From Our Files, March 11 2022

In 2012: A well-known Campbeltown butcher retired on Saturday after 28 years on the Main Street. The last day of trading for Alex Wilson and his wife Marilyn came two days before Alex's 65th birthday. Many of his loyal customers dropped in on his last day to pick up a final cut of meat and wish him well for his retirement. The Wilsons now plan to take a holiday in Malta before returning to Campbeltown where Alex is looking forward to spending more time on the golf course and in the garden.
In 2012: A well-known Campbeltown butcher retired on Saturday after 28 years on the Main Street. The last day of trading for Alex Wilson and his wife Marilyn came two days before Alex's 65th birthday. Many of his loyal customers dropped in on his last day to pick up a final cut of meat and wish him well for his retirement. The Wilsons now plan to take a holiday in Malta before returning to Campbeltown where Alex is looking forward to spending more time on the golf course and in the garden.

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TEN YEARS AGO
Friday March 9, 2012

Bunkhouse opens its doors

More than five years of ongoing time and effort to get an old school house in town renovated has paid off, as it is reopened as a bunkhouse.

The old Free Church School at Big Kiln, Campbeltown, has been given new life as Campbeltown Backpackers and the first bookings have been taken.

The Grade B listed building has two bedrooms, sleeping up to 16 people with Wi-Fi available for all visitors.

The concept is designed to attract budget travellers down the peninsula as well as surfers and Kintyre Way walkers.

It will provide more accommodation for the town’s major events like the 10K and music festival. It has already been reserved for the Kintyre Way relay race in June.

The project has been carried out by the Kintyre Community Trust which is holding an open day tomorrow Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

‘There have been numerous challenges along the way, from brick suppliers who went into liquidation to the question of whether to put a pot on the fourth chimney,’ said a spokesman for the trust.

‘This is a great project that has removed a bit of urban decay and replaced it with a new business opportunity that capitalises on what Campbeltown has to offer.’

In 2012: First timers had the chance to try out the sport of underwater diving for free on Sunday at Aqualibrium, Campbeltown. Campbeltown Sub Aqua Club organised a try-dive session with two visitors from the National Sub Aqua Club. The try-dive session was free and the perfect opportunity to introduce people to the wonders of the deep and to find out whether the sport was for them. More sessions like these will be run in the future in Campbeltown which will be dependent on interest. Branch diving officer Linda Bryce, left, with examiner Donald Lees.
In 2012: First timers had the chance to try out the sport of underwater diving for free on Sunday at Aqualibrium, Campbeltown. Campbeltown Sub Aqua Club organised a try-dive session with two visitors from the National Sub Aqua Club. The try-dive session was free and the perfect opportunity to introduce people to the wonders of the deep and to find out whether the sport was for them. More sessions like these will be run in the future in Campbeltown which will be dependent on interest. Branch diving officer Linda Bryce, left, with examiner Donald Lees.

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO
Friday March 14, 1997

Councillors demand to see school hit list

The row over school closures in Argyll and Bute is rumbling on with some councillors demanding a list of schools that could potentially be shut.

Council leaders and education officials are still denying the existence of a ‘hit list’.

At Friday’s finance and personnel meeting, the question of school closures was brought up by Councillor Sandy McQueen. He asked why the council had not issued a list of schools that would fit the criteria for closure.

Kintyre councillor George McMillan said he couldn’t accept that there was legislation that could prevent a council from issuing a potential closure list.

Councillor McQueen asked: ‘Is there not a way round this by putting forward a document with proposals that the schools may be closed?’

The Self-Governing Schools Act for Scotland 1989 stops the council from being as open as it would like. The act relates to schools ‘opting out’ from local authority control and it is feared that some schools will try to opt out to prevent closure.

Council leader Dick Walsh said: ‘It would create real problems for some communities in Argyll and Bute and school boards would want to look at opting out.’

He added: ‘The number of school closures depends on the budget meeting. It wouldn’t make sense at all to produce a list saying we are going to close all the schools when it might not be necessary.’

FIFTY YEARS AGO
Thursday March 9, 1972

Ferry row: MacBrayne’s wins reprieve

The MacBrayne’s* steamer service to Islay, Gigha, Jura and Colonsay will continue after its planned cessation date March 31.

The news follows a public inquiry which was held at Port Ellen last month.

After studying a report from the Transport Users Consultative Committee, Scots Secretary Mr Gordon Campbell has asked for the service to be continued until September 30.

This will give him time to study the report and arrive at a long-term solution.

A delighted Mrs Winnie Ewing, the former SNP MP who represented the islanders at the inquiry, said this week: ‘This is marvellous news. It means we have won. I visit Islay a lot and I know that to withdraw these services would mean tragedy.’

And Lady Strathcona, the Colonsay landowner, commented: ‘We heartily applaud this decision. The Secretary of State took the wrong one last November.

‘The people on these islands will be very pleased to hear that he is going to consider alternatives and other methods during the summer season.’

Said Mr Peter Wordie, chairman of rival group Western Ferries, which received a £17,000 government subsidy last year: ‘This will not make the slightest difference to us.

‘We will continue to run the islands with the exception of Colonsay.’

During last month’s inquiry it was claimed that Islay, Jura and Gigha would suffer hardship if the service was withdrawn.

It was also alleged that Colonsay, with its population of 139, would die.

*Editor’s note: Caledonian MacBrayne, later CalMac did not did not come into being until 1973 when the Caledonian Steam Packet Co acquired MacBrayne’s.

SEVENTY YEARS AGO
Thursday March 13, 1952

Fishing boat aground in fog

The Clyde ringnet herring fishing vessel, Pride of the Clyde (TT 20) – owner skipper Mr Archibald Kerr, Tarbert – ran aground on Thursday morning just north of Skipness Point, Kintyre, in Kilbrannan Sound.

The fishing boat Boy Danny of Campbeltown, radioed a message to Campbeltown and the local lifeboat, City of Glasgow, Coxswain Duncan Newlands in charge, proceeded to the casualty.

The lifeboat reached the fishing boat shortly after 9am.

The coxswain and crew managed to get a rope aboard the boat and pulled her off the beach.

There was no damage and the fishing boat was able to make Tarbert Loch Fyne under her own power.

While she was aground, the Tarbert boat Silvercrest stood by.

The Pride of the Clyde was not fishing at the time. She had been out with the fleet, but had difficulty with her nets, so she was returning home from Ballantrae to get another net when she grounded in the heavy morning fog.

Mr Kerr later stated that there was a sair wind and visibility was poor.

He asks us to thank all who in anyway assisted or rendered aid to him and his crew that morning and so helped in the safety of the boat.

The thick fog persisted throughout Friday, interrupting shipping and air services.

The BEA plane services to Campbeltown were cancelled and all flying training at the Royal Naval Air Station was suspended for the same reason.