Saturday, 11 May 2019

Another Day on Tiree

Today was my second full day on Tiree. Although I visited most of the island yesterday, I decided to revisit some of the places I passed yesterday. Sunday drives take on a whole new meaning on Tiree.

First up was the Old Mill in Cornaig. The mill was commissioned in 1771 by the 5th Duke of Argyll. The mill replaced hand mills. The mill was in operation until 1945. 

Then it was on to Kirkapol to see the ruins of the ancient chapels. There are two chapels in very close proximity, both dedicated to St Columba. The smaller of the two, Kirkapol Chapel dates from the 13th century. The larger of the two chapels, Kirkapol Parish Church, dates from the 14th century and sits within an ancient cemetery. 

From Kirkapol, I drove to the pier and watched the ferry come in. The ferry terminal is a very busy place for about two hours a day. 

Then I drove back to Hynish to see the Treshnish Isles exhibit. It was a very clear day today and I was able to see the Skerryvore Lighthouse, 10.5 nautical miles south west of Tiree. On the horizon, I could also see the outlines of the Treshnish Islands. These islands are uninhabited. There are seven islands in the archipelago and most are now bird sanctuaries.

I had a lovely meal at the Cobbled Cow Cafe at the Airport, and took in low tide at Balevullin once again. The seaweed litters the beach at low tide. Farming this brown seaweed (Kelp) was a major way of life for many residents of the Scottish islands and coastal towns. The kelp was burned and the ashes used for potash in the making of soap and glass. The potash was also used in linen bleaching. 

Kelp farming was not an easy way of  life, with the women having to rise in the dark to catch low tide when the kelp was accessible. The cold waters would run over their feet while they worked to collect the slippery brown plants, removing them from their long, woody stems. The long strands of seaweed were carried over their backs and laid on the rocks to dry. In the summer months, the kelp was burned in low pits on the sand, and the ash cakes then gathered for sale. In 1862, Edward Curtis-Stanford discovered a method for extracting iodine from the kelp. This was done in a factory. The factory remained open until 1901.

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