Thank you for time earlier to discuss Clansman redocking plans.
As previously publicised MV Clansman needs to return to dry dock for a permanent repair to its propulsion system.
This has now been scheduled for June 1 with her returning to service on June 12.
The vessel will be taken out of service to have a new propeller shaft fitted and these dates were seen as the best option, as work would be completed ahead of the main summer season.
We realise the impact that her absence will again have on your community and apologise for this, however this is an essential piece of work that we wanted to schedule in before the summer season fully started.
We are putting in place temporary arrangements that will see all lifeline services maintained. The temporary arrangements will see an amended service operating on the Mallaig-Armadale route and suspension of the Mallaig-Lochboisdale route.
Customers seeking to travel on the Mallaig-Lochboisdale service will be directed to Oban-Castlebay or Uig-Lochmaddy services. We have organised extra sailings on the Barra to Eriskay route enabling passengers to travel to South Uist via Oban-Castlebay on the same day. The MV Loch Bhrusda will also be deployed on the Skye route to provide additional sailings for the duration of this maintenance period.
We appreciate that this disruption will also impact on communities on Coll, Tiree and Colonsay, as they will be served by the MV Lord of the Isles for the duration with its smaller capacity.
We again apologise for the inconvenience this will cause, but hope you understand that this work is unavoidable and appreciate the difficult fleet management decisions forced upon us by the vessel’s absence.
A full scheduled timetable will run again from June 13.
Head of Service Delivery North
Calmac Ferries Ltd
Your email of 19 April to Finlay MacRae highlighting the concerns of the local community about the impact of the delayed return to service of MV Clansman has been passed to me. My apologies for the delay in replying.
I want to stress at the outset that we deeply regret the inconvenience caused by the disruption due to the implementation of the temporary timetable and can assure you that a great deal of thought and planning went into ensuring that all of our island communities continued to have a scheduled service while we worked through the problem.
The current situation is one of the most complex with which we have had to deal in recent times, and it has been a significant challenge to manage. In addition, the MV Clansman’s technical problems have been changing during the period that she has been in refit meaning that information given openly, in good faith, at different times, has unavoidably changed.
You will have seen the communications that we have been issuing this week and I hope that these address the issues you have raised.
Regarding relief vessels, our brokers have been continually scouring the market for additional vessels suitable for operation on our challenging West Coast routes. We have assessed a number of vessels over the last 12 months but as yet none have been identified. We will continue the search.
Finally, I would categorically refute the claim that we have a ’could not care less’ attitude. A great many people across the company are working very hard to minimise the disruption and part of that is doing the best we can in communicating with customers honestly and timeously about the situation as its unfolds. We care deeply about our customers and communities of which we are an integral part.
In the meantime we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and can give you assurance that we are doing everything we can to return MV Clansman to service. We are currently on track to have the normal service resumed by 23 May and we will continue to issue updates on our website until we reach that point.
Lr, CalMac Ferries Ltd
Executive Director, David MacBrayne Ltd
01475 650241 / 07766 021415
The vital election for the next Community Council is on 26 April; nominations for the eight places up for grabs have to be in by 22 March. The age limit for councillors is now 16. As most of the current councillors are standing down, we need a good number of new people to stand. It is hard work at times, and you need to be quite thick-skinned. But it can be incredibly satisfying. If more than eight stand, there will be an election, an uncomfortable thing in a small community, but it does make the Council stronger. If less than four people stand, the Council will no longer exist.
The latest version of Tiree Community Council has been operating since September 2014, following an initiative by John MacCaskill. As our four-year-long tour of duty winds down, and with elections for a new Council due, I thought this would be a good opportunity to look back at what we have achieved. I think it is quite a lot: a second daily flight to Glasgow; a second Saturday sailing from Oban in the summer; keeping the Oban flights; making sure Tiree got the fire-optic cable when the project was under threat; getting cover for the Tiree policeman when he is away; clearing several abandoned trailers; and setting up a Tiree Flag Competition. Possibly more important is the fact that the Council has fought hard to get the island’s voice heard loud and clear – all the way from Scottish Government ministers to Argyll and Bute Council officials.
Fourteen people have served on the Council at various times: Dr John Holliday (convenor), John MacCaskill (vice-convenor), Alison Kennedy and Ian Gillies (secretaries), Rosemary Omand (treasurer), Donnie Campbell, Jessie Gray, Angus John MacKechnie, Frazer MacInnes, Rhoda Meek, Aisling Milne and Paul le Roux, with Iona Campbell and Calen MacNeil coopted as youth representatives. All these people truly deserve our thanks. We have met in public once a month, with breaks at New Year and in July.
The Tiree Trust has financially supported the Council, to help with basic things like travel and our email system; Trust employees Shari MacKinnon and Louise Reid have taken our minutes. We thank them for that fundamental support. We set up a website and Facebook. We developed a Planning and Complaints procedure. We met the Islands and Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, both in the Edinburgh Parliament and on Tiree; Coll Community Council three times; Michael Russell MSP several times, as well as Rhoda Grant and Jean Urquhart MSPs; Councillors Roddy McCuish and Jamie McGrigor; and Sally Loudon, the Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute. We held several meetings with the Tiree Trust and took part in the Charrette process. We have run Tiree Transport Forum as a sub-committee of the Council. We invited Jim Smith, the Council head of Amenities and Roads; the head teacher; the local manager of Scottish and Southern Energy; the ranger Stephanie Cope; and Dr Felicity Brand to talk to public meetings.
We have tackled the following issues, with varying degrees of success:
- Abandoned trailers in Crossapol and Gott: we lobbied for their removal, being (eventually) successful
- Phone boxes: we first lobbied for these to be repaired, and then we set up a project to buy them all except one, and renovate them for a variety of uses. This project continues
- Mobile phone coverage: we lobbied Vodafone to improve their service after a poor spell
- Pier: we lobbied CMAL and CalMac to ease parking pressure at the pier, caused by insufficient markings and management at the pier car park. We have been involved in plans for the new pier head
- Ferry timetable: we lobbied for an improved ferry timetable, notably succeeding to get the second sailing on a Saturday afternoon in summer. We lobbied for better facilities for disabled passengers on the ferry
- Withdrawal of Hebridean Air Services: we acted quickly to lobby against Argyll and Bute Council withdrawing their support for this service
- Glasgow flights: we lobbied successfully to get an evening flight incorporated into the timetable
- Airport security: we lobbied unsuccessfully against the removal of this, with all the knock-on effects on travel
- Roads: we fought hard to get passing places signed, cattle traps drained, and excess grit removed. All we achieved was a handful of passing place signs
- Scarinish harbour sewage: we lobbied successfully to stop raw sewage leaking into the harbour
- Council Cuts: we negotiated with Argyll and Bute Council and Tiree Community Business to prevent the loss of the Tiree Service Point
- Litter around the Tank Farm: we lobbied to get old fencing and an electrical box tidied away from a corner of Pier View
- Pier View: we lobbied Highlands and Islands Enterprise after they awarded an area of land at Pier View to MacLeod Construction rather than to community groups
- Toilets: we have an ongoing request with Argyll and Bute to investigate the possibility of a community buy-out of the Scarinish public toilets
- Beach Hut: we conducted a poll of islanders about the controversial planning application to build a hut on Balevullin beach, and presented this to the Planning Committee
- Dr Buchanan’s Monument: we spent time attempting to organise repair of this damaged landmark, but eventually handed the project over to the Trust
- EE mast: we lobbied successfully for EE to include commercial 4G services on the new Garraphail emergency services mast
- Responded to the crofting grants housing consultation, resulting in a substantial increase in grant aid for new croft houses
- Responded fully to the Islands Bill consultation, now making its way through parliament.
- Ran a number of online public surveys to gain an understanding of the public’s wishes on air and sea transportation matters
- Remembrance Day: we have taken over organising this service. We have lobbied to get the railings about the War Memorial replaced. This is about to happen
- Tiree Flag Competition: the competition for this will run in April
- Rubbish: we lobbied without success for the re-instatement of the bins outside the Gott dump
- Fibre-optic cable: we lobbied for this project to be saved after the Clyde fishermen had complained about the Mull-Tiree cable
- Chapel of Rest: we set up a study to look into this. We passed the project over to the Trust, which decided not to proceed
- The Mayor of Vancouver: we wrote to the present Mayor of Vancouver about a celebration of the first Mayor of Vancouver, Malcolm MacLean of Tiree
- School Library: we lobbied hard against this closure, and then in favour of a public library for the island
- Bank: we lobbied for an ATM “hole-in-the-wall” machine without success, and have expressed concern about recent unscheduled bank closures
- Police cover: we met Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren, who agreed with our request to provide cover for the Tiree policeman when he goes off the island
- Kilkenneth Chapel: we successfully lobbied Historic Environment to re-fence the chapel at Kilkenneth
- Tiree and Coll Councillor: we lobbied Humza Yousaf for a return of our own dedicated Tiree and Coll District Councillor. Coll, however, are less keen on the idea
- New GP contract and NHS24: we lobbied the Cabinet Secretary for Health about the harm the new contract will do to the Baugh surgery, and have written to the Health and Social Care Partnership about the imposition of NHS24 on the practice. We are still waiting for a reply
Nomination forms for the next community council can be obtained from Rona at the Service Point in Crossapol or from the website www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/elections. If you have any problems, phone 01546 604331/4401. You need to be 16 years or older (although some parts of the form mistakenly say 18), and be on the Tiree Electoral Register. You also have to be proposed and seconded by people also on the Register. You can submit the form to Rona or to the Returning Officer, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, PA31 8RT.
Good luck! Tiree really needs a strong Community Council.
Dr John Holliday
Tiree, the outermost of the Inner Hebrides, is to have its own flag, its Community Council announced today.
Flags are increasingly seen as a good way to bring communities together, to raise pride in where people come from, and to show the world what they stand for. In this, Tiree is seeking to join a select, but rapidly growing, movement in Scotland of communities that have designed their own flags, communities such as Shetland in 2005, Orkney in 2007, and Caithness, South Uist, Barra, Kirkcudbrightshire, the town of Denny and Dunipace in Stirlingshire, and Sutherland over the last two years.
This project is being organised by Tiree Community Council, the idea for a flag having been overwhelmingly backed by a public vote last year.
The competition, Co-fharpais Bratach Thiriodh, officially opens on April 2nd and runs until May 1st. The competition is open to everyone, on and off the island. The two joint winners of the design for the flag for Denny and Dunnipace were Spanish and Brazilian. Tiree has a huge worldwide diaspora numbering hundreds of thousands following the emigration of a quarter of the island’s population in the nineteenth century, and the committee hopes to attract entries from Tiree heartlands in countries such as Canada and New Zealand. People can also enter more than one idea. Designs can be submitted digitally. But entries can be as simple as a doodle on a piece of paper – Orkney’s flag was designed by a local postman, Duncan Tullock, who sketched his initial idea over a couple of hours using his granddaughter’s crayons.
Children are particularly good at competitions like this: the winner of the Black Country flag competition in the English Midlands was just twelve. Philip Tibbetts, the Communities Vexillologist at London’s Flag Institute, has visited the island several times, to hold classes on good flag design.
There should be no shortage of inspiration for a flag design. Dr John Holliday, the Convenor of the island’s Community Council and retired GP said: “Tiree has such a distinctive signature, from its rich summer carpet of white, yellow and purple machair flowers, its corncrakes, its dazzling, white shell sand beaches, its leaping windsurfers, the unique outline of its thatched houses, and the recent success of its bands such as Skipinnish, Skerryvore and Trail West: plenty for designers to get their teeth into.”
All the details of the Tiree Flag Competition are on the competition website, at http://tireeflag.com. Entries will be judged by a panel including the Lord Lyon, Scotland’s highest flag authority, along with the committee of local people who have organised the competition. The designs of the six finalists will be flown at the Tiree Agricultural Show on July 20th, where those attending will get a chance to have their say. There will also be a chance to vote online and by post. The winning design will then be submitted to the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh for registration.
The flag competition has been funded by the Tiree Trust, using money from the community wind turbine, which has generated £1.5 million for local projects over the last eight years.
Philip Tibbetts said: “It is wonderful to see another community develop their own flag. This will give Tiree a symbol for the people, grow awareness externally and help preserve part of the rich fabric of the nation. I have enjoyed my time working on the island and have seen at first hand the island’s rich history. As such I can’t wait to see the ideas that will come in for the Sunshine Isle.” Lachie Brown, a member of the committee, said: “Cumaibh suas air bratach! [Encourage the flag!]” Ian Gillies, another member of the flag committee, said: “As someone who regularly flies a flag, I feel that a flag says a lot about the land – in our case island – and the people that the flag represents. A strong identity and purpose is important for every community, and while in itself a flag can not wholly provide this, it does its part to bring any community together.”
Dr John Holliday, Balephuil, Isle of Tiree, PA77 6UE | 01879 220385 | 07786 296475 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Gillies 01879 220133 | email@example.com
Lachie Brown 01879 220686 | firstname.lastname@example.org (Gaelic interview)
Iain MacKinnon 01879 220541 | email@example.com (Gaelic interview)
Full details on the website http://tireeflag.com.
An Update from EE
‘We are in the process of getting the backhaul delivered to the site at Scarinish. As the second site south of Kilmaluaig will link into Scarinish by microwave backhaul, that too cannot go online until the Scarinish site is up and running. Looking at timelines for similar processes at other sites, I would expect we can start turning on the 4G in April, or shortly after’
Amended Availability of Glasgow to Tiree Flights – Summer 2018 and Winter 2018/19
Following a meeting of the Tiree Transport Forum (TTF) on Thursday 08th February 2018 with Michael Bratcher (Head of Aviation, Transport Scotland) and Johnathan Hinckles (CEO, Loganair), it was clear from discussions that there was limited funding available from Transport Scotland to support any requests from the Tiree Community for additional flights on the Glasgow to Tiree route over the Summer 2018, including any additional flights (over and above standard flight scheduling) in support of key island events such as the Tiree Music Festival, Tiree 10k / Half Marathon and the Tiree Ultra.
Following agreement with the TTF and Loganair, Mr. Bratcher was however in a position to offer the introduction of a ‘Banked System’ of flights on the Glasgow to Tiree air-service to be trialled over the Summer 2018 Timetable and the Winter Timetable 2018/19 where there shall be an increase of 20 flights to the Summer 2018 Timetable, offset by a drop of 20 flights to the Winter 2018/19 Timetable, introducing a ‘cost neutral’ system to the current Public Service Obligation (PSO) to better support, in particular, the summertime air travel demands to/from Tiree.
This shall result in the following changes to the Summer 2018 Timetable:-
- An additional third flight from Glasgow to Tiree on Saturdays (late morning) using the Twin Otter aircraft from Saturday 30th June 2018 till Saturday 01st September 2018;
- Three additional Glasgow to Tiree Twin Otter flights over the Tiree 10k / Half Marathon Weekend – 05th May 2018 (as provided for last year’s event);
- Four additional Glasgow to Tiree Twin Otter flights over the Tiree Music Festival Weekend – 13th to 15th July 2018 (as provided for last year’s event);
- Three additional Glasgow to Tiree Twin Otter flights over the Tiree Ultra Marathon Weekend – 09th September 2018 (as provided for last year’s event).
**Note – These additional flights should be available on the Loganair Website from late February
The following changes shall then be applicable to the Winter 2018/19 Timetable:-
- Reduction of Winter Saturday Glasgow to Tiree flights from 02 to 01 commencing from Saturday 28th October 2018 to Saturday 16th December 2018 – Late morning flights expected but yet to be confirmed by Loganair;
- Reduction of Winter Saturday Glasgow flights from 02 to 01 commencing from Saturday 05th January 2019 to Saturday 23rd March 2019 – Late morning flights expected but yet to be confirmed by Loganair.
As previously stated, the above amended Glasgow to Tiree air-service timetables are a trial over the Summer 2018 and Winter 2018/19, if any air travellers are unhappy with the amended timetables please contact me directly on the following email address and your comments shall be reviewed as part of the air-service timetabling review next February.
Chair – Tiree Transport Forum