Arran Banner letters – week 26

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Salmon farming has to move forward


I can understand Iain Monteith’s position in relation to salmon farms, Arran Banner letters June 11, given that his excellent boats are ideal for their purpose, but salmon farming has to move forward.

Norway has banned any further expansion of sea-based farms, because of their deleterious effects on the marine environment, and all future development must be in on-shore closed-containment facilities. There is no doubt that commercial farming makes sense, but there are now cleaner, but more expensive, ways of doing so.

Tom Tracey’s letter should be considered. Let COAST take photographs of the seabed under the Kings Cross farm and compare them with those of the no-take area.

The analogy could be the transformation of Glen Ashdale, now the pine forest has been removed.

Under the pines, nothing grew, just a black carpet of dead needles. Now there is a glorious resurgence of every sort of deciduous tree, as we saw on our walk to the Giants’ Graves last week.

I still have a photo of my cousin with a six pound haddock which she caught at Kings Cross in the ’60s, when John McKenzie had the boats.

No such fish exists now in this area.

Of course, I do not blame the salmon farm alone for this tragedy; the greed of commercial inshore fishermen also contributed greatly, but somehow, the natural environment must be restored and protected.

Arran used to have a week-long fishing festival. Oh that such an event could be re-instituted!


John N E Rankin,

Whiting Bay.


Sad state of cemetery 


I visited Arran last week with my family and as part of my visit I went to Lamlash Cemetery to pay my respects to my grandparents who are buried there.

My Mum also joined me to visit her parents, and my five-year-old twin sons were with us.

I was saddened to see the state of the path and grass around the older graves which were created in the 1980s.

There are weeds growing all along and across the path. Some of them are tall so look like they have been growing for months without being removed. The whole path is covered in weeds and looks very unkempt.

The grass around the graves is overgrown, and there are lots of holes around this grass which makes a visit quite dangerous as they are hidden.  My little children were able to insert a full foot into these holes in the grass.

I have written to the local councillors highlighting this issue as I feel it is totally disrespectful to Arran residents who are buried in Lamlash Cemetery, and their families, that North Ayrshire Council has left the pathway and grass around the older graves to become so neglected.

It appears that all effort has gone into creating a new area for graves to be added and the older graves of my grandparents’ generation have been left neglected.

My mum really was very upset to see her parents’ grave surrounded by a weed-filled pathway, overgrown grass and dangerous holes.


Caroline Wilkinson,


Deadly Hemlock 


I was recently alerted to the latest blog from the Botanical Society of Scotland, about a plant called Hemlock Water Dropwort.

This deadly poisonous plant looks very similar to something we have in our garden in Machrie. Do any of your readers have any knowledge about this plant and what have they done to remove it?

And, other readers, please beware if you are out foraging!

Hilary Patrick



Motoring assistance


On Monday June 7, my car suffered a blow out on a tyre on the String Road. Being a Honda Jazz, which does not have a spare tyre, I eventually drove the car into Bridgend Campsite where Robin, the owner, very kindly got in touch with Angus Lambie at Brodick who came out and changed the wheel, which enabled us to get to Sliddery. Angus had a replacement tyre ready for me the next day. I want to express my heartfelt thanks  to these two gentlemen for their efforts on my behalf.


Bill Robertson,



Japanese knotweed invasion in Brodick


Having been off island for long periods due to lockdown, at last we managed as a family to have a June holiday and were blessed with superb weather.

In my walks around Brodick, however, what I saw alarmed me in the shape of the extent of the Japanese knotweed invasion in parts of Brodick.

I was aware of it before, on the golf course edges near the sea, but now it seems to have spread widely and is to be found near the school and along the fisherman’s walk.

It is now to be found in the ditch near the library and on the edge of the Cloy burn.

In conversations with Brodick people, there seems to be no plan to deal with it and it appears that the local authority is only responsible for its own land.  Expressions of helplessness are common.

I am not a botanist so I might be wrong and this hollow stemmed plant may not in fact be knotweed but that is what I am told it is.  Perhaps it is an opportune time to raise public awareness before it spreads further.


Sandy Pollock,