Arran Banner letters – week 27

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Kings Cross Point


I have to thank James Paterson for the photo and letter about The Point, in the Arran Banner, June 18, and yes he is right to be disappointed that the sign by the community did not include the details of the ‘Viking fort’.

I should correct the description first of all as according to David, our local archaeologist and artist of some skill, the ‘fort’ is not a Viking construction but of much earlier construction.

When I was originally a county councillor on Bute County Council we undertook the large main road reconstruction from the top of the hill down into Sandbraes and on completion I asked for the sign at the Kings Cross road end to include the then assumption that the Vikings had built the fort.

I think it is generally assumed that the Vikings would have used it to assemble in the bay to sail to the Battle of Largs, but I am not a historian and leave that to others.

In the meantime the sign was discussed in my presence at an improvements’ meeting and the view from the committee was to request one at each end of the path but the ownership of the land is in the Abram family, who turned down my request and as adjacent landowner I offered my side of the dividing wall which is perhaps not so good.

The community should be aware that the three sisters and sister-in-law have for the benefit of the community kept the grass mown and strimmed entirely at their own cost as did their parents before them.

We are all grateful for their care and attention. Perhaps James’s letter will be the catalyst to have a nice sign as elsewhere and I am sure this reply will be noted by them.

Whilst writing perhaps I should thank the paths group for improving the muddy parts of the bottom path.

Following the horrible death of my wife, and my appreciation of how much a wheelchair is valued by those who are disabled, I will be seeking their help to improve the car parking and my public path to the shore to, I hope, allow those in wheelchairs to come down and picnic or enjoy the views.

Finally, concerning Point House and The Point in the ’60s and ’70s there was an urge by Bute County Council to demolish ‘old buildings’ which saw Corrie Terrace, the Lamlash Corn Mill, Whiting Bay School etc. all wiped out.

Now we are entering a new era in which the World Wars are being more consciously remembered and Kings Cross Point was a vital part of the safety of Lamlash Bay in WWII so my house was requisitioned and at the Point are a series of one- and two-storey blockhouses similar to these but more extensive at Clauchlands.

There was a generating station from which the sailor occupants ran a line strung between the trees to give themselves power and light –  Kings Cross got mains power in the early ’50s. Is there an appetite to look into this as well?


Bob Haddow,

Kings Cross.


Deaf to new ideas


MSP Kenneth Gibson’s statement (Arran Banner, June 25) on ferry renewal is more hopeful than realistic.

The specification for the new, large Islay ferry is expected to be released next spring – after a three-year internal debate prior to any agreed build contract with a shipbuilder (as yet unknown) who will demand a high price to ensure that there is no replay of the current Ferguson dispute regarding mounting costs of design alterations.

The assertion by Mr Gibson that there will be six new, completed, large vessels by 2026 is at best aspirational but makes a good political soundbite.

Given Ferguson’s admission regarding labour and skill shortages and consequent delivery delays and mounting costs in the completion of their current order, one must challenge the assertion that 13 smaller vessels with relatively complex hybrid power systems can be built and delivered by Ferguson’s by 2028.

Since 2007 only five vessels have entered service for CalMac from various yards.

The Ardrossan Taskforce has spent more than four years determining the requirements of an upgraded facility.

Seven completed harbour upgrades by 2030, even if possible, would require agreed vessel specifications prior to any build programme.

The anticipated budget suggests that the vessels will be expected to have a long life – current fleet average age is 26 years.

The business model for most ferry companies is to lease or change vessels around 10 years in line with changing demand patterns.

Will CMAL, forever, remain deaf to new ideas?


John M Lamont,

No greengrocers on Arran?

I write in reference to the article about Woodside Farm’s plans for their shipping container greengrocer in Brodick, in last week’s Arran Banner. I think this is an interesting initiative and I wish them all the best with it.

However, in case any locals or visitors have wondered what has happened to the, honestly excellent (full disclosure of self interest here!), offer available in the independent shops on the island I counter that the Bay Stores (yes me!), Pirnmill Stores and AC Camerons have between us a pretty decent greengrocer offering, and speaking for the Bay Stores, I would add that we have been selling local produce from Robin Gray, Woodside and Clachaig Farm for as long as it has been available.

Bay Stores has long been a champion of as local as possible and if not local, then you are welcome to reduce your carbon footprint with loose produce; happy to sell a single carrot or mushroom; we would always avoid pre-packaged if possible!


Clair Reeves,

The Bay Stores,

Whiting Bay.