Gadget-free isle of Tiree

Gadget-free isle of Tiree

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YOU know you are way off-grid when people view WiFi as a question.

“Why Fi? Why indeed,” came the response when I asked about about internet connection upon realising I had no phone signal.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the kids went white when we arrived at our cottage to find there was no TV signal. What the hell were we going to do for three days?

The only SKY was the big boring blue stuff outside.

But it doesn’t take long after arriving on the fantastically remote and beautiful island of Tiree to adopt a similar view to the locals.

Who needs emails, Twitter, Facebook, texts or phones when you are surrounded by beautiful beaches, views too stunning to share and people only too willing to make sure you want to return?

Arriving is half the fun. We flew from Glasgow with Flybe on a plane so small the children thought it was pretend.

Forty minutes later and we were on the laid back island.

It is so laid back in fact that our MacLennan Motors hire car was sitting with the keys in the ignition in the car park.

We decided to stop for lunch on the way to our cottage at the Farmhouse Cafe in the village of Balemartine, then on to our cottage. It was the first time we had slept in a historic monument.

Our self-catering digs were in the Hynish Centre in Morton Boyd House which was the smithy that was built to help create the world famous Skerryvore Lighthouse.

It was large and comfortable with everything you could want, except the Disney Channel. July is the perfect time to go as it coincides with with the now renowned Tiree Music Festival.

During it the island comes alive as the traditional music provides a perfect soundtrack to the beauty of the place.

We hired bikes, including a tag-along for four-year-old Cormac, from Tiree Fitness, in Sandaig, and headed out.

The island is thankfully flat and around every corner is another beach with plenty of places to pretend to stop and admire the view while getting your breath back. The island is famous for its watersports and so it was with a growing fear of cold water we met with Will from Wild Diamond Water Sports.

They accommodate a wide variety of tastes from windsurfing to stand up paddling.

The bigger boys, Altair and Rowan, joined my wife Ellen out in the loch in wetsuits and became windsurfers in a matter of minutes. Cormac and I bodysurfed around the edges. Dinner the first night was in Tiree Lodge Hotel overlooking Gott Bay. We were all inspired to order classic cultured seafood dishes.

The bigger boys and I had fish and chips, Cormac loyal as ever to fish fingers and Ellen plumped for the scallops in a cream and mustard sauce. It was delicious.

The following night we ate at the Scarinish Hotel overlooking the harbour. The menu posed my wife and I a few problems as there was so much to choose from. Less so for the boys who spotted pizza and declared it a done deal.

After tackling whitebait, smoked haddock, lamb and haggis we had to pass on pudding, not if we wanted to be sure of the little aircraft taking off with us on board in the morning. It may be offgrid but it quickly dawns on any visitor here that there really is no need for a grid.

CalMac has a daily ferry from Oban to Tiree. Flybe flies direct from Glasgow once a day. For Morton Boyd House see isleofti self-catering-morton-boyd-house

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