Highlights Looking back on 2018

Highs and lows are a fact of life. After all one person’s meat is another person’s poison. So choosing highlights from the past year is very much a personal preference.

One cold February day

Living on the Isle of Tiree there have been so many different highlights to the year. Welcoming visitors to the island, watching stunning sunrises over the Passage of Tiree or watching the sun slowly drop below the western horizon - what do you choose?

We name this skiff

One significant community project has stood out as a highlight of the year. This was the construction of the Tiree Skiff – ‘An Gille-Brìghde’. The work began one damp, cold February day. Then, after many hours of labour and the consumption of many home made cakes the skiff was launched on the 1st of September - a beautiful sunny day.

Maiden Voyage

Another highlight of 2018 was the unveiling of the Tiree flag, The exciting event took place at An Talla on the afternoon of the 8th of September. A competition had been organised to design a flag for the island. After approval by Lord Lyon of Scotland’s Heraldic Authority the winning entry was declared to be that submitted by Donald Cameron.

Raising Tiree's Flag

The year saw the inauguration of a very popular new venture by local entrepreneur Frazer MacInnes. Tiree Sea Tours enjoyed the benefit of benevolent weather and sea conditions. Personal highlights were the trips to Skerryvore Lighthouse and to the Puffin Colony on the Treshnish Island of Lunga. Other destinations included Staffa, Iona, Coll and even Tobermory. The trip to Coll was often combined with a meal at The Coll Hotel. Many passengers aboard the rib Aurora appreciated in a new way the marine life in the waters surrounding Tiree and this was especially so when the basking sharks were present.

Tiree Sea Tours

A popular location on the island is the Old Harbour in Scarinish and early in the year work was carried out to repair and restore the main and middle piers. It was at the Old Harbour that the Tiree skiff was named and then launched. Often the distant Paps of Jura provide a backdrop to the harbour entrance.

The refurbished pier

The MV Clansman is regarded as the island’s dedicated ferry and in February she left for the Clyde to have her annual overhaul and certification. Unfortunately when she was entering the dry dock she suffered damage to her propulsion system. She was out of action until late in May and this had a severe knock on effect across the ferry network.

The MV Isle of Mull with a backdrop of Ben More on Mull

The inadequacies of CalMac’s booking system and the need to manually transfer confirmed bookings on the MV Clansman to the much smaller MV Lord of Isles led to much confusion and the loss of business. None of this was the fault of the local office and they could not have been more helpful.

The Return of the Mighty Clansman

Tiree is famous for its white shell sand beaches and Machair and justifiably so, but what marks out Tiree is the real sense of community. If, according to the slogan, ’People Make Glasgow” then it is even more true of Tiree - People Make Tiree.

Three of Tiree's stunning beaches - Gott, Vaul and Salum

On the Mainland the Meals on Wheels service organised by the RVS has ceased to function, but Tiree still has its own service staffed by volunteer drivers and organised by Curam.

Tiree Airport from the air

This sense of community is demonstrated in the service provided by the staff at both Tiree Airport and at the Pier. It is not just friendly, helpful and personal, it is often above and beyond the call of duty. This is equally true of the care provided by the staff at the Tiree Medical Practice and at the island’s Eventide Home, Tigh a -Rhuda The latter celebrated its 50th Birthday at the end of November with one of its famous ceilidhs at which residents, staff and guests had a most enjoyable evening.

Christmas Ceilidh

On the 11th of November, exactly 100 years after World War One ceased, many from the island came together at the Memorial in Pier Road, Scarinish, to remember the sacrifice, loss and suffering.

We will remember

Once again this year there was the 10K and half Marathon races organised by Tiree Fitness in May. Later in the year, in September, it was the Ultra-Marathon race - 35 miles around the island. Both events were once again sold out in advance. Sadly we missed out on the ultra-marathon. Still we enjoy nothing better than the freedom and health to walk. One of our favourites is the walk to and from Happy Valley. This year a real highlight was to complete two walks at the East End of the island - two walks that we had previously not managed to schedule into our diaries.

An East End Walk

The first month of 2018 was unusual in that there were two full moons in the month. The first, the Wolf-Moon’, took place while we were on the Mainland visiting family in Dundee. The second, known as a blue moon, we witnessed on Tiree.

January's Blue Moon

On the first Wednesday of December the lights on Tiree’s wind resistant Christmas Tree were ceremonially switched on. They join the festive lights adorning several of the island homes. Christmas is in itself a highlight as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the reason for the season. As the saying goes, Jesus is not just for Christmas - he is for life.

This is Life on Tiree

The Bible reveals that 'God is faithful'.

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