Sunday, December 20, 2009


I have always really liked the photograph, taken between Christmas 1999 and New Year 2000. I took it with a low quality digital camera - my first actually, and back then they were still a novelty.

As long as you don't zoom in to much it still looks quite decent. I remember taking Joanne to work on the day I took this picture. It took me almost two hours to get from Cornaigmore to Scarinish, a journey that usually takes me 8 minutes!

Today, here on the Isle of Tiree, it's absolutely freezing! 'Baltic', as they say! Hector is looking at my longingly, wondering why we've not been for our walk.  Just hang on a wee bit longer, Hector, it's bound to get a little bit warmer ... surely?

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Discover Simple, Private Sharing at
Almost two months ago my friend over in Oxford, New England, Mr Steve Walker, asked me if I would consider recording a seasonal song for his Phedippidations running podcast. I didn't have to think twice. I've been listening to the show for almost four years and find it inspirational, motivational and downright entertaining.

Coincidentally, I was just about to take receipt of brand new recording equipment. And here's the first fruits of the new gear: Joy To The World. Yes, it's the hymn ... sort of. But there's drums in here, guitars, some of them distorted, there's hard bass and there's me singing. I played everything apart from the drums - and before you ask, no, Andy Findo didn't play on the track!

Oh, did I mention it's in swing time? To me it sounds jazzy. My old friend Chris, down in Glasgow, says it sounds 'positively psychedelic'. Well, you decide. You can play the track here, at the blog or you can go to to download it in MP3 or very high-quality WAV format.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tiree Roads in December 09

From my good friend Paul Veverka via You Tube.

Paul writes, "A short video filmed along various Tiree roads in December 09. Heavy rainfall in November left a few of the roads flooded. Apologies for part of the video viewed on its side!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


A little bit overdue this one, but here goes. It's always great to see new businesses developing on the island and especially one which is fast gaining a great reputation for quality and excellence. The Rockvale Guest House is situated in the township of Balephetrish.  I really enjoyed exploring their website and I'm sure you will too.  Make a point of looking at the 'gallery' of photographs. CLICK HERE

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Video Blog - Ben Hough 13th December 2009

It was a lovely morning here on Tiree. Here's a video blog made on top of Ben Hough with me rambling on about mountain climbing, 'Munro bagging' and initials etched in stone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Backing for bid to control Tiree campers: P & J Article Link

A bid by people on Tiree to manage the soaring numbers of camper vans which visit the island was supported yesterday by a senior councillor.

Tiree has witnessed a 154% increase in the number of camper vans visiting the island in June and July 2009, compared with the same period the previous year.

READ MORE  Comments on this topic are welcome.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


This is the report by Alison Spence, Tiree Access Officer, following the recent island-wide vote.

After public consultation, the votes are in on implementing a scheme for motor homes/camper vans visiting Tiree, which would ensure that the number of these vehicles arriving on the island would be restricted to the number of overnight parking sites available for them. The public vote found an overwhelming majority in favour of this scheme. The aim of the scheme is to provide designated legal overnight parking places away from the sensitive machair land. June and July 2009 saw a 154% increase in the number of these units coming to Tiree, compared to the same months in 2008 and this trend is expected to continue next year. The erosion caused by the increase in vehicles is visible across the island and the overnight parking scheme is part of an island-wide access programme which aims to prevent further deterioration of these sites. Included in this programme are plans to provide improved access tracks and parking, better facilities and improved signs/interpretation in order to improve the visitors experience whilst at the same protecting the island's natural and cultural heritage.

The aim is to provide enough designated legal overnight parking places for all motor homes and camper vans visiting the island. The achieve this we are looking for the co-operation of crofters and land managers on Tiree to provide suitable sites on fenced croft land. This would give crofters the opportunity to generate extra income over the summer months by receiving a nightly fee from the customer. Argyll and Bute Council planning department have stated that a crofter can site three vehicles per croft between April and October without seeking planning permission. All that is required would be a dry level area of ground with easy road access, clear of farm implements and livestock. It is planned that a central waste disposal and water collection site will be available to visitors, as it is not feasible to have these facilities on every croft. It is also hoped that all reservations would be made through a central booking system on the island.

If you are interested in providing an overnight parking site and would like to discuss the matter further please contact Aliston Spence on 07765449487 (if unavailable please leave your contact details) or email her at


Sunday, November 29, 2009


We're away in the Big City doing our Christmas shopping, folks. Normal service will be resumed on Saturday 5th December.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Watch the STV news tonight at 6:30pm when the result of the People's Millions campaign will be announced.

Monday, November 23, 2009



The voting line for the People's Millions contest is now open. The number is:

0871 626 88 75

You can vote between 9am - Midnight.

To learn more about the project visit this link:

A short video about the project (featuring a number of Tiree residents) will be shown during at regional news between 6 - 6:30pm.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tiree Needs Your Vote in the People's Millions Contest



Sorry for the mass email but this is really important. We're campaigning to get funding for a small cinema on the wee wind-blown and remote island of Tiree and tomorrow we're featured on the STV regional news in the People's Millions Contest. Viewers are asked to vote by making a 10p phone call. If we get the funding it would mean so much to us.

To read more go to

I realise that many of you don't live in this country and you can't participate. Instead, please send us your good vibes. If you know anyone from this from Scotland you can motivate to vote for us please shoot them an email. Every vote counts!



ITV is a partner of the Big Lottery and is presenting short films of 2 competing projects each night on STV Regional News from Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th November.
Tiree's Ringside Cinema will be one of the two featured on the first show - on Monday 23rd November.Be there.
The way it works is that one of the two projects each night - the one with the highest vote - wins funding for its project. So Monday is the day to do the business for Tiree. This tiny population is going to need all the help it can muster to get its voting numbers up - so round up all your connections to vote for it. READ MORE FROM FOR ARGYLL
We will publish the voting phone number as soon as we have it. Calls from BT landlines will only cost 10p so please do consider voting tomorrow night!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Ah tell my students young and old
Till my breathin' gets afy wheezy
To learn the guid auld sook an blaw
It isnae bloody easy
So tak some heed tae me ma lads
An listen tae whit a say
An copy Tiree's maestro/bard
an you'll be on yir way
For Gordy's awfu kee an a'
He practices like mad
Soon he'll pit them a' tae shame
By mair than just a tad!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Ah went tae see oor Donald
Tae learn the soukie-blaw
An here's whit Donald said tae me
Ye hiv tae sook and blaw

Sook an blaw
Sook an blaw
If ye want tae learn 
the Souckie-Blaw
Ye hiv tae sook an blaw

Oor Donald learnt the moothie
When he wis jist a wean
He fun it wis aw sook and blaw
An sook an blaw again

Sook an blaw
Sook an blaw
If ye want tae learn 
the Souckie-Blaw
Ye hiv tae sook an blaw

An ah says 'Donald ye hit notes
Thit mak me want tae weep'.
'Ah canne say frae where it comes
But aye, Ah dig doon deep'.

Sook an blaw
Sook an blaw
If ye want tae learn 
the Souckie-Blaw
Ye hiv tae sook an blaw

Gordon Scott

Skerryvore bring back PSYBT Young Entrepreneurs of the Year Award to Tiree and Argyll

They must put something in the water in Tiree. Skerryvore - winners last night (18th November) of the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust's (PSYBT) award of Young Entrepreneurs of the Year and the second band for the island to be recognised for their business savvy.

Back in 2003 it was Skipinnish whose entrepreneurship received national attention.

But the island has done it again. At a stellar awards ceremony in Glasgow last night, Skerryvore were, in FI Grand Prix Champion for 2009 Jenson Button's recent joyful description of himself - 'it'.  READ MORE

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The new Tiree Wind Turbine at Ruaig can be seen here dwarfing men and machinery. For full details of the Turbine project, CLICK HERE. You will also be able to see some great pictures of the Turbine being assembled.

Monday, November 16, 2009


We've just had confirmation from Sky when the 26 minute programme of the 2009 Tiree Wave Classic will be on TV.

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 05/01/10 - 18:30 - Sky Sports 2 Digital

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 05/01/10 - 21:30 - Sky Sports Xtra

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 13/01/10 - 18:30 - Sky Sports 2 Digital

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 13/01/10 - 21:00 - Sky Sports Xtra

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 13/01/10 - 23:30 - Sky Sports 2 Digital

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 13/01/10 - 26:30 - Sky Sports Xtra

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 14/01/10 - 14:00 - Sky Sports 2 Digital

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 14/01/10 - 18:30 - Sky Sports Xtra

Tiree Wave Classic 2009 - 15/01/10 - 14:30 - Sky Sports 2 Digital

Thanks to GMFCo for the information.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Feis Workshop Weekend

At long last I went along to a Feis Workshop weekend, the first I have attended in almost 17 years of living here on Tiree. I have, in fact, taught at a Feis weekend, many, many years ago. I pride myself, actually, in having taught Daniel Gillespie (of Skerryvore) to play a little guitar. This was many years ago and Daniel, of course, has gone on to great things - not with the guitar, of course!

This weekend I had the immense honour and pleasure to have been taught a little Mouth Organ by a wonderfully gifted exponent of the instrument, none other than Donald Black himself. What a nice man and what an incredible musician. He plays the Mouth Organ (or harmonica, or, on occasion, what I would call the 'blues harp') with such style and sensitivity that on a few occasions I felt myself becoming emotional just listening to him play in the class. Oh, that I could achieve such mastery of the instrument.

Last night, Saturday, I went along to the Feis Weekend ceilidh. This was less of a concert, much more of gathering to share songs, tunes and stories. There were Gaelic songs, English songs, there was the accordion, the flute, the whistle, the fiddle and, of course, there was Donald's wonderful playing.

A wonderful night on Tiree. The fact that there was an abundance of performers on hand testifies to how talented this wee island is!

Now, where's that 'moothie'? I have to get practicing ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The Rev John Cairns Christie (aged 62 ) will be appointed Moderator designate of the general Assembly of the Church of Scotland when it meets next May. READ MORE


Further to the post dated 3rd November Can Tiree Win It's Own Cinema we can now confirm that a film crew from STV will be on the island on Thursday 12th November to film the proposed venue and interview interested islanders both young and old.  Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well and that our representatives are able to put the case across well!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009


My favourite so far, this is a beautiful and sad wee song by Robert Burns. In my version the guitar is a bit subdued so it might be best to listen with big speakers or headphones.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


The Turbine components/cranes will be arriving on a special sailing from Oban today (Saturday 7th November) . The loading will begin at Oban between 2-4pm and the expected arrival in Tiree will be around 9pm. Once the ferry has docked all the components/cranes etc will be off loaded and will lie down at the pier area overnight.

On Sunday morning first light (8am) they will be loading the crane onto the extendable trailer at the parking place outside the post office. During this time diversions will be put in place: you will be asked to go down passed the Scarinish hotel if you are heading either West or East, but if you are going to the Co Op or live in the area you will still be able to go through.

Once the trailer is loaded it will then start its journey under police escort to the Ruaig site, around 11-11.30 approx. During this time traffic will be slow moving on the B8068 Scarinish to Gott & the B8069 Gott to Caoles, so if you are heading out to Church/work or anywhere else along this route please give yourself some extra time.

All the local emergency services and the doctor have been made aware of any potential delay.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Return to Kathmandu from Gordon Scott on Vimeo.

After trekking to Everest Base Camp (April 2009) we flew from Lukla back to Kathmandu to stay at our hotel for another couple of days. Here is a video of the bus journey from the local airport to the Hotel Shanker.

On the way we meet a Maoist protest march and get a look at the many different faces of this fascinating city.

There's a bit of chat at the start so please bear with me. Once the bus gets going it's quite good.

A few days later I was back on Tiree.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


About a month or so ago, perhaps a wee bit longer, we noticed references on Facebook to the new Royal Bank of Scotland ad campaign which featured the Scarinish branch on its posters. And here it is, courtesy of Margaret Ann MacLean, who uploaded a picture to her Facebook account and sent me a message to say it was there. We think the photograph was taken in Glasgow.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

CAN TIREE WIN ITS VERY OWN CINEMA? Ringside Theatre project through to People’s Millions finals! Voting starts 9 a.m. Nov 23rd

The People’s Millions competition is run by Big Lottery Fund and ITV to give money to communities for innovative projects.

The Ringside Theatre project was entered by TRD to win enough money to transform the auction ring into a comfortable warm properly equipped cinema.

We never expected it but we’re through to the finals for STV central region which extends from Perth down to Biggar on the east including Edinburgh and from Fort William to South Ayrshire including Glasgow on the west. Our project is one of 8 short-listed from this huge region!

The competition will take place the week 23 – 27 November with two projects featured each night on the ITV regional news. Nightly voting begins at 9 a.m for that day’s projects and closes at midnight. The two featured projects go head-to-head to win the public vote. Our project will be featured on Monday 23rd November - Put the date in your diary now!

If we win we’ll be able to install heating, insulation, blinds and proper theatre seats in the mart and adapt the ringside so that it’s removable to create a comfortable theatre with seating for 50 and Tiree will at last have a Cinema. We’ll even have a pop corn machine!

STV are coming to Tiree during the next few weeks to film our ‘pitch’ for the competition. We need as many people as possible to come along and get the public to vote for us by telling STV how having a Cinema on Tiree could change people’s lives.

If you would like to take part in the pitch please get in touch with one of the Cinema Steering Group – Alastair MacInnes, Clare Jones, Frances Woodhead, John Isaacson, Andy Phillips, Ewan MacKinnon, Jane Isaacson.

If you’d like to know what we’re up against, you can see this year’s projects HERE

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Two more comments on this lively debate, well worth copying from the 'comments' box.

I know it's great for camper vans to feel they want the isolation and to park where they want,they cannot do this on the mainland, and maybe they are wrong on it being illegal but I feel van owners must also realise that the Machair is used for the crofters animals and this is the crofters way of life. Vans on the mainland would not even consider using farm land to park their vans without asking so why do they do it on Tiree without asking? be a considerate camper and ask before you park overnight. Anonymous

I am totally in agreement with the [post of 27th October] and have been putting together a letter to send to TRD, but the post says it all really. My prospective is slightly different to the about in the fact that we are visitors to the island in our van and have been for a number of years. My suggestion for service points would be Crossapol, Cornaig and Scarinish. These are developed areas and the cost should be low. A daily tariff for staying on the island rather than individual sites would also work better. As the post above says we choose Tiree and the like, to be away from other people. This fee could be used to recoup the costs of providing and maintaining these facilities. I hope that we will be able to return to Tiree for many years to come. Tiree is my favourite as I have mobility problems,and the relatively flat terrain makes it my ideal holiday, I hope that 'abusers' will not spoil it for more responsible visitors. Good luck Gillian Samouelle


Here we see Co-op manager Andy Hayes proudly wearing a pink ... something ... to show his support for yesterday's 'Pink Day'. Rather fetching, Andy, but clashes a bit with the rest of your outfit!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Although we've had an incredible response to the article about Camper Vans (27th October) there has only been one substantial comment so far.

The comment was made anonymously so we won't reproduce it here but you can go back to the post and click on the comment link at the bottom.

Tiree Access Officer, Alison Spence, has been in touch with regard to the comments. Alison writes,

There was a suggestion that there had been a mistake in our interpretatin of the law with regards to driving off the road with regard to parking. The Road Traffic Act 1988(Section34) states- It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle without lawful authority on:
  • land of any description (not forming part of a road), or
a footpath or bridleway except in an emergency.
  • It is not an offence to drive a motor vehicle on land within 15 yards of a road for the purpose of parking the vehicle - although this does not confer any legal right to park the vehicle. Scottish Outdoor Access Code, p127
There is also reference to campervaners being "wild campers". In the Scottish Outdoor Access Code wild camping refers to tents, not motorised vehicles. p115

Under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code p6, sec 7, access rights do not extend to any form of motorised recreation or passage (except by people with a disability using a vehicle or vessel adapted for their use).

These are both common misconseptions of people visiting the island which will hopefully be addressed through future publications.
It is advisable for people to read the scottish outdoor access code which can be accessed at


The site statistics have been going through the roof for most of this week due to the article about Camper Van access. There have been almost 500 hits on the site since it went up and we were reluctant to make any further posts until we were sure everyone had seen it.

And so, moving on. This wonderful picture shows the The Isle of Lewis, the largest ship in the Caledonian MacBrayne fleet, passing the Queen Mary 2 in the Minch, on her way, we think, to Ullapool.

This certainly puts things in perspective, eh?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


A public meeting at An Talla on Tuesday 20th October was attended by 41 locals and visitors.

Tiree Access Steering Group put forward a proposal to the residents of Tiree on a way forward for providing sites for the increasing number of visiting campervans/motorhomes. The meeting was chaired by Cllr Mary Jean Devon with an introduction by John Bowler.

We know from Cal Mac that there was a 50% increase in Campervans/motorhomes in October '08 – May 09 on the previous year and a 154% increase in June/July 09 compared with the same period 08.

The key problem is the lack of facilities resulting in vehicles parking illegally off-road on unfenced ground causing erosion to the machair and dunes, most of which are designated under European law for their wildlife interest and we have a duty of care to look after these. Disposal of sewage also became an increasing problem in these areas.

The proposal being put forward is that a number of sites for up to 3 campervans/motorhomes will be set up on crofts and farms in time for next year. Provision will also be made for the disposal of sewage and grey water. The idea is for sites to be booked centrally and a reference number provided before a ferry ticket can be purchased.

Q: why is the increasing number of camper vans and motor-homes thought to be an issue?
We like to welcome our visitors and give them the best possible experience on Tiree. At present the only facility we have is the campsite which was full all summer. Damage to the grazing and environmentally designated sites has meant that campervans, vans etc are being asked to move on which is making visitors feel unwelcome – this situation needs to be addressed by providing appropriate facilities.
Q:Why does it matter where they park? Restrictions make people feel unwelcome.
A: We need to protect the environment. The Access Officer has had many conversations over the busy season, most people would like an authorised site where they are welcomed and would be happy to pay a small nightly fee. Feedback from visitors is that most are respectful of the fragility of the environment and support responsible parking.
Q: If there are authorised sites provided then why do they have to pre-book?
A: The Pre-booking system will allow numbers of vehicles coming to be limited to number of sites available.
Q: Many van users will sleep on designated sites but what about the daytime?
A: This comes under the broader issue of beach access which applies to all vehicles– the Access Group will continue to encourage responsible access and work at providing authorised access tracks and car parks.
Q. How many sites will there be?
A. There is strong interest from several crofters to provide sites. We would like to provide as many sites as vehicles requiring them. There is not thought to be a need at present to limit the number of sites.
Q: What happens if you're coming with a campervan to reside with family or friends?
A: You would be allocated a special reference number.
Q: Who will the money go to?
A: The person providing the site with a small percentage going to the run the booking system.
Q: What about panel vans? Why are campervans and motor-homes being singled out?
A: They will not be ignored. If they park in unauthorized areas they will be moved on to authorised sites
Q: What will be done if people continue to park in unauthorised areas after being asked to move?
A: It is an offence to drive off the public road unless using designated tracks and sites and if people refuse to move to authorised sites then the police would have to become involved.

Result of a show of hands were 26 in favour, 3 against, 6 abstentions. If you are on the electoral role and would like to take part in this community vote please complete one of the slips available locally and return to TRD, Tiree Rural Centre, Crossapol, Tiree PA77 6UP with your name and address on the reverse by Friday 30th Oct. Votes with no name & address will not be counted.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Norman MacLeod in Scotland on Sunday

A couple of weeks back I posted links concerning the publication of Norman MacLean's autobiography, The Leper's Bell. I didn't mention it at the time but the reason I'd become aware of the book's publication (as well as a BBC programme aired to coincide with it) was through a superb article published in Scotland on Sunday.

Checking out this article online I see that it was written by Peter Ross. I met Peter during the Tiree Wave Classic but at that time I didn't realise he had written it.

Peter also wrote the recent article about the TWC which also appeared in Scotland on Sunday.

Norman MacLean's father, Niall Mor, was a Tiree man. His father, Norman's grandfather, John MacLean, had a house on The Green, a stone's throw from where I am writing this.

Contrary to a popular belief we do get Sunday papers on Tiree. We get them on a Monday. So, in case you missed this great article, here's a extract and a link where you can read it in it's entirety online.

Once known as the Gaelic Billy Connolly, comedian and musician Norman Maclean destroyed his life and his career through drink. Now sober and living on Uist, he is taking the first steps to rebuilding both
UIST seen from the air is a fragmented group of islands, the peaty surface pocked and ploughed by antler-shaped lochans, pale pools, inlets and bays. It's as if God dropped a landmass from heaven on to the Hebridean Sea, where it shattered into hundreds of shards and froze forever. It is a suitable home, therefore, for the alcoholic comedian and polymath Norman Maclean, "the Gaelic Billy Connolly", as he is often described, whose own life and career have been blown apart by his need to drink, and who now, at 72, is left gazing over the rocky topography of his own past.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A well attended, lively and, at times, heated debate has overwhelmingly agreed to proceed with a proposal to limit the amount of motor homes and camper vans visiting the island to the number of designated spaces available. However, it was also decided that the island at large should be consulted and asked to vote. A postal vote will be carried out in due course. 

The meeting, which was very ably chaired by John Bowler, was held at An Talla.  A full report will appear here soon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Andy Groom, Events Manager with GMF, the company who run the annual Tiree Wave Classic, kindly answered a few questions for us at this year's event.

Tiree's 23rd Wave Classic. But how long have you been coming to Tiree?
Since the beginning, in 1985. My business partner, Joe Kelly and I, were running a windsurf shop in Glasgow. A friend of ours was out on Tiree filming and told us 'what an amazing place for windsurfing. We could out in 1985 for a 'reccy' and ran the 1st event in 1986.

How has the competition grown from those early days?
It has become bigger and more internationally recognised. It is also now one of the longest running windsurf events in the world.

You're events manager for GMF. That's a pretty big remit. What does it involve?
Taking any project from creation to completion or planning to production. GMFCo have produced events as diverse as 7 gigs in 10 hours around Scotland for Fame Academy, 12 live broadcasts for Bon Jovi in 12 cinemas across the UK and brand activation in festivals for drinks companies.

Tiree has been becalmed for most of the week. How do the competitors react?
They are used to it. They are a very patient lot. Windsurfing is about the search and waiting. It is one of the aspects that make it so special.

Is this the calmest you've ever known the weather to be during the Wave Classic?
No, occasionally we have had the stable high pressure before (or the 'Indian Summer). It's Scotland, it's changeable!

How does Tiree compare locations on the World Cup calendar?
Totally unique. Most other locations will have one beach and set up everything there. We have the luxury (and the logistical nightmare) of many beaches to choose from.

Was there enough competition this week to decide a winner?
Yes, we completed enough competition to see a winner in most fleets in the longest day of competition history

Turning to sponsorship. Have the Wave Classic suffered in the current economic downturn?
It has been difficult to secure funding. Event Scotland and Argyll and Bute Council were very to commit but HIE [Highlands and Islands Enterprise] were going through a financial reshuffle and could not commit until the 11th hour and that means other funding bodies have to hold off on their offer.

Is the future of the Tiree Wave Classic secure?
No, nothing is that secure. We would like to secure a three year deal so we can build from year to year rather than starting from scratch each year.

GMF has worked hard to involve the Tiree community in the Wave Classic. Are there plans to take this sort of thing further?
There are always plans to develop this. We hire An Talla as event HQ and invite everyone down to promote their business and get involved, especially as we make big efforts to invite the media and we want them to see what Tiree has to offer. Some businesses are very active, others are passive. We would be delighted if more people get involved but we can't force it.

Finally, Andy, a number of competitors at this year's Wave Classic are placed very high in the rankings of the World Series - for instance, Dany Bruch and John Skye. Do you think Tiree can continue to attract such top names?
Yes, if we can keep the level of the event (ie., prize purse and the, public relations support and TV Coverage.

Andy Groom was talking to Gordon Scott.

Singer teaches Gaelic through Twitter

Singer teaches Gaelic through Twitter

Posted using ShareThis


OCTOBER is when the corncrakes leave Tiree for Africa, timid guests creeping away from a party, but this is also the month when the Hebridean island welcomes visitors of more exotic plumage – redwings, lapwings, honking Whooper swans, yapping barnacle geese ... and windsurfers.

Since 1986, Tiree has hosted the Wave Classic, a week-long competition that attracts many of the world's best windsurfers, or "sailors", as they call themselves. This year more than 70 of them, mostly men, some accompanied by girlfriends known as shore wives", have flocked to the sands.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Tiree Wave Classic 09 from finn noer on Vimeo.

A really nicely produced video from Finn, part of a bigger feature to be broadcast on Sky next month.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Here are some sensational images from Wednesday's Coll Adventure Challenge, captured by ace photographer John Carter. Click on each photograph to see the larger version.

Friday, October 16, 2009


In endurance sports, they say that if you're not living on the edge then you're taking up too much room.

The annual invasion of the tiny Hebridean island of Tiree by windsurfers from all over the world (including many top-ranking professionals) brings with it some of the most focussed, single-minded athletes you could ever wish to meet. But even though these surfers (or should it be sailors?) come to compete against each other they do it in a spirit of camaraderie and community.

They also like a bit of fun. Which is as well because after the first day of the Tiree Wave Classic, sanctioned as a World Cup event since 2007, the Isle of Tiree decided not to live up to its reputation as one of the windiest places in the country.

For most of the week the little island, 14 miles long, 6 miles wide, was well and truly becalmed. Nice if you live here. Nice if you've come on holiday with the family. Not so nice if you've travelled, say, thousands of miles to get to the Tiree Wave Classic only to find there is not so much as a breeze and very little in the way of waves.

Timo Mullen (Ireland) effectively won the Wave Classic on day one of the competition.

But these bare facts don't paint the whole picture. The Tiree Wave Classic is so much more than a competition. Many ancillary events play an important part in making this 23-year-old competition a hit with islanders and competitors alike.

For instance, the Tiree Team 15 Junior Racing Event, held at Loch Bhasapol, was a great success at Loch Bhasapol. 17 rounds of racing were completed with the junior racers prior to finally announcing the winners of the event.

William Angus MacLean, of Wild Diamond Windsurfing, said 'Overall the day turned out to be a great success, even with the light winds that we had over the course of the day. This is an event which we hope to grow for next year to involve more young windsurfers in racing and give them the opportunity to interact with the top stars in the sport.'

The highly anticipated Coll Adventure Challenge had to be 'tweaked' in view of the lack of wind. However the brave souls who took part were enthusiastic and the large crowd of spectators did their utmost to cheer them on.

After a 6k run on the beach the competitors raced paddle boards in Gott Bay (instead of windsurfing to Coll). After the paddle board heats were over everyone piled into a Rigid Inflatable Boat to be ferried to Coll for the mountain bike stage.

This was the second year in which this very special triathlon has featured at the Wave Classic and hopefully it is now a permanent feature. George Shilitto won the C.A.C. in spite of falling off his bike while going round the half-marathon course on Coll.

A host of peripheral events and activities ensured no-one would be stuck for anything to do. This included a community drinks reception in which the public were extended a warm welcome to come along and find out more about the Tiree Wave Classic.

In addition, the Tiree Lodge Hotel ensured there was something different on every night including two full-to-capacity gigs by local bands Trail West and The Defenders. And this is where the bit about 'surfers liking fun' comes in. There's no doubt about it: if you want to be in the middle of a great party you had to be at The Tiree Lodge Hotel in the evening during the Classic!

And whether you approve or not there's no denying the fact that the photo-shoot at Gott Bay of three naked windsurfers certainly got the island into the news. There's something about the combination of the words 'nude' and 'windsurfer' which causes internet search engines to go into overdrive. My own blog - Isle of Tiree Diary - hundreds of hits within hours of my featuring a link to a internet report on the subject.

And so, the Tiree Wave Classic is over for another year. Undeterred by the unseasonably good weather here's hoping these good natured, dedicated sailors - or is that surfers? - will come back next year. We're looking forward to it already. And some wind to go with it, hopefully!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Coll Adventure Challenge, October 15th 2009 (Tiree Wave Classic) from Gordon Scott on Vimeo.

Here's a completely uncut, unedited record of what happened on the Isle of Tiree this morning. The first event, the run on Gott Beach, was won by Tiree's Will Wright. Once again wind was non-existent so instead of windsurfing over to the Isle of Coll the competitors paddle-boarded out to a buoy in Gott Bay. In that sequence you will see two semi-finals, the loser's final and the winner's final. After this, the competitors were ferried by RIB to the Isle of Coll for the mountain bike stage.


Three hardy souls took to the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean off a beach in Scotland this morning - completely naked.

The nudesurfing was just a bit of fun - in spite of all appearances suggesting that it was absolutely sodding freezing - at Balevullin on the Isle of Tiree, in the Inner Hebrides, during the Tiree Wave Classic windsurfing competition. CLICK HERE FOR MORE (and for pictures!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


What do the Tiree Wind Surfers do during the Wave Classic when there's no wind? They take their clothes off, apparently! CLICK HERE


The Coll Challenge Adventure race from Tiree to Coll takes place tomorrow, Thursday 15th October 2009.

ISLE OF TIREE: The running leg will be held either at Gott or Crossapol Bay. The beach run is approximately 2/3 of a mile long.

ISLE OF TIREE TO THE ISLE OF COLL:The windsurf leg (weather dependent) is a long distance slalom in cruise/sprint/cruise/sprint format, 2 to 4 hours on the water.

ISLE OF COLL: The mountain bike leg is a half marathon distance. Course includes road, track and sand dunes.

Prize giving and BBQ at the Coll Hotel 4 - 5pm.

Even if you aren't competing turn out to witness these great athletes in action. It should be quite an event! 

Last year's race was won by Tiree's Will Wright. Can he do it again this year?


You will have read in An Tirisdeach that Tiree Rural Development hope to be on the short list for the Big Lottery Fund 'Peoples Millions' competition for an award to do up the mart ring into a comfortable, warm cinema space.


At the moment TRD is sending evidence of community support to the Big Lottery Fund to help our case – in November we will be asking for votes.


What TRD need to demonstrate is that our existing cinema set-up is really too uncomfortable and cold to work properly on a regular basis and that this is a community that  would use the cinema if it was up-graded and how this would benefit the residents of Tiree.


TRD is looking for people who attended the showing of Mama Mia last Christmas holidays. If you or anyone you know was at the event it would be appreciated if you could find a few minutes to send a couple of paragraphs describing the evening and perhaps your thoughts on the idea of up-grading the space with new seating, lighting, heating, draft exclusion, blinds (and a pop-corn machine).


Projects which really help communities to bring people together, improve lifestyles and provide facilities which are not already available are likely to win this competition.


Last night, in the age-old tradition of pub-rock, Tiree's The Defenders rocked the Lodge Hotel to it's very foundations. There was something for everyone, surfer and non-surfer alike: sixties rock, punk, blues and contemporary chart hits. An inspired second set found the band giving their all, playing with an intensity and enthusiasm that probably surprised many of the Wave Classic visitors to the island.

And while we're on the subject of enthusiasm, how the audience reacted! They sang, they danced, they cheered and they body surfed! And, when the band finished, they weren't all that keen to let them go. Eventually, however, everyone went home, satisfied that this free gig had delivered ten times over.

This was yet another success for the management of the Hotel who have arranged a week-long series of events to coincide with this year's Tiree Wave Classic.

(Did you get any photographs or video from last night's gig? We'd love to see them. gdwscott @

COMMUNITY DRINKS RECEPTION: The Tiree Wave Classic team would like to invite all members of the Tiree community to come to a special community drinks reception that is being organised at the Tiree Lodge Hotel for Wednesday the 14th, 6 - 7pm.

This will be an informal evening and will give the community of Tiree a chance to come along and meet GMFCo, the event organisers, and everyone else involved in the Tiree Wave Classic.

COLL CHALLENGE: The endurance race takes place tomorrow. More later.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VIDEO: Oban High School Pipe Band

Another day of very little competition in the Wave Classic. So here's another video featuring traditional Scottish Music. This time, it's Oban High School Pipe Band playing at a ceilidh in November 2008.


Tiree's one and only authentic rock band, The Defenders, will be playing two sets tonight in the bar at the Lodge Hotel. This rare appearance by the band promises to have the place jumping. Come early as space is bound to be at a premium? Be prepared to have a good time!

Monday, October 12, 2009


All quiet on the Wave Classic front today so here's a fairly recent video of Skerryvore performing 'Caledonia' at the Arranmore, Glasgow.


Yesterday's competition was the longest in event history according to Head Judge of the World Tour, Duncan Coombes, who is also judging at this year's Tiree Wave Classic.

The windsurfers started at 7.45am and were out until after 6pm in fantastic conditions down at Balephuil beach.

Competition is on hold today due to lack of wind but looking to be up and running again tomorrow.

Source: Event Press Release, with thanks.


CLICK HERE for a great video report from Boardseeker Magazine.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Day one of the Tiree Wave Classic kicked off yesterday at Balephuil beach.  Conditions were not the best but there was enough wind and waves to start the Amateurs, Masters and the Ladies.

In the Masters, Dave Gayda, Keith Shorrocks, Mark Seaney and Jacobi got through to the last 8 before the wind died off.  The Amateurs went through more rounds to get to the last 4 - current UKWA/BWA leader, Dave Horrocks joined Lecky Gayda, Roger Hollies and David Bichan.

Unfortunately, the ladies didn't get their turn as Head Judge, Duncan Coombes, called the competition to a close just after 6pm.

Today's action kicked off at 7.45am at Balephuil beach with winds of up to 20 mph. Latest news just in from Balephuil beach for the Pro windsurfers, Round 1.

Results are as follows:

1: Timo Mullen (Ireland)
2: John Skye - (England) - John Skye is also currently lying in 5th spot in the World Series
3: Dany Bruch (Denmark)
4: Jack Hunt (England)

Thanks to GMFCo for this press release.

Tomorrow IOTD we will be on site, with a report and videos.


Hi Gordon.
Just wondered if you could put a message on your blog. On a trip to tiree I lost my wedding ring on Balevullin beach on 29th aug 09 . it was lost midway on beach in shallow water. I had been in the water and was standing shin deep on the way out when a wave came over my shoulder and took the ring off my finger. It was the only time I forgot to take my ring off before going in the water and I have regretted it ever since.I realise the chances of finding it are very slim and it is probably destined to stay in tiree forever but I would like to leave a contact number and email just in case. 

Jane Savin                Mobile 0781 636 1295          
18 Sandon rd

Thankyou, Jane Savin.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Alison Spence, Tiree's Access and Conservation Officer, very patiently explained it to me again.

"It's a voluntary parking permit. We are asking everyone who accesses the beaches to make a minimum voluntary contribution of £10 per year to help us maintain and improve the current parking and access points."

At first it struck me as a bit strange to be paying for something which I can have for free. Everyday I go to one or other of the splendid beaches on Tiree with my dog, Hector. From time immemorial it has been the right of anyone to access the white sands of this island.  So what's the problem?

"Tiree's popularity is increasing yearly," Alison told me.  "The demand for parking and access to the beaches is beginning to take its toll on the fragile habitat."

Tiree Rural Development are hoping to develop and implement a long term, sustainable solution to the lack of parking areas, access and facilities on the island.

To help achieve this they are asking everyone accessing the beaches to make a minimum voluntary contribution of £10 per year to further improve parking and access points, develop sustainable and appropriate access island-wide and to improve facilities, interpretation and signage.

I reflected on my own activity at the beach with Hector. Sure, some of the beaches can be accessed directly from the road. Most of the beaches we visit, however, are a bit off the beaten track, involving me driving my 4 X 4 on to the machair and through the dunes. 

It wasn't long before Alison had me parting with the two tatty fivers I had been holding on to for long and weary.

And what did I get in return? A windscreen sticker which says I am part of the scheme. That and the knowledge that I'm doing something positive to heal and maintain the health of the island's fragile ecology.  I would recommend anyone on Tiree - locals and visitors alike - to do likewise. 


The Tiree Wave Classic windsurfing spectacular is due to take to the waves off one of the sunshine island's glorious beaches this Saturday (10th October).

The invasion of the island is like the annual arrival at Loch Leven of the migrating pink-footed geese from Iceland. Hordes of fit, black-clad bodies with brightly coloured wings lift, skim and dive over the water before coming to land for the night. Photographers hang about to catch the species in flight and the best shots become classics.

But Tiree has its own resident variation of the species - a small community of windsurfers and kitesurfers including the 2008 British Women's Kitesurfing Champion, Helen Thompson and the subject of this feature: Wild Diamond.

Is Wild Diamond a business? Is it a man? It's both. It's William Angus Maclean, born and bred in the place he loves. And it's his successful business on the island.


Friday, October 09, 2009

VIDEO: Reporting Scotland, 9th October 2009 Tiree Wave Classic

Missed tonight's broadcast on Reporting Scotland? Here's my 'bootleg' of the short report, recorded with my little Canon camera. If you make allowances for that, the quality isn't too bad.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


The BBC have been on Tiree this week filming a piece which is to be featured on tomorrow night's Reporting Scotland. We gather the main thrust of the programme will be the economic benefits brought to the island by the Wave Classic. The show goes out Friday 9th October at 6:30pm on BBC1.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


The Tiree Wave Classic is almost upon us again. Here's a few helpful hints about driving on Tiree.


Tiree's Fire and Ambulance volunteers will attend their stations in their own cars promptly in the event of a call out. The main difficulty they face is drivers in front failing to notice them behind or, even worse, knowing they are behind and failing to pull in at a safe place. All volunteers attending an emergency switch on their headlights and hazard lights and may also sound their horn to alert drivers.

The Highway Code (code 133) requires this of ANY driver, on a single track road, in front of someone wishing to pass, so it is even more pertinent when the vehicle behind is attending an emergency with all lights flashing.

There is also an offence of careless and inconsiderate driving (Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 3) which carries endorsements, fines and penalty points.


Everyone on Tiree is pleased to welcome visitors to our island and we want you to have a leisurely, relaxed time when you are here. No-one minds if you want to drive at 20mph on a single-track road, viewing the sights - as long as you let those behind you pass. Remember, the locals are going about their business as usual and may understandably become frustrated if you are holding them back.

Please park considerately. Today I witnessed a van and a trailer parked on the 'wrong' side of the road facing towards oncoming traffic) on the blind corner at the Co-Op in Scarinish. That's just asking for trouble - and a potentially serious accident.

Avoid using Passing Places as lay-bys. These 'pockets' serve a very important purpose, the smooth flow of traffic on single-track roads.

Have a great time during your visit to Tiree!