to children. Please note that the Exhibition will close for 5 days from the 30th of July to allow a prior church commitment to take place, but will resume as normal afterwards. It finishes on the 11th of August at 4pm. All work should be collected then.

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