Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

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

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Isles fuel price cut from March

A motor fuel duty discount for remote island communities will start from March 2012, the UK government has confirmed.
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Friday, November 04, 2011

Old Injuries, New Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tiree Array: From last week's Oban Times

Public urged to take part in Tiree consultation

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

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

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

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

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

The documents can be found  All written responses should be submitted by Friday,November 4 2011.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tiree Success at the Royal National Mod

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

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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Profit Reconquers Wave Classic

From 'Surfer Today':

Ben Proffitt has defended his title after winning the 2011 Tiree Wave Classic, held on the Hebridean Isle of Tiree, in Scotland. The thrilling final day of action capped a memorable week of windsurfing for the 25th anniversary of the prestigious event.

Proffit, 33, had to beat three-time winner John Skye twice to secure the consecutive title. "It feels good, it feels really good," said Ben, who's from Shropshire.

"I was a bit gutted when I lost the lead on Monday but to come back in the triple - and to win it – feels better than if I'd have been leading all the way," he said.

"To win back to back is special. I didn't really think about until I was talking to a couple of people from the camera crew, and I wasn't really expecting it because it was a really strong field this year, but I'm really happy about it," said Ben.

Proffit is on top of the standings for the British Wavesailing Association (BWA) Wave Tour title, with one contest – in Cornwall – to come. 

"Obviously Tiree is the one event you really want to win," said Ben. "But the best to win is the overall title. Now I'd be quite happy if we had no wind in Cornwall! Or if there's wind and I win there too, that'd be even better!".

Aleksy Gayda, the 17-year-old from Canvey Island, won the Amateur contest, Mark Lloyd took the Masters while Debbie Kennedy won the Ladies division.

Results of the 2011 Tiree Wave Classic:


1st Ben Proffitt
2nd John Skye
3rd Phil Horrocks


1st Aleksy Gayda
2nd Lewis Merrony
3rd Scotty McDowell


1st Mark Lloyd
2nd Davey Edmiston
3rd Keith Shorrocks


1st Debbie Kennedy
2nd Sophia Joy Gilje
3rd Kariina Perhonen


1st Tom Bennett-Lloyd
2nd Torin Prescott
3rd David Taylor

Sunday, October 09, 2011

More amateurs join Tiree Classic

A record-breaking number of amateur windsurfers take part in the 25th Tiree Wave Classic competition.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Tiree hosts 25th windsurf classic

The prestigious Tiree Wave Classic windsurfing contest celebrates its 25th anniversary this weekend.
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Thursday, October 06, 2011


It's sad to wake up to the news of the death of this great visionary.  All of us who have some kind of a web presence - even those of us who almost exclusively use Microsoft products - owe him a great debt.

This is a link to an extended audio special only just released from This Week In Tech.  If you have problems getting it to work try going HERE.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Jo In Ullapool

Here's a great picture of my mate Joe Kavanagh giving it 'laldy' at the recent Mull Cyclosportive.

Monday, October 03, 2011


The Tiree Lunch Club, formerly known as the Tiree Resource Centre, has received substantial funding from the Big Lottery Fund to finance a mini-bus and Outreach Worker. The read more from the online edition of An Tirisdeach, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


“Singing Far into the Night”
AN TALLA Wednesday 5th October at 7.30pm

A new play by Hamish MacDonald. Starting at a time of civil unrest – and the Mutiny at Invergordon – in 1931, and spanning three decades, this is the story of three ordinary people caught up in world-changing events. A profound and moving play about love, honour, courage and loss…based on real lives and real events in Scotland and Russia.
Suitable for youngsters aged 12 and over.
Tickets £9 and £7 on door.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wave Classic 2011

The website for the 2011 staging of the Tiree Wave Classic is up and running. 2011 will mark the 25th anniversary of the event.  For more, click here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hartwood Hospital 2011

I found this sad and fascinating wee film yesterday on YouTube. I started training to become a psychiatric nurse at Law and Hartwood Hospitals (in Lanarkshire) in the early 1980s. It was a vast institution. I think there were something like 1300 beds when I started working there. Times have changed and they've changed for the better.

I didn't have a long career in psychiatric nurse as such, leaving the field in the late 1980s to pursue a career in social work.

So, this is Hartwood Hospital as it looks today. Odd to think of myself as walking up and down these corridors, working in these wards, when all you can see now is desolation and ruin.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Grampaw's Finished

I wish I could take some credit for this. Jo did it over about two days. It seems a shame to take it to bits so I'm trying to figure a way to stick it to a board or something. It would look great hanging up in the Man Shed!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grampaw Broon Update

This is all Jo's work. I just stare at the pieces. So far my contribution is two pieces.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Granpaw Broon's Gairdenin Shed

Saturday afternoon entertainment in the Scott household. It's come to this.

Joe In Ullapool

How nice it is to wake up and go out for a walk with Hector without being clad in waterproofs from head to toe. In fact, the sun is actually SHINING - okay, it's still a bit breezy but hey, you can't have everything.

I hope the weather in Ullapool is similarly favourable up in Ullapool where my good friend, Joe Kavanagh, is riding in the Ullapool Cyclosportive today.

Joe really is an inspiration. He's something like five years older than me but by grit and determination and a real commitment to training he's become a splendid long distance cyclist.

I was with Joe when we both took part in the Mull cyclosportive. I was undertrained and not really psychologically prepared for that one and Joe finished the 45 mile course something like an hour in front of me.

Today's extravaganza sees Joe (in his Team Tiree kit, no doubt) tackling a difficult 63 (I think) mile course which I could only dream about tackling at this point in time.

I've been away from the rest of the lads in the team due to a thigh/hip injury. I'm not sure if it's muscular or a stress injury. Every time I resolve to go see the Doctor I find some excuse and don't attend. What an idiot.
The good news is that I'm losing a bit of weight during my lay-off. I discovered a great motivational website at

You input your weight and your goal and get a recommended daily calorie intake. But what's really clever about the site is that you also get to input calories you've used through exercise. So, if you do a little treadmill run the calories you've used up are deducted from the calories you've taken in in the form of food.

It sounds like a simple idea and of course nothing can substitute for will-power. But here's a fact: in the first week of using this site to monitor my calorie input/output I lost 6lbs!

I'm hoping that by the time I get back into serious training with Team Tiree the weight I've lost will have an impact on my performance.

The fact that I'm 56 in December has no bearing on training or aspiration to be physically fit. You have to be sensible of course but the idea of sedentary life-style fills me with dread.

Just look at what Joe's doing!

So, best of luck Joe! I'm rooting for you and looking forward to popping down next week to get a bit of a debrief and learn how you got on.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hector and Connie

Once More Into The Breach

  Greetings from a wild, wet and windy Isle of Tiree. For those of you who have enjoyed coming here in the past I apologise: the only excuse I can offer is that I was just a wee bit fed up writing blogs, articles, websites, etc. As they say, a change is as good as a rest and I decided a rest from being online so much would be a relief.

  Back in 1999, when I started my first website about Tiree, there was very little in the way of information about Tiree on the web. Those were different times. Type 'Isle of Tiree' into Google and you might find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information that is only a click away.

  An indication of just how far we've come is the fact that I'm typing this on my iPhone using a Bluetooth-connected keyboard. I didn't even dream of such things back in 1999.

  This blog was never intended to be a news portal. As the name suggests, it's just a place for personal reflections and anything else that comes to mind that I feel like sharing.

  Like a lot of other people I've been sucked into the social networking scene. If you were wondering where I was you only had to look me up on the Facebook to know that rumours of my demise had been greatly exaggerated.

  Winter is approaching and that seems like a suitable time to hook back up with the blog.

  Starting tomorrow there will be regular updates and features.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Today, April 6, 2011, is/was Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada's 125th Birthday (see links below), and the connection with Tiree is that the first mayor of Vancouver, Malcolm Alexander MacLean, was born on Tiree in 1842.  He was mayor from 1886-1887. 

Malcolm Alexander MacLean * 1886-87 b. Aug. 14, 1842, Tiree, Scotland; arr. Vancouver 1885; d. Apr. 4, 1895, Vancouver. Though the man who was to be first mayor of Vancouver had only recently moved from Winnipeg and had to be persuaded to run, he grew into his role and established the office of mayor with a combination of pioneer spirit and distinction. MacLean, a realtor, was practically unknown to voters in Vancouver's first election, but he presented himself well, had travelled widely and was not Richard H. Alexander, MacLean's only opponent. Alexander was the unpopular manager of the Hastings Sawmill, the biggest employer in Granville. The city's first election was as honest as could be expected for the time, which is to say, not very. There was chicanery on both sides. MacLean won by 17 votes and "people were so elated that they took him in a buggy and hauled him all over what there was of the little town." Less than a month later the Great Fire of June 13, 1886 destroyed most of Vancouver. Mayor MacLean lost all his possessions, but plunged into organizing relief efforts and distributing rations sent from New Westminster. It became obvious he was willing and able to guide the citizens through the crisis. After the initial shock of the fire, MacLean called council together in a tent at the northeast corner of Carrall and Water Streets, and resumed the direction of civic affairs "without five cents in the bank, without an assessment roll and without even a chair to sit upon." Challenges to his mayoralty were dropped and he went on to win the next election fair and square. Just one year after the Great Fire, MacLean greeted the first train and the first steamship into Vancouver on behalf of its proud citizens.

Special thanks to Scott Cameron, Guelph, Ontario, for the information. 

....( )/ ( )

Friday, April 01, 2011


We now know that the car is going to be very expensive to repair. Something called a flywheel has to be replaced as well as the clutch. The flywheel (I think that's what it's called, anyway) is a very expensive part on it's own, so Craig at the garage tells me. Between the parts and the labour we're facing an enormous bill. And I'm not exaggerating. But what can I do? I just can't abandon the damn thing. Oh, the joys of motoring. So, there's nothing for it but to take the hit and keep smiling.

We've now been without a car for well over a week and it's starting to become a bit of a drag not having one about. My cover doesn't include the supply of a car while mine is in the garage, unfortunately, and I can't afford to hire one, especially when I don't know how long I will need it. It's true what they say, it never rains but it pours.

Which brings me on to the weather. I hate days like this, where the sky is overcast all day, the wind won't stop blowing and the rain seems to have been falling for ever. It affects the mood, there's no doubt about it. Hector can't understand why we're not out and about, keeping to our daily routine of a minimum three miles a day. He looks at me sadly and that also makes me feel guilty. You can't win!

Maybe a wee run will help. A wee 'something' would definitely help I'd only start to feel guilty about the calories. But I'm not ruling it out either. Roll on tomorrow when the weather is forecast to improve greatly.
....( )/ ( )

Thursday, March 31, 2011


You only ever grow as a human being if you're outside your comfort zone. Percy Cerutty

11:15 am ... The wind is blowing, the rain is pouring down and somehow I've got to get out to the shed to do today's workout, probably another hour on the treadmill. I've lost another pound as of this morning's weigh-in so some thing's working. But as everyone knows, it's difficult to judge weight loss when you're exercising. The more you do, the more muscle you put on (in my case, in my legs) and the more muscle you put on, the more weight you put on. Much better, perhaps, to get into the habit of measuring my BMI (body mass index) as a more accurate indicator of fat loss.

Still no car. I know, I'm sounding like a broken record. Hector misses his runs on the beach so I walked him over to Balephetrish and let him have a wee tear about. To my surprise we ended up walking a total of 4.8 miles, and that was on top of the 4.7 I'd run on the treadmill in the morning. So all in all, that was a good day's work out.

Something I really regret is not getting the shed properly waterproofed from the inside. It would have cost me and extra £400 and at the time I thought it was an unnecessary expense. As it turns out, though, when the wind and rain blow out of the north or the north east the rain gets blown under the door and the floor gets flooded. At times like that it is, perhaps, unwise to turn on the electric treadmill and do a workout. Today I should be okay, however, as the wind seems to be coming from the south.

Time to get on with it.

....( )/ ( )

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


A 4.7 mile run plus a 4.8 walk with Hector. Life's good.
....( )/ ( )

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I missed my German class last night simply because I had no way of getting to the Business Centre. I'd like to say I made up for it by working on my own here at home but I didn't. Instead I watched another two episodes of Sons of Anarchy.

The day wasn't a complete waste though. In the afternoon I'd gone for a bike ride with Fifi. When we were seriously into training Fifi and I used to meet up at 6:30 in the morning and go run a few miles. Maybe we'll get back to that. It was a great way to start the day and we got seriously fit into the bargain. As it was we cycled something like 7.5 miles at a leisurely pace and talked the entire session.

The really good thing about training with someone is that it definitely relieves the boredom and takes your mind off what your doing. That's why I got so much from Circuit Training and Boot Camp last week. It transforms the training session into a social gathering.

This morning when I took Hector for his walk it was pleasant to listen to all the different birds calling. Lapwings, seagulls, terns, they were all out this morning, calling away. I stopped for a while and watched a couple of lapwings chasing a predator away from their nesting grounds.

Don't really know what the day ahead holds. I've got more recording to do plus I need to get out and run (in spite of the blister on my left heel).
....( )/ ( )

Monday, March 28, 2011

Parc éolien de Tiree? Non merci!

I'm no scientist. For every convincing argument for the proposed Tiree Wind Farm Array there's an equally convincing argument against. The one thing I do know is that the scientists and men of learning I respect are all coming out against Wind Farms as a pointless and very expensive fad. It seems that if you covered the entire country with Wind Farms there still wouldn't be enough power generated to provide all our power needs. As for the benefit to the environment the building and taking down of these wind farms may actually cause more damage than they are meant to prevent.

And here's the controversial bit. Notwithstanding the terrible situation in Japan the only clean, efficient and economical way to provide our needs is by nuclear power. (I'm talking here about the country as a whole, of course. I'm not proposing a nuclear power plant on our wee island.) We've had nuclear power in the UK for nigh-on 60 years. That's right, 60 years. The technology has been developed, refined and heavily invested in. It works and it works well.

I'm not in either camp. I don't want it near Tiree and I don't want it far away from Tiree. I don't want it at all. I also don't want these things deforming our countryside either.

Like I say, I'm not an expert on this matter so don't send me comments or expect me to take part in the debate. When I sat down to write my diary this morning this was in my head, that's all.

....( )/ ( )

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The car is in the garage, meaning I had to cycle to Boot Camp on Saturday morning. There.'s nothing wrong with this. It meant I got an extra special work out. The round trip was about 7.5 miles.

I ran 2.4 miles on the road in the company of Jackie Jones. We covered 2.4 miles in just over 28 minutes and we were both pleased with this. This is the fastest I've run on the road in ages. My thigh injury has been keeping me back. Hopefully, this run signifies the turnaround.

After the run we did about twenty minutes of circuit training in An Talla itself.

Thing is, when I got home I really felt like I didn't want to do anything for the rest of the day. It was a very sunny day and all I wanted to do was laze about the sun or amble along the road with Hector.

Meantime, Catriona took Jo across to the Co-op at Scarinish to get in some supplies. Tomorrow I'll borrow Andy's car and get some more shopping in.

I'm still not missing the car as such but I'm starting to get a little anxious about the bill. The car's been getting worked on since Thursday or Friday and there's no word yet of when it will be ready. I am full of foreboding.

John in Glasgow has sent me up the latest backing track for a song we're working on and I need to turn my attention to laying down some vocals. We'll be playing together at a gig in Glasgow early in May. This will be the first time we've shared a stage in 31 years and we're looking forward to it a lot. The songs we wrote back in the day have become a little famous in an underground kind of way. It'll be nice to try out new material on the audience. We're playing a support role so no real pressure.--
....( )/ ( )

Friday, March 25, 2011


Just as his helicopter is about to crash in the film A Life Acquatic, Bill Murray's character says, with great understatement, 'This is going to hurt.'

There was no word from the garage yesterday regarding my sick car. I have a feeling, though, that this is going to hurt  too. I'll phone in a wee while and get a progress report.

In the meantime I've been pottering about, doing this and that.

Yesterday I took Hector for his first real run on the road. I have one of those spring loaded leads that lengthen or shorten depending on how far or near the dog is. It came in useful, especially when Hector had to stop for a sniff and a pee.

People passing in their cars only had eyes for Hector. They hardly looked at me - but hey, who can blame them?

Last night it was off to circuit training at An Talla. It's good to have Will back and to see young Maurice there with his Mum and Dad. Maurice - Will and Becky's baby - just lay there and watched as we worked ourselves into a lather working through the exercises Will set for us. He was perfectly content and the object of a lot of attention.

The rest of the evening was spent at home catching up with my Sons of Anarchy DVD's and watching James Cracknell almost kill himself running the Marathon des Sables. Fair play to him, he finished 12th, the highest British finisher ever.

This morning I'm sitting outside with Hector and Guinness (next door's doggie). It's still a bit overcast but the forecast is good. Not much of a breeze either. I tried to be a good boy and hang out the washing while Jo got ready for work. All she did was come out and take over from me. This, by the way, is the lady who says 'you do nothing around here'.

Ye cannae win!

....( )/ ( )

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I awoke really early this morning. I couldn't get back to sleep so got out of bed at 6:15 am. What a foggy morning it is! I was about to take Hector for a run as there will be no traffic at this time in the morning. I'm having second thoughts. Visibility is very bad. It's always a possibility that someone will be driving at this ungodly time of the morning. I'd hate to start the day with tyre tracks up my back.

Yesterday should have been a bad day. My car broke down as I was taking Jenny to work. I think the clutch has gone. I called the AA and they, in turn, called out MacLennan's garage to come and tow the car away for repairs. If that had happened a couple of months ago I would have been very upset. I'm in a good frame of mind these days. You have to view these things in perspective. There's no point in getting all worked up about it. The car's broken and that's that.

After we left the car at the roadside and our friend Pat Campbell (who lives nearby) had very kindly taken Jenny to work in Scarinish, Hector and I began the walk back to Cornaigmore. On the way a flight of 30-plus swans flew right over our heads. That was a beautiful sight. I don't think I've ever seen so many swans in the air at one time. They were flying in a v-shape and heading for the loch.

There's something liberating about not having a car around. Of course, it's an inconvenience as Joanne and Jenny will have to get the school bus to work. I'm glad to see the back of it for a day or two. I can hardly afford to run it at the moment anyway. The price of diesel is going through the roof here on the island. A couple of days of the road means a couple of days when I won't be using fuel.

Tonight circuit training gets back underway at An Talla. Coach Will has returned from holiday pumped up and ready to put us through our paces. I'll blag a ride and get there somehow.

....( )/ ( )

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Okay! So let's get this blog up and running again. (If this was a US drama we'd call this 'Season 2011.)

When I started my first Tiree news site - Isle of Tiree Online News - back in 1999 there was no web presence with which Tiree folk at home and abroad (descendants of emigrants for example) could look to the internet and see what was going on. Eventually, Isle of Tiree Online News grew in popularity where it received over 3000 hits a month.  The URL was sold quite a number of years ago after the site ran its course and I decided to move on to other things.

Since then, and until relatively recently, I've blogged on and off and tried to disseminate information and news about Tiree.  But everyone and everything has caught up. Tiree is now served very well on the 'net by An Tisideach Online, not to mention all the Tirisdeeach you can find on Facebook, Twitter and a whole host of other social networking outlets.

So my Isle of Tiree Diary will become ... well, a personal blog from now on.  What's happening in my life, what I'm thinking about, the challenges I set myself and so on.

I remain available to anyone who wants to email me requesting information about Tiree.

I will now set myself the task of writing something here everyday. 

....( )/ ( )

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Loganair to introduce Sunday flights to Barra and Tiree

Loganair is introducing the first regular Sunday flights to Barra and Tiree this summer.

The airline, which operates its scheduled services under a franchise agreement with Flybe, Europe's largest regional carrier, will add the new services between July 3 and August 28. Tickets are now available for booking from the Flybe website.

Read more:

Friday, February 04, 2011


These days you are much more likely to catch with me at Facebook. If you want to keep up with me or get in touch join me at