Tiree (Gaelic Tiriodh) is the westernmost island of the Inner Hebrides. It's about 12 miles (19 km) long by 3 miles (5 km) wide. The terrain is mostly flat and sandy, and the climate is mild and sunny, with an Atlantic breeze that discourages the midges.
The island's name means "land of corn" and it's more fertile than other parts of the Hebrides, supplying corn to the monks of Iona. Like other islands it briefly flourished in the 19th century when kelp was valuable, but suffered the usual decline of poverty and forced depopulation. Civil unrest was so bad here in 1886 that the government sent a warship; but the uprising ended peaceably and the Marines showed the islanders how their terrain was ideal for golf.
- 1 Tiree airfield (TRE IATA), Crossapol (2 miles west of Scarinish). The main link is by Loganair, who fly to Tiree from Glasgow (GLA IATA), which has good domestic and international connections. They fly twice a day year round (so a day trip is feasible) except in winter on Sa & Su, when there's only a single flight. Hebridean Airways fly from Oban via Coll to Tiree two days a week, year round. This is basically an airborne school bus, using BNF Islanders, with very limited luggage capacity. There's a cafe and toilets, and small local history exhibition.
Calmac ferries sail to Tiree from Oban, taking four hours. April-Oct they sail daily, Nov-March daily except Wednesday & Friday. They usually call at Coll on the way, so these two islands are often combined on a trip. On Wednesdays Apr-Oct the ferry continues to Barra.
No vehicles to Tiree in March 2020, foot passengers only, as the harbour vehicle ramp is being replaced.
A standard return fare is £117 for a car plus £22 per person including the driver. A “Hopscotch” ticket, visiting Tiree plus Coll, is £130 per car plus £25 per person. Pedal bikes go free. The ferry jetty is at 2 Scarinish.
The island is big enough to make it worth bringing a car. It's fairly flat with quiet roads which make it good for exploring by bicycle. Attractions around Scarinish are easily reached on foot.
A ring-n-ride minibus runs M-Sa 07:00-18:00, with late services on Tuesday. Phone +44 1879 220419 to book a journey between 1 hour and 1 week in advance. Priority is given to ferry connections.
- 1 An Iodhlann (Tiree Historical Centre), An Iodhlann, Scarinish PA77 6UH, ☏ . Jul Aug M-F 11:00-17:00, Sep-Jun M W Th 9:00-15:00. Small but fascinating museum, with archives for family research. Free.
- 2 Skerryvore Lighthouse Museum, Upper Square, Hynish PA77 6UQ, ☏ . Shore station for a lighthouse built between 1838 and 1844. The lighthouse is on wave-lashed Skerryvore 12 miles out to sea, and was designed by Alan Stevenson, uncle of Robert Louis. There is an exhibition on the difficult building of the lighthouse, and another on the Treshnish Isles. The signal tower is sometimes also open. The light was automated in 1994. Free, but donation appreciated.
- 3 The Ringing Stone. Always open. About 2 miles walk on a roughly marked path from Balephetrish. Start along the shore track past the wind turbines, then follow arrows through 3 gates, then continue for 350 m after the last gate, past Loch na Gille, and the Stone can be seen next the beach just after passing a small loch (Loch Dubh a Gharraidh Fail). A sign near the Stone tells of use in 2500 BC. Throw a fist-sized rock at the stone to hear it ring: this is thought to occur because the crystalline interior of the stone is under tension, and resonates when struck. Hacking bits off (please don't) releases the tension so the fragment goes "dead". Free.
- An Turas (The Journey) (Next to the ferry terminal). Always open. Modern art installation, a long open corridor, with a view over Gott Bay. Shortlisted for the Stirling (architecture) Prize. Free.
- Wild Diamond offer water sports: surfing, windsurfing, kiting, kayaking and sand yachting. Their shop is at Cornaig, by Loch Bhasapol at the northwest corner of the island.
- Tiree Music Festival is held in mid July on An Talla beach, Crossapol, 2 miles west of Scaranish. The next is Fri 10 - Sun 12 July 2020.
- Running: marathon, half-marathon, and 10 km race each May (next on Sat 2 May 2020); ultramarathon in September (next on Sun 8 Sept 2019).
- Basking sharks congregate in early summer in the Sound of Gunna, the narrow straits separating Tiree from Coll. Shark-watching trips run from Oban and Coll - none go regularly from Tiree but you might be able to negotiate this locally.
- 1 Co-op Food, Scarinish PA77 6UH. Daily 07:00-22:00. With bakery & Paypoint.
- 2 Blue Beyond Gallery, Sunbeam Cottage, Balemartine PA77 6UA. W-F 13:00-17:00. Small gallery selling textile pictures, raku pottery and cards produced onsite by the owners. The original Blue Beyond gallery has been converted to a self-catering cottage.
- 3 Tiree Glass, Ceosabh, Balinoe PA77 6TZ (near Balinhoe campsite). Apr-Oct Tu-F 10:30-17:00, Sa 12:00-17:00. Glass-making studio and gallery
See the sleep section for hotels.
- 1 Ceabhar Restaurant, Sandaig PA77 6XQ, ☏ . W-Sa 19:00-22:00. Booking essential.
- Cobbled Cow, Crossapol PA77 6UP (At entrance to airfield). Tu W 10:00-16:00, Th-Sa 10:30-19:30, Su 14:00-18:30. Booking advised for evenings.
Bun Dubh brewery, in Sandaig next to Ceabhar Restaurant, produces various cask ales.
- 1 Balinoe Campsite, ☏ . Open April-Oct with pods and a wooden bothy. Tents, caravans and camper-vans welcome. Facilities include toilets, showers, indoor kitchen and dining area, and wifi. They also run Skerry View self-catering cottage, sleeps 8, let Sunday-to-Sunday year round.
- Wild camping is allowed free throughout the island, so long as you follow the Outdoor Access Code. Much of the island is farmland, so watch out for grazing livestock.
- 2 Millhouse Hostel, Cornaigmore PA77 6XA (By Loch Bhasapol, 8 km from pier), ☏ . Two dorms each with six single beds, plus two rooms with double bed plus single bunk. No dogs. Dorm £24 ppn.
- 3 Rockvale Guest House, 35 Balephetrish PA77 6UY (2 miles from ferry pier), ☏ . Friendly 3-star B&B on north coast of island. B&B double from £90.
- 4 Scarinish Hotel, Scarinish PA77 6UH, ☏ . Cosy small hotel near ferry pier, with restaurant. B&B double from £90.
- 5 Tiree Lodge Hotel, Gott Bay, Isle of Tiree PA77 6TW, ☏ . Small 2-star. B&B double from £100.
- Several self-catering cottages dotted about.
You should always get enough signal for a phone call, but 4G coverage is weak.
- Coll is where the ferry calls on the way from Oban most days of the week, sailing time one hour, and indeed it's usually visited in combination with Tiree.
- Oban is the mainland port, with access to the rest of Scotland, though by public transport you'll have to go via Glasgow.