Your Local

Your Local – no not the the Lean To Bar at the Scarinish Hotel or the Luggers Bar at the Lodge Hotel, Kirkapol – rather your local mail. In a recent edition of An Tirisdeach (the home of Tiree’s News) it was reported that our local post office had received a directive from Head Office requiring them to send all mail to the mainland. Consequently any mail posted on Tiree for someone else on Tiree must go to the mainland to be sorted, franked and then returned to the island for delivery. Apart from the two unnecessary plane and additional van trips, incurring cost implications, there is the delay to the mail.


This is no small matter, for it is not just the delivery of greetings cards, but letters from the school, the surgery and local businesses that would be affected. Living on an island about four hours into the Atlantic by ferry ‘next day delivery’ often takes on a whole new meaning and as for delivery costs, these are often more than the cost of the item being shipped. So the thought of the delay to local mail seemed a nonsense. It needs to be said that here on Tiree we value and appreciate all who work locally for the Post Office and accept their apology ‘for any inconvenience this change to current working practices may cause’.  However, thankfully this matter has now been resolved and common sense has prevailed. Local mail will remain on the island to be franked, sorted and delivered without delay.

The former post office at Middleton
The former post office at Middleton

A Post Office was established on Tiree in 1803. Historically Coll and Tiree were both sub-offices of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. For many years there was no regular packet service and at the time it was noted that ‘our means of communication are accordingly extremely irregular and uncertain, depending on any casual conveyance which may occur.’ In fact the matter was raised in Parliament in 1906. To this day, not only can the weather greatly affect the lives of those delivering that mail, it can delay the arrival and departure of the mail, by plane and ferry. However, it is not just the weather that can cause a delay, there have been occasions when there has been no room on the plane for the mail. At the present time we have three postmen and one relief postman. One of the postmen was on holiday when it came to a sunny day for the photograph – so to make up for this – there are two pictures of him – one at the airport and one at the pier.

in galleries – mouseover for titles – double click for larger pictures

As to your local. We have three surviving offices, with the sorting done at Scarinish. How well do you know your local post box, or the various others across the island. Try your hand at identifying them. The answers are at the end. You will have to turn your computer, tablet, or smart-phone upside down for the answers!
 Interestingly some post boxes have a foam insert at the opening for the letters. First thought -this was to keep any letters in the box dry. Reliable information is that the foam is present to stop birds nesting. Secondly Tiree must have the most letter boxes that are not in a true upright position. Thirdly we must have some of the most scenic boxes in the UK. Do you know which one of the 20 letter boxes they do not uplift the mail from?  Finally a Great Big Thank You to all who work in the offices and to those who deliver our mail.
Post Box Answers - Please Turn Computer Upside Down
Post Box Answers – Please Turn Computer Upside Down

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