The Isle of Tiree could well be called the ‘Friendly Island’. In July when the TMF (Tiree Music Festival) site had to be evacuated in the face of high winds, the community came together providing transport and accommodation, some in island homes. The welcome is extended to those who visit the island whether staying in holiday lets, or through Experience Tiree a weekly excursion with CalMac in association with Kennedy Coaches and the Scarinish Hotel. Some come to walk or cycle, but many more come to surf, and the same welcome is afforded to all. The ‘Tiree Wave’ is so characteristic of the ‘Friendly Isle’.
The sense of community finds many expressions. Last night the ‘Over Sixties’ were treated to Christmas Dinner in An Talla – the Community Hall. Organised by the Parties and Hall Committees, it was a fun filled evening, including a side-splitting production of ‘Moo’ by Tiree’s very own West End Players and a visit from the Big Man himself, Santa Claus. With responsibilities the following day we left before we turned into pumpkins. Sorry to be leaving such a great evening, but appreciative of the thoughtfulness, kindness and hard work of so many. Apparently some guests did not make it home until the early hours of Sunday morning.
Earlier in the week, when the wind was gusting to 60mph and there were frequent sharp hail showers, the Tiree Community Council held a public meeting in An Talla. It was a reminder of how appropriate the title of a past BBC production is – “Islands on the Edge”. The Hebridean Islands are islands on the Edge of Europe. Tiree, although a great place to live – and with a real sense of community – is ‘an island on the edge’. With a dramatic drop in population in the past ten years it is a fragile community. The overall decision of the meeting was that what TIREE needs most is investment and not cuts or so called ‘savings’. If cuts/savings have an impact on lives on the Mainland they have a massive and devastating effect on island communities, especially on those already ‘on the edge’. Thankfully we have councillors who are prepared to serve and work hard on behalf of the community.