From Our Files, January 29 2021

In 2011: Former Lighthouse keeper Hector Lamont of Campbeltown at the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse.
In 2011: Former Lighthouse keeper Hector Lamont of Campbeltown at the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse.

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TEN YEARS AGO
Friday January 28 2011

Hector’s starring role in TV lighthouse special

Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse will be featured in a film to celebrate 200 years since the first light was lit in 1811.

Produced by Caledonia TV, the BBC2 programme is narrated by Dennis Lawson and Campbeltown’s Hector Lamont, who was previously a lighthouse keeper. His wife Esther also features on the programme.

The film takes viewers through the remarkable achievements of the Lighthouse Stevensons over the course of five generations from the late 1700s to the early 1900s.

The programme also features Fair Isle South Lighthouse, which was the last in Scotland to be automated in 1998, with interviews from the keepers serving at the time. It will be aired on March 1 at 9pm.

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO
Friday January 26 1996

Pressure piled on for quick Irish ferry decision

Pressure was growing earlier this week on the Scottish Secretary to give Caledonian MacBrayne the go-ahead to operate the proposed ferry link between Campbeltown and Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.

Scottish Office officials are said to oppose state-owned CalMac’s participation in the project.

But earlier this week it was revealed they had asked CalMac to submit a business plan for the route. The news was welcomed by the prospective Conservative candidate for Argyll and Bute, Mr Ralph Leishman.

He told the Courier: ‘This is a definite step forward and knocks on the head suggestions that the Scottish Office is totally opposed to CalMac as the operator on this route.’

Scottish Office reservations are believed to centre on proposals to use the MV Claymore on the route. This would mean £600,000 would have to be spent upgrading another vessel for relief work for its west coast services.

They are also said to be concerned that no private firm appeared to be interested in running the service all year-round.

CalMac’s participation in the project has been backed by politicians on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Both Scottish Secretary Mr Michael Forsyth and Prime Minister Mr John Major were believed this week to have been lobbied at Westminster by CalMac’s supporters.

Northern Ireland secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew is said to be among those who have contacted Mr Forsyth to support CalMac’s involvement.

The project supporters have been asking the Scottish Office to consider the economic benefits the ferry could bring to Ballycastle and Campbeltown, which are both areas of high unemployment. The project is expected to create around 250 jobs, 170 of them in Argyll.

The only other company which has expressed an interest in running the service, Seacat, only wants to operate it over a four-month summer season.

FIFTY YEARS AGO
Thursday January 28 1971

Mr Noble ill – so Provost steps in to open new airport terminal

The new passenger terminal at Machrihanish Airport will be opened on Friday at 3pm by Provost Dan McKinven, in the absence of Mr Michael Noble MP Minister of Trade, through illness.

The new building, which has been provided by the Department of Trade and Industry in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, is a small one situated within a self-contained enclave and is designed to improve the facilities of BEA passengers using Machrihanish.

Before the terminal was built, all BEA passengers had to be taken by bus between the aircraft and the old terminal building near the main entrance of the airport, and, latterly, to a dispersal point on the south side.

Under the new improvements, BEA aircraft will now taxi directly to the new terminal area, and passengers will be able to walk the short distance from the aircraft to the terminal.

A new road traffic control system has also been provided because aircraft taxiing from the runway to the terminal have to cross a public road.

The new arrangements have the additional advantage of reducing the distance, and, consequently, the journey time between the airport and Campbeltown.

A complete shake-up of BEA Highland services is on the way. It could mean higher fares and smaller planes and the end of the name British European Airways on some routes.

Last year the Highlands and Islands routes cost the company more than £300,000.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO
Saturday January 29 1921

Sparks and Flashes

The annual meeting in connection with the Campbeltown Cottage Hospital will be held on Tuesday first at 12.30 in the Council Room.

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Local footballers had again an idle Saturday last week on account of bad weather. Campbeltown and Hearts will make a third attempt to meet on Saturday first, and, weather permitting, the kick-off will be at 3 o’clock.

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The Courier Office received a visit from some boy burglars last week, the invaders making a ‘corner’ in coppers. This time the police got a clue and the sequel is likely to be heard in the Juvenile Court.

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A favourable balance amounting to £98, 19 shillings and 4d was made by Dunoon Town Council from the crops grown during last season in the Burg Parks. The income amounted to £376, 18 shillings and 4d and the expenditure to £277, 18 shillings and 11d.

***

The large steam yacht Beryl, which belonged to the late Lord Inverclyde, and well-known on the Clyde, has been converted into a cable-laying steamer, and is now the property of the Commercial Cable Company, London. The vessel, which has been renamed George Ward, has left the Clyde for the Thames.

***

The principal celebration of Burns’ anniversary in town was in the form of a concert, held in the Victoria Hall on Tuesday night, under the auspices of the local branch ILP. There was a fairly good audience, and a party of four singers and one reciter from Glasgow presented a programme that was well-received and much enjoyed. Castlehill Kirk folk had a Burns’ night in Kinloch Hall on Monday night.