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Issue 187 - April 2008 - e-mail edition


Volunteer Awards 2008
LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Re - Bus Services
Saddell and Carradale Guild
INVERARAY - Road-works Update

Members of the Mid Argyll Youth Forum have handed over 500 "Message in a Bottle" containers to Mid Argyll Community
Hospital and Intergrated Care Centre.The Message in a Bottle initiative is a voluntary scheme for anyone living at home who
would feel more relaxed to know that essential information is readily available to the emergency services should they suffer an
accident or sudden illness.

The bottles contain a form with personal details, including a record of medicines being taken, family or friends to contact in an
emergency and details of any pets in the household. The completed information sheet is then put inside the bottle and placed in
the fridge.

The idea for this scheme was first raised at a Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay Community Safety Forum. As a result, the Mid Argyll
Youth Forum, supported by Argyll and Bute Council's Community Learning and Regeneration staff, agreed to pursue and deliver
the final outcome at a Public Health Network meeting.

The Council's spokesperson for Social Services, Councillor Donald McIntosh, said: "The Message in a Bottle scheme is low cost
and can help saves lives.

The information stored in these bottle can enable the emergency services to see quickly what medical conditions the person has
and can save lives in situations where every second is precious.

"I am delighted that the scheme has been rolled out across Mid Argyll and I would like to congratulate all the young people
involved for taking such an active role."The bottles will be distributed to via clinics; community nurses and support groups. They
are also available at the GP reception desk in Lochgilphead. Issued by Aileen Maclennan on 05/03/2008 15:00:39

Quite a heavy fall of snow north of Carradale brought chaos to commuters for a second time this year. The snow plough broke
down the Carradale side of Grogport and blocked the road completely, spilling oil from a suspected burst hydraulic pipe. Local
residents and delivery vehicles were stranded, some up to four hours. Eventually a mechanic arrived on scene and managed to
move the lorry temporarily to let traffic past. By this time the road conditions were starting to ice up and some vehicles had
problems getting up the hill. One lorry further down the road at Brackley partially blocked the road when it slid into the grass

I had a report today from a friend that a ‘gritter’ was up the road spreading ‘grit’. I asked him, if it was specially gritted to access
the lorry stuck in the road verge? In a further question I put to the roads department this morning was why there were no sand
piles on the hills? Some of the cars that got past the snow plough got stuck on the hill due to no gritting. My next question was
why was there no grit spread on the parts of the road that were ploughed - I was told told they were ‘gritted’. Did anyone see grit?
I did not and other trapped commuters could not see any grit on the lorry either. It might have been used up on the priority
B8001. Today (3rd March) may see conditions improving, but that is twice in just over a month that commuters have suffered in
this area Johnnie Durnan.

February redressed the balance after the bleak depressing January it was a month not of “eastern” but of “northern” promise.The
first week recorded showers of only small daily amounts-17mm in total. (less than ¾ inch). The middle fortnight between 8th-
20th was completely dry. Warmer temperatures heralded an early and welcome Spring. Eagerly anticipated seasonal flowers,
peppered the countryside.All change on the 21st February when the monthly total to date was instantly doubled with 17mm
recorded, which proved to be the onset of a final week of wet weather.The total monthly rainfall was 79mm (just about 3 inches)
the second lowest total since 2000. (only 2004 with a mere 56mm was lower)The barometer readings during the month showed
violent swings. There were notably high tides and though rainfall was comparatively low, it was very stormy as fallen trees and
power cuts can vouch.Much colder weather and some snow since, has put the early Spring on hold but gardeners will welcome the
cold frosty conditions to hopefully beat the bugs. Spring will return. The increased sunshine & lengthening daylight hours at least
make it feel that Spring is on the way. Tony & Margaet Leighton


Subscriptions are now due and should be paid to the Secretary forthwith. It is vitally important that the Club’s finances are in
good order to assist in the applications for grants towards the new clubhouse.There has been very little golf played in January and
February due to the poor weather conditions. In fact the course, most unusually, has been “closed”. It would be appreciated if the
decision of the Greenkeeper to close the course would be respected as damage to the fairways and greens can occur when the
grass is very wet.

The winners in the January and February draws were as follows : -

January February

1st - £25 Neil McGeachy Moira Foreman

2nd -£15 Brian Davidson Gregor Semple
3rd -£10 Charlie McDougall George Marshall

MEN’S SECTION - No report received

LADIES SECTION - No report received

Efforts by a range of organisations to safeguard Argyll's renowned Atlantic native woodlands from invasive plants and diseases are
"vitally important" for the area said Environment Minister, Michael Russell, today (Tuesday March 4, 2008).

Two major threats to these native woodlands come from invasive Rhododendron ponticum, which has been spreading
throughout Argyll’s native woodlands, and the recent discovery of an outbreak of the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum and the
distantly related kernoviae, recently discovered in private gardens in the west of Scotland.

Rhododendron ponticum is a highly invasive and aggressive shrub species which if left unchecked, can colonise woodlands,
particularly broad-leaved woods, and smother all other plant life, including natural regeneration of native trees. If the shrub isn't
controlled effectively, woodlands can be under threat of irreversible deterioration.

Rhododendrons can also, along with a range of other shrub and ornamental species, act as a host to Phytophthora ramorum
and Phytophthora kernoviae, both recently introduced pathogens in Britain. If the infected rhododendron is in close contact with
some tree species - including native species - the disease can move onto the trees and even cause mortality. The extent of
rhododendrons in Argyll’s native woodlands means there is a significant potential threat should either of these pathogens gain a

During a visit to Mull, the Minister announced the commissioning of a survey which aimed to identify the extent of invasive
rhododendron in Argyll, and which would also assess how best to reduce and remove the potential threat to native woodlands.
Environment Minister, Michael Russell, said: "The woodlands on the Argyll Atlantic islands are of international significance for
rare and protected species but they have been declining in extent and condition for a number of years, despite recent positive
efforts to re-invigorate them. The main threats come from livestock over-grazing, deer browsing, fragmentation and invasive plant
species, particularly Rhododendron ponticum. Forestry Commission Scotland, along with a range partners, has sought to identify
which of these native woodlands is under threat from smothering by rhododendron and is taking pro-active early action to
remove these threats. By removing the rhododendrons, it will also reduce the potential threat from Phytophthora should the
recent outbreak prove more extensive”.

During his visit, the Minister also visited Loch Frisa to open a new bird watching hide. The state-of-the-art building, sponsored
by Forestry Commission Scotland in partnership with RSPB Scotland, has been specifically designed for viewing sea eagles. The
hide sits on wheels, making it easier to move it into position each year depending on where the sea eagles nest. It also boasts a
glass front for viewing, and will have canvass interpretation panels and two TV screens featuring live footage of the birds which is
beamed into the hide from CCTV cameras placed in the nest. The Minister also presented over £5,000 to 15 community groups
from Mull and Iona. The money had been raised from the admission charge, as well as donations. A wide range of residents will
benefits from the money, including pregnant mothers, babies, toddlers, youth groups, special needs children, farmers and a
community renewables projects.

NOTE : Phytophthora (translated from the Greek meaning ‘plant destroyer’) is the generic name for a group of fungal-like
pathogens, containing many of the most destructive plant diseases. Both P. ramorum and P. kernoviae are aerial Phytophthoras,
which attack the above ground parts of trees and shrubs. They produce spores on infected leaves of host species such as
rhododendron and these spores may then infect the bark of trees such as Fagus (beech) and to a lesser extent, Quercus (oak).a
range of unrelated species. Both Phytophthoras can be transmitted by rain-splash, wind-driven rain, irrigation and ground-water,
but not by wind alone. Long-distance spread occurs by movement of contaminated plant material, growing media, and in soil
carried on vehicles, machinery, footwear or animals. The symptoms vary depending on the host species but on broadleaved trees a
dark coloured fluid oozes from the bark on the trunk (also known as a bleeding canker). This is caused when Phytophthora
attacks and kills the underlying bark. As the infection spreads, it girdles the trunk and causes death in a few years. In
rhododendron, the symptoms are a rapid shoot and leaf blight with brown to black discolouration. Two cases of Phytophthora
ramorum have been found in private gardens in Argyll belonging to the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust have been fully
co-operative with Scottish Government agencies in helping tackle this potentially serious outbreak.

Enquiries to : Claire Martin, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, tel : 0131-314-6506 or 0781-085-3508.

Do you know someone or a group of people who deserve to get recognised for the volunteering that they do in Argyll & Bute? If
so, then the Argyll & Bute Volunteer Centre is asking you to contact them to nominate the person or group for an award by May
the 9th .

The Awards ceremony will take place at the end of the annual Volunteers Week (1st – 7th June). There are four categories that
you can nominate in: Young Volunteer(s) of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Voluntary Organisation of the Year or Employee of
the Year.

The Volunteer(s) could be well known to the community for doing lots of volunteering or they may be someone or people who
volunteer in difficult circumstances. If you think that someone is doing a good job volunteering then let them know by
nominating them for an award.

To find out more and get nomination forms contact your nearest Argyll & Bute Volunteer Centre at 32 Longrow in Campbeltown
(01586 544744).

Alternatively, you could email <> or download forms from Henderson, Time Banks Co-ordinator,
(working Wed - Fri) Argyll & Bute Volunteer Centre, 32 Longrow, Campbeltown, PA28 6DD, 01586 554744



There is considerable community concern, not least in Gigha, that, despite Scottish Parliament's Finance Minister John Swinney's
statement that "Funding to PROTECT bus fares and SERVICES would also receive an extra £4m in 2008 - 2009", Argyll and
Bute Council officials will, yet again and without reference to, or without any consultation with, any of the likely affected
individuals or groups in any of the likely affected communities, persuade councillors to axe further Kintyre bus services because of
low passenger numbers and "budgetary constraints", the "contraints", despite being offered extra cash by The Scottish
Parliament's 2008 - 2009 budget, forced upon 'The Council' by the freezing of Council Tax.

Because of these and other concerns about public transport services and the likely re-instatement of 'The Irish Ferry' to and from
Campbeltown, the attached document, "Dis-Integrating Buses and The Kintyre Way", is being e-mailed local councillors and
other interested parties in order that proper steps be taken to secure "best practice" and provide for the needs of local residents
and tourists alike.

Despite the seeming mass of detail, which so upsets Argyll and Bute Council's Transport Officer, Douglas Blades, the only actions
that are necessary are -

1) Withdraw the 07.30 am Campbeltown to Kilmory 'coach'

2) Allocate its 1705 return from Kilmory to Campbeltown to an Ardrishaig-based driver AND, timetable its return, from
Campbeltown to Ardrishaig, to leave Campbeltown at around 9.30 pm

3) Retain the 07.15 am ‘non-schooldays’ Lochgilphead to Campbeltown service to link with The Kintyre Way and, timetable its
return, from Campbeltown to Lochgilphead, to leave Campbeltown at around 10.15 am to connect with the 11.00 am Gigha ferry.

4) REINSTATE the Campbeltown-based 'Sunday Local Bus' on an ALL-YEAR-ROUND BASIS on its old timetable, again, as
shown in this document, to connect and support The Kintyre Way

5) Sort out 'The Kyles of Bute' missing links to connect the Rothesay / Dunoon / Glendaruel and Portavadie timings, only five or
so minutes adrift, to allow an afternoon return from Rothesay to Tarbert etc.

6) Sort out the Tarbert / Kennacraig / Skipness links as noted too

7) Sort out the CityLink connections, from Oban, Campbeltown and Glasgow with CalMac, to allow through WINTER
connections to and from Lochranza

8) Persuade both Ulsterbus and CityLink to run connecting 'through' Ireland to Glasgow night services if the ferry link
recommences – The new EU money is to encourage cross-border cultural links.

9) Prepare, issue and distribute Council timetables and bus stop timetables twice yearly in early March and early September.

10) Advertise locally all applications and details of proposals to the Traffic Commissioners in the local press andadvertsie and
make open to thepublic all Transport Committee meetings and publish all minutes of such meetings. Donald Kelly, Muasdale


A number of meetings were held in late February over the whole of Argyll & Bute to seek a consultation over the Council’s plans
to change the nature of care provision for the elderly. The Editor attended the meeting, more as a result of a misunderstanding
than a desire to attend a formal presentation, and felt that the following comments should be sent to Sandra Greer, Argyll & Bute
Council’s Head of Service – Community Services. The period of consultation closed in mid March – before this issue of the
Antler went to print – but residents who concerned about the issues should still write to make their views felt. The Editor’s
observations were -

“Despite the excellent presentation by Douglas Boynton, the retired Head of Community Services in Aberdeen, the poor
attendance and the difficulty in obtaining information from Argyll & Bute Council departments may partly explain the relatively
poor attendance. As far as I am aware few of the voluntary agencies dealing with community affairs were contacted; certainly rural
community councils were not informed of the meeting, or of its nature. I attended hoping that some social difficulties in relation
to an early case of dementia might be resolved. Without printed documentation of the slide show it will be difficult for
commentators to make suggestions and comments on what would seem to be a pre-determined course of changes, unless they
took short-hand notes or were using a recording device.

The Council’s intention to withdraw from institutionalised care has been known for some time and the need to reduce
expenditure has been widely advertised, but in the Campbeltown situation, where there are plans to close the long-term ward of
the hospital and the disappearance of a dementia wing following the take-over by the Highland NHS Trust, facilities for local aged
residents will be at an all-time low. The commendable move towards care in the home has had a rough ride. Indeed the marriage
between the Council and the NHS has been fraught with difficulties over financial cover, and with community nursing moving
from personal care toward the haven of administration and doctor replacement - a heavier burden will now fall on private
companies and on the Council’s own care staff, only recently in dispute over wage levels. While Mr Boynton’s intimation that
provision by the private sector may save money by removing the burden of top heavy administration and staff costs, I am
concerned that Argyll & Bute may face a situation similar to that on the English south coast, where substantial Victorian houses,
divided into minute cells are serviced by young people almost straight from school surviving on low wages and living in similarly
poor conditions. As was pointed out in the following question session, ultimately the Care Commission should ensure adequate
standards, but, as is common knowledge, in the past private provision in Campbeltown was subject to corrective action. The
Council and its partners need to ensure that standards are raised, not lowered in the cause of financial efficiency”.

Nowadays ‘elevating ideas’ take on a life of their own. In secondary schools, ‘Cookery’ received the accolade of ‘Domestic
Science’ and entered the peerage as ‘Food Technology’, only to be threatened in recent months with a return to BMP (Basic Meal

Medical services have endured the same promotion. radiographers are invariably ‘Chief’ or ‘Supervising’ while doctors became
‘General Practioners’; no doubt, some weekend doctors from Europe may cease to be known as GPs but 4Ps (Part-time
Peripatetic Polish Practioners). Although nurses retain the dignity of their title they are no longer ‘Bad’ (Bathers of the Aged and
Disabled) but ‘Good’ (Going On to Other Duties). Opticians became just that bit more ophthalmic and even chiropodists turned
into podiatrists. Those of us who have the doubtful privilege of watching Judge Judy in the American courts will be only too
aware of the possibilities of British job descriptions taking on even more role enhancing descriptions.

Planning control, as it used to be termed, has followed the trend, now blossoming into ‘Development Management’. The
reason for this inflationary planning language is the attempt by Argyll and Bute Council to make us more familiar with the less
frightening processes of planning the built environment, an aspect of which appears on pages 10 & 11 of this issue.

You may well ask why the photo at the top of this column, and on the final page of the fourth part of the Planning
Department’s information disk ‘Sustainable Design Guidance’, is so appropriate. As a structure with Indian and Swiss Railway
connotations, it supports the construction of something of value to the community it serves. Braced and cross-braced to ensure
no possibility of failure it signally fails to state its purpose - your guess is as good as mine. Ultimately the whole title scene is a
minefield for the uninformed, a danger to the prospective user and a threat to the English language - please bring back grave-
diggers & dispense with personal disposal operatives.


Community Councils became Statutory Consultees on Planning Applications on the 1st April 1996.The role and procedure for
consulting Community councils is laid out in PAN47. The Scottish Executive considers that a Community Council has a special
role, representing a broader yet still local view which can be set alongside the comments of those with a more individual interest.
As the Community Councils are aware, this special status as a "Statutory Consultee" comes responsibilities and pressures in terms
of the content and time periods for consultations. In terms of time scales for consultation responses, and as laid out in agreed
procedures with the Council;

The Community Council's appointed contact must contact the relevant Council area office within 7 days of the publication of
the weekly list and request a consultation on a planning application. On receipt of the Planning Consultation the Community
Council has a maximum of 14 days to make a response on the planning land use issues that an application raises. If no response is
received within the 14 days, it will be taken that the Community Council has no objections.

In line with the PAN's the consultation regime should not interfere with the Council's Service delivery, particularly in relation
to performance standards, responses should not cause delay in the processing of applications, only in exceptional circumstances
will extensions to the consultation period be agreed. Such extensions would relate to "major applications" such as wind farms,
minerals and supermarket proposals.


When Argyll and Bute Council make a decision on a planning application they are required by Section 25 of the Act to: Make the
determination in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise A Community Council's comments on a
planning application must be solely related to Development Plan Policy or other material considerations.

In terms of SPP1 there are two main tests in deciding whether a consideration is material and relevant.

- it should serve or be related to the purpose of planning - it should therefore relate to the development and use of land; and it should fairly and reasonably
relate to the particular application.


SPP1 goes on further to define the range of considerations which might be considered material in planning terms, in practice, this
is very wide and falls to be determined in the context of each case. Examples of possible material considerations include: Scottish
Executive Policy, and UK Government Policy, on reserved matters. NPPS's, SPP's, PAN's and Circulars.European Policy, where
relevant. A draft structure or local plan. Area Waste Plans. The environmental impact of the proposal. The design of the proposed
development and its relationship to its surroundings. Access, provision of infrastructure and planning history of the site. Views of
statutory and other consultees and Legitimate public concern or support expressed on relevant planning matters.


• Loss of view, feu superiors consent, council financial interest, land ownership disputes, matters of commercial competition.

SPPI emphasises that the planning system "does not exist to protect the interests of one persons or business against the activities of another,
although in some cases private interests may coincide with the public interest In distinguishing between public and private interests, the basic question is
whether the proposal would unacceptably affect the amenity and existing use of land and buildings which ought to be protected in the public interest, not
whether owners or occupiers of neighbouring or other existing properties would experience financial or other loss from a particular development".


• It is the responsibility of the Community Council to seek a consultation.

• A consultation request must be made within 7 days of the receipt of the weekly list.
• A response must be made within 14 days of the receipt of the application.
• If no response within 14 days it is considered that no objections have been made.
• Response must be based on the "development plan" or "other material planning considerations".
• The Community Council must satisfy themselves that the response is not based on "personal interest" as a planning decision
could be legally challenged.

Application Ref : 08/00243/DET Officer: Tim Williams Telephone:01546 604084
Ward Details : 01 South Kintyre
Proposal : Erection of 50 new dwellings and one women's refuge
Location : Parliament Place Campbeltown Argyll
Applicant : ACHA Dalriada House Lochgilphead Argyll PA31 8ST
Agent: Coltart Earley 11 Clairmont Gardens Glasgow G3 7LW
Development Type : 5A
All other Developments : Major Grid Ref : 171764 1621000


Over five years ago a new service was launched at Campbeltown Sheriff Court. Called The Witness Service, it is there to offer
practical help, information and emotional support to all witnesses, crown and defence, who are to give evidence.

The Witness Service is now operational in all Sheriff courts in Scotland and is 100% funded by the Scottish Government, who
have entrusted the well established and respected charitable voluntary organisation, Victim Support Scotland, to manage the

Like Victim Support, the Witness Service operates, in the main, using carefully recruited, selected and trained volunteers,
managed and supervised by full time staff. These volunteers, who work on a rota basis with a minimum commitment of one
morning per week, all undergo thorough training to empower them to be able to give information about court procedures and/or
offer a friendly face to talk to and receive the appropriate level of emotional support from.

Importantly, though, as is required by the justice system, they never discuss evidence; nor are they be able to offer transport or
child minding facilities. If requested, however, they will be able to arrange for witnesses to have a pre-trial visit to a court room.
Such an opportunity, for someone who’s knowledge of what to expect may be confined to what they’ve seen on television - often
English or U.S. systems at that, goes some of the way towards settling their fears and anxieties about what is to come.

Witness Service personnel make themselves known and offer their services to witnesses as they arrive or are waiting in court
on the day of their appearance. The service also receives advance referrals, whether they be directly from witnesses, themselves or
from any other relevant organisations, statutory or voluntary.

If a witness has not already had contact with a Victim Support Service, and it is appropriate, the Witness Service will refer to
them; giving the person the opportunity to talk someone about any particular anxieties, either personally or over the telephone.
Practical information about things like criminal injuries compensation or insurance claims is also available.

The Witness Service at Campbeltown now supports around 300 witnesses annually and is currently seeking additional
volunteers to assist in offering this worthwhile service to the community. For details please call the co-ordinator responsible on
0141 849 0300.


On behalf of many who work and have worked with the Forestry Commission in Kintyre, I would like to pay tribute to the late
John Strang of Achnabreac. John, an ex-employee, was a good friend to us and helped many of us out of sticky situations –
breakdowns, boggings and ditchings, as well as affording us storage space for bikes and trailers when the need arose. A quiet,
unassuming man of the old order; without his aid many of us would have been left truly stranded. I found him too an immense
source of historical and local knowledge which was of immeasurable benefit to me.

His passing truly represents the end of an era. He was of that brand of indigenous hillmen whose like are fast disappearing
from our glens; a man born, bred and moulded in the hills; a man who worked the hills and who fitted his environment. As many
of our old working rural dwellings fall to holiday, lifestyle and retiral homes, John Strang represented the last bastion of an era
when the glens were working places. With his passing a little bit more of our Scots heritage fades into history. It is not solely the
death of a man; it is the death of a way of life, a culture and a way of seeing the world. I doubt we will ever see his likes again.

Whatever happens, one thing remains – to us at least Achnabreac will always be ‘ John Strang’s.’ It was my privilege to have
known him and caught at least a dying breath of that era. Slan leat a’charaid B.G.Bruce Forester, Kintyre

Mr.John Strang of Achnabreck died in Campbeltown Hospital at the age of 77. A service to give thanks for his life was held in
Saddell and Carradale Parish Church on Friday 15th February.

John was born in 1930 in Courshelloch near Clachan into a family of 6 boys. The family later moved to Craignish, then to
Achnabreck in 1952, and it was there that John lived and farmed more or less for the rest of his life, on his own there for the 19
years after his parents passed away.

John also did some work for the Forestry, dragging timber, he did a bit of contracting, ploughing and so on - for Eskart Farm
in the Skipness area and in other places too - and he did some shepherding as well. John was also known for the sticks and crooks
he used to make as a hobby. And he kept working until he was around 70, and it was only his two hip replacements that really
slowed him down then.

When he took ill John was in and out of hospital, in Campbeltown and Oban, and in September last year he moved to stay
with his brother Alistair at Gobagrennan. But in his illness John was well cared for, by family and by hospital staff, and everyone
was grateful for that. It was good too to know of the love and respect in which John was held by so many people over the years, a
kind, quiet man, known to some of his friends as 'The Colonel', and a brother, uncle and great-uncle who was especially loved and
treasured by those closest to him.

Young footballers from throughout Argyll and Bute are being given the chance to have fun whilst learning tips from the very best
when when a number of top coaches from the Scottish Football Association (SFA) carry out training sessions in the area.

Former Hearts, Celtic and Kilmarnock player, Stevie Fulton, is just one of a number of coaches who will put the youngsters
through their paces during the three-day festivals which are hosted by Argyll and Bute Council. He will attend the sessions in

The festivals will take place in a variety of locations and will enable boys and girls between the ages of five and 16-years to
develop their skills and techniques. The Council's Football Development Officer, Dylan Kerr, is well-known in the sporting
world, having played for Kilmarnock and Leeds United to name a few. He too will be attending some of the training camps to
teach the youngsters the tricks of the trade.

Talking about the festivals, Dylan said: "These training sessions give young people the opportunity to have fun whilst learning
at the same time and increasing their confidence. They have been extremely successful in the past and I expect that this year will
be no exception.

They enable these budding young stars to shine and are a fantastic way of young footballers of the future to progress. These
sessions have even resulted in some kids from Argyll and Bute being given the opportunity to attend trials with premier-ship
clubs. Some of Scotland’s best coaches will take the youngsters through a variety of training sessions, focussing on a number of
key areas including speed, co-ordination and shooting. I hope that the people of Argyll and Bute make the most of this excellent

The festivals cost £30 per child and £25 for every child from the same family thereafter. Those taking part will all receive a
free t-shirt and baseball cap, and must bring a packed lunch and a drink, as well as appropriate indoor/outdoor clothing and
footwear. Booking forms can be obtained from all schools, leisure centres, Active Schools Co-ordinators or by logging on to . Alternatively, you can call 01631 572 189. These must be returned to Argyll and Bute Council, WHHA
Building, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4HB.

The dates and venues for the festivals are as follows:

Oban High School 7th, 8th, 9th April 10am – 2pm

Helensburgh, Hermitage 7th, 8th, 9th April 10am – 2pm
Islay High School 14th, 15th, 16th April 10am – 2pm
Garmony Rugby Field 16th, 17th, 18th April 11-30am – 3-30pm
Lochgilphead Joint Campus TO BE CONFIRMED
Tighnabruaich Shinty Field 16th, 17th, 18th April 10am – 2pm



Apologies for absence were received from Mary Ann Stewart, Councillor Donald Kelly, Jane McKenzie Scottish Water, Linsay
MacPhail, Jim Martin, Susan Paterson, Councillor Robin Currie, Alan Minshaw, Councillor Anne Horn, Councillor John
McAlpine, Ivor Watson, Mary Scanlon MSP, Jamie McGrigor MSP.

Disappointment was noted that no list MSP's were present.


Campbeltown / Ballycastle - Alison Younger reported that Moyle and Argyll and Bute Council had met with HIE to discuss the
upcoming STAG appraisal and had a pre-consultation planned with key local stakeholders through a workshop (April 10th) to be
organised by HITRANS.

Jim Mather MSP stated the political commitment and money is there and noted that the Civil Service team were aligned with the
principle that the STAG needs to take account of economics, social and moral realities.

Alison Younger intimated that they were expecting some political commentary on the report in the summer. The critical dates are
September/October for marketing and publications for any 2009 route. Jim Mather MSP stressed that Visitscotland will need to
ensure that they are well briefed to anticipate material coming.

Gigha/Tayinloan - It was noted that the ferry currently had to berth at Kennacraig with a dredger being in place at Tayinloan
today. The Group recognise the negative impact on the community in particular the agricultural sector. Councillor John Semple
advised that no funds had yet been allocated for the works.

Alison Younger confirmed that dredging had been carried out before Christmas. The previous central budget appeared to no
longer be there and the Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands Area Committee had requested a report to clarify this at the March

Committee. If monies were coming in the Council block allocation it would need to be prioritised within the capital programme.
Councillor Rory Colville confirmed it was for the Council to prioritise and it was suggested that the allocation for sheet piling
Dunoon Harbour could be diverted. Councillor Colville noted that the Dunoon Harbour project had no business case attached to
it. It was agreed that the Group would write to the Leader of the Council to ensure the position is understood and a strong case is


Opportunity Kintyre - Mary Turner provided the Group with an update advising that there had been an increase in numbers
with 56 clients and 3 new businesses. An ABSEN conference had been attended which had proved useful as Lochgilphead are
keen to develop a Sirolli project. Islay, Bute and Arran have also expressed an interest. Councillor Semple welcomed the recent
presentation which Ernesto Sirolli had delivered to the full Council.

Town Centre/Waterfront - Andrew Robertson reported consultants had been appointed to look at Marina feasibility and
redevelopment of Kinloch Road area with stakeholder workshops being planned for both. These would feed into an Outline
Business Case which the Council would consider as part of consideration of capital programme. Alison Younger confirmed that
other initiatives like CARS would also be brought in. Partners were closely involved and part funding elements of these (HIE,
ACHA, Communities Scotland).

Whelk Leader + Programme - Applications for 2 x £3.8 million have been submitted with a final decision on allocations still to
be made. Ray Mclntosh-Walley drew attention to the initial enquiry form which parties could now submit. This would be treated
as pre application consultation with intervention rate being 50%. The top allocation was still to be set but could be up to £50,000
per project. It was agreed that the marketing of both Leader and Rural Development Fund will be important and where required it
would be important to support communities to apply for funding.

Miniature Railway - It was reported that a meeting has met twice since the last Kintyre Initiative Working Group. Land
ownership and constitutional arrangements have been considered along with health and safety issues. Ray Mclntosh-Walley
identified that there could be benefits of involving closely with the Heritage Centre and they were awaiting consideration of these
by the Heritage Centre Trustees. Ray invited any other interested parties to get involved.


Visitscotland - Alison Peaks gave an overview on current marketing campaigns many of which were focused on bringing in
business in the quieter times. £0.5million will be put into 2008 Relationship Campaign February - March, April - June and 2 other
phases which will be issued to 380,000 people. A spring campaign is also underway targeting Europeans to try encouraging them
to travel further a field beyond airports. She noted that pan European Investment/return in previous years has been good with
£23 for every £1 spent. The VisitScotland website has been upgraded to help facilitate direct contact to businesses with the
accommodation guide revamped also. Campbeltown visitor numbers at TIC are still slightly down but booking numbers are up by
32%. The trend is now to self investigate so TIC role now needs to focus less on hard print as more people have internet access.
Mary Turner expressed her concerns over the quality of hotel provision in the area and wondered if there was financial support to
upgrade hotels. Marina MacDonald intimated that HIE business support is available.

Councillor Colville and Andrew Robertston agreed that a report would be brought to the next meeting on the background to
developing the A83 as a world heritage route.

Jim Mather MSP also drew attention to the 2009 Homecoming Celebrations. Monies would hopefully be available through Event
Scotland and possibly the Council.

Kintyre Way - John Bakes reported that the rucksack guides were now available in shops and were well received. A recent
meeting had taken place with representatives from Great Glen Way which had proved valuable. John intimated that full
membership was £10 per annum and could offer website advertising. German text was now available on wIt was reported that an
agreement has been reached with Ronachan to divert away from the road.

Mary Turner drew attention to the Core Path Consultation currently underway and noted it would be beneficial to draw attention
to paths like the Campbeltown/Machrihanish Railway Walk. Douglas Grierson is the Council contact for this.

Westport - Councillor Rory Colville reported that funding from SNH has looked into toilet facilities with discussions ongoing
with HIE also. Councillor Colville also updated on the progress of working groups looking at Killean and Kilchenzie churchyards

with potential future links to the Kintyre Way. It was agreed that there was considerable potential to build on the areas cultural

Councillor Semple encouraged the Kintyre Marketing Group to look at building membership with a public meeting being

Pipe Band Championships 2008 - The date for this is Saturday 17th May 2008 at Kinloch Green, Campbeltown with planning


Golf Kintyre marketing has taken place over the winter months including presentations in Mexico. It was hoped to develop
postcards etc to generate interest from global publications. The bad weather continues to cause problems with the seeding
complete and germination almost complete. The target date for opening was 15th August but could be delayed.

Ugadale Cottage works about to start on site with negotiations with CARS for grants for Royal Hotel.


Murdina MacDonald reported that VESTA's dialogue was continuing, though the situation was still very fragile with concerns
over long term sustainability.


Andrew Robertson advised that he has raised queries with the Director of Corporate Service about funding for a feasibility study
but to date no answer had been received. Andrew confirmed that he would invite a representative from Scotia Gasworks to a
future meeting.


a) Loganair Ltd. - Derrick Lang intimated that Loganair hoped to attend the next meeting. It was reported that a letter had been
received from Loganair on weekend flights with a formal approach being received by HIAL to look at opening at weekends. A
copy of the letter is attached to this minute for information.

The current PSO runs out in 2009 with Loganair intending to look at including a summer Sunday service from 2009. Loganair are
looking for support to bring some pressure onto the Government to respond positively to this.

It was agreed that the Group write to Stewart Stevenson to outline the community wishes for weekend flights and opportunities
which the reissue of the PSO presents.

Jim Mather MSP confirmed that invitations would be forwarded to HIAL and Loganair to attend a planned Transport summit.


Councillor Semple stated that he had written to Transerve with no response forthcoming. Ian Macintyre updated the Group that
the promised works had not materialised. Ian Macintyre requested that the Group write to the Scottish Government for copies of
the most recent road inspections.

Councillor Semple stated that the Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands Area Committee would be writing to Ministers to see if any
pressure could be brought to bear on Transerve to enter into dialogue.

Mary Turner confirmed that the Community Council was seeking to hold a public meeting on the matter to which all MP's, MSP's
etc. would be invited. Alan Reid MP noted recent correspondence with Transerve and expressed concern over performance. He
also raised concerns over the poor repair of Council roads. Councillor Semple reported that roads were featuring highly within
budget discussions and the outcome would be known in due course. Les Oman reported that the recent meeting with Stewart
Stevenson had provided an opportunity to raise the A83 as a critical local issue.

Councillor Semple suggested to Jim Mather MSP that the transport summit should be organised and held in Campbeltown.

Argyll College - It was reported that Argyll College were hoping to secure a lease for additional space which would include a
construction skills unit. It is hoped that the refurbished accommodation will offer 3 new full time classes in August.

H.I.E. A & I - Murdina Macdonald intimated that talks are on going with a number of parties regarding the Contact Centre. A
partnership group has been formed to assist with staff and the recent open day was successful.

Kintyre Redesign Group - Minutes of Kintyre Redesign Group are not yet available. Councillor Colville encouraged all to attend
the presentation that would be made to the Community Council on Monday 11th February.


Councillor Semple advised that discussions were underway with the Brass Band about a short term lease of the ferry terminal.

Les Oman drew attention to the inadequacies' of freeview and DAB services to the geographical area. Alan Reid MP advised that
freeview would come with digital switch over in 2010. DAB relied on proximity to transmitter and he intimated he would write to
the BBC to see if a transmitter could be installed in Campbeltown. 99.5% of households should be able to get freeview and digital.
To date Alan Reid MP had not been able to get a definite statement from the BBC on the impact.

Again the EKCC was not represented at this meeting

DATE OF NEXT MEETING - FRIDAY 25th April 2008 at 10.00 a.m. in the Town Hall, Main Street.


On Monday the 18th of February, Debby Lamont took time out from her very busy life to tell the Guild about her charity ‘Bonny
Babies’. This is a non-profit voluntary organisation making tiny premature baby items for UK hospitals, burial gowns of those
who don't survive and keepsakes for parents to show that they are not forgotten. She brought along examples of many knitted
and sewn items the charity supplies to maternity units. Debby started the charity seven years ago after having lost several of her
own babies, feeling that there was something lacking in the aftercare offered to bereaved mothers. Initially she sent a parcel of
knitted items to the Southern General Hospital, this was well received and they ordered more. Now there is an army of knitters
all over the country supplying over 70 hospitals, which send their specific request to her from a range of about 20 items. Last year
a total of 24,797 items were completed and despatched. Money is raised by organising various challenges including running
marathons. Debbie is keen to get local help with knitting and sewing and any donations of wool or material would be most
welcome. She can be contacted at Bonny Babies, PO box 9269, Campbeltown PA 28 6 WS. web



Five out of seven community councillors, fifteen other residents and three Unitary Authority Councillors came together on
Thursday 6th of March to deal with matters affecting the community. Unfortunately, as usual, in true Carradale manner, another
group decided to have a meeting on the same night, so the Treasurer’s report had to be read - answers to financial questions there
were none.


In opening the meeting the Chair-person, Shelagh Cameron allowed a request from Unitary Authority Councillor Donald Kelly to
comment on items in the February ‘Antler’. Whilst admitting that the report was accurate, he suggested that it was a bit personal.
In reply, the Editor stated that he had always considered the changes to council wards to be an administrative disaster in terms of
ABC Councillors attendance, and reminded Councillor Kelly that, whereas some ABC areas had sorted out a programme of
attendance some time ago, Mid Argyll Kintyre and Islay had taken 11 months to come up with a reasonable compromise - at this
point, Councillor Horn arrived from Dunoon with an apology for her late arrival.

The meeting got off to a prompt and lively start. Copies of copious minutes were distributed, and, after a brief perusal were
proposed and seconded - oh for the days when draft minutes were dispatched the morning after the meeting, giving ample scope
for at least one disgruntled councillor to nick-pick for four weeks among the literary spoil heaps.


Shelagh Cameron opened serious matters by mildly describing the lines painted on the road surface at Carradale harbour as
‘unauthorised’ - especially as the Roads Department had unwittingly acted by putting a bit more than a priming coat on top of the
offender’s carefully calculated territorial anschluss. The aggrieved parking litigants were warned that their request for a designated
parking slot would have to be the subject of a traffic order and could take up to eighteen months and might be an expensive
exercise for Argyll & Bute Council.


Problems were to be the subject of an on-site visit in the next few weeks. Residents who wish to were invited to meet Tony
Lambert to point out their concerns.


Treasury documents showed a balance of £1,303 in the EKCC account and £41,468 in the Wind-farm account. The Chair-person
went on to describe a lengthy conversation with the other absent community councillor who suggested that for added security, an
outside auditing agency should also sign Wind-farm cheques. After it was pointed out that this could entail a trip to offices in
Campbeltown every time a cheque needed a signature, cries were heard that she should stop interfering with the present system
adequately consisting of supervision by the Umbrella Trust, auditing by a local company and multiple signatures on all cheques.

Another business entrepreneur urged that as an councillor in a ward where there has been no formal vote for a number of years,
she has being irresponsible. She had already lost the community council its secretary through an unwarranted personal attack, and
was guilty of trying to tell the Treasurer how to do his job; she should ‘reconsider her position on the Council’.


A recent complaint had been lodged with Argyll and Bute Council over the dumping of grass clippings at Tosh’s Park in
December of 2007. This traditional practice could now attract a fine of £50. The miscreant has publicly owned up and has offered
to make amends. How many other residents have been guilty of this offence is not known, although there is historical evidence of
similar offences on the opposite side of the road at School Park.

The Chair-person’s avowed aim to have a Compost Station in Carradale would seem to be the obvious way to overcome similar
problems in the future, so long as the community supports the venture.


The spate of fallen trees on the B842 over the past two and a half months brought questions about whose job is it to clear them,
who is responsible for any damage caused and who pays for clearing trees fallen from private property? All three ABC Councillors
were a little hesitant to give the legal situation although it seems that trees growing on private ground are the responsibility of the
owners and they could be charged for clearing. The Forestry Commission, on the other hand, cannot be charged by Argyll & Bute
Council for work to clear the highway. Trees standing on the ‘up-to-three metres of road verge where no fence or wall exists’ are
the responsibility of the owners - Argyll & Bute Council!

Perhaps you’ve ‘twigged’ that between acts of God and human responsibility there is a chasm filled with trees of doubtful
condition, exposed by forestry harvesting and perched on rocks of contestable legal stability. It is clear that next time you travel
north on the A842 you will literally take your life in your hands, especially when using a mobile ‘phone to summon help.


Amongst the correspondence was a letter asking for residents and visitors to record sightings of native wild cats. While household
pets are known to be living in the wild and possibly breeding with the native variety, features like ‘tufts’ on the tips of their ears
are perhaps the only clue that the untrained eye may spot. Sightings should be reported to Shelagh Camereron (01583 431 345).


Letters, pamphlets and other documents were received by the Chair-person. Amongst these was an invitation to attend a
conference on ‘The therapeutic Treatment of Energy from Waste’ - to attend this conference, for which there was no travelling or
subsistence payments, attendees would need to waste substantial quantities of energy in a long non- therapeutic journey to Eastern

A more healthy missive from The Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society (of which EKCC is a member) reminded
residents that Elizabeth MacTaggart, a retired member of Campbeltown Grammar School staff was leading a walking party in
South Kintyre on August 16th and 17th. Details again from Shelagh Cameron.

Another of Shelagh Cameron’s interests came to the fore in relation to correspondence from an organisation called ‘Socially
Responsible Youth Shelters’. The connection being that the frequently vandalised bus shelter at Tormhor could become the site
of a sgraffiti-improved village facility.


Kate Singleton asked the Community Council members to consider making representations to the the ‘Scottish Government’s
consultation on Ferries’. Her view was that this was a good opportunity to press the case for an examination of all existing ferry
routes and those supported by The Kintyre Initiative Group and DEBAG. The Unitary Authority Councillors present also
reported the latest developments towards promoting the Irish ferry between Campbeltown and Ballycastle.


Residents on the B842 north of Carradale and others who use the road were very critical of the haphazard way the relaying of the
water pipe line was being being conducted. Vehicles had difficulty in passing the excavations at a number of places north of the
transformer station and expected more problems in the future. The Low Moineruadh water supply had also been cut off on a
number of occasions.

Similar concerns were made known to the ABC Councillors over relaying of street lighting cables at Broomfield. The workers,
thought to be from Maclean’s Landscapes, were not being supervised by Council Staff and were continually damaging parts of the
community garden by throwing implements and warning signs on the flower and bulb beds; tarmac had also been left on top of
the paviours and the JCB was left in the garden overnight.

Alen Oman asked if minutes of community council meetings were being sent to the Council. Shelagh Cameron replied that
apart from one meeting when the tape recorder had failed to work correctly, all minutes were now with the Corporate Services
Manager, Alison Younger. Despite the tape failure, minutes of that meeting were in the archive.

The Wind-farm Secretary, Geoffrey Page, announced that the Spring tranche opens on the 14th of March closes on the 28th


An alarming situation seems to have arrived in the last few months in the rural areas of East Kintyre. Following the posting of
notices on mail boxes cancelling Sunday collections - a service we haven’t had for many years - there are rumours that some
Saturday collections have either stopped or when there doesn’t seem to have been a delivery, a separate mail-person comes up the
road to collect post at 9.30 on a Saturday morning. The Saturday morning following the community council meeting the post was
very evident

Additionally the increasingly later delivery throughout East coast villages is causing concern - it is leaving some residents in the
remoter areas no possibility of replying to mail the same day, if collection times remain the same. Further rumours indicate that
collections are so late that they fail to connect with the van leaving for Glasgow, and remain in Campbeltown over-night and are
not dispatched until late afternoon the following day. The Chair-person agreed to write to Royal Mail to establish what can be

expected as normal practice.


Quite a heavy fall of snow north of Carradale brought chaos to commuters for a second time this year. The snow plough broke
down the Carradale side of Grogport and blocked the road completely, spilling oil from a suspected burst hydraulic pipe. Local
residents and delivery vehicles were stranded, some up to four hours. Eventually a mechanic arrived on scene and managed to
move the lorry temporarily to let traffic past. By this time the road conditions were starting to ice up and some vehicles had
problems getting up the hill. One lorry further down the road at Brackley partially blocked the road when it slid into the grass


I had a report today from a friend that a ‘gritter’ was up the road spreading ‘grit’. I asked him, if it was specially gritted to access
the lorry stuck in the road verge? In a further question I put to the roads department this morning was why there were no sand
piles on the hills? Some of the cars that got past the snow plough got stuck on the hill due to no gritting. My next question was
why was there no grit spread on the parts of the road that were ploughed - I was told told they were ‘gritted’. Did anyone see grit?
I did not and other trapped commuters could not see any grit on the lorry either. It might have been used up on the priority
B8001. Today (3rd March) may see conditions improving, but that is twice in just over a month that commuters have suffered in
this area. Johnnie Durnan.


Councillor John McAlpine was kind enough to allow the Editor to see a hand-written note from Donnie MacLeod, Mid Argyll
Kintyre & Islay Roads and Transport Manager: -

Dated 3rd of March: “The B842 ploughed and gritted 16.00hrs on 2nd March from Campbeltown to Carradale, showers
over-night 06.00 - 16.00 on 3rd March, ploughed and gritted north of Carradale. There were difficulties in keeping the
Campbeltown to Carradale section open, but during respite they managed to grit Carradale to Claonaig. During this the gritter
broke down which took approximately 2 hours to repair. The gritter also carried out a gritting-run on the evening of the 3rd and
06.00 Campbeltown to Carradale on the morning of the 4th”.

Councillor McAlpine also supplied a copy of the ABC Policy on Treatment Priorities (Gritting).

Apart from Priority 1 (Main A class roads), Priority 2 (Other A and B classified roads) includes the main school bus-covering
routes like the B842 Southend to Carradale road. Priority 3 (Main Public Service bus routes and Main School Bus routes during
term time only) specifically excludes school routes where there are less than twelve students travelling. So students travelling to
Skipness and Tarbert from Carradale and the northern villages are unlikely to see gritting in process unless their numbers increase.

Following a very positive meeting on site today with the engineers and contractors where the progress of the trunk road works in
the town was described as progressing satisfactory. As agreed with the various Inveraray Town Committees the works will stop
for the Easter break starting the 20th March 2008. It is the intended that all vehicular restrictions will be removed during the
Easter break to minimise disruption for visitors to Inveraray and district.

The current phase of works from factors corner, past the church to the post office will be substantially complete by the 20th
March 2008 with some minor works to be carried out in the vicinity of the church after the Easter break.

The next phase of work from factors corner to the castle entrance on the landward side is due to start the week beginning 10th
March 2008. It is hoped that this first section will be completed by the 20th march apart from some foot path and final surfacing
work which will be completed after the Easter break.

The community and local businesses were commended at the meeting for their understanding and co-operation during these
essential works.

Professor Dr.John Patrick (Chairman Inveraray Community Council)

Torrisdale. — Saddell Castle. — Wanton Destruction of national Antiquities. — Saddell Monastery. — The mighty
Somerled. — A Highland Chieftain's Rent-RolL — Macdonald and his Cuckoo. — My Thomson. — How Macdonald
entertained his Irish Friends and the M'Leans.—The Lord of the Isles. — Robert Bruce and local Legends concerning
him. — Fingal and his Dog Bran

Now we get into Kilbrannan Sound, and sail southwards, having Cantire on our right, and Arran on our left. At the head of the
Sound, we have already discerned Skipness Point, on the eastern coast of Cantire, with Skipness Castle, a massive square fortress,
that dates back to Danish times. This strong old place, backed up by rugged hills, is our first sight of Cantire. Here is the mouth of
Loch Fyne, from which we are now sailing — but which we shall sail down before many weeks are over our heads. There is a
good view up the loch, with its enclosing mountains drawn out in long perspective.

In order to save time, and to spare the reader a double description, I will speak of the various noteworthy places on the eastern
coast of Cantire, as we sail past them. The scene in which the massive castle of Skipness is a leading object, favourably impresses
us, at first sight, with this interesting portion of the Western Highlands. Skipness is the Scandinavian for ship-point, and the name
was given to this place from its having been a central station for the fleets of the Normen, during their struggles for conquest
upon this and the neighbouring coast. Skipness and Saddell are the only two ancient castles in Cantire, that are not in a ruined
state, though Skipness is somewhat dilapidated.* [* See the Rev. John Macfarlane's account of " The United Parishes of Saddell
and Skipness."]

Its outer walls are seven feet in thickness ; it has two projecting towers, one of which was evidently the keep of the castle, and
goes by the name of Tur in t'sagairt, the Priest's Tower. This place, like most others in Argyleshire, belongs to the Campbells, and
is now the property of Major Walter Campbell. One of the Campbells, called "the Captain of Skipness," was one of the eminent
men of Cantire. He studied the art of war under Gustavus Adolphus, was a sturdy Covenanter, and fought against Charles the
First and Montrose. Under the command of General Leslie, he pursued a body of the Macdonalds in their retreat to Ireland, as far
as the Castle of Dunaverty, a stronghold on a promontory near the Mull of Cantire, that was possessed by the Macdonalds. The
Captain of Skipness fell on the first day of the siege; enraged at his loss, his followers compelled the Macdonalds to surrender, and
slew them to a man. The mother of the Captain of Skipness, who was daughter to the chief of the Macfarlanes, was hourly
expecting her son's arrival. At length, as she thought, she saw him approaching at a quick pace; but it proved to be the messenger
with the tidings of his death. The shock was too great for her, and she fell into a swoon, from which she never recovered. The
body of the Captain of Skipness was interred in the old Gaelic church at Campbelton, where the following inscription formerly
was to be seen on the stone that covered the remains of this brave Covenanter : —

"A Captain much renowned, Whose cause of fight was still Christ's right, For which his soul is crowned. So briefly, then, to know
the man, This stone tells all the storie; On earth his race he ran with grace, In heaven he reigns with glory."

There was a Mr. Donald Macnicol, minister of this parish in 1753, who brought himself into notice by a review on "Johnson's
Tour to the Hebrides." "Hum !" growled the Doctor, when he read the work, "these Highland savages write the English language
wonderfully well !"

Mr. Campbell, in his "Popular Tales of the West Highlands," * [* Vol. ii. pp. 85, 86] has the following story connected with
Skipness (or Skipnish):—"When the people of Kintyre, MUINTIR CHEAN TIREADH, were coming home from the northern
airt from fighting against Prince Charles, under their chieftain, the Man of Skipnish, they were going together, each band that was
nearest as neighbours. So one little company stayed behind the great band, in CEAN LOCH GILP, Lochgilphead. The one who was
hindermost of this company, who was called by the nickname of IAN DUBH MOB, Big Black John, heard an unearthly noise, when
he was come in front of a fall that was at A MHAOIL DHUBH, on the northern side of Tairbairt Chean-tireadh, Tarbert (which may be
rendered Land's End drawboat). He went on, and in a burn below the fall, a terrible being met him : he drew his blade. Said the
being to him, ' Strike me !' 'I will not strike, thou monster !' said John; 'but brodaidh mi ihu, — I will prod thee !' ' Prod me !' the
being would say. "I will not prod thee, monster, but I will strike thee !' John would say. They fought thus for a great time, till the
cock crew: and the being said to Ian, 'thou wilt now be going; but, before thou goest, take thy choice of the two following things
— Ealan gun rath no. Rath gun ealain, — speechless art, or artless speech.' John chose speechless art; and so it happened. He was a

blacksmith, as skilful as ever drew hammer on anvil; but he was not much better for that; there was no penny he earned, that he
would not spoil, and that would not go in some way that was not easily explained. As an instance of art, he could mend a saw,
though thou hadst a bit in either hand, in such a way that it could not be seen where it was broken; and a gun in the same way.

There would be a covering on the smithy windows. when he would be mending such things. Big Black John got a great power
over witchcraft, Buitseachas, and evil eye. There was a man in Skipnish who had made money by smuggling, but he began to lose
his trade, for his malt refused to yield its product, till at last he lost the whole of what he had made; and he was a poor man. He
went at last to Ionarair, Ayr, where John was dwelling at that time. John told him that it was enmity that was doing the ill. He did
not. learn who was spoiling him. He said to him, 'Go home, and thou wilt get back the produce of the tnalt;' and so he did. Each
togail, mashing, he made, began to give more than the other, till the produce he got frightened him. He followed on thus till the
loss was made up, and, after that, he got but the usual product."

At Skipness is the ruined church of St. Columba, which, in its entirety, was the largest church in Cantire, except that at Saddell.
The greater portion of the building still remains.* [* See Appendix, "Ecclesiology of Cantire."] Macculloch does not give any
detailed description of the eastern coast of Cantire, from Skipness to Campbelton, but generalises it thus: — "Hence to
Campbelton is a succession of sea-coast, which is almost everywhere various and amusing, and that, whether we take the high
road, which follows the margin of the water, or pursue the line of shore in a boat. The coast, itself, is intricate with hill and dale,
and with bays, and promontories, and rocks; sometimes woody, at others populous and cultivated, and, in a few places, bare and
open, but still always entertaining. Arran, accompanying it for a long way, forms a fine object in the distance, while the ships, for
ever standing up and down the Clyde, add life to the whole." * [* Highlands, vol. ii. p. 63.]

We sail on down Kilbrannan Sound, passing Clunaig, With its kirk, two miles north-east of which is Glen-ristle, and a very entire
Druidical circle, of the usual formation. Then we pass Corsaig, and Cour House (where, on the Cour estate, is Loch-na-breach,
containing trout of exquisite quality, from two to four pounds in weight), and Sunadale and Barmolloch. Although, by the
steamer's regulations, we are requested not to speak to the man at the wheel, we transgress the rule, and find him particularly
communicative, though his Gaelic pronunciation of the names of places is sufficiently puzzling to a southron's understanding ;
but, by the aid of a map, we in some measure surmount the difficulty. The coast-line of the beautiful Isle of Arran now presents a
more cultivated appearance, low pasture lands intervening between the mountains and the sea.

Our steamer is under engagement to touch at Carradale, "weather permitting;" and on a fine day like this she has not the shadow
of an excuse for shirking her duty; accordingly we stand in for Cantire land, and swing round by Carradale pier, a little pier, but no
little bustle upon it. The natives gaze at us, and we gaze at the natives; and we give and take in the matter of herrings, groceries,
and other commodities; and we hear a great deal of Gaelic and Highland converse that is altogether unintelligible to us. All the
way from Skipness, there are to be seen, on various headlands, ruins of small forts, called Duns, probably of Danish origin, and
originally used for watch-towers or beacons. The remains of the most important of these we have just seen at Aird of Carradale,
built on a high rock over the sea, and inaccessible on that side; and the foundations of a vitrified fort are now also visible,
crowning a rocky islet in Carradale Bay.

Lord Teignmouth speaks of this fort, and thus describes these architectural puzzles : "At Carradale Point is a circular knoll,
presenting externally a regularly-formed surface, but within, a confused but well-compacted mass of artificial rock-work, one of
the best specimens of the vitrified forts, illustrating the design of the rude architects, which clearly was to imitate the work of
nature, as being more solid and secure than that of art, by reducing the materials which the coast afforded to the consistency of
rock-work by fusion. The whole structure then became one compact mass, and not composed of separate fragments cemented
together by masonry."* [* Sketches, &c, p. 385.] These vitrified forts have been variously ascribed to the accidental demolition of
buildings by fire, to the effect of beacon lights, and to volcanoes. It was not till the year 1777 that public attention was directed to
them, and ever since they have afforded matter for conjecture to the curious. So much has been written concerning them, that it is
not necessary to pursue the subject here, as it could only cause a digression, which, to be of any service, would be a long one, if
not tedious; nor could I hope to add anything novel or valuable to what has already been written on the subject. I may observe,
however, that Macculloch, who gives a list of the chief vitrified forts, in which he mentions this one at Carradale, would refer their
origin to the aboriginal Celts, or first settlers in Scotland; and he thus concludes a chapter devoted to the consideration of vitrified
forts : "After all that we can do or conjecture, the date of these works, and the people by whom they are erected, must remain a
problem, and it is one not very likely to be solved. Yet I should be unworthy the office of antiquarian bottle-holder, into which I
have unwittingly intruded, if I also did not declare my own hypothesis, by stating my hope, that some future traveller in the East,
will find farther reasons to prove that they are among the earliest military works of our oriental Celtic ancestors." * [*
Macculloch's "Highlands and Western Isles," pp. 287—301. See. also Hugh Miller's "Rambles of a Geologist," pp. 365, 371.]

Our friend at the wheel tells us a legend of this locality. When the Great Plague of 1666 had swept away its thousands in the city
of London, it visited Scotland, and was very fatal in Ayrshire. From thence it passed "in a great white cloud" across to Cantire. It
was a fearsome time ! whole households died, and there were none to bury them, neither would any go near to them; and these

houses of the dead were avoided, till first the thatch fell in, and then the walls, and then a green knoll covered all, giving them a
burial many, many years after it had been denied them by man. You see there Carradale Glen, where the plantings are, and where
the river comes down from the mountains — a bonnie glen it is, where the Haldoeans ** [** i. e. the Haldanites.] came some fifty
years agb, and preached the Gospel, and were persecuted for righteousness' sake. Well, sir, in that glen, in the time of the Great
Plague, there was a man who took the sickness; and, hearing of what I've told you of the people dying in their houses, he feared
he should not be buried. So, this fear took such a power over him, that he prevailed on some of his friends to dig his grave; and
he went and sat by, and saw it done. And when it was dug, he laid himself in the grave, with his sword by his side; and presently
he died; and his friends covered his body with the turf. MacCaog was the man's name; and they will show you the grave to this
day. "Uaigh-Mhic-Caoga" is its Gaelic name, which means "the Grave of MacCaog."

There is a hill in Carradale (said the man at the wheel) called Sroin-gia h-eanachain, in which lives an old creature, who makes a
great noise before the death of individuals of a certain clan. 'Tis an awsome noise, and makes the whole glen to tremble. There is
also a little fairy dwarf at Carradale, called Caointeach, or "the Weeper," and when any one hears him weep, they may be sure that
they shall soon be told of a death. I know a woman who saw the Caointeach. He was no bigger than a new-born babe, and was
weeping in a feeble tone, like an infant; and, next day, she got the news of the death of a near friend. You'll meet with a many
legends, sir, if you'll talk to the Highland people; they're a very superstitious folk, and think much of warlocks, and second-sight,
and such like, There are some as have known of a death coming on by hearing the trampling of feet outside the house, and seeing
a spectral funeral going by. It isn't long since that they used to wake the dead in Cantire; and they may do so now, for all I know,
in some of the glens and out-of-the-way places. The soul was taken to Flath-innis, or "the Island of the Brave," but the friends
used to watch and wake by the body, lest the evil spirits should take it away to Ifrinn, "the dark, cold island," and leave some other
substance in its place. When once the body was buried, then it was safe. And it isn't long since they used to keep the Druids' May-
day and first of November, in Cantire. The one they called Bealtuinn, or Beil-teine, which means "the fire of Belus," and the other
they called Samhuinn, or "the serene time." There was a great fire lighted before sunrise on the top of the highest hill, and when the
sun rose, the people came to welcome it, and to worship God; and the chief Druid blessed them, and received their offerings, and
gave each of them a kindling wherewith to light their fires; and if he was displeased with any one, or they didn't bring him a
sufficient offering, he refused them the kindling; and no one dare give them one under pain of being cursed; so the poor person
had to go without fire till Beil-teine came round again.

When we were coming down the Frith of Clyde (said the man at the wheel) we passed "the Kempoch Stane," where there once
lived a saint who sold winds to sailors. That was in the olden times; but there were people in Cantire that believed in the same
sort of thing till quite lately. There was an old man who died not long since — he was the owner of a fine little smack, with which
he trafficked from Campbelton to Ireland, and other places. There was an old woman in Cantire, who sold winds, and he made a
bargain with her to give him a fair wind to sail to Ireland. All that she gave him was two strings, with three knots on each string.
When he undid the first, he got a fine fair breeze, getting into mid-channel; he untied the second, and got a strong gale; and when
near the Irish coast, he wished to see the effect of the third knot, and unloosed it, a great hurricane blew, and drove him on the
shore, where it destroyed many houses. With the second string he came back to Cantire, but he only untied two knots, so he had a
prosperous voyage home. Oh, yes ! when you get to Cantire, you'll hear some strange tales and legends, if you're that way inclined.

To which I replied, that I had an insatiable craving for storied traditions; and that if I met with any that had not been in print, they
might prove useful to me. To which I may now add, that I hope they may prove interesting to my readers.


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