Arran Banner letters – week 14

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Ferry services meeting called


Margie Currie’s letter (Arran Banner March 30) is a timely reminder of the very many problems surrounding our island’s lifeline ferry service. Issues in terms of reliability, resilience, and accountability, are now impacting very significantly on island life, and economic well being. Despite the efforts of the Ferry Committee and Community Council, major concerns remain unanswered and apparently ignored by higher authority.

We the undersigned, feel the time has long since come, to escalate the debate, and give the public a much needed voice on the subject. As an island, we need to come together and discuss where we are with the service, the accountability for investment decisions, and the changes we need to see, as soon as practical, in both future provision and representation.

With this in mind, and to try and take matters forward, we would invite all interested parties and members of the public to attend a meeting at Brodick Hall on Tuesday 9th of April at 7pm. Please come along and give us your opinion, and hopefully your support, to achieve a service and infrastructure that is fit for purpose.


Bob Haddow, Sally Campbell, John Campbell, Gavin Fulton, John Ford, Robert Cumming, Ross McLean, Chris Attkins, Ken Thorburn.

Kept in the dark


I was among those who were delayed by five hours by the Caledonian Isles hitting the pier on March 16, as per your lead story that week, and obliged to hang about the charmless new terminal departure hanger.

Of course, I appreciate that accidents do happen – especially when the fleet is so far past its scrap-by date. I also appreciate that most of the CalMac staff go to great lengths to do their best for us.  Alas, this does not remotely apply to the management, whose policy appears to be to give passengers the very least information it thinks it can get away with.

Indeed, at one point the man who appeared to be in charge at Brodick terminal actually told me that there was a technical fault and the ferry was delayed, and ‘that is all you need to know’.  There was at no point any suggestion of CalMac keeping its customers fully up to date with what was happening, or not happening.  All we were told (and even that very late in the day) was that we were waiting for permission to be given to sail. By whom or why it was necessary, or why it was taking all day, was never stated.  Instead we were taunted every hour or so by announcements that we should be careful when boarding (as if!) as the gangway might be ‘slippy’, and that we should read the ads around the terminal for ideas on what to do on Arran.

The CalMac web site (if you can find the relevant section) says that ’50 per cent of the ticket price will be refunded for a delayed arrival of over four hours’. CalMac preferred to keep that secret (but note that it is not too late to claim).  It tells us that we were entitled to ‘A non-alcoholic drink such as a bottle of water or a hot drink and a snack (up to the value of £7)’.  On boarding, we were given vouchers which did not make this clear, but offered ‘soup or a sandwich’ plus a non-alcoholic drink.

The reason I write to you is that a disappointing number of those affected by this delay seemed to accept, no doubt from long experience, that they were going to be treated very much like the 30 cattle which were also waiting to board. I do not regard this as acceptable. Everyone who agrees with me, and thinks that CalMac has a responsibilities to inform, as well as transport, us, has only one option.

CalMac needs to respond only to its owners at Holyrood, who have other concerns than the people of Arran.  The only way we are going to get CalMac to treat us properly, is to make that the easy option.  Right now, the easy option, and therefore the one taken, is to ignore us as far as possible.  We can change that, and I am afraid we have a responsibility to do so.  Next time your sailing is disrupted by a CalMac failing, make sure you (ALL of you!) pester the life out of CalMac at the highest level you can find, until they keep us properly informed out of simple self-defence.


Richard S Henderson,


Caring survey


More than 750,000 people in Scotland are caring unpaid for a loved one who is older, disabled, or seriously ill. Whether it’s round-the-clock or for a few hours a week, in their own home or for someone at the other end of a motorway – caring can have a huge impact on people’s lives.

Unpaid carers are holding families together and enabling loved ones to get the most out of life. They make an enormous contribution to society and together save the UK economy £132 billion a year. Yet many find themselves stretched to the limit; often financially, without access to support or unable to take a break.

Carers in Scotland deserve to have their say on what affects them and their ability to care – what is working well and what needs to change. By filling in Carers UK’s State of Caring survey (at they can help inform the Scotland’s most comprehensive research into experiences of looking after a loved one.

The survey answers will help the charity make life better for carers – giving us the evidence to push carers up the agenda for policy makers and politicians and campaign for support and change.

It has never been more important for unpaid carers to share their experiences.


Simon Hodgson,

Director of Carers Scotland.

Coffee thanks


We would like to thank everyone who attended our coffee afternoon on 9th March.  It was a great success and the fantastic sum of £858.13 was raised for funds for our Christmas party.  Thank you to David at the Blackwaterfoot Lodge for providing the very comfortable venue.


Shiskine & Machrie Senior Citizens Committee