Claiming to be the sunniest place in Scotland, Tiree has numerous unspoilt beaches of white sand and azure seas in which to enjoy the best of the weather. The island offers something for all, with a huge range of plant and wildlife (almost 300 different bird species have been recorded). For the more active, it is the ideal place to kayak and windsurf – with expert instruction available for all levels from beginner up. Because of the uninterrupted Atlantic waves, Tiree is known as the “Hawaii of the north” and hosts the Tiree Wave Classic, a world renowned Surf championship, each year.
Getting to the island is either by ferry from Oban or flying from Glasgow, Oban or neighbouring Coll. The ferry terminal is at Gott Bay approximately ½ mile from the island’s principal village of Scarinish which has a hotel, Post Office and Supermarket. Although now home to fewer than 800 residents, in the early 19th Century some 4500 people lived there until ruthlessly removed by the island’s owner, the Duke of Argyll to make way for livestock during the highland Clearances. Crofting remains one of the island’s main industries although tourism now contributes much to the economy too.
The island is steeped in ancient history and at Vaul Bay where the remains of Dun Mor, a Pictish Broch built in the First Century AD, can be found. Originally 8-10 metres in height, a surprising amount of the ancient building remains. Not far from the broch is the “ringing stone” (Clach a’Choire) a large boulder deposited during the Ice Age which almost chimes when struck. It is covered in Bronze Age cup and ring marks.
In the far West of the Island is the Sandaig Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the Island’s social history. A Hynish, on the Southern tip of the island, the signal Tower Museum relates the incredible engineering feat in the building of Skerryvore Lighthouse – some 11 miles Southwest of Tiree.