News from the districts – February 18, 2022

J and A Mitchell and Co is switching from gas oil to liquid gas at its two Campbeltown distilleries. Photo: Springbank.

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Kilmartin Museum education officer Kenneth McElroy is offering charities in Argyll the chance to raise some money in a new series of monthly quizzes.

Kenneth has form – having previously held a successful annual quiz in his home town of Thurso prior to the pandemic.

Now living in Oban, Kenneth says he decided to host a monthly quiz for the next year to raise money for worthy causes and because he misses the buzz of a pub quiz.

He said: ‘I used to host a yearly quiz in my home town in Caithness and it was always a good laugh and an opportunity for people to come together. I thought in doing this I could give something back into the community, whilst having fun.’

The first ‘Stupid Cupid’ quiz at The View in Oban was held on February 11, with plenty of raffle prizes on offer as well as the chance for quizzers to win £100 for first place and various other prizes.

The first charities to benefit from Kenny’s quiz-mastering are Kilmartin Museum and Dunollie Castle.

Kenneth can be contacted by emailing


Aliens are coming to Argyll this spring as Scottish Opera’s newly commissioned primary schools tour production, ‘The Last Aliens’, begins its tour round Scotland.

Starting on February 23 in Glasgow, it will reach the Cowal peninsula in April, with visits to Strachur Primary School on April 25 and Kirn Primary School the following day.

Scottish Opera’s Education and Outreach Department has been working in Primary Schools for 50 years, offering a rich cultural experience for pupils, parents and staff alike.

The Last Aliens, composed by Alan Penman with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse, is an intergalactic adventure for primary five to seven pupils. They learn five fantastic songs in their own classrooms before Scottish Opera teaching artists arrive at the school for a morning to teach movement and choreography to prepare for a 30-minute performance in front of fellow pupils, friends and family.

The opera tells the story of a spaceship arriving in orbit around Earth with occupants who have travelled across the galaxy to convince everyone of the need to join together and take action to protect the planet for future generations.

Down on the planet’s surface, scientists and the military are at complete loggerheads about what to do next and it all seems pretty bleak…until the visitors bring them a message that they can’t ignore.

Argyll and Bute

New ferry berthing infrastructure at Dunoon and Kilcreggan could cost as much as £17 million, a report has revealed.

An outline business case is currently being prepared by Argyll and Bute Council for the redevelopment of the ferry infrastructure at the two terminals.

And it is estimated that improvements at Dunoon could carry a £7m cost, while proposals for Kilcreggan could cost anywhere between £6m and £10m.

A new passenger access system, designed to fit a new vessel and give slacker gradients, has also been revealed as the council’s preferred option for Dunoon.

The Gourock, Dunoon and Kilcreggan Infrastructure and Vessels Project is a collaboration between the council, Transport Scotland, CMAL and CalMac Ferries Ltd.

The report was discussed at the virtual meeting of the Cowal Transport Forum on Wednesday, February 9. A public consultation is to be run by the council seeking the public’s views.


Whisky producer J & A Mitchell & Co is switching its energy supply from gas oil to liquid gas at its two Campbeltown distilleries in a bid to operate more efficiently and avoid the imminent withdrawal of tax relief on red diesel.

As a result of switching to Flogas at Springbank and Glengyle distilleries, the company hopes to cut energy costs by up to 18 per cent, even before the subsidy changes, while also reducing carbon emissions by more than 20 per cent.

It will also minimise other pollutant emissions, making it compliant with the government’s Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD), which regulates against air pollution.

Springbank, the larger of the two distilleries, has been in operation since 1828, while Glengyle, just 200 metres away, was refurbished and re-opened in 2004.

Findlay Ross, director of production at J & A Mitchell & Co, said: ‘Springbank is an old distillery that was never designed with efficiency or sustainability in mind, so we’ve had to make improvements whilst making sure we don’t affect our original distillation process or popular final product.

‘It was the best way to make huge cost and emissions reductions in one go, without affecting our production process.’