Letters to the editor – August 13, 2021

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Don’t blame cyclists

Sir,

The article published in the August 6 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser with the headline ‘Cycling route is danger to drivers’ suggests the cyclists who use this national cycle route are creating a danger for drivers.

The Kilberry Loop Sportive, it suggests, has increased the number of cyclists on the B8024 as entrants practice and train for the event, making life hard for residents. I feel it will be more dangerous for the cyclists than the drivers but the reality is the build up to this event has a very small impact on the number of cyclists using this route.

As event organisers we take our responsibilities very seriously. A sportive is a non-competitive event. This event is British Cycling approved; the police are informed, as are all residents. All entrants are made aware they must abide by the Highway Code and show courtesy to all other road users on pain of disqualification and censure from British Cycling.

The demographics of the entrants show a good number are drawing their pension – or will be soon.

I have lived in Tarbert for 35 years and regularly cycle along this B road. There may be a few more cyclists around this summer, the majority of whom are on touring bikes, carrying all their worldly possessions, going at a leisurely pace enjoying the scenery. To suggest the road is a ‘dangerous nightmare’ and a ‘race track’ is as sensationalist as it is absurd. I believe this article has diminished the seriousness of the issues raised by the resident concerned by including such provocative language.

While it is unacceptable Mrs Carsten is ‘too scared to leave her home’ those responsible for the hedgerow should fulfill their responsibilities and make the B8024 safe for all users, residents, cyclists and drivers – but don’t blame the cycling event for her fears.

John Hardie, event organiser, Kilberry Loop Sportive, endorsed by Colin MacFarlane, president of the Mid Argyll Tri & Cycle Club.

Crash barrier danger

Sir,

Crash barriers are being erected on the A83 between Furnace and Minard.

Less than half a mile further towards Campbeltown, there is a part of the road where only a very narrow verge separates the road from a drop of a metre to the loch shore. I wonder why this stretch of road is missing out.

The stretch currently being worked on has a footpath between the road and the crash barrier. Before the barriers were in place, if a car left the road a pedestrian on the footpath might have had a chance of escape into the soft scrub at the edge of the road. Now, a pedestrian unlucky enough to be in the path of a car leaving the road has a greater chance of being severely crushed between the vehicle and the crash barrier.

Is there a reason why crash barriers on roads with footpaths are not placed between the traffic and the footpath?

Elizabeth Hay, Minard.

Haud yer wheesht and ease loneliness

Sir,

Lots of us would appreciate a moment’s peace and quiet. But what if that moment lasted for days on end, with nothing but the television to break the silence?

This is the reality for too many older people. A lack of contact with others made the pandemic especially difficult and hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland can still go up to half a week without hearing from or speaking to another person.

The Big Wheesht is returning for its second year and Age Scotland is urging as many people as possible to sign up for this sponsored silence with a difference.

Throughout September the challenge asks individuals, families, businesses and other organisations ‘can you haud yer wheesht?’ and raise money to support lonely older people across Scotland.

Fundraisers can choose to take part in a variety of ways, from switching off their phones to unplugging from social media, hosting a silent disco or simply taking part in a period of sponsored silence.

The fun event has a serious message at its heart, aiming to highlight just how many older people in Scotland still live with unwelcome silence daily.

Age Scotland’s recent research found that an estimated 218,000 over-50s feel lonely all or most of the time, with 53 per cent feeling even lonelier as a result of lockdown. Around one in four – 24 per cent – said they did not normally see someone during the course of the week, rising to 28 per cent among those who lived alone.

Donations to The Big Wheesht will go towards the charity’s national 0800 12 44 222 friendship line, which helps older people stay connected by offering support, comfort and reassurance to those in need.

Chronic loneliness increases the risk of stress, anxiety and depression and doubles the risk of dementia. By joining us for The Big Wheesht this year, you’ll be helping to raise awareness and tackle the devastating impact a lack of interaction can have.

We will be dealing with the ongoing impact of lockdown loneliness and isolation for a long time to come and the more money raised, the more calls our dedicated friendship line team can offer.

Anyone who would like to take part in Age Scotland’s Big Wheesht can register online by visiting www.age.scot/bigwheesht.

 Brian Sloan, chief executive, Age Scotland

Bike power in Mid Argyll

Sir,

The ACT Now project thanks the MS Centre in Lochgilphead for hosting the eCargo bike event on Thursday August 5.

ACT Now and the MS Centre work in partnership to reduce food waste in Lochgilphead, through the Co-op Food Share scheme, so moving to promote sustainable transport continues the theme of a cleaner, greener Argyll and Bute.

ACT Now, a Scottish Government Climate Challenge Funded project based in Lochgilphead, has eCargo bikes supplied by the Energy Saving Trust and Hitrans which we supply for free, long-term hire to Mid Argyll businesses and organisations.

Should any Mid Argyll business or organisation wish to trial an eCargo bike please contact me at jamie@act-now.org.uk for more information.

Jamie Joyce, ACT project officer.