We have travelled to most of the larger islands around Scotland but never to Tiree. So when heading to the TMF10 (Tiree Music Fesitval 10 year anniversary) we didn’t know quite what to expect. We guessed that midges would be a certainty (tick) and strong winds were likely (tick) as well as some spectacular isolated beaches (tick).
There were however many other surprises. Some banging music in spectacular scenery, freshly cooked lobster in a vending machine, several corncrakes ‘rattling’ close by and wall to wall sunshine for 3 days.
The showstopper however was the machair. Miles and miles of a bright wild flower mosaic of ragged robin, vetches, clovers, meadowsweet and orchids. The machair extended from the dunes to the single track road and then beyond all round the island it seemed.
We also got up close to a rare west coast beauty - an encounter with a looper caterpillar. On closer inspection it revealed itself as the very rare belted beauty moth. This moth is only found in a small number of locations in Scotland in the Hebrides and on the Ardnamurchan peninsular. The females are wingless therefore can’t move far from their breeding habitat. This might explain why their range is so limited.