District News, June 18 2021

From left: Youngsters from Gigha Primary School make it to the first of three cairns; participants walked and scooted throughout the challenge; and the three peaks challenge gets a thumbs up from this pupil standing at the second cairn.
From left: Youngsters from Gigha Primary School make it to the first of three cairns; participants walked and scooted throughout the challenge; and the three peaks challenge gets a thumbs up from this pupil standing at the second cairn.

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GIGHA

Pupils take on three peaks challenge

Gigha Primary School pupils walked and scooted almost three kilometres during their own three peaks challenge.

Inspired by the National Three Peaks Challenge, an event in which participants attempt to climb the highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours, the youngsters completed a 2.8-kilometre route which included walking to the three highest cairns at the north of the island.

Organised by the school’s eco schools committee, the challenge was held on Saturday June 5.

Pupils from the nursery through to P7 raised £630 through sponsorship from family and friends.

This will fund fresh fruit plants to be grown in the school’s polytunnel as part of the pupils’ eco schools project.

The aim is to create a community growing garden to provide a range of fruit and vegetables to pupils and Gigha families.

Max, the school’s eco schools committee chairperson, said: ‘The sponsored walk was really fun and has raised lots of money for plants for the school growing area. We would like to say thank you to all the people who took part and who sponsored us.’

Head teacher Julie Wilson added: ‘It is fantastic that despite the restrictions of Covid-19, our families have continued to join in with family-friendly outdoor events.

‘Gigha Primary School children are committed to sustainability and leading community action on climate change.’

ISLAY

Search on for £50 million ferry builder

The procurement of a new ferry for Islay is under way.

The first stage of the tender process will assess if interested shipyards meet the technical and financial criteria to take on the project.

The invitation to tender is expected to be issued later this summer with a view to awarding the contract, with an estimated value of about £50 million, in March 2022.

The start of the procurement follows engagement with key stakeholders and members of the community on the design of the new ferry.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: ‘I’m pleased to announce the process to build a new ferry for Islay is formally under way.

‘The route is one of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network and this new vessel will help grow the island’s economy, as well as bring added resilience to the fleet.’

The new ferry will provide additional capacity on the Islay route.
The new ferry will provide additional capacity on the Islay route.

Jim Anderson, director of vessels at Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), said: ‘Reaching the procurement stage is the culmination of robust project planning over the past 18 months, including vessel requirements, detailed concept designs and feasibility studies and analysis, as well as regular engagement with community representatives and islanders.

‘This marks an important step forward in bringing a new vessel to Islay and Jura. It is one of several new vessel and harbour upgrade projects we are currently progressing to improve the resilience of ferry services for island communities.’

CalMac’s managing director Robbie Drummond said: ‘We welcome the addition of a new Islay vessel. This will provide much-needed additional capacity on the route to support the economic growth of the island.

‘We will continue to work closely with Transport Scotland and CMAL to ensure we have the vessels to deliver the service needs of the community.’