Friday 10 February 2012

Top 10 best British islands: No. 10 - Tiree

Tiree, Inner Hebrides, Scotland

We had never heard of Tiree before we began our project. It looked tantalising on the map – being the most westerly island of the Inner Hebrides, it gives the impression of drifting away from the archipelago towards the Outer Hebrides.

The CalMac ferry took us from Oban, through the Sound of Mull to Coll, where we stayed for a week before continuing the short journey to neighbouring Tiree. From the ferry, the island appeared to float like a thin disc on the sea. Due to its incredible flatness most of the island barely rises above sea level. Standing on the enormous, never-ending beach at Gott Bay it's hard to believe the island even exists – there seems to be no room left between the sea and the sky for the land to fit. Adding to its magical feel, a ring of sandy beaches encompass the entire island. Inland, almost every inch is divided up into neat, green rectangles of crofting land, then scattered with sheep. The people speak Gaelic, their traditional culture is strong, and it goes without saying how friendly and welcoming everyone is.

We knew nothing of Tiree, but now that we've visited, the island seems just as imaginary – a fictional island from a children's book, too good to be true.

Tiree is in the Top 10... for its awe-inspiring collision of sand, sea and sky.


Hoe said...

I have never heard of this island too. It looks real pristine, unspoiled by tourists.

TC + DC said...

Exactly, it is pristine but that's not to say it's not popular. When we arrived the ferry was full, but within 10 mins of landing the cars had dispersed and we would never have guessed how many tourists were on the island. There's room enough for all.

Unknown said...

I meant to visit Tiree in May last year but our tent took such a pounding in the storm force winds we experienced on Col that we had to abandon our plans.

Maybe we'll make it there this year.

TC + DC said...

Coll nearly finished us off too Gavin, and we weren't even camping! Tiree in the sun certainly helped to lift our spirits though. Nice and flat for cycling too.

Robert Craig said...

Never been to Tiree, it is on my list along with Eigg, Colonsay and Coll!

TC + DC said...

Nice list! What about Rum though Robert? Or have you done the other Small Isles already?