Keeping in touch with family and friends on the Mainland makes us appreciate our life on Tiree. We value their concern as they ask, “How are you? Or say ‘Keep Safe.” A common misunderstanding is that our remoteness somehow means that the island’s residents will be untouched by the virus. However, we have been informed by the doctors that there are already a number of unconfirmed cases on the island.
Before the current crisis we already knew that the island had an excellent Medical Practice – in no small measure down to the doctor who had served on the island for thirty years and to all the staff in the practice. Although the doctor retired the tradition of excellent care has continued to this day as is so evident in the present circumstances.
The Medical Practice in co-operation with others on the island have been pro-active in all kinds of ways including turning the Baptist Church premises in Baugh into a hospital ward, yet with the desire that it will not be needed. Provision has been for those who ought not to visit the Co-Op or Bùth a’ Bhaile or collect their prescriptions. Work is also well underway to establish a food bank.
Thankfully our daily exercise involving social distancing is not a problem on the island.
Essential supplies continue to reach the island on the now limited ferry service and the mail continues to arrive by plane.
In the Scottish Parliament’s daily briefing it was announced that provision was in place for the emergency evacuation of patients’ from island communities. Sealed isolation pods will be used by the ambulance service in Scotland to safely airlift Covid-19 patients. The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) said so far eight shuttles have been bought at a total cost of more than £500,000. A de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter (G-SGTS), which will be based at Glasgow Airport (GLA/EGPF), has already been converted to use EPi Guards’ EPiShuttle Isolation Pods. Engineers are also working on converting a Saab 340 which will be capable of covering all the Scottish Highlands and Islands, with the exception of Barra – and as you will see below – the island of Coll..
Loganair’s Chief Executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The team effort to make this happen, moving from a concept to an operational solution in just a week, has been absolutely incredible. Between the SAS and Loganair teams, the concept, testing and training has all taken place and we’re also grateful for the support from the Civil Aviation Authority in progressing this project.
“Although the circumstances under which all of this work has been undertaken are ones that we’d never have wished to see, I’m heartened that the effort which has gone into this is truly admirable. We will support the Scottish Ambulance Service, the NHS and the island communities who rely on Loganair for their lifeline air services if and when our assistance is needed.”
For copyright reasons you find a Link to photographs here.
Tiree’s near neighbour the Island of Coll faces different challenges. In a recent BBC report former Scottish rugby captain Rob Wainwright said, “This is a great place to be if you don’t have Covid-19 – but it’s not a good place to be if you have a bad case of it,”- adding, “if there is an acute case of Covid-19 we don’t have a route to take them out.” Just one thought, ‘Perhaps a lifeboat might adapted to cary out this emergency evacuation?’
This evening, it being Thursday, we have the opportunity to share our appreciation by clapping our hands at our doors. Here on Tiree the island’s pipers will no doubt be there playing Scotland the Brave. On Tiree there are just so many people to thank.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’.
CALMAC STATUS For Friday 3rd April
Due to the cancellation of Thursday’s sailing
there will be an additional service on this route as follows;
Depart Oban – 10:15
Arrive Coll – 13:10 -Depart Coll – 13:25
Arrive Tiree – 14:25- Depart Tiree – 14:55
Arrive Coll – 15:55 -Depart Coll – 16:10
Arrive Oban – 19:05
Saturday 4th April
Due to adverse forecast this service may be liable to disruption at short notice.
There may only be one stop at Coll.
An update will be provided tomorrow, Friday 3rd April