Monday, August 31, 2009


Here's a curiosity - the Tiree Love Song played on handbells. To be honest, we had no idea there was a handbell group anywhere in Scotland. What's more, the Dunblane group are actually very good. So enjoy this well-liked tune, performed as you've never heard it before.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Joanne and I are away in the morning, driving down to Ware in Hertfordshire for the wedding of our niece.  Updates will continue this week, hopefully from whatever Wi-Fi hotspots I can find.  Among other things we have video from the Skipinnish Ceilidh House, a video insight into how rough weather can disrupt life on Tiree and Coll, we get to hear the most unusual version of the Tiree Love Song you are ever likely to hear and we also pose the question: what kind of a mad-man would want to go for swim, follow that up with a 50km race on the bike and then run up and down Ben Nevis?  And is it true that he is from Tiree and that IOTD are hoping to make a movie of the all this craziness?  See you tomorrow.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Music From The Man Shed #1

Hello folks. This is me, Gordon, on the ISLE OF TIREE, giving you a taste of the music I love to sing. This time around it's Robbie Williams' 'Angels'. If, at the end of the film, you think you hear static or dead air it's not. It's the wind and rain lashing the Man Shed when I was doing this!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Adam Ingram is spending a couple of days this week out in the Atlantic on the sunshine island of Tiree.

Minister for Children and Early Years, he will have the chance to experience Tiree's approach to teaching and learning.

The question is, with two days available, will the Tirisdeachs take the Minister to the beach and give him a whirl on the ocean? READ MORE


Young people in Glasgow and the west of Scotland have been discussing their fears about climate change and how rising sea levels will affect their local area.

Pupils at schools in Prestwick, Glasgow and Tiree have taken part in a workshop run by Atlantic Rising, an education project raising awareness about the consequences of sea level rise for low-lying communities around the Atlantic.  READ MORE

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


With their bright orange bills and comical faces, puffins are a firm favourite with wildlife lovers everywhere.

So, the first record of a breeding pair on the island of Tiree is a cause for celebration, and could mean that things are looking optimistic for Argyll puffins in 2009.

Puffins are summer visitors to the UK's coasts, nesting in abandoned rabbit burrows or crevices rather than on the actual cliff face itself like many other sea birds. They feed on fish, particularly sand eels, which they catch mostly through shallow surface diving and pursuit swimming underwater.

Small numbers of the birds have been seen before on Tiree at the Ceann a' Mhara cliffs, but this June was the first time a pair were seen showing nesting behaviour before being spotted with a juvenile.

John Bowler is the RSPB Scotland Officer on Tiree and monitors the site, counting the sea birds regularly throughout the season. He said: 'It was absolutely fantastic to see a pair of puffins actually attempting to nest at the cliffs, and then seeing this juvenile on the sea down below is a pretty definite sign that they've been successful.

'It's only one pair, so it's a bit premature to break out the bubbly and say that puffins are having a good year, but even a small success for a bird that is such a localized breeder is definitely important.'

Puffins are listed as an amber species, meaning that they're of an unfavourable conservation status in Europe. In the UK, our puffin populations tend to be localized, and their nesting habits also mean that the birds are vulnerable to predation by rats and mice.

Their population may also have been adversely affected by a lack of sand eels, which is thought to be responsible for the wide-ranging breeding failures among sea birds in recent years.

Source: RSPB Website

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coll Half Marathon, 10k and 5k.

On Saturday 22nd August, Will Wright, Joe Kavangh, Michael Holliday and Gordon Scott went across to the Isle of Coll to take part in the race day. Here's a short video of how we got on.

VIDEO: Tiree band Trail West on the Isle of Coll: Half Marathon Ceilidh

Sunday, August 23, 2009



Many thanks to Tiree Regatta Club for providing this detailed report of this month's Regatta and the photograph.

Fri 31st July it blew up to 40 k from the south, and the forecast for Saturday's Regatta, did not look good. Sat morning was grey, wet and windy with no improvement in the forecast till late afternoon. Postponement was inevitable, but till when ???. The 10 day forecast indicated the following Sat to have glorious conditions. Decision made. Regatta postponed a week to Sat 8th. Mid week the forecast indicated a continuum of Tiree's BBQ summer, the one that England was promised, but hasn't had.

Sat 8th Aug Reality ??? … grey, wet and windy. However with an improving forecast for mid-day the Regatta was ON. Reality ?? At 2pm ,with the boats leaving for the start line, the sky darkened, and the rain came down. Irrespective, with winds gusting 22-25 K, the fleet crossed the start line….
..Racing was ON.

This year TRC had adopted the Old Gaffers Association Handicap System. This meant TRC could unify the fleets, and race all the boats against one another ,in the same race. Classic Tiree Dipping Lugs were competing with modern boats, including a catamaran!!!
The sea conditions were unkind. The brisk southerly had kicked up a big chop. In one of the gusts, Catadh Mara crested a wave, momentarily 'took- off" to land in the trough taking water in over the gunwhale. The lugs battled it out, exchanging typical Tiree pleasantries, as they keenly contested the marks. Similarly the Drascombes were in close contest.

And who won??..…a Tiree Dipping Lug, Catadh Mara, with Angus MacLean at the helm and Duncan MacLean as crew.

The shore events started with the pillow fight which proved to be a slug-fest in the rain. However the rain passed through, the weather showed some improvement, and the shore events continued with a record entry Raft Race. The Airport Crew brought a hi-tech raft which was in stark contrast to the more traditional rafts which included a floating bedstead complete with fluffy head board. Inevitably there was some equipment failure, assisted by some very aggressive sabotage. The winning crew at one stage, abandoned their raft to attack, and de-power the Airport crew by dragging their power-rower, Andy Philips, into the water. Mission accomplished, they re-manned their own raft, to finish just ahead of the Airport Crew, who had fired up a 9 hp outboard, which they had somehow smuggled onto to their raft!!

As the raft race finished, the racing fleet, lead in by the victorious Catadh Mara returned to harbour, to the start of the swimming race. In a running start, 26 bodies of all ages hurtled into the water, and in a flurry of spray swam the 50 m to the turn. This proved somewhat illusory, as the mark was a crewed kayak which constantly moved station. Some very tired swimmers returned, collapsing exhausted on the finish line… 100 m had stretched to 150m!!

The regatta concluded with the traditional fishing Boat Race. Willy Grafton's Silver Spray, fully dressed, looked stunning.

The prizes were presented by Wendy Jupe outside, a by now heaving pub. The wind had died off, the sun had come out. Sailors, spectators, and Scarinish harbour, basked in an aura of calm contentment.

Thanks to all our helpers, teas and exotic cake providers, also thanks to all participants.

TRC thanks its sponsors and supporters :- Tiree Services, Agrimarine, Andy Cameron, Ross MacLennen, Macleod Builders, Argyll Estates , Tiree Kayaks, David Kerr, Mackinnon Builders, Bernie Smith, Skipinnish Sea Tours, PaperWorks, Nan Maclean, and the CO-OP.

TRC looks forward to seeing you all @ Regatta 2010

Tiree Regatta Raft Race Part 2

Friday, August 21, 2009


Cops and airline chiefs have launched an investigation after two CURRIES were stolen from baggage in a plane's hold.

The spicy dishes belonged to two passengers who bought them in Glasgow to take home to Tiree in the Hebrides - where there are no Indian eateries.  READ MORE.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


This is a reasonable quality phone-cam recording of the band playing at the Scarinish Hotel, Tiree. Good fun and a great insight into the band unwinding.


Tiree is very busy this summer and it is essential visitors to the island who bring their vehicles of bicycles are familiar with the protocol for driving on Single-Track roads. Failure to follow the following simple rules may result in frustration on the part of other road users or, worse, an accident.

So, when driving or cycling on single-track roads please remember:

  • Passing places are marked with black and white poles, or
  • passing-place signs, and must be used to permit oncoming traffic
    to proceed and to allow following traffic to overtake
  • Never park in passing places. They are not viewpoints
  • Always stay on the left-hand side of the road when using passing places
  • If the passing place is on your right-hand side, wait opposite (on the left) and allow traffic to pass
  • No-one minds how slowly drivers travel along our roads, so long as they pull in to allow following vehicles to pass. Remember, the car behind could be a doctor in a hurry, or other emergency services. A vehicle attending an emergency call, will have its hazards flashing and headlights on so please let it pass at the first safe opportunity
  • Use sidelights at night when stopped in passing place
  • There is no vehicular right of access across croft land or common grazing
With thanks to

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Former Guides from Keighley who took part in annual summer camps to the Hebrides are being sought for a reunion.

The fortnight-long 4th Keighley Guide company camps were held between 1957 and 1981, with hundreds of girls making the trip and many returning several times.

Eighteen former Guides enjoyed a millennium reunion on the Isle of Tiree and a larger group went to the Isle of Harris in 2005.

Now another get-together is planned — on Tiree – for next June, to celebrate the Guide movement's centenary.

More than 30 former members have already expressed an interest in attending.

Jean Brown – who was skipper of the Guide company and led the camps with Margaret Brown and Hazel Belsey – said: "It will be a magical journey down memory lane, not to be missed.

"It is essential that we leave no one who would love to join us behind.

"We are asking everyone to contact others, wherever they may be, and try to come to our preliminary meeting."

The meeting is being held at Currer Laithe Farm, Thwaites Brow, next Thursday, at 7pm.

Further information can be obtained from Jean on 01535 604387.

Monday, August 17, 2009


GMFCo and EventScotland are proud to announce that the UK's premier windsurfing competition, The Tiree Wave Classic (TWC), will return to Tiree from 10 – 16 October. The TWC was set up in 1986 and, due to its long-standing success, was upgraded to World Cup level in 2007.  The event has dedicated worldwide TV coverage and attracts hundreds of visitors to the island each year, making the TWC the island's biggest annual economic driver.

At the 6-day event, extreme adrenaline fuelled action is guaranteed as some of the world's best windsurfers come together to brave the full Atlantic furies of wind and waves off this remote and exposed island to compete in freestyle, wave jumping and supercross.

Tiree is the most westerly island of the Inner Hebrides and the event has helped boost tourism throughout the west of Scotland enormously. The Isle enjoys a mild climate and claims the most sunshine hours in the British Isles, as well as the highest average wind speed. Exposed to powerful North Atlantic swell, extreme winds and breathtaking white sandy beaches, Tiree will offer the mobile event a vast range of conditions to determine a worthy winner.  Tourism Minister, Jim Mather, commented, "The Tiree Wave Classic not only showcases the beauty and raw power of our west coast waters but it also draws in people from all over world and shows Scotland in a exciting new light.  I wish it and its competitors well."

This year will witness the 23rd anniversary of the competition and Glasgow-based marketing and events agency, GMFCo, will be entirely responsible for the sponsorship, promotion, marketing, TV production and PR of the 6-day event. With EventScotland and other funders now on board, everyone involved is hoping that the TWC will regain the World Cup status for their 25th silver anniversary in 2011.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, said, "EventScotland has invested in the Tiree Wave Classic since 2003 and has supported the event during a period of growth, both in size and in popularity.  The Tiree Wave Classic is now widely considered one of the best and most challenging UK sporting events and it continues to attract spectators and participants from around the world, as well as generating sensational footage for broadcast across the globe. EventScotland is confident that the competition will continue to attract world class windsurfers, enthusiastic crowds and the world's media as we prepare for another action packed event."

Tiree Community Wind Turbine

Ground works at the site began on Monday 10th August.  Contractors are working on the site between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

There will likely be an increase of traffic on the road (mainly the B8069) for the next 6 to 8 weeks and the Directors of Tiree Renewable Energy have apologised in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

The building site is subject to the Construction (Design and Management Regulations 2007 (CDM Regs) and to comply with Health and Safety Regulations only authorised persons will be permitted to access the site.  

If you have any enquiries pleased phone 01879 220074 or call at the Trust office and speak with Liz.

MV Clansman - evening arrival in Oban

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Depopulation and Ageing Communities Remainn A Serious Issue for Islands

Scotland's island communities face growing challenges maintaining their populations as they prepare to celebrate life in the isles.

The Convention of Highlands and Islands, which involves the Scottish Government, agreed last year to make 2011 Islands Year of Culture.

Islanders told the BBC Scotland news website depopulation and ageing communities remained a serious issue.  READ MORE.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tiree Trio Run on Mull

On Sunday 9th of August, Will Wright, Joe Kavanagh and Gordon Scott took part in the 21st Mull Half Marathon and 10k Road Race.  Will and Gordon ran the half marathon while Joe took participated in the 10k.  All of the boys scored 'personal bests' for their distances.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Book Aims to Highlight City Children Fostered on Islands Throughout the West

I reproduce here an article that appeared in a recent edition of the Oban Times.  Gordon Bucher, who is writing a book about fostered-out children on the islands (and who, himself, was one such child), is anxious to hear from anyone who can help him in his researches.  To jog the memories of anyone on Tiree who may remember Gordon we are reproducing two further photographs from his stay on the island in the 1960's.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Tiree Regatta/Ian Sharp Sets Up News Agency on Tiree/No Further Posts Until Tuesday

Tiree Regatta will be held on Saturday 8th August. Please refer back to the schedule which appeared on the site on July 31st for further details.

Ian Sharp Sets Up News Agency On Tiree  A former partner of a court reporting agency is seeking to combine 'the best of both worlds', by setting up a press agency on the island of Tiree, off the west coast of Scotland - population: 800.

Ian Sharp was - with former Daily Record chief crime correspondent, Arnot McWhinnie - a partner in the Glasgow Court Agency, following spells at the Daily Express (as a reporter) and The Herald (firstly as a reporter, later as night news editor).

But five years ago, after ten years at the GCA, he was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer, though the liver diagnosis was subsequently proved to be unfounded. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he had a lung removed 18 months ago.

Sharp has had a holiday home on the island for 25 years, but is now living there permanently. "It's the best of both worlds," he said of his new business. "I expect to be sourcing quite a few stories per month".

He can be contacted on 01897 220 384 and 077510 98546.

There will be no further posts until Tuesday as I am on Mull running in Sunday's Half Marathon - Gordon

Friday, August 07, 2009

Video: Tiree Wave Classic 2008 Tiree to Coll Adventure Race

Here's a video of the inaugural Tiree to Coll Adventure Race from last year's Wave Classic. The event, which involves running, wind surfing and cycling, was won by Will Wright of Tiree. This is a unique race and we can't wait to see how it turns out this year!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tiree Renewable Energy AGM 2009 Chairman's report

I have been trying over the last few days to distil my thoughts about the sort of year we have had as members of TREL. It feels like we have spent much of our energy averting potential disasters and the fact that we have succeeded in doing so and that we still have a viable project at the end of such a challenging and stressful year is a minor miracle in itself. It is also down to the tenacity, strength of spirit and sheer bloody-minded determination of the members of this committee and the strong support of our lenders and lawyers.

We have had to deal with the international banking crisis and global economic meltdown and this has affected the project in a number of ways. The financial cost of the project has risen as a result of a rise in the price of materials and the weakness of sterling against the Euro and the US dollar. At the same time the constraints applied by the banks have tightened considerably and lenders are understandably much more nervous about how much they are prepared to lend and to whom. Given these constraints, the Co-op bank have been enormously supportive and the fact that they still believe in the turbine in the context of the banking crisis underlines the strength and viability of the project as a whole.

We have also had to deal with a lack of structure and technical guidance from the agencies with whom we have been dealing. This is in part due to their lack of knowledge about community projects of this type and scale and it is hoped that a more coherent framework can be developed as a result of our experiences and that this can be used to help future projects in other communities.

Much of the first half of the year was spent negotiating and finalising the huge number of legal documents generated by the lenders, the funders, Argyll Estates, the electrical company, the turbine supplier and the insurance companies. In all there were more than 60 documents that had to be agreed and checked and approved by our lawyers before they could be signed by TREL and the Trust.

Despite these problems we confirmed our grid connection offer in January and in March the Land Court signed off on the resumption of the land in Ruaig. The large pile of legal documents was signed over the end of March and the start of April. This effectively kick-started the process of buying and erecting the turbine and set in motion the drawing down of funds from BIG and the loan from the Co-op bank.

The project as it now stands will cost £1.93M with £1.22M coming from the Co-op bank and £712K from BIG. With this money we intend to erect a 900kW Enercon E44 wind turbine in Ruaig. Delivery is scheduled for October this year with initial site works due to start in early July.

As I have said many times before, the turbine project has been a long, hard slog with many thousands of voluntary hours put in by the members of the TREL board and particular mention has to go to Ann Kirby, Ian Tainsh and Steve Thomson whose tireless energy and steely determination have carried this project forward from the outset. I would also like to mention Mark Ewing and Douglas Collingham of the law firm T C Young for their dedication and expertise in steering us through the legal quagmire and the team at the Co-op bank who have bent over backwards to make this happen.

I hope that by next years AGM the turbine we have talked about for so long will finally be turning and earning some money for Tiree.

Learn more about the work of Tiree Renewable Energy Limited - CLICK HERE

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

'The Scotsman' reports 'Campervans Ahoy - but Islanders Shun Invasion

CUT-price ferry fares are fuelling an influx of campervans to the Western Isles, causing congestion and pollution, residents have claimed.
The concerns came as figures showed a pilot Scottish Government discount scheme had led to twice as many campervans and nearly 25 per cent more cars being carried to the Outer Hebrides as last year.

The trial "route equivalent tariff" (RET) scheme has reduced ticket prices by some 40 per cent, with many campervans paying the same as cars. It cuts fares to the cost of travelling the same distance by road, and runs on the Western Isles and Coll/Tiree routes from last October until 2011.  READ MORE.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Video: Mary Ann Kennedy and James Graham from 'The Highland Sessions'

Following on from yesterday's biography of Mary Ann Kennedy (whose Father came from Tiree) here is a video of her performing on 'The Highland Sessions' television programme.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mary Ann Kennedy

From the moment she was born Mary Ann Kennedy was destined for a life in music.


"Music is my earliest memory," she says. "I remember lying in bed at the family home in Glasgow listening to my mum, her sister and brother all singing together in the front room.


"For me, singing has always been part of my life."


Born and brought up in a Gaelic-speaking household in Glasgow, Mary Ann is the daughter of island parents – her father was from Tiree and her mother, renowned Gaelic singer Kenna Campbell, hails from Skye.


The ease with which she communicates on stage and on air stem from years of experience, from performing the traditional music of her upbringing, to the rigorous training of a classical musician, to the several years that she grafted in a BBC newsroom.


She studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow and continued postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where she majored on concert harp, while researching Gaelic mouth music – a unique combination.


She moved to the Highlands capital, Inverness, in 1993, where several years followed living the double life of a musician and news presenter.


Ultimately, she was responsible for the BBC's entire Gaelic radio news output, but sleep deprivation and her true passions eventually took over and she returned to the life of a freelance musician and broadcaster.


She has never looked back. Mary Ann is one of a handful of singers to win both Gold Medals at the Royal National Mod – Gaeldom's premier cultural festival - and has also twice won the International Celtic Harp competition in Lorient, Brittany.


She also received a Saltire Award for Lasair Dhé, a musical collaboration between her award-winning band, Cliar, and Gaelic choral music, originally commissioned as the finale of the 1999 Highland Festival, and which went on to wider success.


Her work today covers radio, television, live performance and studio production, the latter often as a team with husband, Nick Turner, at their broadcast and recording studios, Watercolour Music, based in Ardgour in the West Highlands.


Their most recent success was the 2005 Scots Trad Music Media Award for the BBC Scotland TV series on Gaelic song, Aig Cridhe ar Ciùil (At the Heart of our Music is Song), for which they produced the soundtrack.


Mary Ann sees her broadcasting career as something of a catalyst for other music and musicians to reach new audiences.


This includes presenting the Sony-nominated BBC Radio Scotland show Celtic Connections, where much of the show's success stems from her passion as a musician.


"I'm discovering new stuff that's really exciting all the time, and I'm able to be passionate about what I'm playing," she says.


"On Celtic Connections we play everything - from the most hardcore of Scottish seann-nòs song to Puerto Rican reggaeton to brassy Balkan club grooves.


"The enthusiasm I have is that of a musician responding to other musicians' work." Mary Ann broadcasts her radio programmes from the Watercolour Music studios in Ardgour, thanks to the miracles of digital technology. "It feels like the edge of the world and the centre of the universe," she says.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Video: More Roads of Tiree

Here's a video we made back in September of 2007 showing the journey from Scarinish to Cornaigmore via Crossapol and Kenovay.

We'll be making more of these 'road' videos soon so we thought now might be the time to show this one again.

Music by DJ Steveboy.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Concern over Tiree relief policing reaches national press

FROM THE SUN NEWSPAPER: AN ISLAND packed with tourists was left without any police - after its only resident cop went on his hols.  

Kevin Harrison took a fortnight's annual leave from Tiree, Hebrides, last month but no replacement was sent.  READ MORE.