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St. Edward's Centre looking good
The new St. Edward's Centre set in stunning
scenery on the
Isle of Canna
With the fit out taking place in September, The St.
Edward's Centre has undergone a remarkable transformation.The
scaffolding came down a short while later. Donald MacAskill,
National Trust for Scotland building inspector for the area,
described the work as "very impressive" after his
visit on 28th November and members of The Hebridean Trust working
team were delighted with the quality of the conversion job.
It is hoped that a warden will be installed early in the New
Year, well in time to prepare for summer visitors. The St
Edward's Centre will provide 12 additional visitor beds
as well as living and working facilities for students of Gaelic.
Canna has a unique resource in the John Lorne Campbell archive
collection. The Hebridean Trust is working with NTS to establish
a centre of learning on the island, which will help to stabilise
the island's falling population.
Retirement of James Dunsmure after seven years as executive
of The Hebridean Trust
July 11th was an opportunity for The Hebridean Trust to celebrate
the 7 years James Dunsmure served as Executive Director and
Secretary to the Trust. A dinner was held at St Edward's School,
Oxford and he was presented with a pair of prints depicting
Trust chairman, Michael Stanfield commented on James' years
as director, "We have seen an enormous increase in activity,"
he said, "our assets have almost tripled. We have carried
out 3 major building projects; The Barracks,
Morton Boyd House and ancillary buildings
and of course St Edward's, each project
having budgets approaching £1m each."
As well as administration, James has raised some many thousands
of pounds from grant making trusts. He set up our group of
volunteers to run the Sandaig Museum amongst whom he is both
liked and highly respected and variously know as James, Shamus
or just "The big man." James continues to take an
interest in the Hebridean Trust as a member of our advisory
Michael Stanfield left, with James Dunsmure
who retired as Executive Director at the end of September
The Hebridean Trust Council of Management:
Michael Stanfield (Chairman)
Professor Ian L Boyd (Director)
David Christie (Director)
Alan Smith (Director)
The Lilley family commemorates 70 years of Visits to Tiree.
On 4th August this year, Mrs. Sheila Lilley presented a
wonderful bench to Alan Stevenson House at The
Hynish Centre, Isle of Tiree. As you can see from the
photograph, it really is a remarkable crafted piece of furniture
and a fitting commemoration to a unique family experience
of Hynish. Back in November 1999 Mrs. Lilley wrote to James
Dunsmure describing the connections her family has with Hynish:
"We were really just a family who came to Tiree
all these years ago and fell in love with it. My father first
came to Tiree as a boy of twelve nearly seventy years ago;
he sailed up to Tiree from the River Clyde on a boat called
the "Cygnet". He loved Tiree as a boy and always
wanted to go back.
That was to be many years later after he and my mother married
and had four children. The Island held a sort of magic for
us and we just loved it, these were very happy years. That
was when my parents took the house at Upper
Square, Hynish. The whole family was completely captivated
by Hynish and we just felt that that's where we wanted to
be. It was beautiful.
Later we rented No. 3 Lower Square. There were only one or
two people left at the square and Mrs. Sutherland who lived
in the cottage that Monica now lives in, most of the people
had moved as the houses were in a very poor state. The square
itself was an eyesore and the outside of the building and
surrounding areas were very run down and neglected. There
was no electricity in the house; everything was Calor Gas,
which provided our lighting and cooking, we even had a Calor
gas iron, there was no toilet in the house only a chemical
toilet in the barn, all these things we took in our stride
and didn't bother us in the least. We were fortunate enough
to have running water in the house, not everyone did. Mrs.
Sutherland had no running water in the cottage; she got her
water from the well in the square.
It was many years later when my parents had the electricity
put in and a running toilet, that was only after the Electricity
and Water Boards brought their supply along to Hynish. It
was a working holiday for all of us when we arrived in Hynish,
my father put us all to work. He painted the whole building,
walls, windows, doors etc, he even managed to persuade the
factor into fitting new gutters and downpipes around the whole
house as most of them were non-existent. They had disappeared
over the years and the water had been pouring down the outside
walls of the building for years.
We made pathways and gardens and planted flowers everywhere,
my father fitted gates in the square. Everyone helped collect
pebbles from the shore, (with the help of Lachie MacArthur
and his tractor) to cover the paths. When finished it looked
lovely and really transformed the place completely.
We think the Trust has done an excellent job throughout Hynish,
its just lovely to see it. The Alan Stevenson
House is very nice and the Morton
Boyd House is just lovely. Its hard to believe that all
our children many, many years ago used to play in these old
buildings especially the old cowshed where the cows and chickens
were kept and is now the Morton Boyd House. What a transformation!
To date there have been five generations of our family who
have come to Tiree and will continue to come, as they all
have a tremendous feeling for Tiree, especially Hynish."
The presentation was a great success. Professor Ian Boyd,
expert on Hebridean ecology and member of the Trust council
of management since 1990 and Colonel James Dunsmure, executive
director since 1993, formally received the bench and the group
of about 30 people who had gathered for the ceremony retired
to the dining room to enjoy the now famous Hynish teas, provided
by Monica Smith. The bench will be kept in the lobby of Alan
Stevenson House. Meanwhile we would like to thank Sheila Lilley
and her family again for their labour of love over the years,
which has certainly proved an inspiration and helped to preserve
Hynish for future generations.
See our web page for more information on the
Hynish Centre and to find out if
is available. You can book your stay using our online booking
form. Alternatively send for our full colour brochure
on Tiree (see end of newsletter for address).
Lower Square - including The Hynish Centre
- facilities for holidays, courses, and functions
Skerryvore lighthouse trip
While Tiree and many other islands were suffering from a
drought this summer, the sunshine and blue skies were a blessing
to holidaymakers and the sea was calm and kind to travellers.
These were ideal conditions for the group of Lancashire
Divers who used The Hynish Centre
as a base this summer. Their excursions in powerful rigid
inflatable boats took them as far as Barra Head, exploring
wrecks and reefs in the clear Atlantic waters. When they
offered our warden, Monica Smith, the opportunity to travel
out to the Skerryvore Lighthouse,
she jumped at the idea.
High speed boats used by divers based at
the Hynish Centre - summer 2000
Our Warden, Monica, at the foot of Skerryvore
During the last week in June, Monica and Rosie Kelsall,
also of Lower Square, Hynish, set out with the Lancashire
divers to the famous lighthouse that has guarded the
western approaches for over 150 years.
"The day was perfect", enthused Monica, who has
always wanted to visit the lighthouse, which she can see on
a clear day from her home on Tiree. Like all offshore lighthouses,
Skerryvore is now automatic and therefore unmanned, but luckily
Lighthouse Board workers were also taking advantage of
the fine weather to catch up on the mammoth task of repointing
the 137-foot stone tower. Thanks to their presence, Monica
and Rosie were able to climb the tower and get a fantastic
view of the hills of Tiree in the distance.
Sandaig Museum of Island Life
Improvements, including rethatching, funded by Hebridean
Trust with assistance from Historic Scotland and Argyll and
the Isles Enterprises are currently taking place at Sandaig,
the fascinating museum of Island Life on the Isle of Tiree.
||Inside the Sandaig Museum
For a detailed brochure describing the construction
and use of traditional Hebridean thatched cottages send your
address to The Hebridean Trust.
The museum survives through the hard work of our volunteers
on Tiree and on donations for which we are always very grateful.
A new home for Hebridean minerals
Thanks to Dr. Richard Gillanders of the British Geological
Survey in Edinburgh, we are now proud to display this unique
collection of minerals at The Hynish
Centre. The dazzling array of crystalline rocks has each
been carefully labelled with its scientific name and island
The collection is on display in the original cabinet, also
donated by the late Robert Taylor, one time member of The
Hebridean Trust council of management. Dr Gillanders and an
associate from BGS braved the petrol crisis in September in
order to travel to the island but described this, their first
trip to Tiree as "very enjoyable" and are looking
forward to a return visit.
Generous donations put Upper Square on track for Spring
The Hebridean Trust project to renovate the Lighthouse
Keepers' cottages at Hynish, Isle of Tiree took a step
in the right direction this autumn.
Two generous donations totaling £50,000 have brought
the starting date within sight. The Hebridean Trust is now
awaiting tenders, which have gone out to 4 building firms
in the area in order that grant offers from The Heritage Lottery
Fund, Historic Scotland and Argyll and Bute council can be
we will continue with our fund-raising efforts. The category
A historic cottages will be used to provide low cost accommodation
to four island families. The Hebridean Trust has a policy
of not beginning projects until they are 100% funded.
Spotlight on The Treshnish Isles
In April 2000, with the assistance of a grant from The Heritage
Lottery Fund, The Hebridean Trust acquired the Treshnish
Isles with the aim of managing them to promote conservation
and visitor awareness of conservation issues.
Bac Mor, also known as The Dutchman's Cap,
is the second largest of the Treshnish Isles
- There are 8 principal islands varying in size from less
than 4 hectares to 60 hectares. The largest is Lunga, then
Dutchman's Cap, Fladda, Cairn na Burgh Beg, Cairn na Burgh
Mor, Bac Beg, Sgeir a' Eirionnaich, Sgeir a' Chaisteil and
there are scores of skerries and reef areas.
- Apart from the scenery and their mystique as a group of
uninhabited islands, they hold nationally important archaeological
sites in the form of a large mediaeval castle as well as
large colonies of breeding seabirds.
- In autumn they are the breeding ground of Atlantic grey
seals, which give birth to their white pups along the shore.
- The Treshnish are designated as a Site of Special Scientific
Interest, and they are recognized as being of European importance
as a breeding ground for wild birds and seals.
- They formed quite recently (in geological terms) some
60 million years ago. The Treshnish, together with nearby
Staffa (site of the wondrous Fingal's Cave) are all that
remains today of the extensive plateau of molten lava that
spread out from the eruptions of a large volcano on the
nearby Isle of Mull.
- The islands we see today were carved out of this plateau
by glaciers during the ice age. The sea level was once much
higher and so you can observe ancient sea caves and beaches
high above the modern day shoreline.
The Hebridean Trust is preparing a management plan for the
islands a draft of which is being distributed for consultation
with interested parties. The plan includes provision of information
leaflets and signage in order to encourage a sensitive and
educated approach amongst visitors to the islands and a full
The Hebridean Trust would like to thank The National Trust
for Scotland for their generous contribution towards the Treshnish
Join the Friends of the Hebridean Trust
We need your support! We invite you to join the Friends of The
Hebridean Trust where you will be helping us to conserve the unique
Hebridean way of life and environment. Your membership
or donation can help develop new projects, to ensure future
generations will continue to enjoy a rich and varied experience
of life in the Hebrides.
See our pages on membership
and learn more about the other ways you can
help the Hebridean Trust.
The Hebridean Trust
North Parade Chambers
75a Banbury Road
Tel/Fax: 01865 311468