News from the districts – February 19, 2021

Debris on the A83 at Ardrishaig.

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Glen Scotia distillery scooped winner and runners-up awards in the whisky categories at last week’s People’s Choice Drinks Awards.

In the only competition to enlist the help of enthusiastic consumers in the judging process, Campbeltown’s Glen Scotia distillery won the hotly-contested ‘Treat Yourself’ class for premium malts for its limited edition ‘Campbeltown Malts Festival 2020’ – a 14-year-old bottling finished in tawny port casks to celebrate the town’s annual festival of whisky.

Glen Scotia took a runners-up award in the ‘Easy Weekday’ whisky category with its ‘Glen Scotia Double Cask’.

Finalists were selected by an online application process and assisted by members of the drinks trade.

Round two judging, selecting the winners from those shortlisted by consumers, included drinks communicators such as Helena Nicklin, Aidy Smith and Colin Hampden-White of Amazon series The Three Drinkers and Amelia Singer from The Wine Show, also on Amazon.

‘The awards categories are designed to resonate with the average consumer and guide them to the occasion they are buying for – even if it is just a night in with a pizza,’ said awards creator Janet Harrison.

Isle of Bute

Calum’s Cabin, which started as a holiday retreat on the Isle of Bute for children suffering from cancer to come with their families, has reached its 12th birthday.

The charity was named after Calum, beloved son of Caroline and Duncan Spiers and twin brother of Jenna, who passed away at the age of 12 in February 2007, little more than a year after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Calum was an inspiration to all, forever laughing, smiling and putting others before himself. Calum’s Cabin was his idea.

Realising that he and his family lived in a beautiful part of the world, Calum thought it would be fantastic to have children suffering from cancer come to Bute and make irreplaceable memories.

His family set about making Calum’s vision a reality and, after a lot of hard work – and helped by interior designer John Amabile – Jenna officially opened Calum’s Cabin in February 2009 with her parents by her side.

Thanks to huge public support, the charity now offers other properties on the island and elsewhere, including flats in Glasgow for families to use when their child is going through longer-term treatment in the city and home is a long way away.

Jenna said: ‘Twelve years ago I cut the ribbon that opened our amazing Calum’s Cabin. Since then we have helped more than 1,400 families come to visit the cabin, cottage, Mountstuart and Dumfries House and make irreplaceable memories.’

With stays currently suspended in the pandemic, she added: ‘Calum’s Cabin will be back when we can and is safe to do so and we’ll be back stronger than ever, welcoming more families to our beautiful isle to spend quality family time together.

‘As always, all in the name of the most incredible young man who had the most amazing and selfless vision, who always thought of others and put everyone before himself.

‘A young man that I am so proud to call my twin brother.’


A prolonged spell of cold, dry weather finally gave way, without much love and affection, to more familiar damp conditions on St Valentine’s Day.

Tide and wind whipped up waves which crashed on to the A83 at Ardrishaig, forcing traffic to detour round debris on the carriageway for a spell. BEAR Scotland personnel soon had the debris cleared away and the road re-opened as the storm subsided.