Places to visit and things to do on Tiree
From the moment you touch down or step ashore on Tiree you know you have arrived at a very special place. Whether it is the coast that attracts you, with its sweeping white sand beaches and views across to the mountains of Mull, or the gentle pastures, a mass of colour from May through July, you are filled with a joyful sense of space and freedom.
Surrounded by glorious beaches, and with plenty of wild Atlantic weather, you can either enjoy Tiree as a wonderful place to "get away from it all" and relax, or as a destination with great conditions for some of the world's most exciting sports. Wave sailing and windsurfing attract world-class competitors to the Tiree Wave Classic event in October. Sea kayaking, sand yachting and experimental sports like kite-surfing make Tiree a magnet for the energetic and adventurous.
Those who enjoy gentle exercise might prefer a day out trekking on the Icelandic cross ponies, practising windsurfing in the safety of a shallow loch (RYA approved school), exploring the archaeological sites of ancient cultures, or having a round on the newly refurbished 9 hole golf course.
Exploring the measureless boundary of the shore, you will attract the curiosity of basking seals as you marvel at rock pools teeming with life. The air is filled with the vigorous sound of birdsong and the roar or thrash of the breakers contrasts with the tranquil cove on the lee-side of the island where the morning catch of mackerel and lobster was brought ashore. In parts of western Scotland and the Hebrides some otters have become entirely marine. Islands offshore have been colonized where the otters feed exclusively on sea fish, crabs and other crustacea. They use rock crannies or caves as holts. Catch a glimpse of them when they come inland.
Stay in the Hynish Centre which is let as a facility to groups of all ages with a common interest, whether for educational, cultural, recreational or training purposes. At the Hynish Centre Your group will enjoy a qualiy of accommodation and attractive prices that are hard to equal in the islands. Let the catering staff take the strain out of planning by providing breakfast, packed lunches and delicious evening meals to round off your day.
There is a good range of facilities on the island including car hire, shopping, a choice of restaurants featuring local lamb, seafood and other island produce, cafes, craft shops and potteries.
For more energetic exploring bring your own bikes or use ones from the Centre; cycling is easy going on level, well metalled roads. See further details by visiting our Hynish Centre web site. Check whether accommodation is available for your visit and use our online booking enquiry form.
Your trip would not be complete without a taste for local life in this Isle where English is often the second language to the native Gaelic. Students of island culture will enjoy An Iodhlann, the island's community archive in the Old Reading Room, Scarinish, a fascinating storehouse of local history including a digital collection of Gaelic folklore and songs.
On the long summer evenings a walk around the tiny village of Hynish will help you appreciate this wonderful setting so far from the crowds. Follow the Heritage Trail and you will uncover the past of the historic shorestation. Visit the Story of Skerryvore exhibition and go on a tour of the Signal Tower to find out how the heroic engineers and keepers built and maintained the Skerryvore, Britain's tallest lighthouse, on one of Britain's most dangerous rocks, over 10 nautical miles out to sea. This small museum records the remarkable story of the design and construction of the Skerryvore Lighthouse by Alan Stevenson (uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson).
A walk through the Tiree landscape is a chance to enjoy wildlife rarely seen on the mainland. Timid otters frequent the rocky coastline and freshwaters. In May and June you can hear the rasping call of the corncrake, one of Europe's rarest birds, from the windows of the Hynish Centre. Budding naturalists can seek out rare orchids and marvel at the range of bird species including the spectacular drumming displays of the snipe and the wonderful song of the skylark. You can see buzzards and peregrine falcons swooping over the high cliffs of Ceann a' Mhara. Here, after a short climb, you will witness the spectacle of thousands of seabirds; fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and the like, that nest on the cliffs all around you and fill the air with their raucous cries.
Explore the the surrounding countryside and in the late summer you will find grayling butterflies sunning themselves on warm rocks. Perhaps the most lasting impression of Tiree is the flowering of the Machair (rich seaside grassland) in May and June when you will see the pasture turn a brilliant yellow with a continuous carpet of buttercups and other tiny flowers.
From Oban (3-4 hours): call Caledonian McBrayne Ferries on 0870 565 0000. Sail from Oban on Tuesday afternoons or combine your stay with a night in Oban and sail in the early morning. Group discounts apply for 12 or more. A combined stay on Tiree and Coll can be easily arranged as the ferry serves Coll both outbound and on her home journey from Tiree to Oban.
From Glasgow (35 to 45 minutes): call British Airways reservations on 0870 850 9850. Daily flights in Twin Otters (17 seats) or Shorts (36 seats) except Sundays. This is a marvellous way to reach the island for people with little time to spare.
For more details on travelling to the Hebrides - visit our Hynish Centre web site.
Find out more about places to see and stay in the Hebrides - contact the Scottish Tourist Board.