Arran Banner letters – week 27

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School memories

Sir,

It’s often been said ‘you know you’re getting old when …’

Early in June, my wife and I were driving past Whiting Bay primary school and saw bunting over the front elevation and a large number 50 on the wall. ‘That can’t be right,’ I said. On reflection, and with a little mental arithmetic, I realised it was, of course, absolutely correct!

You see, I had worked on the school pre-contract work, working drawings etc and subsequently site supervision. Getting old, eh!

The new school had been commissioned by the then Bute County Council as administered by the director ofeEducation Jack Harrison. Mr Harrison was a thorough gentleman and a pleasure to deal with. He died just a few years ago as a patient in Erskine Hospital. He had been a prisoner of war and held in Stalag 111 and later a ‘great escaper’, I understand.

It was not the only work. There were extensions to two or three other primary schools to be part of the same contract. Shiskine Primary was one of them. So they have a link to the 50 year celebration, too.

As your splendid feature article stated in the June 16 edition, Baron Bercott and Associates, chartered architects, were given the commission. The new primary school and other extensions were designed by George Horspool, one of the associate architects . He was a huge man with a most delicate touch.

The contract was won by John Thomson, building contractors. That firm has grown hugely in the interim. The joiners were, as I recall, Fred Marriott, joiners. I have to say they were a pleasure to work with and produced first class work. Of course there were other trades, but, alas, memory fades.

Whiting Bay Primary is looking splendid for a 50 year old. It has very obviously been well looked after. There was an open day when we arrived and I took the opportunity of going in to look round and stir old memories. I t was so busy with teachers, pupils, former pupils and many others. I was delighted to be there and reminisce about the small part I had to play in that splendid little school. All the very best for the next 50 years!

Yours,

Donald Ritchie,

Gourock.

Campervan woes

Sir,

It is now the holiday season and we have all and sundry visiting our island.  They visit because it is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy peace and tranquillity – or even a bit of a challenge.  However there are a few who are not so welcome, who take unreasonable advantage of the hospitality and generosity of island residents – it is these individuals who selfishly spoil it for everyone else.  Unfortunately any mention of anything but perfect tranquillity,in the context of visitors here on Arran, seems to be taboo – however let’s look at what causes resentment and spoils it all for the rest of us.

This particular beef is about campervans – how they fail to be courteous to other road users, hog the road and do not feel it necessary to let other road users travelling more quickly, to pass.  We see campervans draining off grey water onto the road as they go along, we see where black water has been dumped into a roadside ditch – not nice – and we see campervans that are just parked up willy nilly for as long as they like in front of people’s houses.  Wild camping does not apply to campervans – it applies only to lightweight tents on trails.  We just had one vile pair park up for six days in front of houses in Kildonan, draining their greywater onto the hard standing of the car park, pouring their blackwater into the public loo, blocking it, and refusing to understand that the car park was not a campsite – in fact they had been thrown off one of the campsites, so that gives an idea of their selfishness.

So, campervan users, please note this and do not fall into the same trap.  People resident on the island do notice and they do appreciate those who are courteous and considerate in their appreciation of this wonderful place.  The future of campervanning is in your hands.  If this selfishness continues, then there will be a move to curb widespread parking of campervans, just as there has been around Loch Lomond – is this what we all want?

Yours,

Rory Cowan,

Kildonan.

Great day

Sir,

On Wednesday May 39 Arran Elderly Forum had a marvellous Outing departing from The Pavilion, Brodick at 10.30 a.m. Stuart Gough was our Narrator and Stewart Black was our driver both of whom excelled in their roles. Stewart drove perfectly and at a nice slow pace allowing everyone to look and see all the places Stuart was telling us about as we meandered up round the Northend and down to Machrie Bay Tearoom where we had a wonderful light lunch with no rush required. Back on the bus, down through Blackwaterfoot and over the String, arriving back at the Pavilion at 2.30 p.m. and the weather was, simply the best!

Thank you very much to everyone who helped to make it a perfect day, including The Big Co-op for the bottled water and sweets, and finally, to the lady who gave us a cold box for the day!

Fiona Brown,

Arran Elderly Forum.

Cardinal date?

Sir ,

I am always informed and pleased with reporting on the Banner, which I have been reading for over 18 years. Today, however, on the front page of (No 2081), I had to word check what ‘cardinal date’ meant and it looks like CMAL’s CEO Kevin Hobbs has a poor – as in incomplete or lacking – command of English.

Do we now need to read between the lines on all future reports on when the new ferry comes in to service.

James Thomson

Banlicken

By Imachar

Penalty clause

Sir,

I was sorry to read of the delay in completion of the Glen Sannox in the Banner of June 23. This will put extra stress on lifeline services provided by CalMac which, as they admit, are stretched as a result of an ageing fleet.

Time will tell but it may be that ordering a large vessel with complex technology and untested fuel provision was risky especially given that it will be operating on a lifeline route into a difficult mainland harbour.

It is, of course, great that the Glen Sannox is being built and fitted out on the Clyde, but only if the builders come up with the goods on time and this has not happened.

I wonder if there were any penalty clauses for late delivery.

Yours,

John Cruickshank

Whiting Bay