Letters to the editor – week 18

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Lengthy trunk road closures

Sir,

According to a report that appeared in your edition of April 27, a traffic accident occurred on the A83 near Lochgair at 2.30pm on Saturday April 21.

It is further reported that the A83 between Lochgilphead and Inveraray was closed to traffic ‘while investigations were carried out’ – before re-opening ‘in the early hours of Sunday April 22’.

Even if the early hours is taken to mean, say, 1am on the Sunday morning, this suggests the principal route for access to and egress from Mid Argyll and Kintyre – as well as the  ferries – was arbitrarily closed by police for some eleven and a half hours.

I would like Police Scotland to explain why this was necessary.

I well remember a retired police officer telling me that, in the days prior to Argyll entering the stranglehold of Strathclyde Police, the local superintendent would want to know the reason why if the scene of an accident was not re-opened to traffic within about 30 minutes.

Police Scotland should understand that (a) the usual excuse (lengthy closures are necessary in order to gather information thought useful in prevention of similar accidents in the future) will not wash; (b) perusal of any half-decent road map will reveal to Police Scotland that, unlike the central belt, Argyll does not have a multiplicity of short alternative routes suitable for use as diversions; and (c) their one-size-fits-all approach is a negation of management.

If Police Scotland is so keen to glean evidence relative to a traffic accident they might also look at actual or potential accidents resulting from these enormous diversions – fatigued drivers – drivers unfamiliar with diverted routes – difficulties finding overnight accommodation – insufficient fuel – appointments missed and so on and so on.

Eric Box, Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

It pays to complain

Sir,

You may recall that I incurred a ruined tyre while driving through the roadworks at Strone Point on the A83 back in February.

I claimed for £270, which was the cost of the rescue and renewing the tyre, against the trunk road maintenance contractor, BEAR Scotland, who had let the road deteriorate to such a dreadful state while road improvements were going on.

While they haven’t admitted liability or anything as rash as that, they have, on the other hand, offered to pay me £250, most of the expense I incurred.

I have accepted this offer and I thought you might publish this as an encouragement to others who have suffered expense for similar reasons.

It pays to complain.

Graham Thomas, St Catherines

Music group success

Sir,

Having held a successful evening of music at the Argyll Inn in Lochgilphead on Friday April 27, the Easy Club would like to thank a number of people and organisations.

Thanks to the ownership/management/staff of the Argyll Inn and the donators to the prize draw; the Co-op, Danny’s, Dalriada DIY, the Smiddy, Fyne Living, ABC Bookshop, the Archway and Marmalade Deli.

Also all the helpers and carers, and the many musicians, and the enthusiastic audience who came along to enjoy the evening.

As we start to plan workshops for the coming months we would be very happy to welcome new participants. Just email hugh.fife@yahoo.co.uk for more information.

Hugh Fife and the Easy Club committee, Lochgilphead

Ardrishaig site and birds

Sir,

I am a visiting researcher, being privileged to undertake fieldwork in the Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead areas over the past three years.

I was shocked on arriving at Ardrishaig recently, for 2018 fieldwork, to discover that the former Gleaner oil depot, a known local breeding site for the UK Amber-listed common gull as well as oystercatchers and black guillemots, is undergoing major development, with complete and utter disregard for these breeding birds.

I implore the developer, Scottish Canals, to temporarily postpone this work until the birds have finished breeding for the year and, longer term, to design a mitigation plan for these birds going forward.

Otherwise, Scottish Canals’ credibility as an organisation that claims to care about nature will be seriously eroded.

Andrew Tongue, Doctoral Research Ornithologist, University of Birmingham

Get on thinking caps

Sir,

I would like to call for all Argyll and Bute schoolchildren to put their thinking caps on for Barnardo’s Scotland fundraising Hat Day.

We are asking teachers, child carers, parents and pupils throughout Argyll and Bute to sign up for Hat Day and wear a fun hat to raise money to support some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.

Hat Day, celebrated on Friday May 18, encourages children to wear or make a hat signifying who or what they would like to be or do when they grow up.

It could be a firefighter, police officer, chef, astronaut, medic or sportsperson for example. There are no rules or limits to the imagination – they may want to be a wizard or superhero.

If a child does not know what they want to be they can decorate their hat with something they are passionate about such as a sport, graffiti art, dancing shoes, or musical instrument.

The idea behind the fun is to raise money for the UK’s leading children’s charity to help give thousands of disadvantaged children a better future. When they go into school, nursery or playgroup on May 18, parents and carers can make a voluntary donation of £1 to £2 to Barnardo’s Scotland.

Children are full of surprises, and this is a fun way of allowing their imaginations to run wild in a way that will be inspiring, educational and raise money to help transform the lives of children who desperately need our support.

It is easy to sign up on our website where you’ll find lots of resources and ideas to ensure your fundraising Hat Day will be a huge success and help support the children and young people we support in your local community.

To register, visit www.barnardos.org.uk/hatday. Here you’ll find everything you need to make the event a success at your school, nursery or playgroup.

Our resources section has school posters, sample letters for parents and hat-making guides. Contact regional relationships manager for Scotland, Jennifer Keegan on Jennifer.Keegan@Barnardos.org.uk for further information or assistance.

To help with ideas, Barnardo’s is launching a separate ‘Top Hat’ competition for teachers/parents for best hat in the run up to Hat Day, with a poll to decide the winner on the Barnardo’s Community Fundraising facebook page.

Martin Crewe, director for Barnardo’s Scotland

Islay ferry disruptions

Sir,

I write concerning the blight of ferry disruptions across my council ward, particularity on the island of Islay.

We cannot allow CalMac’s management blunders and lack of funding from the Scottish Government to act as a ball and chain which is holding back my local ward’s fast industrial growth.

Councillor Alastair Redman

Nominate a stroke hero

Sir,

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the UK. It can strike at any age, and it can be devastating.

The Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards celebrate conquering stroke with courage, commitment and determination.

The awards honour extraordinary and selfless people from all walks of life, who have come through the life-changing consequences of stroke.

Nominations for the awards are now open.

If you know somebody who has had a stroke or looked after someone following a stroke and deserves recognition, then please enter them for an award today via the www.stroke.org.uk/lasa website.

The deadline for the awards is May 31.

Angela MacLeod, communications manager, the Stroke Association Scotland