Arran Banner letters – week 34

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A lovely man


How sad I was to discover that the funeral procession I saw some days ago was that of Henry McNicol. He will forever be etched in my memory for a number of reasons, not least that he was a kenspeckle figure of good humour and a wry wit who always had the solution to our plumbing problems.

I remember him as a popular captain of Brodick Golf club – back in my much younger days – at a time when if Bess McMillan and her concert group were appearing in the Brodick clubhouse lounge you were lucky to get a seat

In 1980 I was doing a live interview with Glen Michael on West Sound Radio one Sunday morning; that morning I had received a call to tell me there was a burst pipe in our house; Glen closed the interview by asking if I had anything planned for the day. I replied I was heading for Brodick because of a burst pipe in the house and if Henry McNicol was listening maybe he could he go along and try and fix it.

I arrived off the 12.30pm ferry to discover that the flood had been stopped. My neighbour Alleyn Dinwoodie said Henry had appeared and taken care of it! I phoned Henry to offer him my heartfelt thanks. He said – ‘don`t mention it’ – he`d been getting phone calls all morning from people who`d heard the broadcast, telling him all about it. Unbelievable!

For some years I put on summer shows in Brodick village hall. On one occasion I was flattered to notice Henry in the audience. The following night I met him in the Brodick Bistro and as I passed his table he gave me the thumbs up and said he`d fairly enjoyed the show. I said I was thinking of doing it in the new school hall in Lamlash next year instead of Brodick, and asked would he be likely to support it. He paused for a moment and with the famous McNicol grin said: ‘No – too far!’

Ah well it just goes to show. What a great character, and a lovely man. Here`s to you , Henry!


Peter Morrison,


Camping concern


Glad to be back on Arran. After coming over for a holiday last May, when I did my sponsored double lap cycle ride, we’ve finally be able to get back over after holding on in hope that we wouldn’t have to return my ferry ticket for May again.

Desperately waiting for end of lockdown and the easing of restrictions then the rush on the isles. We managed to get a ferry ticket over. Imagine my dismay when we thought we’d head back to one of my favourite camp spots at Cleats Shore where I used as a starting point for last year’s ride.

This week it’s just not happening. Happy and excited after a 300 mile journey and early ferry. Stop and grab an Arran Banner in Lamlash and over the Ross to head down the cart track only to find what could only be described as a post apocalyptic Land Rover test track. It started well and went badly very quickly. After managing to get through and down to the bottom we found the only place to park is being occupied by a rather large trailer.

It’s odd after coming to Arran for the past 35 years camping, at least twice a year, to find this. Very few places exist on the south west coast of Arran to camp close to the beach.

We do hope the local community hasn’t tired of those of us who leave nothing but tyre tracks and take nothing but memories – along with loads of local produce we can’t get at home.


Stuart and Angela Robinson,



Needful change


With reference to Robin Gardner’s letter  in the August 14 edition of the Banner: the past, i.e. history remains significant where it leaves a legacy of injustice. The slave trade and the life on the plantations are templates for an idea that one set of people is superior to another, an idea which persists today. The manner of George Floyd’s death is an example of this. Everyone is entitled to equality and justice before the law. Black people do not at present have this. Others also, I hear you say, but we cannot fight on all fronts at once.

Our knowledge of the past can clarify the reasons for present behaviours and lend us energy for effecting needful change.


Cicely Gill,

Whiting Bay.