Saturday, October 31, 2009

CAMPER VANS ON TIREE: YET MORE FEEDBACK

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

PINK DAY AT THE CO-OP

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

CAMPER VANS ON TIREE: FEEDBACK

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 www.outdooraccess-scotland.com

LITTLE AND LARGE: THE 'ISLE OF LEWIS' MEETS THE 'QUEEN MARY 2'

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

CAMPERVANS ON TIREE: REPORT BY THE TIREE ACCESS STEERING GROUP

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

MEETING DECIDES WAY FORWARD FOR MOTORHOME ACCESS

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

AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDY GROOM

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

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TIREE WAVE CLASSIC: SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY ARTICLE (LINK)

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

VIDEO: TIREE WAVE CLASSIC '09

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

COLL ADVENTURE CHALLENGE: JOHN CARTER'S PHOTOGRAPHS

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

TIREE WAVE CLASSIC REPORT

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

15 MINUTE VIDEO: ACTION FROM THIS MORNING'S COLL ADVENTURE CHALLENGE

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.

NUDE WINDSURFERS GET THEIR SAILS UP (LINK)

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

TIREE WINDSURFERS GET THEIR KIT OFF

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 IS UPON US

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?

SUPPORT THE RINGSIDE THEATRE

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.

THE DEFENDERS AT THE LODGE HOTEL/COMMUNITY DRINKS RECEPTION TONIGHT

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 @ gmail.com.)

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.

TONIGHT: THE DEFENDERS AT THE LODGE HOTEL

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

VIDEO: SKERRYVORE PERFORM 'CALEDONIA'

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

LONGEST DAY IN WINDSURFING HISTORY!

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.

VIDEO: TIREE WAVE CLASSIC DAY 2 ACTION

CLICK HERE for a great video report from Boardseeker Magazine.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

TIREE WAVE CLASSIC: ROUND 1 PRO WINDSURFER RESULTS ANNOUNCED

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.

'LOST: MY WEDDING RING'

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
Hillside
Southport 
PR8 4QH


Thankyou, Jane Savin.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

TIREE LAUNCHES VOLUNTARY PARKING PERMIT IN BID TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT

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. 

TIREE'S WILD DIAMOND: INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM ANGUS MACLEAN

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.

READ MORE AT FOR ARGYLL

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

TIREE WAVE CLASSIC TO BE FEATURED ON TOMORROW'S 'REPORTING SCOTLAND'

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

DRIVING ON TIREE: SOME ADVICE FOR VISITORS

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

EMERGENCY SERVICES

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.

GENERAL DRIVING

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!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Solar Hot Water Meeting Tonight

Meeting to share information

Monday October 5th 2009

7.30 pm the Rural Centre

  • Find out about different solar hot water panels on Tiree
  • Collect information on grants and registered installers
  • Discuss the merits of a grant vs DIY or a local installer
  • Free Tea and Cake

ALL WELCOME

TWO NEWS SPONSORS FOR WAVE CLASSIC

Skykon and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue have been confirmed as sponsors for this year's Tiree Wave Classic.

Jesper Øhlenschlæger, CEO of Skykon, commented:
"Skykon is delighted to sponsor the Tiree Wave Classic which has great synergy with our company. Skykon is a supplier of tower solutions and wind technology components to the wind power industry, hence wind is our main business.  We look forward to being associated with this fantastic event."

Gordon Ritchie, Director of GMFCo, said:
"It is great to see an international company involved in wind power with Scottish roots. Skykon really know the wind power market and have so much synergy with The Tiree Wave Classic.  StrathClyde Fire and Rescue serve the communities of Coll and Tiree and we have first hand knowledge of how good these guys are when the Tiree Lodge hotel had a fire in the kitchen when we were running the competition. This was dealt with within minutes. That's when you really appreciate dealing with a professional team like StrathClyde Fire and Rescue."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Music From The Shed #3: The 51st Highland Division's Farewell to Sicily

After a break of a week or so here is another song from the man-shed.

Today I am singing my favourite song in my mother tongue.

No, it's not anything by Burns or The Corries. Nor is it Flower of Scotland.

It's a song by the wonderfully gifted Scottish songwriter and poet, the late Hamish Henderson.

And it's about Sicily during World War 2.

I hope you will also enjoy the audio recording of the great man explaining the origin of the song and the video I put together to go with the song.

THE 'WILL' TO WIN: WILL WRIGHT'S BIG BEN NEVIS TRIATHLON

Above: a happy Will Wright about two hours after completing the Big Ben Nevis Triathlon

How do you fancy this for a challenge? Under the foreboding shadow of Ben Nevis, endure a 1.9km loch swim in the icy waters of Loch Linnhe, a 90km mountain bike ride and a 21km run up, and then back down the slopes of Ben Nevis, the UK's highest and most awe inspiring mountain.

What kind of a madman - sorry, athlete - would have the mental and physical stamina to undertake such a challenge?

Step forward Tiree's Will Wright. What made his participation all the more remarkable (and worrying for his support team of wife Becky and friends Joe and Gordon) was that Will was suffering from a touch of bronchitis. As the team gathered before 5am around the breakfast table at Glen Nevis Camp Site, their faces faintly illuminated in the darkness by a camping light, the team silently pondered whether this was a race too far for Will.

After all preparations for Will's transitions between laps and events the swim started at 7am. The support team would not have been surprised if Will had called a halt after coming out of the water. Perhaps they might even have been relieved. However, to their surprise and delight Will emerged from Loch Linnhe looking strong and determined in a time of 31:10.

On to the the mountain bike stage of the triathlon. Beginning with an awesome climb out of the transition area in Fort William each lap of the course took most competitors well over an hour to complete. Throughout his four laps Will maintained a high turnover, completing each lap in an approximate average of 01:06.00.

Then it was on to the most demanding and perhaps downright scary part of the triathlon - a run up and down Ben Nevis. Another worrying aspect of this run was that the weather was very changeable and the top of the Ben was shrouded in mist. But there was no turning back now as far as Will was concerned.

To cut a long and arduous story short, Will completed the run in 03:06:09.

Will Wright, suffering from bronchitis and perhaps under-prepared because of his illness, came in 9th out of 54 athletes who managed to finished, in an overall time (which includes transition times between events) of 08:23:45.

Next year Will hopes to take part in the Iron Man race at Bolton. The Iron Man Series is the ultimate triathlon and Will his confident he can do well after his performance at the Big Ben Nevis Triathlon.

Well done Will!

Coll Challenge Adventure Race

Thursday 15th October ramps up the already high adrenaline of that week on the Isle of Tiree. The annual Tiree Wave Classic, run by GMF Co, takes place from 10th - 16th October and 15th October sees its twin event, linking the sister islands of Tiree and Coll.

This is the Coll Challenge Adventure Race - and challenge it is. READ MORE AT FOR ARGYLL


Thursday, October 01, 2009

WAVE CLASSIC NEWS: EAT, DRINK AND PART FOR A WEEK AT THE TIREE LODGE HOTEL!

GMFCo are proud to announce that the Tiree Lodge Hotel have a host of exciting events throughout the week of the Tiree Wave Classic and the Coll Challenge. Each night will be a different party!

Saturday 10 October: Opening Night - traditional party with disco
Sunday 11 October: Homemade Pie Night with music from Trail West
Monday 12 October: Juke Box Night with Hot & Spicy Mexican Food
Tuesday 13 October: Beach Party Tiree Style with BBQ style food and music by The Defenders (pictured above)
Wednesday 14 October: Juke Box Night with Italian Food with lots of pizza, pasta & garlic!
Thursday 15 October: "Teuchter Night" – lots of haggis & mince & tatties as well as a good Scottish disco!
Friday 16 October: Curry Karaoke – open to all with plenty of curries & pakora!
Saturday 17 October: Classic Leftovers Night with the Juke Box!

Homemade soup, sandwiches and hot filled rolls will be available for lunch daily (12pm till 2.30pm)

Available at Tiree Scarinish Hotel for Wave Classic Week
Tiree Wave Classic Menu - "a little bit fishy"
2 courses £14.50 (6pm till 9pm)

There are also rooms available at the Tiree Lodge Hotel for £25 per person including breakfast. For more information on the Tiree Lodge Hotel or on availability, please email Aileen at aileen@mcdonaldmackean.co.uk