Arran Banner letters – week 50

Want to read more?

At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall,

However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free. To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic.

The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Arran Banner – subscribe today for as little as 48 pence per week.

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now
Say no to fast food


Most of us would recognise the efforts CalMac have made to ensure safe travel during the pandemic and the award reported in your columns last week is a testament to the efforts of their staff.

However, no one would expect the temporary arrangements made to become lasting, but that could be the case with meal provision. A customer ‘survey’ currently being advertised on the MV Caledonian Isles, and available online through the CalMac website, carries an implicit threat that the traditional service of fresh food on china plates from a variety of choices, may be permanently replaced by a cardboard boxed set of fast foods – albeit cooked on board the vessel. This would reduce choice, increase waste in terms of packaging, and reduce staffing – all in order to cut costs.

I would urge your readers to respond to the survey with clear statements that they do not want to eat on board out of cardboard boxes and that they look forward to a return to the previous catering service once the pandemic is over.


Colin Turbett,


Make your own choice


A few people got in touch with me to show me a letter from last week’s Banner.  The letter from animal abuse charity Animal Aid and was about reducing the use of turkeys as part of the staple Christmas dinner in exchange for a vegan option.

My problem doesn’t lie with there being a vegan option for Christmas.  Not at all in fact!  I often talk about the fact that there are three reasons why someone would be against the use of animal-based products in their diet and lifestyle:

1. Health,
2. Believing animals shouldn’t be used for our benefit,
3. Environmental impact (the only one I would ever dispute).

Where my problem lies with last week’s letter is the fact the writer, Tod Bradbury, offered a ‘cruelty-free’ Christmas which means they assume turkeys experience a cruel lifestyle.  This will happen in places but as the consumer you should care about where you buy your meat.  What you can do is source your products from a reputable producer that you know has reared their animals with welfare at the core of their values.  Then you can eliminate the possibility of buying a product derived from an animal which has suffered.

If an animal lives its life with access to energy and water requirements to meet their specific needs, freedom from fear, stress and ailments while being allowed to behave naturally then there is no welfare sacrifice.

The slaughter process is where things get confusing, but I’ll leave you with one question as I’m not here to tell you what to do: Is death a harm?

Think deeply about and fund your own morals, where do you stand and make the decision for YOU, not someone else.


Wallace Currie,




Tickler tragedy update


I was interested to read your article on the loss in 1862 of the fishing smack Tickler of Lochranza in last week’s Banner. Apart from  the gravestone at Ardglass, Gilbert McMillan also erected one in Lochranza cemetery which names the son who died at Dundrum as Donald rather than Daniel – a good illustration of how in a number of Scottish families of the time these two names were interchangeable.

Gilbert was married twice. Rather confusingly, both wives were named Elizabeth and both of them had the maiden name McMillan! Donald/Daniel was a son of the first marriage. An older son, Captain Alexander McMillan, also lost his life as a result of going to sea. He died in 1873 of yellow fever while the ship he commanded, the brig Zuleika of Leith, was lying at Rio de Janeiro.

Gilbert’s first wife Elizabeth (McMillan) McMillan was a sister of my great-great grandmother Catherine (McMillan) Sillars and also of Susan (McMillan) Macalpine. All of them lived in or around Lochranza.

I first came across the Dundrum tragedy a number of years ago, but your article has added detail I was unaware of – for example the name of the fishing boat. I wonder who the Tickler belonged to?


Peter Macmillan, 



A distant descendant


With reference to your article in last week’s Arran Banner about the Arran fishermen’s graves in Ireland, I have known of their existence for a considerable number of years since I met an elderly Irish lady (residing in Scotland) who was over on a day trip to the island and on a bus tour driven by my husband, whom she asked for particular local historical information.

He advised she speak to me and stopped the bus briefly to let us meet. We did exchange letters later (which I still have) and she came from Ardglass originally, and was particularly wanting information on the Arran locations and names to pass on to her brother who, with a friend and, in a spirit of sympathy for the lads with their boat foundering and their drowning so far from home, tended their graves regularly.

I do know of direct descendants of Whitefarland Kerrs on the island and so, very possibly related – and, who knows, I may even be myself, if distantly , with Kerr ancestors from very close-by.


Elizabeth (Kerr) Dale,


AYF seek your support


This year, Arran Youth Foundations has been chosen as one of the groups to benefit from the Co-op local community fund.

At a time when funds for charitable organisations are becoming more difficult to access, we’re incredibly grateful for this opportunity to make a real difference on Arran.

We are raising funds to provide mainland trips and Arran activities for the island’s young people during school holidays – including paintball, go-karting, abseiling, paragliding, and gorge-walking. All of this is provided free of charge and gives opportunity for sport, exercise and outdoor education.

To help us raise vital funds, we’ll be relying on Co-op shoppers. Every time they buy Co-op own-brand products they get a five per cent reward for themselves, and a further 1 per cent goes to local causes like ours.  Co-op members can decide which local group they would like to back by going online We really hope that people will visit the website and choose to support us.

If you’re not a member and would like to support us, you can join at your local store or online at

When a community comes together we’re able to achieve great things, so we hope you can help promote our project. For more information about us, please visit


Graeme Johnston,

Youth work project manager,

Arran Youth Foundations.

Editors note: the Isle of Arran Music School Pipe Band and the Arran Mountain Rescue Team are the other organisations looking for your support.