It is Easter Monday and this morning and we woke up to what has turned out to be a day of bright warm (warm for Tiree) sunshine. We had an important community appointment at Crossapol at 11:30. At 12:00 noon there was to be a ‘Tractor Run’ starting from Bùth a’ Bhaile – the local independent General Store and Post Office.
The organiser of the event, Donald MacArthur, said, “Och ! Does this not make you proud to belong to Tiree.” There was a great turnout, at least 25 vehicles, primarily tractors (including a haulage tractor) and some pickups.
Donald added, “Could I just say a big ‘Thank You’ to all the Tiree farmers and crofters who came out to complete the course today, in what is, I know, their busiest time of the year.” It is lambing time. Included in his thanks was the Tiree Ranger who also completed the course in her van.
Donald from the crofting township of Middleton came up with the idea and then went on to organise the event to raise funds for Tiree Medical Practice in the fight against Coronavirus on the Isle of Tiree.
Here on Tiree, we may be a four hour ferry journey from the Mainland port of Oban but we are well aware of the devastating impact the virus is having on so many people and families. There are unconfirmed cases on the island.
Like their colleagues on the Mainland, the doctors, nurses, carers and those who work in Taigh a’ Rudha Eventide Home, all face challenging conditions. Like their Mainland colleagues they too need PPE – personal, protective equipment.
We do appreciate the doctors and the whole caring team for they have been ahead of the game. From the beginning they put protective measures in place and have continued to be vigilant, willing to adapt as the situation has developed. A great big thanks!
On the news today it was said that volunteers in Scotland were now being put in place to deliver prescriptions and shopping to the most vulnerable. Through TAIC (Tiree Volunteer Action in the Community) these measures have been in place for several weeks on the island. Around lunch time yesterday there was a knock on the door, the person retreated, there was a wave from a rather large Easter bunny and the next thing an Easter egg was laid on the doorstep. Later in the day another bunny arrived, not in costume, and left behind a bag of easter goodies including tulips and chocolate eggs.
Just before noon a lone piper struck up in Crossapol.
How appropriate for an island famed for its musical tradition.
The Tractor Run left Bùth a’ Bhaile almost on the dot and headed east.
It must have been Mainland time as opposed to Tiree time.
The route took the ‘Tractor Run’ across the Reef and on to Baugh. There the tractors and other vehicles stopped in a field in front of Tiree Medical Practice. Once again the piper played and the sound of his pipes carried across the field from which we were socially distancing. How thoughtful that the ‘Run’ should stop right there.
From the Medical Practice the route continued through Baugh and Heanish. Another Tiree tradition was in play. All round the route the tractors took flags were flying. Well. At least they were on the flag poles. The lack of wind in most locations meant they were hanging limp.
People were out cheering in several places. One Tiree resident commented. “Great display of Tiree crofters and hauliers showing their support for the fabulous Tiree NHS -well done folks. Feel free to donate – every little helps.”
From Heanish it was on to Scarinish and almost at once they passed the Eventide Home. Then they passed the Co-Op where some of the staff were outside waving cheering. They too are working on the frontline. Rightly so Tiree residents are being reminded of the need to not only protect themselves but also the workers by maintaining social distancing in and around the shop. The manger ‘Andy’ was outside with two members of staff – I indicated for them to stand closer for a photograph, before being reminded they were social distancing!!
In the township of Scarinish the procession passed the ‘Post Office Sorting Office’. Here are another group of key workers who serve the community.
Just next to the Sorting Office is the Fire Station and Police Station – key workers in the community. Included in their number must surely be the Coastguard – for we are island.
From there the procession proceeded down ‘Pier Road and past Pier View (Tank Farm) where many of the residents were out cheering. It was quite something to hear the tractors etc responding by blowing their horns.
At the pier the whole procession turned round to continue on their way. Yet another reminder that those who work at the pier and the airport are key workers. Sadly sometimes they are not appreciated as they should be.
At the head of Pier Road the route continued eastward with Gott Bay to their right. It was bathed in sunshine and naturally the water was so blue. At the ‘Pink House’ (Tulymet) the route took them on towards Balephetrish and up Kenovay.
Before returning to Crossapol they passed the airport. What a great day, for a great event, for a great cause. Another comment from someone on the island, “Very proud … we have a very special community” For some it proved to be quite emotional. Farmers and crofters are athemselves key workers – without them there would be no food on our plates.
As ‘Life on Tiree’ went to post the figure raised stood at £4,830. You can DONATE by following this LINK.
Below a video of the event featuring so much more of this great occasion.