From Our Files, July 8 2022

In 2012: Campbeltown Grammar School pupil Amy Shaw welcomed the official London 2012 Paralympic Games mascot to Glasgow after winning the Scottish leg of a competition to design her own Scottish version of the mascot. She is photographed with her winning Mandeville design.
In 2012: Campbeltown Grammar School pupil Amy Shaw welcomed the official London 2012 Paralympic Games mascot to Glasgow after winning the Scottish leg of a competition to design her own Scottish version of the mascot. She is photographed with her winning Mandeville design.

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TEN YEARS AGO
Friday July 6, 2012

Call to halt plummeting population

The fight is on to stop a dire forecast of population decline in South Kintyre coming true.

A projected 25 per cent decline by 2025, highlighted in new community plans launched by South Kintyre Development Trust, will only come true if nothing is done to prevent it, the trust chairman exclusively told the Courier this week.

Trevor Oxborough said stopping the prediction was a major target of the strategy outlined in the four plans for Campbeltown, East Kintyre, West Kintyre and Southend.

He said: ‘A 25 per cent decrease is the projection but the whole point of these plans is to try and do something about it.

‘We are trying not to let that projection come true. Population will follow if you have got a place where people want to live and they have got the skills.

‘There’s a lot of training going on and that’s good because we have got to have a good local base of people trained with the right skills, to encourage more employers to set up and stay here.’

The Campbeltown action plan identifies art, music, outdoor recreation, hospitality and renewable energy as key areas where training can lead to people having an economic future in South Kintyre.

It says the expansion of courses on offer at Argyll College, together with continued support for existing youth employment schemes, is key to fighting population decline by encouraging young people to stay in the area.

The action plan also states apprenticeships have to be encouraged, with schools working with local businesses and community groups to offer work experience placements.

The community buyout and development of Machrihanish Airbase is also identified as key to creating jobs and opportunities.

As well as training and employment, other priorities stated in the plans include maintaining and improving services and improving affordable housing stock.

Strip the Willow record broken

A record-breaking Orcadian Strip the Willow was one of the highlights of the 10th Gigha Music Festival at the weekend.

About 80 people kept the dance going for over 65 minutes, beating the record of 62 minutes set by Tiree.

The dancers ranged from youngest participant Alex Wotherspoon, aged nine, to the oldest, Susan Allen, former chair of the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust.

Top ceilidh band HEUCH! comprised of Dan Thorpe, Tia Files, Lorne McDougall and Andy Horn supplied the music for Friday night’s record.

Saturday afternoon saw a good crowd for open mic, crafts and children’s activities, before the evening’s entertainment from the Fiona Hunter Band and folk favourites Blazing Fiddles.

The action continued into Sunday, with the hardy souls making it through all the way to survivors’ night.

TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO
Friday July 4, 1997

Ferry moves full steam ahead

The Campbeltown-Ballycastle ferry received the official stamp of approval when it was launched by the Scottish Secretary this week.

The Rt Hon Donald Dewar MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, officially launched the service when he unveiled the Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company logo on the ferry terminal at the New Quay, Campbeltown, on Monday.

The ceremony was one of two VIP events to take place marking the launch, the other being in Ballycastle later the same day.

A ferry link between the two towns has been heralded as the perfect way of cementing social and economic links which go back centuries.

It is also seen as an exciting venture which will further build on those links by boosting trade and tourism between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Speaking during the ceremony, Mr Dewar highlighted Argyllshire’s attraction as a holiday destination by saying that he had spent holidays in the area and would recommend it to anyone.

Mr Dewar told of his high hopes for tourism and trade in both areas, saying: ‘The establishment of this ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle is more than a link between two towns. It is a doorway to increased economic opportunities.

‘The route puts the Kintyre peninsula on a new tourist route from Northern Ireland. In addition, businesses based in Argyll and further afield now have new commercial trading routes into Irish markets.

‘This is an excellent example of co-operation between the public and private sectors, and it is exactly the type of transport partnership which the government wants to encourage. I wish everyone involved success in this new future venture.’

Extensive new harbour facilities, including purpose-built terminals, have been constructed in Campbeltown and Ballycastle, costing £3.5 million and £6 million respectively and supported by European Union funding.

The MV Claymore can carry 300 passengers and 50 cars as well as commercial freight.

A total of 80 new jobs have been created by the project and this is expected to unlock £1.4 million annually in Kintyre alone.

FIFTY YEARS AGO
Thursday July 6, 1972

New tourist facility

Campbeltown is one of 14 area tourism organisations serving the Highlands and Islands to have introduced a new accommodation booking service enabling visitors to reserve rooms in hotels or guest houses anywhere in the region.

For a deposit of £1, any tourist office in the region will now locate and book (with the help of counterparts in the area concerned) the accommodation required and provide the visitor with written confirmation.

Mr Lachie McKinnon, area tourist chief, says: ‘The Highlands and Islands Development Board, together with the tourist organisations, have been making strenuous efforts to increase the service available to tourists once they are attracted to the Highlands and Islands.

‘A greater flow of information about the area and practical help with accommodation problems will mean more satisfied visitors who are likely to return to the region.’

Last year, he said, telex facilities had been installed by the board in most of the principal tourist information centres throughout the region and these would be invaluable in the day-to-day operation of the accommodation service.

The scheme completed the international system already established through the computerised network operated by International Reservations Ltd.

SEVENTY YEARS AGO
Thursday July 3, 1952

Man brakes spine in main mast fall

A deckhand, 32-year-old William Buckley of Salford, might have died on board the Glasgow cargo steamer Baron Elcho (2,865 tons) on Friday morning when he fell from the cross street of the main mast and crashed with a sickening thud on the deck 40 to 50 feet below, but a steel hawser broke his fall.

Buckley fractured his spine. He had also serious hip and head injuries.

Dr Alexander Cameron, who boarded the steamer at a rendezvous just after Davaar Island, immediately noticed the seriousness of the man’s injuries.

He instructed that a radio telephone call be put through to Campbeltown.

This was to the effect that a BEA air ambulance plane be despatched immediately for Campbeltown, and that a road ambulance be ready at the lifeboat slip at Campbeltown’s New Quay to rush the injured man to the airport once he was taken ashore by the lifeboat City of Glasgow which had taken the doctor out to the ship shortly after 1 o’clock that afternoon.

The Baron Elcho was outward bound for Canada.

She passed the Mull of Kintyre, and was between the Irish coast and the Inner Hebrides when she sent out a radio message to the Campbeltown Harbour authorities asking for a motorboat with a doctor to intercept the steamer after that.

Wrapped in blankets and lashed to a stretcher, Buckley was lowered by derrick from the steamer into the lifeboat, where Coxswain Duncan Newlands and his crew made him comfortable.

Meantime, Miss Catherine McGeachy, BEA assistant agent at Campbeltown, made all the necessary arrangements for the ambulance service, and, shortly after being landed by the lifeboat with the doctor, the patient was being transferred at the airport from the road ambulance to the mercy plane.

Accompanied by a nurse and piloted by Captain Payne, the air ambulance nosed back to Renfrew, from where Buckley was taken by road to the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, for specialist treatment.

The Baron Elcho is registered at Ardrossan and is owned by the Hogarth Shipping Company of Glasgow.

Islay police sergeant retires

Police Sergeant Angus McGeachy, an enthusiastic Gael, who started his career at Campbeltown with the Argyllshire Police Force, retired yesterday after 30 years’ police service in the county.

On joining the force in 1922, he was stationed at Campbeltown for a year, followed by two years at Oban and Inveraray.

He was transferred to Kilmartin, where he served for a number of years, until he was promoted to Sergeant in 1939 and transferred to Campbeltown.

Later, he was moved to Dunoon and was appointed Bar Officer at Dunoon in 1944.

Sergeant McGeachy is an enthusiastic angler.

He is an active member of the Dunoon branch of An Comunn Gàidhealach; he is held in high regard by his colleagues and superiors in the force as well as by the community.

It is understood that he intends to take up residence in Dunoon.

In 2012: Mari Wilson, Jane Clements and Lynn Wilson at the Gigha Music Festival.
In 2012: Mari Wilson, Jane Clements and Lynn Wilson at the Gigha Music Festival.