Please – Now Grateful

“Please can you come quickly the camera battery is flat.”
 “Where are you?”
“Near the pier but not too close!”
“OK.”
“Keeping my distance.”
“Be down soon.”

MV Lord of the Isles waiting to approach the linkspan

Yesterday the ferry was the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ and due to the low tide and the wind gusting from the SSE around 38mph she struggled to berth. 

Camera battery failed at the crucial time – mobile photograph

Today we have a visiting ferry the ‘MV Isle of Mull’ Her visits have been more frequent this year and she was a welcome visitor to the island today.  As she entered the bay the sun broke through the clouds and by the time she had berthed the sun was shining and has continued to do so.

MV Isle of Mull when ramp meets linkspan

What was not so pleasing was to see non-essential vehicles coming onto the island. Normally the island welcomes visitors.  Indeed much of the island’s economy is dependent on those who holiday on the island. However, an urgent request has been issued. Unless your visit is essential please stay away from the ferry or the plane. Please do not holiday at present on the island.

Foot Passengers boarding via the stern ramp

Please enjoy a virtual visit to the island. There are plenty photographs and videos of Tiree online. You can enjoy previous Tiree Music Festival Videos. You can listen to our  brilliant musicians and bands. You may have your favourite holiday reminders – look them out. By not travelling by ferry or plane you will help CalMac maintain our lifeline services. Crews will get infected by the virus but don’t be the possible cause. 

The MV Isle of Mull alone the pier

Please follow the Government and NHS guidelines and especially what our local doctors have to say about visiting the island. It is reproduced in full because it is so important. We appreciate so much our medical and care services, but they are working under extreme pressure.  The island is not virus free so even if you feel well please do not holiday on Tiree.

The MV Isle of Mull – The Bridge – the command centre

Life on Tiree will continue to post, health permitting, so that you can still enjoy the island – even if it has to be at a distance.

The bow ropes are released as the stern is swung out from the pier

As this post was in the making it was made public that all non essential travel to the islands is banned. It must bring a great sense of relief to so many on he West Coast of Scotland.

The MV Isle of Mull heading out to sea

MSP Michael Matteson’s tweet.

No sin of the Isle but the vessel is in sight

This is ‘Life on Tiree’.

Although superseded by events the urgent request is reproduced below.

For a hundred years Tiree has welcomed visitors and won worldwide fame for its sunshine, its beaches and its welcome. The season to visit the island is upon us and we would normally expect to see over 20,000 people before the end of the year.

However, the current coronavirus epidemic is a once-in-a-century event. The virus is already circulating on the island. We know from past experience that epidemics have a particularly intense effect on our small, isolated community, which in winter numbers just 650 and contains a high number of elderly people. We need your help to get through the next few months as safely as we can.

The doctors and emergency services on Tiree are now at full stretch and working in very difficult circumstances. An increased workload from a large number of visitors is going to increase the strain.

We are trying to keep contact between people down to a bare minimum. Almost all meetings, church services and group activities have been cancelled. We are encouraging people to shop responsibly: that means a single person shopping just once a week with as little social contact inside the shop as possible. Many vulnerable and elderly islanders have retreated into their homes, and, often, would like to keep visitors to a minimum.

We would ask you to think carefully about your visit to Tiree at the moment. It is not that we are worried about you bringing coronavirus to the island. There is plenty here already. But we need to be able to work without distraction on the challenges we face: treating people and reducing the penetration of the disease into the community.

When coronavirus is all over and we are able to party again, normal service will be resumed!

We are grateful for all your help and support.

Drs Mike McIver, Lindsay Kerr, Ali Ambrose, Andrew Clark, with Dr John Holliday and Tiree Community Council 20/03/2020