Fog hampers unveiling of sunshine island Tiree’s flag

The winning design.
The winning design.
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One of the biggest events in the calendar in one of the sunniest places in Britain was almost scuppered by fog.

With its long hours of sunshine, the Hebridean isle of Tiree features regularly on TV weather reports.

But fog hanging over the island on Saturday saw the winner of a prestigious competition to design a Tiree flag stuck at Glasgow airport.

The ceremonial flag, which was due to be hoisted before an audience of invited guests, was also stuck at the airport, as was the official representative from the Lord Lyon’s Office.

Hundreds of flag design entries had made their way to Tiree but when the guests assembled for the 2pm ceremony to reveal the winner, the VIPs and flag remained stranded in Glasgow.

The first scheduled plane had set off, hovered above Tiree, but landing was cancelled due to the fog. A second flight also failed to fly.

Retired GP Dr John Holliday, convener of Tiree Community Council, who organised the move for Tiree to join Barra, South Uist, Shetland and Orkney as an island with its own flag, said: “Donald Cameron, of Scarinish, Tiree, who won the competition, now works in London. He was due in to Tiree at 9:30am, on the first flight from Glasgow, but that was cancelled.

“Philip Tibbetts, from the Lord Lyon’s Office, was due to come in on the 12:45pm plane, but that was cancelled too.”

But when blue skies and sunshine broke out mid-afternoon, the day was saved by Loganair and an island postman. The airline laid on a special flight with a bigger aircraft to take the double load of passengers to Tiree, complete with VIPs and its postbag.

The delayed ceremony finally went ahead before a 100-strong audience, with a piper playing as Mr Cameron and his son Hector hoisted the flag up the pole outside Tiree’s An Talla community centre.

There were 261 design entries from as far away as Canada and Switzerland and Mr Cameron’s design was a clear winner, taking 56 per cent of the 1,598 public 
votes.

Dr Holliday said: “Donald’s design cleverly uses stalks of barley, reminding us that Tiree is the most fertile of all Hebridean islands, known as Tìr an Eòrna, the land of barley, combined to make a yellow orb, a symbol of the sunshine isle, and Donald included that image of barley and a circle which, at a distance, looks like the sun, giving an impression of the sunshine island.”