Tiree (Gaelic Tiriodh) is the westernmost island of the Inner Hebrides. It's about 12 miles long by 3 miles wide, with a population of 653 in 2011. It's low-lying and relatively fertile - the name means "land of corn". Like other Hebridean 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 PA77 6UW, ☏ . Loganair fly from Glasgow (GLA IATA), taking just under an hour. They fly year round two or three times a day (so a day trip is feasible) except in winter Sa Su with only a single flight. The aircraft are medium-sized turboprobs with a standard 22 kg baggage allowance. Hebridean Air Services fly from Oban to Tiree one day a week (usually Wednesday), year round, a triangular route via Coll. The aircraft are BNF Islanders with 10 kg total baggage capacity. (Oban has no mainland flights so for inter-city connections you have to route via Glasgow.) The passenger terminal is west side of the airfield four miles from Scarinish, so it's not beyond hiking but you'll prefer to have a ride waiting. It has a cafe and toilets, and a small local history exhibition.
2 Scarinish is the landing point for Calmac ferries from Oban, which take four hours. April-Oct they sail daily, Nov-March daily except Wednesday and Friday. They often call at Coll on the way, so these two islands are easily combined on a trip. On Wednesdays Apr-Oct the ferry continues to Barra.
Until 30 March 2023, a return fare from Oban is £125 for a car (excluding occupants), £22.90 per adult and £11.50 per child. A “Hopscotch” ticket visiting Tiree plus Coll is about £3 more, a better deal than buying separate tickets. Pedal bikes go free.
The island is big enough to make it worth bringing a car. It's fairly flat with quiet roads, good for exploring by bicycle. Attractions around Scarinish are easily reached on foot.
There is no taxi, but the 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.
Bike hire is available from Tiree Fitness. They're based at Sandaig west side of the island but can drop off / pick up elsewhere, and are open all year. They also organise the half- and ultra-marathon, see below.
- An Turas (meaning "the journey") is an art installation by the ferry jetty, completed in 2003. It's a long corridor ending in a glass booth with a view over Gott Bay. It's open all hours, so you can use it as a shelter waiting for the ferry. They somehow never briefed the artists to include an ATM and coffee machine.
- Kirkapol chapels, both ruined, are by Tiree Lodge Hotel, across the bay from the ferry pier. The smaller is 13th century, the larger is 14th.
- An Iodhlann (Tiree Historical Centre), Scarinish PA77 6UH (by Scarinish Beach Hotel), ☏ . Jul Aug M-F 11:00-17:00, Sep-Jun M W Th 09:00-15:00. An Iodhlann, pronounced "an-ee-lun", means the farmyard where the harvest is stored. It's a small but fascinating museum, with archives for family research. Free.
- Pudding houses are a unique Tiree hybrid. The traditional Highland "black house" (tigh dhu) was squalid, with no chimney, and livestock sharing the soot-stained interior. They were replaced in the 18th / 19th century by more hygienic "white houses". For some reason on Tiree, soot-blackened masonry was set into white mortar, creating a spotted or pudding effect. Some are ruinous but several remain in use.
- 1 Maclean's Cross is a stumpy early medieval cross in the graveyard at Soroby. Another of similar date has been re-used as a grave slab.
- 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. The harbour for the supply boats kept silting up: see the ingenious flush mechanism that kept it clear. Donation.
- 3 Happy Valley might not be what its ancient occupants called it. They dwelt in Dùn na Cleite, a hilltop redoubt, above a gully leading to a pebble beach.
- 4 Ceann a' Mhara is a headland with the scrappy remains of the early medieval St Patrick's Chapel. There are sea caves and a natural arch on the rugged coast.
- 5 Dun Hanais is a grassy knoll with a prehistoric fort, probably Iron Age. Not much left on the surface, through erosion and stone-robbing, but there's a burial chamber beneath.
- 6 Balevullin is one of the best beaches, exposed to the Atlantic so it's for watersports rather than gentle paddling.
- 7 The Ringing Stone is a hefty granite erratic boulder, 1.8 m tall and 3.4 m by 2.4 m broad. It's a few yards above the highwater mark on the beach 2 miles east of Balephetrish (which itself has a dun, but damaged by modern quarrying). Follow the shore track past the wind turbines, then follow arrows through 3 gates, then quarter of a mile past a small loch, to find the stone by an even smaller loch. Throw a cobble at the boulder to hear it ring: the crystalline interior of the stone is under tension, and resonates when struck. Cup-and-ring engravings indicate prehistoric admiration of the phenomenon, but hacking bits off (please don't) releases the tension so the fragment goes "dead".
- 8 Dun Mor Vaul is a broch half a mile beyond the end of the lane through Vaul. Habitation here goes back to 5th century BC, but some time in the first century AD it was fortified into a circular tower, and lived in until mid-third century. The tower ruin is about 2 m high and accessible free 24 hours. Artefacts from across the Roman world were found in the 1960s and are now in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow. You can continue southwest along the beach to the Ringing Stone.
- 1 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, and this is the rendezvous point for activities which rove with sea conditions. They also host the Tiree Windsurfing Competition in October, with the next on 8-14 Oct 2022.
- 2 Vaul Golf Club. 9 hole flattish course with no obstacles. Day ticket £20.
- Tiree pony trekking centre remains closed in 2022.
- Tiree Music Festival is held in mid-July on An Talla beach, 2 miles west of Scaranish beside the airfield. The next on F 8 - Su 10 July 2022 is sold out.
- Running: the half-marathon and 10-km race are in May, with the next on 29 April 2023; there isn't a full marathon. The ultramarathon of 35 miles is in September, with the next on 4 Sept 2022.
- 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.
- Coop Food in Scarinish is open daily 07:00-22:00. It's facing the hotel.
- Bank: the RBS next to the Coop remains closed in 2022. No ATM.
- Crossapol Post Office, Crossapol PA77 6UP (by turn-off for airfield), ☏ . M-Sa 08:00-17:30. General store and Post Office with a bit of everything - souvenirs, groceries, plumbing fittings, books.
- Fuel: a self-service filling station by Crossapol Post Office is expected to open in summer 2022. There is no e-charge point, and Maclennan's Garage by the ferry pier has closed down. If you have at least half a tank when you board the ferry at Oban, that will be enough to get around Tiree, Coll and back to Oban.
- Tiree Glass, Ceosabh, Balinoe PA77 6TZ (near Balinhoe campsite). This glass-making studio and gallery remains closed in 2022.
- 1 Ceabhar Restaurant, Sandaig PA77 6XQ, ☏ . W-Sa 19:00-22:00. Small restaurant with micro-brewery, booking essential.
- Cobbled Cow (Aisling's Kitchen), Crossapol PA77 6UP (At entrance to airfield), ☏ . M-Sa 11:00-16:00. Small friendly cafe.
- The Calf is a mobile fast food takeaway in Scarinish village car park, hours erratic.
- Cafaigh Carrieanne's is a cafe at the ferry pier.
- Yellow Hare, Gott Pier PA77 6TN (at ferry pier), ☏ . Su M W-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 09:00-15:00, 18:00-20:00. Coffee and cakes, gift shop.
- . . . "some of the islanders were lacking morals and were idle because of their fondness and intemperance" . . . - so in 1802 the Duke of Argyll prohibited distilling on Tiree
- Bun Dubh brewery is part of Ceabhar Restaurant in Sandaig.
- Tiree Tea is a range of tea bags developed on the island. The shop is at Ceolas on the east tip.
- Isle of Tiree Distillery is at Hynish on the southwest coast. They started up in 2019 and Tyree Gin is already on sale. The whisky might be ready in 2023, meanwhile they sell a similar Speyside malt.
- 1 Balinoe Campsite, Balinoe PA77 6TZ, ☏ . Open Apr-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'r only staffed for the hour after the ferry arrives, so make your way promptly. They also run Skerry View self-catering cottage, sleeps 8, let Sunday-to-Sunday year round. Two-person tent £19.
- 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.
- Reef Inn, Crossapol PA77 6UP (by airfield entrance), ☏ . New in 2022, this sleek modern guesthouse has 8 rooms, a bar and restaurant.
- 2 Millhouse Hostel, Cornaigmore PA77 6XA, ☏ . This is closed throughout 2022.
- 3 Scarinish Beach Hotel, Scarinish PA77 6UH, ☏ . Cosy small hotel near ferry pier, with restaurant. In 2020 it changed owners and is still in the throes of renovation. B&B double £100.
- 4 Tiree Lodge Hotel, Gott Bay PA77 6TW, ☏ . Small 2 / 3 star, friendly but the decor is tatty. B&B double from £100.
- Self-catering cottages are dotted about. They include Rockvale on the north coast, which is no longer a B&B.
As of June 2022, there is 4G from EE across most of the island, but no signal from other carriers. 5G has not reached Tiree.
- Pier Laundry, Gott Pier (behind Yellow Hare cafe at ferry pier), ☏ . Laundrette and public coin operated showers.
- Coll is where the ferry calls on the way from Oban most days of the week, and it's usually visited in combination with Tiree.
- Barra can be reached by a direct ferry one day a week. It's bleak and stony compared to fertile Tiree, and doesn't take long to explore. It's at the south end of the Outer Hebrides chain of islands with ferry links all the way north to Lewis.
- Oban is the mainland port, with access to the rest of Scotland, though by public transport you may have to double-back via Glasgow.