One of the many joys of life on Tiree is meeting new people. This is particularly true of our involvement in Tiree Baptist Church. Visitors to Tiree often swell the numbers attending the Sunday Gathering at An Talla, the island’s community hall. It is also true of ‘Coffee Pot’ held every other Thursday at the church’s premises at Baugh.
While we value meeting new people, some residents find it irritating when some visiting drivers are not aware of the rules and customs relating to driving on single track roads. The edges of Tiree’s roads have many dangers lying in wait for the unwary and this is one reason cyclists are asked to dismount and give way to motor vehicles. It has to be borne in mind that walkers and pedestrians will often not hear the approach of cars due to the effect of the wind.
Although in the summer our single track roads can feel busy it is amazing how the island can swallow up all the vehicles that roll off the ferry.
On Thursday, we decided to go for a walk with our son along Tràigh Thòrasdail, a beach that is known popularly and the Maze. The latter is is a recent name given ‘by windsurfers to one of their favourite beaches and may refer to the windy track leading down to it’.
When you are down on the beach you feel far away from everything and everyone. Although you can still catch a glimpse of the Radar Station on Ben Hynish, popularly referred to as the ‘Golf Ball’, for most of the walk no houses are to be seen. One visitor described it to us a ‘wilderness area’.
The Maze lies between Greenhill and Hough. There are various access points but for convenience we parked at the official car park at Greenhill.
From the car park we dropped down onto the track leading to the Maze. The occasional 4×4 or tractor can access the beach by way of a ford. For walkers someone had kindly placed a plank across the burn so we crossed over dry shod.
The first thing to strike us was the presence of a large volume of tangles, indicative of past stormy weather. However we soon stepped onto a vast expanse of pristine sand.
There were one or two people on the beach, a couple with a dog for company, two ladies pushing cycles and perhaps, one other couple away in the distance. We jokingly remarked that it was busy! No doubt in about two weeks time there will be a slight disturbance when over 200 hundred runners cross the beach on their way round the island in the gruelling Tiree Ultra Marathon.
At one point in the walk, for those who have eyes to see them, the beach is broken up by some stunning rock formations. One particular collection reminds us of the bones of a dinosaur. Do take note that when the tide is high you might have to take a detour via the dunes above the rocks
The Atlantic Roar might have been muted as the waves rolled in, but they still made their presence known.
Reaching the end of the beach we decided to walk up in the direction of Hough. We were in bee country as we walked through the Machair. The song by Moira Kerr accurately states, ‘There are so many wild and pretty flowers, To try to name them all would take for hours.’
In this wilderness area we were with the birds and the bess.
There was something special about the view as we came through the passage in the dunes that brought us back to the beach. Sky, sand and sea combined to enthralled us.
The sky was most interesting. There were areas of blue sky, particularly over Tiree, but there were also clouds that added a touch of drama.
This is “life on Tiree’ enjoying the opportunity to make new friends, for many visitors come back year after year. Yet, at the same time there is also the opportunity to walk in ‘wilderness’ conditions, far away from the maddening crowd.
Just some of the birds we encountered on our wilderness wandering.
This is ‘Life on Tiree