Welcome to Tiree Fitness

Based on the Hebridean island of Tiree, we bring you everything you need to enjoy being active in the unspoilt natural landscape of Tiree. Experience quality fitness training and sports coaching brought to you by resident pro triathlete Will Wright, explore Tiree on two wheels by hiring a bike, or relax with a massage and soak up the peace and tranquility that Tiree abounds in.

New bikes to hire on Tiree – easy quotes and booking available here

Tiree Fitness is based all year round on Tiree and offers services to visitors and local residents as well as promoting sport and physical activity in the local community. Explore the website, like us on Facebook, sign up for a workout, or grab a bike and go. We’ll see you on the beach.


IMG_2454From Ceabhar, and last years mohican barman ultrarunner juggling music maestro – “This year I am again attempting to complete the Tiree 35m Ultra Marathon on the 6th September, however I wanted to make it a bit more challenging this time. As I will be 58 In Oct, I plan to run the the Tiree Ultra Marathon (35m) on the Sunday 6th September, and an extra 23 miles on Sat 5th over the Tiree 3 Peaks (23m) – a combined total of 58 miles.

Last year we lost a close friend and fellow juggler/performer Mr ‘G’ (George Nichol) after his long fight with prostrate cancer. As I intended to run the Tiree 35m Ultramarathon 2014 anyway, I thought it would be a great opportunity to see if I could raise some funds for Prostrate Cancer UK. The sponsorship gave me an additional incentive to complete the run and I amazed myself by managing to finish in 7hrs and 23 minutes and raised £1,010 for Prostrate Cancer UK. I was so amazed by the generosity of friends and customers. It was also a very humbling experience to realise that people care so much.

This year we lost another friend and brilliant juggler Mike Bridge. Mike and his wife Sharon were such a big part of our social juggling life and loving community in Durham. Durham City Jugglers was actually where I met Polly and we found a new life away from the normal world. Mike and Sharon were special and talented couple that were an integral part of our lives. We felt awkward about asking to do this, but Sharon has suggested Macmillan Cancer Support as the recipients of any funds raised by this challenge. Mike had a Macmillan nurse for the last few months of his life and her support was invaluable to both Mike and Sharon. We live far away and weren’t able to see Mike before he died, but we would like to give a respectful token of thanks to those who looked after him.

My target this time is £1,500. If you would like to donate, you can do this by using my Just Giving page, Thank You!” – Duncan Castling

Ironman swimming without getting wet: shortcuts for a stronger swim

This is a summary of the training plan I developed, which got me though lots of racing with minimal swim training time. It’s no magic bullet, but it addresses what I find are some of the main limiters for beginner/intermediate triathletes.

So the challenge I started with was to find:

  • How much does functional strength training translate to real swim performance?
  • Can you get by with minimal time in the water and still expect a reasonable swim time?

IMG_3127I swam between 1hr and 1hr05 in all my ironman events. This was based on sometimes as little as 3 hours annual swim training. The rest was all in the gym. I know my swim was not super fast, but it’s not that slow either, and all that time saved in training could be put into bigger bike and run gains.

I had to do it this way, no pool within a days travel, no local facilities, I didn’t have a choice. But it was a good test, and shows that there is a translation from gym to swim. So if it helps, here’s what I did.

Swimming in the gym: How it’s done

The things that can be learned on dry land, and transferred to the water include:

  • Developing a full range of movement in the shoulder – this is crucial for a good freestyle stroke, and if your shoulders don’t have full mobility, you’ll end up compromising in some other way and destroying your stroke
  • Building shoulder strength through the full range of movement, whilst maintaining stability of the joint
  • Being able to coordinate a powerful stroke action whilst maintaining core stability and alignment

Those three things I find are often lacking when people take up triathlon, and expecting people to get in the water and be able to put all that together just didn’t make sense to me. In the gym you can check your alignment, correct asymmetries, engage deep core muscles, and learn the muscle memory so it’s already there when you get in the water.

This sets you up with a much better chance of being able to perform an efficient stroke, and means when you are in the water you’re actually working on specific swim fitness, rather than working against weak and inflexible shoulders. So here’s the plan:

  1. Check your flexibility – the Wall Angel is a good start. Work to correct any limitations
  2. Get strong in the basic movements – press ups, pull ups, shoulder press, pullovers, rows – all done with strict form
  3. Watch how good swimmers swim – learn the stroke, know the movements required, see how their bodies perform. A really good tool is Swimsmooth, this has an animated swimmer you can watch from all angles and frame by frame. Mr Smooth is who you want to be in the water
  4. Learn those key positions and movements in the gym, learn how to coordinate and engage the whole body, think how it’s going to feel when you’re in the water, develop strength and endurance to give you strong movement patterns

When I did this, I found what I was doing was actually nothing particularly new, or different from conventional training. The difference was in the detail; making sure movements were done with correct alignment, going through a full range of movement, and encouraging correct posture and strong, coordinated, dynamic movements.

A good example of this is the press up. Done properly this should open out the chest, and develop good flexibility and strength around the shoulder. But too often we get sloppy with form and this means that we do a press up and it actually limits shoulder mobility, it encourages rounded shoulders and loss of movement. This is going to totally mess up your stroke; if you don’t have full movement of the shoulder you end up over rotating and your stroke’s in all sorts of problems.

The exercises I find most beneficial are:

Single arm shoulder press – with rotation to mimic the reach, but never crossing the centre line, and never allowing any lateral flexion of the spine. This is great for learning body position and length in the water

Single arm pullovers – catch and pull, really good dry land training, and using a range of resistances you can focus on a particular part of the movement

Press up – total shoulder strength and core stability, with extra triceps strength for the last bit of your stroke

Pull ups – another great bodyweight exercise that translates well and develops balanced strength

Plank – single leg and arm combinations, good for learning how to engage the core without compromising alignment

If you can master all these exercises, and get strong in the swim specific positions and movements, you’ll get more benefit from the time you spend in the water. There’s obviously limitations, but in my experience, this ticks a lot of the boxes that limit peoples swim ability.

So if you’re a good swimmer already, chances are you can do all this to a high level. If you’re starting out, or know it’s your weakness, perhaps some quality time in the gym is going to give you that confidence in the water that you can make it out further up the pack. Either way, working on your weaknesses so you can capitalise on your strengths is a good strategy to get your best result.

Happy swimming :)

Summer workouts on Tiree

Starting tomorrow, we’re putting together all the gym work into 3 weekly sessions which are open to all, and will take place whatever the weather:

Mondays 9am: Brick session – bike and run

Wednesdays 5pm: Intervals – run or bike

Fridays 9am: Game day – multi-sport challenge

Sessions are designed to get your fitness fired up, and for you to enjoy the amazing place that Tiree is. We’ve done workouts like this with views to basking sharks out in the bay, dolphin, whale, all the sea birds, wild flowers, fresh air…. it’s usually enough to keep your mind off the workout!

Everyone is welcome, the only pre-requisite being the willingness to come and enjoy a workout together, adapting what you do to suit your ability, and making sure you go away feeling the better for it.

Cost is just £4 per session

All sessions take place at Sandaig, we’re right next door to Ceabhar Restaurant, and it’s the perfect place for an outdoor gym. You’ll need to bring your own workout kit and if you’re going to use a bike you’ll need to bring one – we might have some hire bikes available but you’ll need to check in advance.

Contact Will at Tiree Fitness to get on board.

Tiree Music Festival Breakfast Club Run

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 13.12.28This years Tiree Music Festival (TMF) takes place from 17th to 19th July and is billed as the ‘best small festival in the UK’. Over recent years it has lived up to this title, delivering the biggest weekend on the island calendar, and providing an amazing experience for all the visitors that make the annual trip to Tiree.

Each morning, we’re going to be doing a Breakfast Club Run, going along Crossapol Beach and incorporating some yoga moves on the rocks, it’s a great kick start to the day. Nothing too strenuous but enough to get the endorphins flowing.

More details will be posted at the event, and for other event info go to the website http://tireemusicfestival.co.uk/ 

We’ve got a range of festival bikes for hire during the weekend. Tiree is a small island and great for exploring on a bike, there’s still bikes available and booking in advance is advised. Booking form is available here.

Ten Years of Running on Tiree – 10k & Half Marathon 2015

10k HM start low resAs if running 10km was not enough, strong winds and sideways rain seem to be a recurring theme over the previous years. This year was no exception, and with record numbers entered the 10k, and even more entered the half marathon (13.1 miles), the stage was set for another tough day.

  • 265 runners on the start line
  • Kids races on the beach
  • Local residents in all events
  • Lots of new faces as well as returning runners

Everyone set off together along Sorobaidh Beach, heading towards Hynish. An early sprint opened up a gap with a strong lead group including runners from Portobello and our own PE teacher Andy Rossiter. On the run back from Hynish the main bunch split up, with the Half Marathon runners going up and around through Sandaig, and the 10k runners going back round to the beach finish.

The under 16’s meanwhile ran their races, with 1km and 2km events and podium presentations to finish. It’s great to see all ages included, and even pram pushers taking part in the day.

In the 10k event, once back to the beach, it was Mr Rossiter who had made the break, establishing a lead with nobody else in sight. With a final sprint to the line he took the overall win, and was the only runner to go under 40mins (39:32). It’s taken 10 years, but it’s the first local resident to win the event, and a very worthy winner indeed – “Really enjoyable day and night. Great effort by all involved, especially those doing their first 1/2 marathon against that headwind!”


Back on the course, the half marathon was indeed battling against a headwind, having turned up the track at Kilkenneth towards Moss, and heading back through Heylipol it was against the wind the whole way.


At nine miles turning into the wind it was going to be my first and last half marathon! But once finished, i forgot the pain, and am now looking forward to the ultra marathon in September!” – Jo Vale


It was a really tough run for me, the longest I’ve ever done before, but all the cheery waves, tambourine shakes and pans being beaten encouraged me to keep going and complete the course!” – Ishbel Campbell


Ishbel and Jo both completed the Half Marathon, a fantastic achievement, and a great result for all the training they put in. Both runners are set to do the Ultra Marathon in September!


Meanwhile, the 10k finishers kept coming, with a top 20 finish from Sarah Holliday, and Stewart MacLennan as a last minute entry finishing high up. But everyone who finished should be pleased with their achievement, it was a tough day, and having so many people out on the course spurred all the runners on. In that sense, it was a team effort, and everyone played a part.


But the day was not yet done. The dance is now established a night not to miss. Oban band, Crackin’ Craic were on amazing form, and gave a fresh sound and an appropriate finish to the 10th year of the event. A raffle was held, and raised £600 to be given to Oban Mountain Rescue, with many runners commenting how this cause had been on their minds during the run, and had inspired them to keep going.


Special thanks to all the volunteers and helpers on the day. It was hard work this year, and yet everyone who contributed made the event a success, and created a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy being active on Tiree. Each year I receive lots of feedback about how supportive and friendly the volunteers are, and it’s that which makes the event special, so thank you for all the ways people helped at the event.


Next up – we’ve got a Trail Running Training Camp in June, open to local residents and visitors, and then it’s the Ultra Marathon in September. More details at www.tireefitness.co.uk


Any comments, feedback, concerns or suggestions about any of these events please contact Will on 421 or email will@tireefitness.co.uk and all finish times can be found on the website.