Tiree part 1: Life on the Island

April 19, 2016

Frankly speaking, I was not planning to write anything about Tiree, because it was not organised by me and it was a group trip with the purpose of surfing. However, eventually I decided that I wanted to share my impressions about this place.

(I am sorry for the amount of unsorted pictures, there are so many good ones, it was reaaaaally hard to pick!)

1. What is Tiree and where the heck is it located?

The isle of Tiree is a tiny piece of land off the western coast of Scotland and it is the most western island of the famous Hebrides. Its so small it only takes about 20 minutes to cross it. And when speaking of Tiree I say “in the middle of nowhere” I actually mean it. One of the most unexpected things about Tiree was that it has an airport or as one of my friends said “a dirty piece of a land strip with a shed at one end”. So you can get there either by plane, as a couple of people from our group did, half an hour flight from Glasgow, or you can get there by ferry. The ferry goes once a week and it takes 4 hours to get to the island. Fascinating, isn’t it?!

Tiree is the island in the top, photo by Kate Amos
Tiree is the island at the top, photo by Kate Amos
2. Why would you go there?

I went to Tiree with my university’s surfing club and you can find my separate post about surfing here. But Tiree is primarily a famous spot for windsurfing and annually holds an important competition – Tiree Wave Classic.

Other than windsurfing/surfing people usually come to Tiree to retreat from busy city life and enjoy some unity with nature and the ocean. I saw a lot of cyclists and people doing walks around the Island, so it mostly provides space for active lifestyle people.

Kate
3. Accommodation

I saw a hotel and a hostel in Tiree, but it is also possible to rent local houses. The organisers of the trip chose the latter option, so we were staying in 4 houses.

I lived with 6 other people in the house which was located in what I assume is the cultural and social centre of the island. I am drawing this assumption from a number of facts: that was where the “historical centre of Tiree” (i.e. a tiny shed which said “The historical centre” in English and Gaelic) was located, the only Co-Operative supermarket, the hotel, and it was close to the pier.

 The 25 of us were distributed into 4 really cute houses, located a maximum of 40 minutes walk from each other.

The house was warm and cozy and somewhat funny. Located in the island that has nothing to offer other than grass, ocean on every side and sheep poo, the house still had lovely pictures of the said island on every wall. I assumed that either it is rented out often, either the owners are really enthusiastic about Tiree.

I don’t know why, but we also became the party house, meaning that almost every evening all the other houses came to our place to socialise and paartaaaaaay!!..

Credit to Sophie Stenson for the picture of the party house and a half of a dog
4. What’s it like?

It’s cold, windy and sometimes very rainy. But also very often it was sunny, so we had a chance to tan and enjoy the sun. The whole island is just a huge piece of grass floating in the ocean, with sheep and cows on it. I counted about 2 or 3 trees there, but that’s it. I believe that harsh conditions of the island simply don’t allow trees to survive. So locals are very attentive to preserving their only vegetation – grass. Unfortunately, we had to disobey the signs “Respect the grass” several times in order not to get stuck in the mud. Sorry.

 

At Crossapol beach, taken by Kate Amos

 

Photo credit to Oscar Manville-Hales
4. What happens if the weather is too bad?

We had a day like that, when it was too cold and too muddy to surf, so some of us just stayed at home, watching Monty Python and playing board games. One of the days was not suitable for taming the waves as there were none whatsoever.  So we went for a casual swim and organised a beach BBQ party. The boys band went spear fishing. The water was freezing so we still had to wear wetsuits, the BBQ didn’t work out exactly as planned so we went back home, fried the burgers there and then came back to the beach 😀 but it was warm and sunny, I got a perfect circle tan on my face (wetsuit hood cut-out).

Taken by Kate Amos
5. The nightlife.

The exciting nightlife of the island was limited to our house party that would happen every evening. Every. Single. Evening. Since I am not a particular drinker or a party person I would drop out pretty early on. The parties however would keep on until 3 or 4 am with some fun stuff and murders happening – we started a week-long game of human Cluedo, assigning every person with a task to murder another person with a particular weapon in a particular location. I managed to survive!… almost, until I got killed on the ferry to Oban 🙁

 

Not exactly sure what’s happening here, taken by Kate Amos
6. The sunsets

Tiree had some of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. We would come out of the house and sit on the ground, just watching the diverse colours that the sky would be painted into, up until the moment the sun disk dropped down below the horizon.

Watching Tiree sunsets, taken by Emma Angus

 

Taken by Maria Bateson

 

Taken by Maria Bateson
7. The fauna.

I simply cannot avoid speaking of Tiree animals! All of them were too fun. So it has a selection of sheep which are EVERYWHERE. The white fluffy spots cover every single hill. Sometimes they are curious enough to come up, but most often would run away, funnily jiggling their bellies. Tiree also is covered with cows, which sometimes are annoyingly stubborn. So on one occasion we were standing on the road for a good 5 minutes, trying to beep out a cow. It apparently decided that the middle of the road is the most relevant place to chew grass. There were also these really funny birds with long red legs. For some reason they would not fly away from the car, but instead quickly ambled right in front of it. Looked hilarious, especially with some voicing over from Emily.


But the biggest highlight were the seals! (My friend Harry’s spirit animals) Unfortunately, not very approachable 🙁

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By Maria Bateson

 

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By Maria Bateson

Finishing this post with a video from Kyrstie Brown! Hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂

Toodle-oo!

x

Natalie

By Natalie

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Vera

    Ничего, что я пишу на русском?😇 Так здорово! Мне нравится, как ты пишешь + яркие фото. А ещё места довольно необычные, по – крайней мере, для меня.

    1. Reply

      natvagabond

      Спасибо большое!!!!!

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