It is the week of the Fèis. In 1990, the Fèis Thiriodh was established to foster and promote the language, culture and music of Tiree. Most of these traditions have been handed down through the medium of Gaelic and the language is used as much as possible. For those of us who have little or no Gaelic, there is much to learn about Tiree’s traditionl culture.
Iseabail Chaimbeul, a Tiree resident, reported – Another brilliant week at Fèis on Tiree, celebrating 30 years! Such brilliant tutors and an amazing committee working so hard to make it all happen. Móran taing dhuibh uile. Earlier in the week Feis Thiriodh youngsters and tutors Scott Wood and Mhairi Marwick Wood, performed for Tigh a’ Rudha Care Home.
The weekend witnesses another ‘Fèis’ – Fèis Chiùil Thiridh. In other words Tiree Music Festival. Over the weekend the island’s population more than doubles with the arrival of those attending the festival.
Due to the pandemic ’TMF’ had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021. This must have created all manner of problems for the organisers as both events had to be organised well in advance. There must be a sigh of relief that TMF 2022 is actually underway.
It has not been without its problems. Early in the week the festival organisers were informed by the company that was about to set up the Big Top that they would not be able to carry out the work due to a lack of specialist staff.
What a blow! However, at short notice they were able to borrow a Saddlespan Stage from Nevis Range in Fort William which has allowed them to continue the festival. Good News indeed.
With no Big Top TMF will be held completely outdoors and those attending the festival are advised to be aware of the weather and bring appropriate clothing.
The weather for much of the week has had a major impact on flights to the island. Poor visibility resulted in the cancellation of flights on several days, even making it impossible for the air ambulance to land. On Friday morning the first flight was cancelled, but in the afternoon two flights were able to land.
CalMac, the ferry operator, has an amended timetable in place to facilitate the arrival and departure of festival goers and the vital commercial vehicles. Running Wednesday to Wednesday there is an additional sailing on most days.
The first wave of the invasion was on Thursday evening, with the arrival of the ‘MV Clansman’ with around 550 passengers on board, the majority of them being foot passengers. It seemed so appropriate that the Skipper on these crossings is from the Isle of Tiree. Working closely with the captain and crew of the ferry, the pier team safely brought vehicles and fort passengers ashore.
First of all the vehicles and their passengers came ashore, followed by the foot passengers. The majority of the foot passengers came off via the car deck, with some descending the gangway. No one was allowed to make their way up the pier until the car deck had been cleared.
At the head of the pier buses were ready and waiting to take foot passengers, to the site by An Talla at Crossapol. Much of their luggage was transported by van to be collected later at the site.
Just over twelve hours later the second wave arrived. The ‘MV Clansman’ entered the bay out of the murk that hung over the island. From the stern of the ferry the sound of the bagpipes could be heard and as the vessel swung round to berth the piper could be seen as well as heard.
With more vehicles and foot passengers leaving the island, all the inbound foot passengers were brought off via the car deck, once it had been cleared of vehicles. Once again the pier team must be congratulated for the manner in which the arrival of almost 600 passengers was managed.
The Tiree Music Festival Website paints an idyllic picture of ‘Life on Tiree’ – Think picture-perfect white sands. World-famous surf. Deserted roads lined with lush greenery and wild flowers. Not forgetting more sunshine than practically anywhere else in the UK. It’s little wonder that the tiny Hebridean island of Tiree is nicknamed the ‘Hawaii of the North’.
The sand is white and the surf is world famous, but when over a thousand festival goers descend on the island the roads are no longer deserted. As for sunshine, this year it has deserted the West Coast of Scotland, including the Isle of Tiree. As the festival goers made their way onto the island you could see the shock on some of their faces as they encountered the mist and drizzle. Some were decidedly under dressed for the weather.
At least the forecast does not include high winds and by Sunday there might even be some sunshine. It may even be out for the Sunday Service led by Celtic Worship from the Saddlespan Stage with Church on Tiree involved in the gathering. The band, Celtic Worship, is a collective of some of Scotland’s most talented folk musicians who approach worship from a unique standpoint, blending traditional and contemporary Christian music with the sounds of their native roots.
This is ‘Life on Tiree’Read more "Fèis Week"