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Meet the real Isle of Tiree

Gott Bay - Isle of Tiree

The Isle of Tiree is a small island in the southern part of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

It has a long and fascinating history – and an equally fascinating present!

Tiree is often described in breathless terms as “hidden gem” or “secret island”. That’s lovely, but the reality is that far from being a remote, wild destination, Tiree has been home to communities stretching back through the millennia. The island was the very centre of their world.

Remote is as remote does. The Isle of Tiree is the centre of my world and that of its 650 permanent residents (opinions on numbers differ. Let’s see what the census says next year.)

Tiree facts and figures

You will hear stats about wind, and sun – and yes, Tiree is one of the the windiest and sunniest places in the UK.

Lots gets written about beaches and surfing and windsurfing.

Lapwing and Otters and Spotted Orchids and Great Yellow Bumble Bees are covered in detail.

A busy community

But there are a few things you are far less likely to hear. For example, the working population of Tiree (not forgetting the many many volunteers) run;

  • A 2-18 school
  • GP surgery and Dental surgery
  • Fire service and Ambulance
  • Airport and Pier
  • Fishing harbour and Moorings
  • Garages
  • Bank, Post offices and Co-op
  • Coast Guard
  • Development Trust
  • Community Broadband
  • Community Wind turbine
  • An entire Music Festival
  • and are soon to add a fuel station and community garden to the list.

That’s before we get to the dozens of small businesses, the many incredible musicians and the thousands of lambs and hundreds of calves raised every year. No wonder we may look tired sometimes, or be in a bit of a rush on the road!

Future questions

On the less positive front, all of that is made harder because;

  • Tiree boasts an eye-watering stat of approximately 40% second-home ownership.
  • It has an ageing population and the indigenous Gaelic language is on its knees.
  • Long term rental accommodation is almost impossible to find.
  • House prices are so inflated that many folk living and working here cannot afford to buy.

That’s not to put you off coming – not at all! Tiree is an incredible place, full of history and stories, music and nature, with stunning beaches and beautiful vistas. There is no doubt about that. Please come and visit!

But when you do visit, come to discover the community and the businesses, the people and music and history as well as the waves and the views. We want to make sure that there is still a thriving resident community here for generations to come.

If you are looking for Tiree businesses to support before, during, or after your visit – have a look at the Isle of Tiree on the isle20.com shopping site. It is chock full of brilliant shops, gifts and products.

Isle of Tiree Accommodation

When you are looking for accommodation, the new isleHoliday.com website is a good place to start. It was set up to try and re-balance the scales of second home ownership and short term letting and is in the very early stages.

Much of the Tiree accommodation available in the Summer is owned by people who do not live here. That means that a large part of the revenue from short term lets leaves the island. Please visit, and please enjoy the places you book, but if you can I would ask you to consider seeing if something is available on isleholiday.com before looking on Airbnb!

isleHoliday lists holiday accommodation that you can book across the Scottish islands and the commission goes back into the Isle Develop CIC social enterprise and ALL surplus is reinvested in the islands – specifically to support small businesses and affordable housing projects.

For bonus points, if the house you end up staying in is NOT listed on isleHoliday, please suggest that it is 😉

If you’re still reading, and have got past my preaching, congratulations! As a reward, I’ve taken some of the most asked questions on Google about the Isle of Tiree, and answered them for you – I hope it’s helpful!

Is Tiree the sunniest place in the UK?

It is one of them! The stats vary from year to year.

What is Tiree known for?

Wind, windsurfing, the shipping forecast, and a good beef cow.

Is Tiree a secret destination?

No. It’s really not. It’s actually quite busy!

Do you need a car in Tiree?

Unless you enjoy cycling in a 40mph headwind, a car is advisable. We have 2 car hire companies available if you fly in.

Can I visit Tiree?

Yes, you can visit Tiree. Please do!

Can I buy Tiree wool?

Great question! I sell wool – you can buy it right here at The Angry Triangle.

Who owns the island of Tiree?

Tiree is still in Feudal ownership. The Duke of Argyll owns the island. The family are Campbells. I am a MacDonald. We will leave that there.

Does Tiree have a cash machine?

No. But you can get cash back in the Co-op, and Buth a’ Bhaile and the Post Office will let you withdraw cash.

Do Cattle grids bite?

Cattle grids do not bite. Please drive over them at the same speed as the tarmac, or the person behind you might bite.

Does Tiree have a mobile signal?

Generally, yes. Until it doesn’t. It usually returns eventually.

What is the wind turbine called?

She is called Tilley. I named the Peppermint and Nettle Infusion after her.

Where can I find out more about visiting Tiree?

I recommend the excellent, community run website isleoftiree.com. It is full of useful information, including all the necessary facts about travel, campervans, camping and more that you need to know before you visit Tiree.

2 thoughts on “Meet the real Isle of Tiree

  1. Marvellous and honest summary of all that is wonderful about Tiree. Including the 40mph wind.

    1. You are very kind!

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