Anniversication: Islands and Highlands of Scotland – Tiree

Now that you know I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, back to my holiday recap. My JULY holiday recap.Yeah….

My previous anniversication post left off in Oban, the night before we were headed to Tiree. Just to refresh your memory, Tiree is the westernmost island of the Inner Hebrides (heh-brie-dees) of Scotland, an archipelago off the west coast of the Scottish mainland. My husband’s sister, who got engaged on Tiree, as well as our neighbour both told us the island and beaches were beautiful. And when you have a husband who surfs, that’s enough for him!

source

Β We camped on Tiree for four nights altogether, and although I was incredibly hesitant about doing so before we left, I really enjoyed myself! One of my worries was that I wouldn’t be able to sleep well because of the noise factor in a tent, the chill factor of sleeping outside, and the comfort factor of sleeping on the ground. No worries though as we were so busy and active during the day, we slept like babies at night, and the fact that we bought a comfortble mat and brought an extra duvet from home totally helped. I was so warm I slept barefoot! (I thought I’d always have to wear socks). The only issue was the size of our two person tent; I’m pretty sure we had the smallest living space of all the families in the campground.

Home away from home
We stayed at the Wild Diamond campground, which was full of really nice families, and very cute kids. Our campground totally felt like a little community, and we often found ourselves chatting with other campers, visiting other’s sites, and commiserating over a campfire of the day’s events, whilst enjoying a beverage or two. I would definitely go back.

I’m not going to lie though, I started the week feeling like a deprived little princess without her espresso machine and own kitchen, and the fact that we would go out for a meal two out of our four nights comforted me. As the week progressed though, I relaxed into the island life and took on the challenge of one-pot cooking and cooking outside.

Channeling my inner Jamie Oliver by making cheese and crackers

Funny story: there was a corncrake parked somewhere in the field close to the camp, and at bed time every night, it let out it’s very distinctive noise. It was the talk of the camp really! There was one night, as I was falling asleep, I counted over 200 krek-krek’s. Combine this with the snoring of the couple camped next to us, and it had the potential to be a camping noise nightmare! Again though, due to the day’s activities, I was able to fall asleep effortless.

The corncrake: elusive and annoying – source

The reason we chose Tiree was for its water sports. If you like the ocean, and seeing it from some kind of board that floats on it, Tiree is the place for you. My husband surfs, and the plan was for him to surf on the beautiful beaches while I read my book, American Wife, which is loosely based upon the life story of one of American’s first ladies.

So good! A bit disconcerting when you realise which president she’s married to though

Our plan was foiled however, as this season in general has been quite flat for surfers.The back up sport was Stand Up and Paddleboarding, also known as SUP-ing. If you’ve never seen SUP-ing before, it basically looks like someone standing upright on a larger, wider surf board with a paddle, paddling around and catching waves. Pat’s always wanted to try it, and I’ve always said I would gve it a shot as I find the paddling from surfing tiring and painful (years of softball and volleyball takes a toll on one’s shoulder). We headed to Wild Diamond, the haven for watersports on Tiree. They specialise in kite-surfing, wind-surfing, surfing, stand-up and paddleboarding, and sandyachting. Basically, they’re your go-to on the island if you want to get out onto the turquoise Tiree waters.The owner Willy and his crew are very welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable about all things watersports-related. The parking lot of their wind-surfing school lake was always full!

We took a beginner’s lesson for SUP-ing, where we learnt essential paddle technique, many different paddle turns, and what to do when the weather suddenly turns for the worse.

What a keen student

The next day, we rented SUPs and headed out on the big blue to get our sea legs and try to catch a few waves.

We loved SUP-ing so much, we might buy our own boards!

I definitely got my sea legs, but couldn’t catch a wave, although Pat did. I did see a seal in the water however! Its head popped out of the water, and it took me about five seconds to realise what it was. I got a bit scared, but it went under water again and left. Still pretty cool though. That evening, as I was laying in our tent reading, I could still feel the sway of the ocean. And yes, I slept very well that night.

Here’s a few other random shots of our time on Tiree:

One of the first beaches we saw off the ferry. And no, the photo hasn’t been enhanced

Moving Highland cows with Landrovers and quads
A traditional, thick-walled, thatch roof home on Tiree
Its modern day equivalent

Wild Diamond campground
Sunset on a fabulous island holiday

The only downside to Tiree? The restaurants. There were only three, and while the food was good, there was nothing that stood out unfortunately.

Next stop: the Isle of Skye!!!

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