TMF more than just a festival

Hands down, Tiree is my favourite of the Hebridean islands and also home to my favourite event of the year. Tiree Music Festival is a haven for Scottish trad music, supporting both new and established bands from all around the country. What’s really magical about this festival is the location; Tiree is a paradise of white sandy beaches with incredible surf, lush green fields and meadows of wild flowers. I heard so many people this year describe it as the ‘Hawaii of the North,’ and it’s true – Tiree really is an idyllic location whether festival-ing or not.

It is also a known fact that Tiree, along with its neighbouring island Coll receive more sunshine than anywhere else in the UK. Which I can vouch for 98% of the time – although with the sun comes immense wind, and since Tiree is extremely flat… temperatures don’t quite reach those of Hawaii. IMG_8766The adventure of TMF begins in Oban harbour, where hundreds of festival go-ers catch the 6.15am boat… only this year Callum and I missed the service update and turned up at 7.15am for the normal sailing (which was obviously canceled for the festival timetable) DOH! Luckily CalMac were running two boats that day, and we caught the second. IMG_2079Unlike most years, we are without the adventure camper van… so we hired a car from MacLennan Motors which worked out cheaper than taking our own car over… somehow! Tiree is deceivingly bigger than it looks on a map, so having either a bike or a car/van is really handy if you want to explore all its endless hidden gems.

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RIP Rusty – we miss you

Thursday night

We arrived on the late boat, pitched our tent and headed to Balevullin for some sunset steaks cooked on our super high-tech BBQ.

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Friday

Began with some coffees and cakes for breakfast from Yellow Hare on Scarnish Pier.IMG_2070Followed by half an hour of faffing with sim cards – incase you didn’t know signal is pants on the west coast… so we thought we’d swap to Vodafone for the weekend. Which worked well for signal, but 3G/4G was really just fakeG. IMG_2096We then ditched the car at Caolas and walked down to the beach that meets the Gunna Sound, as we were yet again in search of basking sharks… and the sound is known to be a hot spot for the sharks at this time of year.IMG_2100Our luck doesn’t seem to change with b sharks, so we were unsuccessful AGAIN. Even after sitting perched on a small rocky island between Coll and Tiree for an hour shark watching… or wave watching it turned out to be! IMG_7892IMG_2214So – in the afternoon we packed up the boards and drove back to west side of the island to our favourite free diving/snorkeling spot… this one is remaining unnamed im afraid since not many people seem to know about it… yet. Processed with VSCO with c7 presetThat evening we headed back to the festival, stalling to have some predrinks in the boot of our car… if that’s allowed? If not, this isn’t us… IMG_7639And that night we had tunes from Beinn Lee, Ho-RO and Trail West – among many many others. IMG_7659

Saturday

A wee bit hungover, so some animal therapy to cure the sore heads and a wander at a few beaches before a prolonged snooze in the car at Balevullin.IMG_7618_Facetune_13-07-2018-11-17-06IMG_7614IMG_7891IMG_7533IMG_8754SHOWERED and back in time for tunes from Rura and Skerryvore. S/O to Kirsty, Louisa, Rowen and Katherine for having us round to their house for bacon rolls and a shower – nothing like west coast hospitality! IMG_7746IMG_7727

Sunday

We drove down to Hynish for a wee swim and picnic before the madness of Sunday night began, and met a few bonnie coos on the way… IMG_7859IMG_8755…round three beginsIMG_7771_Facetune_15-07-2018-17-53-24IMG_7800Also, did I mention the food at TMF? What other festival serves champagne and oysters from Loch Fyne? SO GOOD!  IMG_8756And for our Sunday sesh we had tunes from, Elephant Sessions and Skipinnish. What an incredible final night. IMG_7179

It gets better every year, and whatever the weather… we will see you next summer!

Rona and Callum X

@ronamcmillan

@ahoycallum

 

 

Ad(van)tures Pending

RIP Rusty - The search for a new van begins

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Summer is approaching… slowly! And the search has begun for a new family van, because our loved and ‘trusted’ red T4 kicked the bucket last year… due to summer exhaustion. I say family van; its my mums – she is the poor soul who has to pick up the pieces whenever it breaks down! So why a van? Why not pack your kit and sleep in a tent somewhere further away from a road? I asked exactly that when we first got the van a few year ago, but van life is so much fun and only enhances accessibility to the outdoors. A van becomes your own portable base of warmth and safety, as well as your mode of transport. It provides storage, cooking facilities, shelter, a place to charge your tech… and you can always tuck your tent away somewhere for more adventurous nights.

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The positives of van life

Freedom – the ability to go where you want when you want for as long as you want.

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Cost effective holidays – you can eliminate the cost of hotels, restaurant bills, flights, public transport, tickets, organised entertainment! Some cash for fuel and food is all you need.

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Simple living – Living in such a small space allows you to cut out nonessential items that clog up your average day – having a level of simplicity discards distractions that tend to melt away time day after day (Netflix, instagram, doing your hair and make up)!

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Forces organisation – not essential, however a messy van is pretty awful. Once things have a place, it makes finding them again much easier!

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Inspiration – new people, places and thoughts. I think it’s always nice to notice how your thoughts change depending on where you are and what you’re doing; at home I’m guilty of  toxic rational thinking – but when I remove myself from certain environments I think I become more logical, creative and adventurous!

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Waking up to awesome views and fresh air – waking up and being outside immediately is the most refreshing thing (unless its raining and howling)!

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Negatives

Planning ahead – almost everything requires a bit of planning and preparation, going for a shower, to the toilet, cooking, washing up…

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Loneliness – it’s always a nice idea to run away and be by yourself, but being alone without much human contact even through social media can quickly become a little too isolating – find someone to share adventures with!

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Time goes slow – although this can be good, the weather always gets bad and you can be stuck in a small space with not a lot to do. Always remember to pack a few books, and even more wine!

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Breaking down is expensive! It’s bound to happen at some point, so be prepared with some tools and good breakdown cover. Just try to break down somewhere beautiful, with waves to surf while you wait!

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Things to pack and things to do

Surfboards, bodyboards, SUPboards – something that gets you in the water. They’re easy to strap on the roof, so don’t take up any precious inside space… and if anyone forgets their sleeping bag, a board bag is your next best bet!

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Snorkel on rainy days – because it doesn’t rain underwater!

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Open water swimming to rinse off that funky perfume that you develop from living in a van for too long!

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Catch yourself some dinner while you’re in the sea!

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Warm yourself up, get the blood pumping and head for the hills –

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Check out a west coast music festival – even when your siblings aren’t thrilled to be getting drunk with you for a 4th night in a row!

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Search for magical fresh water pools to wash the salt away –

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Meet the local wildlife –

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And finally – hang out with your fam, they’re the best friends you’ll ever have!

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If you fancy a peep at some of our adventure videos (that are extremely amateur) – follow these links!

48 hours on Tiree // April 2017
Tiree Ultra 2017
Thanks for reading 

Oidhhe Mhath

R x