Ever since a trip to Oban in 2004, a comment by a bus driver on Mull has stuck with me: "Just out to sea there you can see Tiree. It's the sunniest spot in Britain." Having spent the next eight years propagating this claim, usually to much ridicule, I thought it was finally time we went to see for ourselves. So we booked a cottage next to a beach on Tiree for a week, and watched in dismay as the promising start to the year turned bad. By early June, we'd seen not much other than rain and wind, and the weather forecast for Tiree didn't look promising.
Luckily, the weather turned beautiful for the trip up, and we left Leeds in shorts and sandals. We arrived in Oban a few days before the ferry, so we could try camping with Megan (we'd vowed to try wild camping after last year, but thought we'd play it safe - maybe next year!). For the first time ever in Scotland, I found myself sitting outside in shorts and sandals at 10pm and there were no midges! It was idyllic, except for the screaming baby in the tent, who had no idea why it hadn't gone properly dark. The next day, all the tents that were near us left... only to be replaced by another unsuspecting set of campers that evening. I apologise to all disturbed... maybe we should have gone wild camping!
Then it rained. And rained. And rained. It started with an almighty storm in Oban ("not seen anything like this for decades" said the friendly shopkeeper selling me a much-needed new pair of waterproof trousers), and by the time we reached Tiree, I was beginning to think the bus driver on Mull might have been having a laugh. To be fair, the whole of the UK was enjoying its wettest summer ever (or something), and we did have the odd nice day, but the overall experience was a bit of a washout. On the plus side, there are plenty of museums, cafes and hotel bars, so we didn't get bored.
We also walked up two of the highest peaks on the island, which aren't very high - Carnan Mòr, 141m, which has a curiously accessible radar station tracking Atlantic flights, and Beinn Hough, 119m, which has an equally accessible radio relay station, also for Atlantic flights. And actually, with Megan in a carrier, a 141m peak has got to be equivalent to a Munro.