Arran Banner Letters – week 33, 2021


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Nothing changes


I’ve just been re-reading Robert McLellan’s marvellous book The Isle of Arran. Here he is, in 1970, complaining about the ferries: ‘…wearisome delays are frequent at the end of June, July, August, and September, trying to the patience of crews and passengers alike, and miserable for the children.’

Nothing, it seems, changes. And yet: ‘There is perhaps no better indication of the great love many people have for the island than they are willing to return year after year under such trying conditions of travel…’

How true. Yet how tragic it is (as per your lead story last week) that for islanders themselves, things have become not just trying, but unbearable.

Eamonn Butler,




I was very disappointed with my omission in the Banner last week regarding Hugh and Isobel Thompson.

I want to record very sincere thanks to Hugh and Isobel for their sterling work in the ArCaS shop over many years. Hugh and Isobel have given of their time and energy in support of ArCaS and our many patients.

It is with great sadness that we see Hugh and Isobel leaving the island. They will be much missed by their many friends and all at our charity.

I send on behalf of all my colleagues at ArCaS best wishes to Hugh for a speedy recovery and to Isobel every best wish for an easy transition to your new life on the mainland.


Douglas Johnston

Arcas chairman


Arran’s airports underutilised


On reading the Scottish Government document, The National Islands Plan Survey – final report July 9, 2021, on which the future of our island communities depends apparently, I found the following under the Main Finding section (use of Air Transport)

‘Residents of Mainland Shetland and Mainland Orkney make most use of flights to and from the mainland, with 58 per cent doing so more than once a year. This is significantly greater than residents of Arran, Bute and the Cumbraes, who had the lowest levels of use.’

The more astute reader will have spotted, that while several islands do indeed have an airport or landing facilities, Arran, Bute and the Cumbraes certainly do not. With this lack of knowledge or attention to detail in Holyrood what could possibly go wrong and is it any wonder that we are experiencing the current long running ferries fiasco? Do they even know where the islands are?


Neil HC Arthur



Triple the charity


I’d like to make your readers aware of a unique opportunity to make a big difference to the lives of hungry children in the world’s poorest countries this summer.

For anyone who becomes a monthly giver to global school feeding charity Mary’s Meals before the end of August, their first three donations will be tripled, meaning the impact of their regular gifts will go even further.

This is thanks to a group of generous supporters who are making funds available up to £100,000 for tripling donations from new regular givers for a limited period.

Your readers can help Mary’s Meals to access all the available funds by setting up a monthly Direct Debit by 31 August here. (

Mary’s Meals feeds more than 1.8 million hungry children in 19 countries every school day.

This funding boost will bring fresh hope to families struggling amidst the continuing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has hit the world’s poorest countries especially hard, and will also help Mary’s Meals in its goal to reach two million children with a nutritious meal every school day.

I am proud to support Mary’s Meals and hope that this summer your readers can take advantage of this incredible opportunity to see their kindness go three times as far.


Mark Beaumont, 

Long-distance cyclist, broadcaster and author