Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Rounding off our celebration of the release of Norman MacLean's book THE LEPER'S BELL here is an intimate, informal and short video of Norman amongst friends.

Note: you may get a message that 'embedding has been disabled'. Simply click on the link that is then provided in the viewing screen to watch the video in YouTube.

A link to purchase Norman's book is on the right.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Following on from Sunday's feature, we thought you'd like to know that Norman MacLean's autobiography The Leper's Bell is now available through Amazon.

As many of you know the father of this renowned comedian, singer, piper and intellectual was born on Tiree.

Click on the link above and remember that if you purchase The Leper's Bell directly from Amazon (as opposed to buying it 'used or new') it will be sent to you post-free in the UK as long as you select the free delivery option at the 'check-out'.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

BBC iPlayer: Tormod

'Tormod' is a programme about Norman MacLean which aired last week on the BBC.  Norman MacLean, whose father was from Tiree, is, a renowned Gaelic comedian, piper, singer and intellect. This no-holds barred programme deals honestly with Norman's alcohol addiction and recent recovery. Norman has recently published his autobiography, 'The Leper's Bell', and he quotes extensively from it here.

You can watch the programme streaming live or download it to watch in a much higher quality using the BBC iPlayer. If you don't have the iPlayer desktop application on your computer you will be prompted to download and install it.

We found this programme riveting and can't recommend it highly enough. To watch or download, CLICK HERE.


Here's a link to a short but very impressive set of photographs from Megan Pickard and featured on the 'Flickr' website. By the way, the set also features photographs of the air journey to or from Tiree so don't let the photographs of all those trees confuse you! CLICK HERE

Friday, September 25, 2009


On Thursday 15 October Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries are offering a fantastic opportunity to visit the Isles of Tiree and Coll and be back on the mainland - all in one day!

The return crossing from Oban to Tiree is only £10 per person and this will help reinforce Tiree's current number 2 ranking in Lonely Planet's "Best British Holiday Bargain" category which For Argyll, the region's Information and Communications Service, recorded earlier this year. READ MORE

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Tiree band, Skerryvore,  has been named 'Argyll's top young entrepreneur' at the regional finals of the 2009 Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Presenting the band  with the £1,000 prize, the PSYBT Regional Manager said they had been selected for demonstrating ambition and for taking good ideas and transforming them into a successful, thriving business'. READ MORE AT FOR ARGYLL

Monday, September 21, 2009

Video: Tiree's Will Wright finishes 9th in the Ben Nevis Triathlon 2009

Get up at 4:30 and start getting your gear together. 7.00am swim 1.2 miles in the freezing cold waters of Loch Linnhe. Cycle 56 miles off-road. Then, just in case you have any energy left, run to the summit of Ben Nevis and run back down.

Who'd be mad enough to want to do this? Especially when you have a touch of bronchitis?

Tiree's Will Wright, that's who. And here's a video of Will finishing in 9th place.

We're putting together a little movie of this event so look out for an announcement in the near future.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Okay Guys! I'm just back from Fort William where my dear friend and coach Will Wright took part in the Ben Nevis Triathlon. This involved a mile long swim, a 56 mile cross country MTB challenge and - if that wasn't enough - the Triathletes then went on to run up to the summit of Ben Nevis and back down again.

In a couple of days I hope to have a movie online recounting what went down.

It was nice to meet up with Gavin and Kirsty in Fort William. Gavin is one mean MTB'r and has many 1st place results under his belt.

But here's another side of the hard-edged athlete. Here you see Gavin with his 4-month old daughter Ruby in a cafe in Fort William.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Friday morning, we're off to the Ben Nevis Triathlon to support Will Wright. When we come back on Sunday, lots of pics and words. Until then, see you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Councillors Roddy McCuish and Mary Jean Devon held a surgery at Tiree Business Centre on Monday 7th Sept. Top of their agenda was our much cherished Lunch Club which is known as the Tiree Day Service.  READ MORE

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


We've always loved this beautiful image of Heylipol Church. It was taken by a 'Flickr' user named Atomic Jeep.  It's a very highly defined image and when you click on it to enlarge the photograph you'll be amazed at the sharpness of the image - so much so that it makes a great desktop background for your computer screen.

Monday, September 14, 2009


In this week's edition of the BBC's Countryfile Katie Knapman reveals the reasons behind her life-long love of the Hebridean island of Tiree. This is the link to watch the programme again live online: CLICK HERE. If you have BBC iPlayer installed you can download the programme HERE, The programme is available online for a further six days.


Some people are easily amused. Here we see IOTD's Gordon Scott paying complete attention to Will Wright's briefing before the 16 mile bike on Sunday 13th September. Small things amuse small minds ...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Le Tour De Tiree

As a wise old coach once said, 'if you snooze, you lose' - and that's why everyone who turned out for the first Tour of Tiree on the morning of Sunday 13th September was a winner.

A field of nine cyclists of all ages and abilities gathered at Tiree Fitness Solutions in Sandaig to take part in a hastily arranged 16-mile 'race'. But 'racing' was not really what it was all about. The theme of the event was getting out in the morning sunshine, having a laugh and doing something positive about being fit and active.

There were a few aches and pains afterwards but everyone responded enthusiastically to the proposal to do it all again next month.


Art of a different kind - but every bit as inspiring and more beautiful than many, the Tiree Wave Classic takes to the winds and waves on Tiree from 10th - 16th October.

Upgraded to World Cup level in 2007 after coming of age with a 21 year track record of success, this event has dedicated worldwide TV coverage,  attracts hundreds of visitors to the island each year and is Tiree's biggest annual economic driver. READ MORE FROM 'FOR ARGYLL'

Saturday, September 12, 2009

VIDEO: Red Hot Chilli Pipers with Skerryvore

Here's two of Scotland's hottest bands, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Tiree's Skerryvore on stage together. Filmed in January 2008, this is sure to get get your toes tapping!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Breaking with the traditional school sale, Tiree High School will host a gala day tomorrow, Saturday 12th September from 12pm to 4pm. Entry fee will be Adults £1.00, Pupils 50p, Pre-5's free.

Whilst old favourites remain the school will have new stalls and activities such as 'Soak the Staff'. There will be a Bouncy Castle, a roundabout and prize stalls. The first Gala Day King and Queen will be on hand throughout the day to welcome visitors and present prizes.

All monies raised will provide the young people with valuable additional educational experiences throughout the session.

If you can make it please come along and help make the first Gala Day a huge success.

Tiree's Danny Lapsley: Queen's Police Medal Recipient

As you will all recall it was announced in the New Years Honours List that Danny Lapsley was to be awarded the Queen's Police Medal. The award investiture took place at the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh on Tuesday 30 June 2009, and this is Danny's account of the proud day.

I was accompanied at the ceremony by Liz, my mum and my sister. We had a really wonderful time and after the medal was attached the queen spoke to me for a few minutes. She knew about Tiree and the fact that I worked here on my own for 15 years. She also asked me if all the islanders behaved themselves!! My answer, which will remain private, caused her to laugh. I originally thought she had prompts which she read prior to speaking to each individual but I have since found out that she memorises every piece of information about everyone. I found this incredible since there were 74 different award recipients including knighthoods, CBE's OBE's etc.

The only people I recognised were Sir Ian Wilmut who cloned Dolly the Sheep and Sir Tom Farmer from Quik Fit. I also spoke to Douglas MacNeilage, a retired school janitor from Tobermory who was made an MBE for services to education and the community.
The Queen's Police Medal (QPM) was introduced in May 1954 as a replacement to the King's Police Medal. It is awarded to police officers in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth for gallantry and distinguished service. I have thought long and hard over my 30 years police service and I have come to the conclusion that I must have got it for distinguished service!

The Queen's Police Medal is normally awarded to high ranking officers and only rarely to officers of the rank of constable. So to have it awarded to me makes it even more special (and surprising). Two other police officers received the QPM at the investiture, an assistant Chief Constable from Strathclyde Police and a Chief Superintendent from Lothian & Borders Police. I am allowed to use the post nominals QPM after my name but I am unlikely to use it other than to secure a table at Elephant's End.

From An Tirisdeach, with thanks.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Top Scots windsurfer Scotty McDowell looks ahead to Tiree Wave Classic
He is one of Scotland's leading sportsmen but Scotty McDowell just likes to go where the wind takes him. The windsurfer has been catching waves and riding the gusts for 25 years, and sails into the Hebrides next month for the Tiree Wave Classic. A 42-year-old builder by day,he lives on the beach in Troon,Ayrshire, with partner Michelle and sons Jack, 11, and Oliver, five, and spends as much time on the sea as he can spare. READ MORE

Iona Brown: Tiree Place Names Project
This year i have been very fortunate in securing a place on a student work experience scheme which is run by one of the main Gaelic development agencies, Comunn na Gaidhlig. Working alongside Tiree's historical centre , An Iodhlann, for 10 weeks I have been working on the "Tiree Place Names Project" as a research assistant. Through this work i have discovered that there are over 3,000 place names on Tiree, most of which are derived from Old Norse or Gaelic. When the project is complete, the database will be very interesting and a useful resource for anyone to access, The website goes live Spring 2010. See this site for more information.

Bumper Lamb Sale
United Auctions held their Annual Lamb Sale on Tiree on 21st August. With over 60 crofters offering stock for sale and 10 buyers from the mainland purchasing on behalf of themselves and others trade was brisk. An excellent offering of quality lambs were shown in good bloom. 4357 lambs were sold, 87 Store cattle and 19 Cows/Bulls. The general feeling at the sale was that the prices were much improved from last year and now more nearly reflect the true cost of producing quality stock. The facilities at Tiree Rural Centre once again impressed both buyers and sellers enabling Tiree crofters the chance to present their stock to its best.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Music From The Man Shed #2 - BACK IN THE USSR

Strange to be singing a song about a place that 'no longer exists'. In fact, many of the people who look at my blog weren't even born when the USSR ceased to be! Oh well, here's another video, from the same 'test session' as last week. I may have a couple of words in the middle eight wrong, by the way. Next week, we move away from 'pop' music to a Scottish song or two from Hamish Henderson.


The Ben Nevis Triathlon (19th September) involves a swim in a freezing loch, a 90km cross-country bike race and then - wait for it - a run up and down Ben Nevis, the UK's most feared and respected mountain. Sounds crazy, right? And yet, so far, almost 100 competitors have registered to take part in this extreme race.

Let's look down the list ... anyone we know? Hang on - competitor number 27. Will Wright, Tiree! Yes, once again Will, from Sandaig, Tiree, will be taking his body to the outer limits of endurance, pushing himself further and faster than he ever has before.

We'll be accompanying Will when he makes his attempt to complete this trial in a week or so. Moreover we hope to make a movie of the whole road trip up to Fort William, documenting the highs and lows for Will as he faces the greatest - and perhaps ultimate - challenge of his sporting career.

For more information, check out the Ben Nevis Triathlon site: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


We sincerely hope you aren't fed up with videos this week. Both Jo and I are in England and it's a little harder to put together some 'hard copy' for the site when we're away from home. This is great clip of the Skipinnish boys and friends at Celtic Connections. It's followed by a great song by the very popular singer Rachel Walker. Interestingly, the video was posted by a Spanish-speaking fan of the band

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Annette Pyrah lives on the Isle of Coll. Most weeks she comes across to Tiree during the summer on the Thursday sailing to do her shopping. She made this movie on one particularly nasty Thursday when the wind was blowing a hoolie! This movie really brings home one of the harsh realities of lving on a remote wee Scottish island: occasionally the weather in the summertime doesn't behave itself!