Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Hello everyone. Just a quick post to say that the site for the 2016 A'Bhuain event is:
www.tireehomecoming.com Why not come over for a quick look?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tiree Homecoming 2016

Help everyone. Thanks for dropping by. My blog has been dormant for some time now but I thought I'd just post this to let you know that come January 2015 this will become the hub for the Tiree Homecoming event in 2016. Of course, it's still some time until then - it's the end of July 2014 when I'm writing this - but in the meantime I am always available to answer - if I can - any of your questions about Tiree. Even if I can't give a response myself I an always point you in the direction of someone who can.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Saturday 9th June, Tiree Pier

I've been experimenting with a new iPhone app called SPLICE.  While waiting for my car to come off the ferry on Saturday I shot several short pieces of video and let the app work its magic.  A bit on the dark side but okay for a first attempt.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Good morning everyone.  In a very short time I will be heading off to catch the ferry.  From Oban I will travel tonight to Fort William where I will spend the evening in the Glen Nevis SYHA.  Tomorrow, Thursday, I will get the bus from Fort William to Dornie where I will overnight at the Dornie Hotel.  On Friday, the walk across the Highlands of Scotland en route to St Cyrus and Montrose will begin.

For those who are interested, here is my route:

1.     Dornie - Bealach Na Sroine
2.   - Glen Affric SYHA (the most remote hostel in Scotland, I believe)
3.   - Dundereggan
4.   - Fort Augustus
5.   - Garva Bridge
6.   - Kingussie
7.   - White Bridge
8.   - Braemar
9.   - Ballater
10. - Tarfside
11. - St Cyrus

Monday, May 07, 2012


Hello, and welcome back to my blog. The blog that's been dormant for quite a while now. And what do I have to tell you? Well, first of all, that I might not be around for the next few days …

On Wednesday, I leave Tiree to take part in The Great Outdoors Challenge.

The TGO Challenge is an annual self-supported walking event across the Highlands of Scotland, west coast to east coast. It started in 1980 and was the brainchild of the well-known writer and mountaineer, Hamish Brown.

The Challenge is held every May and is sponsored by TGO, the walkers' magazine, in partnership with Rab, the outdoor equipment specialist.

Challengers are responsible for planning their own routes; all routes are checked by experienced vetters, who offer comments which may assist in final planning. Routes can be high or low level or a mixture of both. This flexibility in the route you take, combined with the large geographical area available, is one of the unique features of the Challenge.

I first heard about the Challenge while listening to a podcast called The Outdoors Station. The host, Bob Cartwright, produced several series' worth field recordings and interviews in all types of weather and surroundings. Somewhere along the way, I said to myself 'you know, I fancy a crack at this'.

I'm not knew to endurance challenges, or, indeed hiking. I've been on a few long distance treks, even getting to Mount Everest Base Camp (17,500 feet above sea level) in 2009.

But this will be the first time I've ever gone on a self-supported expedition. I'll be carrying everything I need on my back. Along the way I may make use of a b&b or two but for the most part I'll be carrying my home on my back in the form of a tent, sleeping bag, small stove and all the other bits and bobs you need to survive in the great outdoors.

Luckily for me the fiercest beasties I'll be meeting along the way will be the Highland Midges who will no doubt conspire to make my life a misery.

On Friday 11th May I set out from Dornie, a small fishing village in the Kintail district in western Ross-shire and begin a traverse of Scotland which will – hopefully - end on Monday 21st May at St Cyrus in South Aberdeenshire.

Now, the trouble with trying to tell the story of this journey as it happens is all down to poor mobile coverage in some of the wild areas I'll be passing through. Let's face it, mobile coverage in the Highlands is bad enough at the best of times.

But I will do my best. I will blog when I manage to get to a computer. Otherwise, if I get a signal, I will attempt at least a daily Facebook update (follow me at www.facebook.com/gdwscottwww.facebook.com/gdwscott).

I leave Tiree on Wednesday, travelling to Fort William. On Thursday I will bus to my starting point of Dornie, where I will allow myself the luxury of a hotel room and a good meal. On Friday, it all begins.

The weather forecasts for the start of the Challenge is still changeable and vague. There will be rain at some point, that's for sure. But at the end of the day it doesn't matter: I'm committed to going and all I can do now is … well, get it done.

There are another 300+ challengers taking part, all setting off from their own start point of choice. Along the way, I'm bound to meet quite a few of them and I'm looking forward to sharing the 'craic' in the great outdoors with kindred souls.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Sky At Night

Last night, Saturday, at a well attended lecture at the Scarinish Hotel, I enjoyed a short lecture from Glasgow University astronomer Professor Martin Hendry entitled 'The Dark Side of the Expanding Universe'.  But even better than the lecture was what happened afterwards. Professor Hendry took us outside and, with the aid of a laser pen, identified the major visible constellations and how to 'get about' the night sky.

The sky was incredibly clear last night and we even got to spot a few satellites moving in their orbits high above the earth.  It was a night full of wonder.

Tiree is a great place from which to star gaze.  There is no light pollution.  Professor Hendry said it was the best viewing conditions he had witnessed in all of Europe. How cool is that?

....( )/ ( )

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends, both near and far, in this country and all over the world, have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  God bless us, every one.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Isles fuel price cut from March

A motor fuel duty discount for remote island communities will start from March 2012, the UK government has confirmed.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-15888714 >

Friday, November 04, 2011

Old Injuries, New Challenges

It's been a frustrating year, exercise-wise.  Back in March - at least I think it was March - I did something to my left thigh.  It's as vague as that.  Not a constant pain, you understand.  Just that every now and again when, for instance, I push in the car's clutch or force my foot into a boot there's this sharp pain in the upper-outer region of my left thigh that pulls me up.

Oddly enough it doesn't hurt when I run on a treadmill, or even go for a long walk.  I've been wary about road-running.  I don't think I could take the repeated impact on a hard surface, over and over again.

I also had to major disappointments this year.  I entered the Crinan 8 miler and came last (terrible shin splints being the culprit on that occassion) and nearly passed out with exhaustion during the Mull Cyclosportive.  (The latter was a particular disappointment as I spent as much time pushing the bike up hills as I did cycling.)

The newly-lauched Team Tiree have seen nothing of me for a couple of months now.  I just couldn't face training with my injury.

Of course, I should have gone to the Doctor.  I haven't and when I eventually do give in and go he'll probably give me hell.

The thigh has been feeling a little better these past couple of weeks, though.  The pain can still suddenly surprise me but I've been doing a bit more stretching and gentle exercise and I'm hopeful about 2012 being a better year.

I've also lost a bit of weight.  I've been carefully monitoring what calories go into my body in the form of food and what calories I lose in the form of exercise.  The result is that since mid-September I've lost 11lbs.

There are a few big events coming up for me in the next year or so - or so I hope.  At the moment I can only talk about one of them - the TGO Challenge.  This involves walking clear across Scotland, from the West cost to the East. 

The event takes place in May and involves hill walking, Munro-bagging, navigating from point to point and, I'm sure, meeting a lot of wonderful new friends.  Trouble is, you have to apply for a place and I won't know if the organisers think I'm up to it for another couple of weeks.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

As for 2013, you'll have to wait a while longer to hear about that.

In between, Jo and I are planning a visit to the USA to celebrate 30 years of marriage and to drop in on a few friends. At the moment we can't decide whether to drive across the entire continent or merely hang about one particular area.  Needless to say we're really looking forward to it.

So - time for me to stop whining and zip up my man suit. Life is short but it should be long enough.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tiree Array: From last week's Oban Times

Public urged to take part in Tiree consultation

Members of the public are being encouraged to make their voices heard as part of the Tiree Onshore Scenario Mapping study,which is considering the potential onshore implications of the proposed offshore wind farm off Tiree.

The community consultation process has already seen two drop-in events on the island.

The project steering group is now keen to hear from anyone who was not able to attend the second of those,where an interim assessment of the potential scenarios was presented,but who would nevertheless like their views taken into account.

Councillor Neil Mackay,Argyll and Bute's spokesperson for enterprise,energy,culture and tourism said:"It is very important that people understand that they can still have their say on these interim assessment findings,whether or not they were at the last drop in session.

"The exhibition boards presented at that event,along with the response forms,are available online and I would encourage people to have a look at them and submit any comments they may have."

The documents can be found atwww.argyll-bute.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/tiree-shore-scenario-mapping orwww.tireetrust.org.uk/.  All written responses should be submitted by Friday,November 4 2011.

The study is being managed by a steering group chaired by Argyll and Bute Council,which also includes the Scottish Government,Highlands and Islands Enterprise,Tiree Community Development Trust,The Crown Estate,Scottish Power Renewables,  Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited,Scottish Natural Heritage and the NHS.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tiree Success at the Royal National Mod

Many congratulations to Iain Smith and Eilidh MacFadyen of Tiree High School on their 1st and 2nd places in the category below for accordion at this years Royal National Mod in Stornoway.

Comp No:C178
Comp Title:Accordion Open U19
Description:Smith Mearns Trophy
Comp Date:Saturday, October 15 2011
1st:Iain Smith - Àrd-sgoil Thiriodh
The Smith Mearns Trophy
Gold Badge
2nd:Eilidh NicPhaidein - Àrd-sgoil Thiriodh
Silver Badge
3rd:Pàdruig J P Moireasdan - Sgoil Lionacleit
Bronze Badge