Arran Banner letters – week 19

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Quality campsites

Sir,

I read the Arran Civic Trust’s report with interest in last week’s Banner and it is good to know that we have committed guardians of the island’s built heritage.

However, as one of Arran’s campsite owners (who is also very committed to protecting the island’s nature, beauty and culture) I was taken aback to read, in the Waste Disposal section of the Trust’s report, that ‘according to VisitScotland, there are only four registered camper van sites on Arran, of which only one is quality assured’. The negative implications of this statement could damage my business!

VisitScotland is not the definitive authority on standards of campsites; it is a destination marketing organisation. The campsite on Arran that is quality assured by Visit Scotland is the campsite that paid to be advertised by them. Quality Assurance is the name of their grading scheme. There are various organisations offering to market campsites (for a substantial sum) by giving them a grading, usually based on the sophistication of the facilities. The five star awards tend to go to holiday parks with bars and swimming pools. One reason I chose not to market Lochranza Campsite with Visit Scotland was because they stipulate that campsites should be well-lit at night. That would certainly not go down well with Lochranza villagers- or the Arran Civic Society, judging from your section on light pollution!

At Lochranza Campsite my husband and I prefer to be graded by the sustainable tourism organisation Green Tourism and were delighted to receive their Gold Award last year. We had to address more than a hundred criteria relating to waste disposal, energy, water, conservation projects and community involvement. Our award certifies that we are ‘achieving the highest standards of sustainability with a strong, broad ethos and excellent practices throughout’. One of our commitments to the Lochranza community is that we are part of the group that has kept the public toilets open and by doing this we are helping to avoid problems of random waste disposal.

The report expresses concern that Arran has ‘only’ four campsites, all small, traditional, unsophisticated but excellent sites (see the Trip Advisor reviews). The island’s topography has few large, flat, sheltered areas suitable for a new camper van park. In any case, tourism is fickle; we have just come through a very lean April. Yes, there are some problems with some camper vans such as parking up inappropriately but, having been involved in tourism for nine years now, I know that most Arran visitors positively love the island and want to do the right thing by it; they simply need gentle guidance as to what the right thing is at times. In fact there are quite a lot of Arran folk who enjoy their camper vans and motor homes.

I hope I have reassured you that we are not irresponsible campsite owners causing problems for the island. Lochranza Campsite is held in great affection by many visitors going back many decades to well before our time, and we hope it only ever brings benefits to the island.

Yours,

Kathryn Wells

Lochranza Campsite

Sir,

I was unable to attend the latest meeting of the Arran Historical Society, but I believe your correspondent got a little muddled up concerning the formation of the British Isles.

The various parts of Scotland, and some of Northern Ireland, were originally parts of the continent of Laurentia, which would nowadays be thought of as the shield area of Canada, large pieces of North America and Greenland.

Laurentia, at the time we are interested in, was lying astride the Equator, whilst England, Wales and Southern Ireland belonged to a microcontinent known as Avalonia which broke free from the giant conglomeration of Gondwana which was lying around the South Pole in the early Paleozoic, sailed north, at the breakneck speed of some 4-5 centimetres per annum, and collided with another smaller continent called Baltica, which was loafing around to the east of Laurentia.

Baltic/Avalonia eventually collided obliquely with Laurentia at around 420 million years ago, in the Ordovician/Silurian Period, forcing Scotland and England to become welded together along a suture line stretching from the modern Solway Firth eastwards to Berwick-on-Tweed.

The supercontinment of Pangea did not come into any of this, finally come together as it did approximately only 286 million years ago, a slight discrepancy of some 130 million years, which I cannot believe the speaker Dr Clark would have been guilty of.

Yours,

Alan McBain

Lamlash

Memorial darts

Sir,

My family and I would like to thank everyone who supported the annual Donald and James Mackenzie Memorial Darts competition which was once again a huge success.

Many thanks to all the people who helped to make it possible. Jimmy for boards, Lorna and Lindsay for getting games sorted and keeping three boards busy. Andrea for good food and comfortable surroundings. The staff at the club for keeping everyone watered, Nicky for photos. Mr Music Maker and everyone who gave raffle prizes and donations. Thanks too, must go to Wilma, Colin And Irene for helping with raffle tickets and lastly to Phyllis for presenting trophies and raffle prizes.

The trophy was once again won by Niall McMaster and this year’s partner Margaret Easdale. John Mackenzie and Vicki Milne were runners up. Niall also had the highest check out with 154 to win the James’s Cup.

The hamper was won by Davie Thomas and a grand total of £510 was raised which was shared between the Kilmory Hall, Kilmory Community Bus and the Arran branch of Action For Hearing Loss.

Yours,

Margaret Mackenzie MBE

Kilmory

Spring Fair

Sir,

On behalf of the pupils, staff and parents of Pirnmill Primary School and early years class we would like to say a huge thank to everyone who helped, in whatever way, to make this year’s Spring Fair such a success.

Thanks also to those of you who came along on the day to enjoy the soup, sandwiches, entertainment and outside activities.  The sun also put in an appearance, that always helps!

We raised the grand total of £836.38 for the school fund. Thank you all for your continued support, it is very much appreciated.

Yours,

Pirnmill Primary School

Early ferry

Sir,

The 7.20pm ferry left Brodick at 7.08pm on Monday evening  leaving a bunch of foot passengers running round the terminal as a recording played to inform them that the terminal was now closed.

Why? Is this going to be a regular occurrence?

Yours,

Samantha David

TBC

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