Struthan Cottages - Isle of Tiree, Scotland

Interesting Letter from Alasdair MacArthur

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An interesting letter sent into An Tirisdeach by Alasdair MacArthur, providing a fascinating insight into life on Tiree 70 years ago and indeed making a comparison to proposed changes with the coming windfarm.

Dear sir,
Further to the letter from Duncan Castling, he certainly paints an horrific picture. How much notice should we take? I have the advantage of being able to remember Tiree 70 years ago.

There were quite good roads, the RAF built many of them. I wonder if the building of an airfield, and Camps, and being overrun by workers brought many complaints about the destruction of an idyllic way of life. At that time to buy a stamp it was necessary to walk from my grandparents Croft in Ballevullin to Cornaig, there was no road. Incidentally my Mother and her siblings had to walk to Cornaig, every day, to go to School.

There was no electricity. That was finally acquired after the war when the RAF generators became available for the local population. There was no water supply other than from wells. The water had to wait until much later when, oddly enough, one of my friends from University, was the Engineer. It was about his first job after graduating. We graduated in 1962.

No doubt all of those developments reduced the desirability of Tiree as a place to stay, or did they? I could go on, but suffice it to point out that the window that Sorley MacLean used to look through, was boarded up, not because of development but because of the lack of it, the land was needed for sheep, and for outsiders to visit and enjoy the remoteness.

Change must happen, anywhere that is not changing is dead. we must be very careful about resisting while not rolling over and allowing developers a complete clear hand. Lets hope we can find a champion like the wee Town Clerk from Lerwick, I’m afraid I can’t remember his name, who got such a good deal from the Oil Companies. It is possible and can help the community.

from; Alasdair MacArthur

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