District News, September 24 2021

The Over the Hill hikers ready for their charity climb.

Want to read more?

We value our content and access to our full site is only available on subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device In addition your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.

Already a subscriber?


Problems logging in and require
technical support? Click here
Subscribe Now


Tarbert folk hiking high for Parkinson’s

Thousands of pounds have been raised for charity thanks to the strenuous efforts of a group of Tarbert friends.

The Over the Hill Hikers are five keen hill walkers and climbers, all residents of Tarbert, with a vast and varied amount of experience behind them.

Don Murray, Tony Baccoli, Callum MacFarlane, Will Hemphill and Tom Lewis scaled Ben Nevis on Wednesday September 15, in a fundraising event in aid of Parkinson’s UK.

Will explained the motivation behind the climb: ‘We know of a number of local residents who are suffering from Parkinson’s and we wanted to do this in honour of them and their families.

‘It’s a really worthy cause and we thought we could help this community as well as sufferers throughout the UK.’

Before the hikers set off, more than £2,000 had been raised through donations in the village pubs and through their online fundraising page.

‘We have had tonnes of support,’ said Will. ‘I’ve lived in places all over the world through my life, but never have I come across somewhere so welcoming and supportive as Tarbert.’

The hikers have climbed hills throughout the world, and one of Don’s most recent climbs was a solo expedition up Kilimanjaro.

‘Although our ages add up to about 275,’ Jonathan said, ‘we are all still doing a lot of solo climbing, however, going in a team like this is different.

‘When you’re solo all you have to consider is your own breathing, your legs, your head, but when we’re together we think about each other’s pace. It’s a huge comfort to know we have each other’s backs.’

Donations for Parkinson’s UK can be made at The Frigate and The Corner House or online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Tarbert-Over-The-Hill



Scotland loses out in bid to build new Islay ferries

Two new ferries to serve Islay and Jura will not be built in Scotland – despite the Scottish Government owning a shipyard.

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has invited four shipyards to tender for the contract – one in Romania, another in Poland and two in Turkey.

The decision to look outwith Scotland and not to Ferguson Marine in Port Glasgow, which the Scottish Government brought into public ownership in 2019, has proven controversial.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said the failure of a Scottish shipyard to secure the contract represented ‘a devastating indictment’ of the SNP Government’s role in procuring new ferries for west coast communities.

He said: ‘As this saga has gone on and on, it’s impossible to think of a more comprehensive failure to serve our island communities or, indeed, the wider public interest, than this latest development.

‘This news represents a devastating indictment of the SNP Government which has now betrayed practically everyone interested in securing a reliable and resilient ferry service in Scotland, including those employed in the commercial shipbuilding industry.

‘The priority now, of course, must be on getting the new ferries built and in service as quickly as possible – island communities deserve nothing less.’

Thirty-five organisations expressed interest at the first stage of the procurement exercise and responses were received from 11 organisations.

Each submission was assessed rigorously against technical and financial criteria.

The shortlisted shipyards will now submit their technical and commercial proposals for the design and construction of the two vessels.

The contract will be awarded to the winning shipyard no later than the end of March 2022.

‘We received interest from many shipyards across the world, and carried out robust assessment of their technical and financial suitability to take on this project,’ said Jim Anderson, director of vessels at CMAL.

‘Four shipyards scored the highest across both criteria and have now been issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for the contract. This stage of the procurement process will take around six months, and we hope to award the contract to the winning shipyard at the end of March 2022.

‘The ITT stage 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.’

The new vessels will have greater vehicle capacity than the current vessels on the route, and will have significantly lower energy requirement.

They will be designed with a clear focus on freight, including the capability to operate a possible overnight freight service.

Sufficient passenger accommodation will be designed to meet an anticipated increase in passenger demand.

MV Finlaggan
MV Finlaggan