Arran Banner letters – week 35

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Readers have been getting in touch to tell us how well Arran is doing looking after its visitors in this new post lockdown world. Here are a selection of the letters we have received.

Exemplary response


Just completed the 12-hour journey from Brodick to Somerset after a lovely 10-day stay on the island. It was my wife’s first visit and the weather was so great she actually thought it was normal to wake up and see the top of Goatfell!

But I wanted to write and say a massive thank you to all the local businesses, your response to the Covid-19 has been inspirational and exemplary. Somerset has one of the lowest rates of Covid in the country and to be honest we were a bit worried about how things would be elsewhere. But you guys have got the safety measures so normalised, it really has been impressive.

Hand sanitisers at every shop, face masks for 99 per cent of people, restaurants and cafes sanitising tables between customers, taking contact details, even people at shop entrances to explain the protocols. Really impressive stuff guys. Don’t get complacent, but do give yourselves a harty pat on the back!

See you all again soon.


Nick and Heidi Amey, South Petherton,

CalMac professionals


May I through your pages thank the crew of the MV Catriona for saving our weekend break to Arran.

While enroute to Ardrossan on Thursday last we received a text informing us that our booked ferry had been cancelled and we were rebooked on a later ferry. By the time we had arrived at Ardrossan we received another text informing us that all ferries were cancelled for the day. For the first time in over 50 years of visiting Arran it looked like it wasn’t to be.

The CalMac website offered us a ray of hope in the form of a diverted service from Tarbert to Lochranza at 17:25. We set off on a road trip negotiating, amongst other things, the diversions on the A83. We were lucky enough to bag a place on the MV Catriona for what was the most lively journey to Lochranza. That little ferry pitched and turned and waves broke over the vessel for an hour and a half but that did not faze the crew one little bit. Their professionalism was evident for all to see and they were cheery to boot. Thank you and well done.

This, of course, begs the question that if a little vessel like Catriona can make it why can’t Caledonian Isles? Of course we know it’s not the boat but the harbour. Ardrossan seems impossible to enter in anything other than a breeze. Why, oh why, have CalMac persisted with Ardrossan and I presume the planned improvements will do little to improve service reliability. Such is progress!


Mike Smith, North Shields.

Pat on the back


Having just return from our annual family holiday on Arran. I thought I would write to congratulate the island on its handling of the necessary precautions in this unsettling time. From the ferry to the shops and tearooms, we found that measures were taken thoroughly and seriously but in a very friendly fashion in a way that made us feel both safe and welcome. We had a great time – helped by some unexpectedly good weather! I know island life is not without its trials and tribulations but you deserve a collective pat on the back for your resilience.


Alistair Mutch, West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.

Unlimited funds


I note with interest the plans for a new health care centre for the island and continuing  expenditure on the new ferry and docks to accommodate it (Arran Banner, 21st August). Can I suggest that a slight modification is made to the health centre plans, perhaps an express lane painted on the road to the pier for ambulances, to link it to the new ferry project. In this way unlimited funds will be immediately released if past history is anything to go by.


Ian A Brown, Blairgowrie.

Disabled help services


Recent research from the Disabled Children’s Partnership found that 66 per cent of families with disabled children in Scotland have been providing a lot more care during lockdown and many continue to do so despite restrictions easing.

The current national emergency has compounded the challenges many parents of disabled children faced, and added layers of new ones as respite, therapies, care and schooling arrangements were largely stopped or changed and usual routines disrupted.

Contact, the charity for families with disabled children, is offering a helping hand to families in Ayrshire during this difficult time.

We’ve launched free one-to-one telephone appointments with a family support adviser for parent carers looking for a listening ear, reassurance and practical and emotional support.

We are also running free virtual workshops on topics such as sleep, behaviour, wellbeing, money matters, and speech and language, to provide additional support for families who may be struggling during this crisis.

Families who have a disabled child can make an appointment or find out more details on the Contact website


Susan Walls, Contact Scotland,  Edinburgh.

Take midges home


It has happened again – it happens every year – and our lovely tourists have done it again.  Forget Covid, they have brought the midges with them and are encouraging them. The white van men can be seen around the island flapping their arms and sacrificing their blood to the beasts. During lockdown the happy 4,600 lived in peace. Dear tourists and the white van men please take your midges home again!


Derek Shand, Brodick.

The beauty and the beast


We have been coming to Arran for 27 years and just love the people and the island.

The other day myself, partner Martin Game and our dog Bramble had a lovely walk at North Sannox Glen and Falls and were so incredibly lucky to see a dragonfly land just next to where we were walking.

It was just amazing and here’s the photo I was so pleased to get. I’m a complete novice at photography and took it on my iphone – I think I just got lucky!

Look at that face – just so detailed and cute! In fact, I think the dragonfly is smiling, probably at my camera skills.


Pauline Lockhart, Auchetarder.

The giant horsefly Nicola Harrison found in Corrie.

However, another visitor, Nicola Harrison, did not have such a pleasant experience with an insect she found on the window of her car in Corrie last week, a photograph of which she sent to the Arran Ranger Service.

Here is their reply: ‘Great photo taken by Nicola below, it’s the UK’s biggest fly, the dark giant horsefly. This is a female as her eyes are separated by a bar, and she needs to feed on blood before she can lay her eggs. They can give a nasty bite as their mandibles are serrated choppers which will tear and rip at your skin, ouch! These giant flies can reach up to 5cm long.’