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Isle of Tiree Photos > Other Collections > Single Track Roads on Tiree

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Single Track Road, Balephetrish - Click to enlarge!
Single track road Balephetrish

Single Track Road, Balephetrish - Click to enlarge!
Single track road with passing place

Tiree has a network of mainly single track roads connecting the many little townships of the Island. A single track road is simply what it says - a road only wide enough for one vehicle. You can expect to take half an hour to travel from one end of the island to the other.

Although covered in the Highway Code (rules 133-134), clearly many visitors to Tiree haven't any previous experience of driving on single track roads before! Meeting traffic newly arrived on the ferry can be a hazardous experience. So it's probably worth a short explanation here.

Single Track Road, Ruaig - Click to enlarge!
Single track road Ruaig

Single Track Road, Mannal - Click to enlarge!
Single track road Mannal

Passing places, which look like short lay-byes, are usually marked with signs and/or black & white poles. They are provided very frequently along Tiree roads. When driving or cycling you should be prepared to use these when encountering other road users.

  • Stop at a passing place to let oncoming traffic pass. Who does the stopping is generally dictated by who is closest to the passing place. Don't drive past the final one in the face of an oncoming vehicle who has almost reached it. You'll be expected to reverse!

  • Only enter a passing place on your left. If the first space is to your right, stop opposite it and let the oncoming vehicle enter the space.

  • Passing places are also there to enable following traffic to overtake. With only single track roads there are no other places where you can be overtaken. So if someone has come up behind you, pull into a passing place and allow them to overtake. This isn't just courtesy, it's a legal obligation. Those wanting past you could be volunteer fire fighters!

  • Passing spaces aren't there for parking in. They should be kept clear.

All very straight forward.

Single Track Road, Caolas - Click to enlarge!
Single track road Caolas

Single Track Road, Balemartine - Click to enlarge!
Single track road Balemartine

There will be instances where you find yourself following someone who is going very slowly and just won't pull into a passing place to let you past. They may be motivated by ignorance or arrogance. What should you do? The answer is - probably not a lot! It isn't worth getting all worked up about. You can, however, relieve frustration by playing a little game. Count the number of passing places they drive past with you stuck behind them and keep a little league of who's the worst driver around! Next time you see them you can have the personal satifaction of thinking - ah, there goes the 3rd worst driver currently on the island.

Another aspect of driving on Tiree are sheep and cattle on the roads. Some appear laidback, others nervous and ready to jump. Either way, some will inevitably end up in front of you on the road! Keep an eye out for them and drive slowly past. Calves and lambs are particularly at risk.

These images are strictly copyright. You must not use these anywhere without first seeking permission.

Tiree Images .com - Jim Murdoch © 2011