Arran Banner Letters – week 17

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Rat Race thanks

Sir,

Once again I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for our reception and experience during 2019 Rat Race Ultra Tour of Arran.

From our point of view the event was very successful; based on both participant feedback, and feedback from residents, similarly as glowing as our inaugural 2018 event. Very different weather though: Wet and cloudy in 2018. Bright, cold and very breezy in 2019, and yes, we too, had difficulty getting off the island earlier this week!

For 2020, the event is already relaunched for the weekend of April 4/5, as Easter is a week later next year.

In review of our event, we see scope to grow the entries a little further, but with a careful eye that we do not cause any constraints on either our event build/venue/trails and, for example, car parking. We had the kind consent of three additional satellite car parking options this year, (of which we only needed to use one on the weekend): Brodick Primary School, Ernest Ribbeck’s yard, and Arran Estates crescent layby opposite the museum – we have given a donation to the school.

It appears that we did manage to keep Knowe Road clear enough for their church service, and had no cars parked in Shore Road beside the Golf Course. We did spot about five campervans, likely our participants, in the council (small Co-op) car park, and we will manage this ‘incursion’ better next year. However, we do believe that a decent mix of foot passenger and vehicles enables the spending to spread further around the island, well beyond Brodick. Accommodation availability was slim on our event weekend, and with our camping at Ormidale Park, this all seems to have been a good balance of economics for all involved.

With the event activity, we can again report no hospitalisations, and no injuries that were of any serious concern. As you can imagine, some minor strains and some blisters are reasonably likely!

Our participants are very taken by the beauty and community of Arran.

Some of you will know that both the event and the participants make donations to the Arran Trust, and that the preferred charity for Rat Race Adventure Events is Children with Cancer UK, and for whom the participants raised a stunning £1.5M in 2018.

Yours,

Gary Tompsett,

Rat Race Adventure Consultant.

Terminal troubles

Sir,

As one of the Ferry Action Group I am tasked to keep readers informed on matters concerning terminals, and I can say that we are now following up the heavy criticism of the Brodick Terminal.

Our first priority has been the sets of steps to enter and leave the upper floor; these steps have been approved by North Ayrshire Council Building Control but we all feel that they do present a real danger to users so our first serious request will be for a better way to be designed and Ian Fergusson and I have two alternatives to put forward to CMAL which the Action Group will press urgently.

The second priority is to follow up the many rumours that knowledgeable individuals seriously questioned the alignment of the new berth and, really following both the accident to Caledonian Isles and the failure to berth of the Isle of Arran, this is now a very big problem which cannot be avoided and an answer must be found. In order to react to the complaints you, the users are making, we are looking into the engineering necessary (sheet piling/rock armourinfil) to reduce this problem and we are taking the matter up with an Arran connection at the (world class) Wallingford Laboratory. Obviously this is serious work and expensive and needs to be considered very carefully by all concerned.

This week Councillor Billings asked to meet us to record your concerns that matters at Brodick were not replicated in the work proposed at Ardrossan. Sadly Timothy advised that due to unexpected difficulties (where have we heard that before?) the costs had indeed risen. The issues at Ardrossan harbour are bound up very closely with the intention to improve the town and clearly the Action Group needs to integrate our ideas with the Ardrossan members.

Finally I just want to say that we are not intent on moaning on about what has gone wrong with our ferry service. We feel very sorry for the three groups who worked so hard to see the terminal up and running and we will do all in our power to work with them  –  in engineering there is the famous saying that the group who never made a mistake never made anything. The Arran people will work closely with CalMac, CMAL and Transport Scotland, and you can see all of what we are doing on our website.

Yours,

Bob Haddow,

Ferry Action Group Steering Committee.

Customer announcement

Sir,

Brodick Post Office is trying to track down a customer who withdrew cash from her Instant Saver Account on Tuesday April 9. As there was a problem with the transaction, we would greatly appreciate her getting in touch to help resolve this issue.

Yours,

Lorraine Campbell,

Brodick Post Office.