From Our Files, October 30 2020

In 1995: One of the types of incendiary devices washed up along the shore of Kintyre.

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TEN YEARS AGO
Friday October 29, 2010

Skykon hits cash crisis

Kintyre is holding its breath and waiting to see if Skykon’s Danish parent company can raise more capital.

The wind turbine tower manufacturer at Machrihanish is only weeks away from completing its new factory extension.

The fate of the deal to make Kintyre a hub in Scotland’s renewable energy market is hanging in the balance; there are more than 100 jobs at the factory and the extension will take the figure up to 300.

The wind turbine manufacturer says it is ‘currently being affected by a number of negative factors in the wake of the financial crisis’.

Skykon went to court in Denmark and filed for suspension of payments on Tuesday.

The creditors will shortly receive additional information from the supervisor on the further course of events.

Company directors say they will ‘now make a final attempt to pursue any remaining possibilities available to us’.

Jens Pedersen, CEO of Skykon, told the Courier on Tuesday: ‘We are short of money, that’s basically it. We had a board meeting over the weekend, we need a bit of time out to try and restructure the company and basically get in fresh capital. That’s what we are doing right now.’

TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO
Friday November 3, 1995

MP calls for full seabed survey

Argyll and Bute MP Mrs Ray Michie is calling for a full seabed survey to find the source of the thousands of incendiaries washed up on west of Scotland beaches over the past month.

Around 4,500 of the mystery devices have been washed up around the northern Firth of Clyde, the west coast of Kintyre, Islay and Jura over the past month.

By Tuesday the number being washed ashore in Argyll had been reduced to a trickle. The total number reported to police in Campbeltown for the past month, by Tuesday, stood at 1,738.

The east coast of Kintyre and Southend were worst hit – with 1,158 and 477 respectively. Only eight were reported in the week up to Tuesday.

Last week the Scottish Office’s Environment Minister Lord Lindsay said he was ordering a survey of the munitions dump at Beaufort’s Dyke.

The Ministry of Defence has denied ever dumping phosphorus weapons at sea.

The incendiaries are between eight and 15 inches long and may be broken or misshapen. They range in colour from dirty white to brown and can resemble a piece of bone.

They can burst into flames as they dry out and burn any skin or clothing which comes into contact with them.

FIFTY YEARS AGO
Friday November 5, 1970

Wrecked cattle ship breaking up

The Dutch cattle ship Hereford Express, aground since last Thursday on the Boiler Reef off Sanda, has a list of more than 60 degrees and is breaking up. She was badly buffeted by the weekend storm.

Only three of the 234 head originally aboard survived. More than 30 carcasses have been found on the shores of Sanda by lighthouse keepers and one has been washed up at Westport.

The Hereford Express was on passage from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, to Glasgow when she ran ashore east of the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse.

Campbeltown lifeboat was launched early that morning, but when she reached the area a German coaster, the Hope Isle, had taken the badly-holed vessel in tow.

Just off Sanda, heading for the Clyde to rendezvous with the Ardrossan tug the Ardneil, the tow ropes broke and the vessel drifted onto the notorious Boiler Reef.

The skipper, officers and eight-man crew of the Hereford Express were taken to Ardrossan aboard the tug.

On Friday, attempts to rescue the 60 or so animals left on board failed. Southend coastguards had planned to shoot lines on board the ship to guide the cattle to shore, but they were told that the operation was off due to the bad condition of the ship – she was listing and the holes in her hull were being battered wider by the heavy winds.

A Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals inspector, Mr Alex Miller of Ayr, painlessly destroyed 40 of the surviving cattle when landed on the deck of the ship by helicopter but the remaining 20 beasts, which were too deep in the hold to get onto the deck, had to be shot by RAF rifleman Sergeant Bill Jackson.

Earlier an attempt by Southend fisherman, Mr Archie Cameron, to reach the ship in his open boat ended when he was forced to turn back half-way because of the rough seas.

Argyll health department were in Southend at the beginning of the week, deciding upon measures to deal with the washed-up carcasses. A salvage firm is working about the wreck.

Government departments are to be asked to hold a full inquiry into the grounding.

Inspectors of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took part in dramatic efforts to save the animals and now two animal protection societies are demanding a probe into the circumstances under which the Dutch vessel put to sea and later grounded.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO
Saturday October 30, 1920

Killean

The late Mr Alexander Mackinnon, Auchnafad – A much respected and venerable figure has been removed by death in the person of Mr Alexander Mackinnon, Auchnafad, who passed away on Monday night 18th inst aged 83 years.

Deceased was born and lived all his days on the estate of Largie, his father having been tenant of Balure. On this farm he spent a great part of his life and over thirty years ago he took over the tenancy of Auchnafad, where he farmed successfully up till the time of his death.

Quiet and industrious, deceased did not take any active part in the public work of the parish. He was a keen churchman and was for many years an elder in the Clachan Free Church.

At the time of the union Mr Mackinnon associated himself with the United Free Church section when the split occurred.

His wife predeceased him thirty years ago, and he is survived by a family of six sons and two daughters. Three of the sons and one daughter are at Auchnafad, while one son is the tenant of Rosehill, and another of Auchensavil, Carradale.

The funeral took place on Thursday to Killean Burying-Ground and was largely attended.