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Tourism – Argyll’s lifeblood

Without doubt, tourism ranks alongside fishing as an industry which is important to the creation of employment and economic growth in Argyll.

The investments and innovative projects outlined in David Adams McGilp’s letter in the February 2 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser are indeed to be welcomed.

The claim,  however,  that tourists will see an increase in the number of channels providing information on places to visit and stay should be regarded with caution. Digital products will rely on mobile phone and internet access being available. At present this is, at best, patchy in Mid Argyll and Kintyre.

His ‘dynamic strategy’ includes the closure of the Inveraray, Tarbert and
Campbeltown tourist offices and attendant loss of jobs. With five ferry
services operating from Kintyre (to Cowal, Islay/Jura, Arran, Gigha and
Ardrossan), a dedicated information office seems essential.

‘Coo vans’ are an interesting novelty but, as itinerants, can you find one when it is needed?

None of the features and events listed in the letter are in Knapdale or
Kintyre, despite the scenery of this area being unique in many varied ways. With regards to history, heritage and archaeology, it would be difficult to find a greater concentration of all three, as exists in Kintyre. Standing stones
from the Megalithic era are to be found at various points, and are evidence of a prehistoric civilisation.

More recently (mid first century), Christianity first arrived in Scotland when St Columba crossed from Ireland to Kintyre.

Modern place names still reflect his passing as he travelled towards Iona. Near Ellary in Knapdale, a large cave and nearby chapel ruins are believed to mark a stopping place in his journey. The cave has a stone alter and a cross
carved in the rockface above.

Traces of ancient forts and earlier communities can be found in many parts. Tarbert, which sits on the Kintyre isthmus was almost certainly the site of the earliest of west coast habitation.

A castle built by King Balliol, probably on the site of an even earlier fortification, and designated as ‘Royal’, was found by Robert the Bruce in
a ruined condition. His extensive repairs in 1325 extended to the virtual
rebuilding of the castle. The accounts for this work are the earliest
financial records presently existing in Scotland. A figure for ‘the making of a suit for the King at Tarbert’ is included in the account. It is likely that Tarbert
was designated as a Royal Burgh, about this time, and was almost certainly the earliest in Argyll.

Visitor numbers to Mid Argyll are constrained by the vagaries of the A83
at the Rest and be Thankful, and other ongoing works along the route. Until major improvements can be effected for the full length of the A83, it is
difficult to foresee an increase.

A campaign to reinstate a car ferry service between Antrim and Kintyre would be widely supported. Such a service operated for three summer seasons prior to the year 2000. This brought a separate stream of traffic to the area. A survey of local businesses in Kintyre and related areas at the time indicated that they had recorded a minimum increase of 10 per cent to their turnover due to the increase in visitor traffic.

Perhaps Mr Adams McGilp could add an appeal for a return of this ferry link to his strategy.

Name and address supplied


Take the Poppy Pledge

There are few of us young or old who are not at least vaguely familiar with the famous recruitment poster from 1914 in which a glaring Lord Kitchener points right at us and proclaims that he and our country ‘needs you’.

It is one of the most iconic and enduring images of the First World War and serves as a reminder that military service back then – and during the second global conflict that followed 21 years later – was all-encompassing rather than the situation today where each and every one of us has a choice as to whether we wish to serve our country in this most important of ways.
It is the unspoken hope that our world will never suffer war on this scale ever again, but it is a stark fact of modern life that, as I write, there are countless conflicts taking place across the globe, many of which involving our brave servicemen and servicewomen.

Here at Poppyscotland we are committed to providing life-changing support to the armed forces community. Many of your readers will be most familiar with us through the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal. The money raised from the appeal allows us to provide tailored funding and assistance, and we also fund services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite.

This year, though, as we mark 100 years since the signing of the armistice that heralded the beginning of the end of the First World War, it is Poppyscotland’s turn to say ‘your country needs you!’

We have launched the 1918 Poppy Pledge, a fundraising quest that is inspiring groups, schools, businesses, clubs and organisations around the country to take on the challenge of raising £1,918 – or more – in 2018.
The Poppy Pledge – which can take any fundraising form participants see fit – will be a lasting tribute to those who fell in the First World War but, importantly, it will also allow us to make a step change in the scale of support Poppyscotland is able to provide those in the armed forces community who rely on our support today.

Your brave troops and their families need you. Will you take the Poppy Pledge?

For more information, please visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk/poppypledge.

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising, Poppyscotland, New Haig House, Edinburgh

Broadband and Islay toilets


I was delighted to attend the latest council administration meeting with my fellow Conservative councillors.

I had the opportunity to discuss the recent unacceptable lengthy disruptions to our internet service. I also made my views clear on the importance of keeping our public toilets on Islay open. All the more so if we are to keep and encourage growth in our important tourist industry.

I have raised the numerous and justifiable complaints about our local roads that I have been receiving from across my council ward. With our roads getting worse and worse a suitable long term solution is needed and that means large scale investment instead of piecemeal patchwork.

As ever, the people of Argyll and Bute will be able to depend on our large cohort of hard working Conservative and Unionist councillors to fight for our rural constituency.

Cllr Alastair Redman, Isle of Islay

Nifty Solution for Potholes


Potholes are a problem that affect all drivers and those who travel by bus.

I have been driving the Argyll roads for over 43 years and in the beginning the Argyll ‘B’ roads were better surfaced than the French ‘A’ roads at that time.

Now the reverse is the case.

There is no point, however, in wasting effort apportioning blame for what may be the consequence of no long-term plan or present lack of funding.

We are where we are – but we can all work at this together,  for there is nothing more damaging to poor road surfaces than speeding traffic and, as we all know, there are some folk who drive very stupidly – either inconsiderate of fellow motorists or with complete disregard for the surface conditions over which they travel.

There needs to be a concerted effort to influence a reduction in speed on the roads in Argyll and Bute, at least until the poor road surface problem is resolved.

I challenge the Argyllshire Advertiser to start a ‘Nifty Fifty’ speed reduction campaign in this county and would encourage everyone to support it.

If nothing else, wellbeing would improve dramatically.

Peter Minshall, Bàrr na Criche, by Tarbert

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