Arran Banner Letters – week 14, 2022

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MV Glen Sannox contingency plan


Your editorial on the auditor-general’s report on the ferry fiasco and CMAL’s remarkable attempt to side-step its role in the procurement process correctly concludes that this does nothing to remedy Arran’s plight. The island’s dependence on a totally unreliable ferry service continues to deepen with no prospect of an end in sight.

A foretaste was provided last week by more service disruptions while the Arran berth at Ardrossan was closed for the first of two weeks ‘essential work’, the Irish berth proving to be a poor substitute.

The construction phase alone of the £40 million redevelopment of the Ardrossan harbour complex is expected to take at least two years, commencing, at the earliest later this year but more likely in 2023, given the further delay in the delivery of the MV Glen Sannox. During this time and only in good weather will the Irish berth be available – so two or more years of misery for islanders and visitors alike and continuing challenges for Arran’s already beleaguered tourist industry.

However, the problems may not end there. What if, as seems increasingly possible, the MV Glen Sannox is never delivered or is not fit for purpose? What contingency plan has CMAL, Transport Scotland and CalMac for that possibility? Or is it just too awful an outcome to contemplate?


Downie Brown,
Whiting Bay.

SNP sanctimony at taxplayers’ expense

A significant number of users of the CalMac ferries to/from this island have, at some time, had good reason to be less than satisfied with this so-called lifeline service (the figurative patient died a long time ago).

Unfortunately, on such occasions, much of the ire of these customers is usually misdirected towards the staff at the terminals/onboard the ferries.  People who, I and other users have found,  always deal with their customers in a courteous and helpful manner – they do their job well.

But, sadly, their good work is persistently compromised by CalMac’s owners, the Scottish Government ministers. A collective which was recently described by Audit Scotland as, “relentlessly incompetent” in their management of this service.  In this context alone, the consequences of SNP’s well-rehearsed incompetence mean that the estimated cost of the replacement ferries for CalMac’s prehistoric fleet has already risen to at least £240m (almost double the contracted value). The delivery date is five years, (still counting), behind schedule.

So, on the next occasion (inevitable) any users of the Arran ferries – islanders and tourists – feel themselves getting hot under the collar relative to the shambles that is CalMac, please direct your anger and frustration, by letter or email, at those wholly responsible for the current situation.  Namely, Ms Sturgeon and her incompetent and economically illiterate government.


A former SNP voter,

Mark backs Mary’s Meals


I’m proud to support Mary’s Meals, a charity which feeds more than two million children in some of the world’s poorest countries every school day. With spring now upon us, it’s an ideal time for your readers to get active to help Mary’s Meals reach more hungry children.

The Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon is an opportunity to swim, run, kayak and cycle around Loch Tay, Perthshire. Or they could try hiking one of three routes in the Pentland Hills for the Artemis Pentland Peaks Challenge. Readers can also set their own Move for Meals challenge and jog, climb, even disco dance anywhere in the UK to raise funds!

Taking part in these events will help to support Mary’s Meals, allowing it to reach desperately hungry children with the promise of a school meal across 20 countries including Ethiopia, Haiti, South Sudan and Syria.

And with it costing just £15.90 to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year, it’s easy for your moves to make a difference. Thank you!


Mark Beaumont,
athlete and broadcaster.

Mark Beaumont. Photo Chris Watt Photography