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Tiree 'Have we Got Views For You'

'Have we got views for you.' This was the headline on the front cover of a Scottish newspaper's weekend magazine. Among the various photographs there was an extinct volcano, a magical island, a petro-chemical plant, a woodland folly, and a historic graveyard. Yet a careful study of the magazine did not include a single photograph of the Isle of Tiree. Surely this glaring omission needs to be rectified.

Magnificent Gott Bay

The first view many have of the island is from the plane as it makes its approach to Tiree Airport. For some on the tiny 'Twin Otter' or the even smaller' Islander' aircraft, the view is of Traigh Mhor, the big beach that encompasses Gott Bay. The return walk along the beach from end to end is about 8 miles long.

East End

The Isle of Tiree is the most westerly of the Inner Hebrides and is about four hours by ferry from the Mainland port of Oban and about an hour by plane from Glasgow International Airport. The island is on an east west axis and is shaped like a lamb chop, with the east end being the shank bone.. The isle is about 11 miles long and five miles wide, but at its narrowest it is less than 1 mile wide.

MV Clansman

Most people travel to and from the island by the ferry. Although the mail, the newspapers, and many parcels are carried by the plane, most commercial goods arrive by ferry. The ferry pier is located in Gott Bay. For much of the time the waters of the bay can be like an intense blue mirror. On other occasions, particularly when a gale force wind is blowing from the south east the sea is in turmoil.

Face Wash

Being an island Tiree is surrounded by the sea so it is no surprise that ferries, fishing boats, yachts, cruise ships etc are the focal point of many island views.

The Mighty One

Before the pier was located in Gott Bay the original pier was around the Scarinish headland at what is now referred as Scarinish Old Harbour. In 2018 the harbour was refurbished and is now a useful asset to the community.

Low Tide at Scarinish Harbour

Prior to the construction of the pier in Gott Bay vessels would have to anchor off the harbour and a tender would row passengers to and from the waiting ship. In the photograph below are three local craft belonging to the Tiree Maritime Trust.

A splash of Colour

Leaving the crofting township of Scarinish the road west brings you to Millport at Baugh. At one time 'puffers' came in here and today in Summer several small craft make it an attractive photo-stop,

Baugh

The Isle of Tiree is low lying and its three highest points are Ben Hynish, Ben Hough and Kenavara. Sitting on top of Ben Hynish is the NATS Radar Station affectionately known as the "Golf Ball'. From this vantage point Air Traffic Control use radar to scan the air space covering the North Atlantic.

Ben Hynish

Nestling between Ben Hynish and Kenavara is Balephuil Beach. Tiree is sometimes referred to as 'the Land below the Waves’. On board Tiree Sea Tours' rib, the ‘Aurora', on the return leg of a trip to Skerryvore Lighthouse, we understood this description. At first there appeared to be three islands rather than one, Hynish, Kenavara and Hough. Closer to Tiree, houses seemed to be floating on the waves.

Balephuil

Sandy shores on Hebridean islands are generally confined to one side of the isle. However, on Tiree white sand-shell beaches surround the island. No other beach can compete with Traigh Mhor (the Big Beach) when it comes to scale. Yet, each beach large or small is unique and has its own attractive features.

Baugh Beach

Baugh Beach is sometimes known as Crossapol Beach and is one of the beaches favoured by the many surfers who visit the island. With beaches surrounding the whole island surfers are literally spoilt for choice.

The Twins

Together Baugh Beach and Soroby Beach form Hynish Bay. These beaches remind us that the combination of the shallow waters that surround Tiree and the presence of the white shell sand combine to produce the most amazing shades of blue and green. Little wonder that the pilots who fly from Glasgow to Tiree have been known to welcome passengers to this flight to the Bahamas.

We are off!

Every May Soroby beach is the starting point for the Tiree 10K and Half-Marathon. Later in the year, in September, it is the starting point for the gruelling Tiree Ultra-Marathon. The organisers, Tiree Fitness state, 'Tiree’s coastline is rugged, beautifully carved, and adorned with long stretches of firm sandy beach. The complete circumference takes in 35 miles of the finest Hebridean scenery.' No surprise then that every year the event is fully booked, with a waiting list for an entry due to any last minute cancellations.

Silver Surf

Tiree's big wide open skies mean that you can often anticipate the weather without resorting to the weather forecast. With the tide retreating the wet sand often acts as a mirror for the clouds that pass overhead.

The Amazing Maze

Another of the beaches much favoured by surfers is popularly known as the Maze. It is like a wilderness place, far from the maddening crowd.. After you cross over onto it through the dunes you lose slight of human habitation. Here the great 'Atlantic Roar' can frequently be experienced.

Transformed

Tiree is rightly regarded as one of the sunniest locations in the UK. With its long hours of daylight in the summer months the island frequently tops the charts for hours of sunshine. With its big wide open skies, whatever the season, there are dramatic sunrises and sunsets.

Gently rocked to sleep

Tiree is not regarded as a port of refuge, yet sometimes some of the smaller loch class ferries overnight at the pier in Gott Bay as they make their way south for their annual overhaul. What a magnificent view the crew had of Gott Bay when the MV Loch Alainn berthed overnight.

Wow!

in the winter months fields can become small lochs and what a dramatic sight they are when transformed by the setting sun. Just as there are long hours of daylight hours in the summer, correspondingly there are long hours of darkness in the winter.

On Fire

On the Isle of Tiree resident photographers, professional and amateur, are faced with a difficult decision when it comes to selecting a favourite sunset from their vast portfolio. On one memorable occasion when driving across the Moss Road it appeared as if the sky above Ben Hough was on fire.

Dark Skies

Tiree enjoys what are referred to as 'dark skies' and with little light pollution there are myriads of stars to be seen. On a clear night the view can be breath-taking. In daylight hours 'dark skies' take on a different meaning altogether. Leaden clouds turn the sky black and against this backdrop white houses and red roofs stand out.

Mustard Skies

Here Tiree's big wide open sky is turned a mustard colour and this provides the backdrop for the Twin Otter, above Scarinish, as it makes its approach to the airport.

Long Range

With the island being low lying, as opposed to being flat, there are occasions when you can see the whole length of the island. The view above is from Milton looking west across Gott Bay to Ben Hynish and the 'Golf Ball'. In fact all three Bens are on the horizon.

Rainbows

One of the striking features about living on Tiree is the occurrence of rainbows, single, double, part and complete. Sometimes a rainbow will arc over the Reef, a township, a bay, or indeed the island itself. In the photograph above a complete arc spans the crofting township of Scarinish.

Rainbow Mix

CalMac, the ferry operator, is experimenting with other fuels other than diesel. In the above photograph we see the very latest experiment with a rainbow mix.

Paps of Jura

Tiree is one Hebridean Island among so many. When the conditions are just right, we have views of our nearest neighbours, the Treshnish Isles, the Isle of Mull and Coll. With clear skies we can also see the Small Isles, Eigg, Rum and Canna. When the Cuillins on Skye are topped with snow in winter we can make them out beyond the Island of Rum. Looking out into the Atlantic, across the Minch we can see the Western Isles. Mainland mountain peaks are also visible and some can even make out Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain.

Ben More

Sitting out in the Atlantic, Tiree is relatively free of snow. When there is the odd occurrence it normally does not lie around for long. However, it is a great to be able to look out on snow capped peaks such as Ben More on Mull, the Rum Cuillin and the Paps of Jura. We enjoy all the pleasure without the disadvantages.

When there is a fall of snow there is great excitement for the children. They have to be quick if they are going to build a snowman or attempt to sledge because they know that in a few hours the snow will be gone.

Winter Wonderland

It is strange, but in one day you can almost experience every season of the year. Snow is infrequent, but on Tiree when the wind blows you are certainly conscious of it. There is little in the way of shelter, few trese and no tall buildings.

Storm Surge

When the mist comes down and the visibility is poor the plane is cancelled or forced to turn back to Glasgow. In high winds and the swell is running the ferry can be delayed, cancelled or forced to turn back for Oban. Such is the power of the sea that ferry's ropes can snap. The sea has the power to break up the concrete decking and even to rip up a length of the crash-barrier bolted to the concrete. Yet, there is something almost magnetic in watching the waves crashing on the rocks and breaking over the pier. What a view!

Wild Water

Stormy conditions are often associated with black skies, but there are occasions when the wind is high and the sea is crashing on the rocks and yet the sun breaks through the clouds - or is even shining brightly.

On the wing

What a view! Wet sand, the sun sinking in the west and an almost Biblical scene - a burning bush. Oh! The joys of an evening walk along the beach.

Burning Bush

We enjoy amazing views throughout the year, but if its sun you are after May and June are probably the best months. It is debatable, but probably the Machair is at its best during these two months. Once seen in all its glory, it is never to be forgotten.

Machair

Tiree is a very special place and we have got views for you - views that residents are proud of and visitors carry home with them on their phones, cameras and memories.. It is important to remember that Tiree is more than a visitor centre, museum or photo opportunity - it is a working island with a strong sense of community. yet, as always the best way to appreciate the views is to visit the island for yourself. When visiting please show respect for our home and way of life and when driving on our single track roads get to know the rules and be courteous.

Remember Me

Livestock play an important part in the fragile island economy and are not simply put out to graze as a photo opportunity. Yes. They add to the views that we have for you, but they are a crofter's livelihood. It has to be said that you can certainly taste the difference when you buy Tiree beef, lamb and pork!

An Iodhlann

An Iodhlann is the island's historical centre. The name is pronounced ‘an-ee-lun’, which is Gaelic for the stackyard where the harvest is stored. The centre states, 'Since 1995 we have been collecting material about Tiree – old letters, emigrant lists, maps, reports, artefacts, photographs, stories and songs. Stretching from the 3,000 million year old Lewissian gneiss which provides the bedrock of the island to last week’s cattle sale prices, we now cover almost everything about the island, its people and the wider diaspora in our 12,000 item collection.'

A Last Look

The authors of 'Life on Tiree' moved to the island just over six years ago and regard the island as home. Here they have become part of a caring community, where young and old are valued. It is a community with a rich musical heritage that is still vibrant to this day. You can read more about life on Tiree by following the link below.

Created By
Alan Millar
Appreciate

Credits:

Photographs by Alan Millar of Life on Tiree