Holy Loch Communities’ collective Homecoming 2009 programme

Holy LOch Dave SouzaFrom 7th-10th May, the communities around the Holy Loch (pictured) are celebrating Homecoming Scotland 2009 by collaborating in hosting an energetic and rich spectrum of events rooted in their place and with something for everyone

The engine room will be the Welcome Office at the Car Park at Ardnadam. This will be the information hotpoint, will carry a stock of small gifts and local arts and act as the base for minibus transport and for the Scottish Ramblers. It will also host the Argyll Hillbillies motorbike display.

Events on 7th May

  • An Evening of Memories: this will feature Lord George Robertson, an Ileach who became Secretary General of NATO; and the Rt Hon Brian Wilson, a former Labour Government Minister who is from the Isle of Skye, is passionate about renewable energy and was centrally involved in setting up the West Highland Free Press. Locals Robert McSeveny and Gordon Trapp will also recall the years when the American Navy was based at the Holy Loch. This is at the Dolphin Hall, Hunter’s Quay Holiday Village at 8.00p. Tickets £6. Booking: 01369840404
  • Film Night: This will be at Highgate Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets £3. Booking: 01369706591

Events on 8th May

  • At Ardnadam site: There will be opportunities to view the 5,000 year old site and enjoy demonstrations of Stone Age & Iron Age life by National Park Rangers> You can also try your hand at grinding corn etc. There will be a marquee off the wethaer is wet.
  • Traditional Jazz Evening: This will be at Uig Hall at 7.30pm, led by Mike Daly’s Rhythm Kings.Tickets £6. Booking: 01369706591

Events on 9th May

The following events run all day from 10.30am -4.00pm and are almost all free:

  • Broxwood events: These will be based in a Forestry Marquee and including: displays from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the Forestry  – which will include stuffed birds and animals, information on birds and a display on red squirrels; tours to the forests and to owl habitats; birdwatching, led by local experts.
  • Sandbank Church Hall events: these will include: a National Film Archive Homecoming dvd running on a loop; a genealogist in attendance, advising on tracing your roots, setting up family trees and sharing information about local families; a local history library with a display and advice on resources; detailed information in display form about Lazaretto, Clachaig, McKinley the explorer and other local history collected by Sandbank Heritage Society – local historians will be in attendance to answer questions and display
    Cowal Archaeological and HIstorical Society (CAHS) material on local archaeology; Whisky Galore – the story of the water of life.

    Visitors are requested to bring old local photos, family history –scanner available to copy if they are willing – add to village collection/Local Studies. Light refreshments will be available – teas, coffee soft drinks and biscuits.

  • Holy Loch Sailing Club events: Here there will be displays of Sandbank boatbuilding, yacht design and all things nautical – as well as toilet facilities for visitors
  • Holy Loch Marina events: these will include: guided tours of the marina; a look at the Green Goddess; a look at the whaling boat project; the vista of boats of all types invited to come into the loch and marina; boat trips in White Heather – (the old Holy Loch ferry); boat trips byRIB (rigid inflatable boat) – charges apply; free boat safety checks from RNLI; safety information, displays, games, tombola etc; invitations to Visit My Boat;  advice from Marine Police.
  • Ardnadam events: There will be an pportunity to view the 5,000 year old site and enjoy demonstrations of pre-historic life by National Park Rangers. You can also try your hand at grinding corn etc and events will be in a marquee if it rains.

The following is an evening event on 9th May:

  • Soiree in Sandbank Village Hall at 7.00pm:  entertainment includes: a welcome piper; a buffet meal in the main hall; a Burns interlude; a picture show – the John Saidler collection – in the main hall; a short school Homecoming dvd; another Burns interlude; and a sing-song. The Hall will stay open to allow socialising. Tickets: £6 entry fee, which will include a free book. Booking: 01369701202

Events on 10th May

  • Scottish Concert at Sandbank Village Hall at 3.00pm: with fiddlers, accordionists, pipers and singers. Tickets: £3. Booking: 01369701202
  • Songs of Praise: at Sandbank Church – an ecumenical service with favourite traditional Scottish hymns

Booking is required for some evening events where charges apply.

More information will shortly be available on the new website for Sandbank, at the head of the loch.

The photograph above shows the Holy Loch seen from Tower Hill, Gourock across the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. The suburbs od Dunoon, at the entrance to the loch, can be seen to the left. The photograph taken on 20th February 2006 by the copyright holder, Dave Souza and is reproduced here under the Creative Commons licence.

Concern amongst islands excluded from RET scheme finds voice

Argyll’s islands of Mull, Islay, Jura and Colonsay – with strong support from the Isle of Bute and the Cowal peninsula – have decided to launch an ipetition on the Scottish Government’s website, calling for a 40% reduction in ferry fares to these islands. They are not included in the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) pilot scheme the Government introduced for a thirty month period from October 2008 to April 2011. The pilot reduces fares on specific routes to the equivalent cost of travelling the same distance by road. It is designed to test the contribution to sustainable development such subsidy might support. The routes selected for the pilot scheme are largeky to the Outer Hebrides – Ullapool to Stornoway (Lewis), Uig (Skye) to Tarbert (Harris)/Lochmaddy (North Uist) and Oban to Castlebay (Barra) and Lochboisdale (South Uist), including Oban to Coll and Tiree (Argyll islands). It is this last inclusion that has led to concerns among the excluded Argyll isands. They see a situation developing over the thirty months of the pilot scheme where the included islands embed a market advantage because of the access subsidy denied t the excluded islands. The islanders anxieties and their proposed solutions are supported by local Councillors including Transport Spokesman Duncan MacINtyre who is also Chair of Highlands and Islands Transport (HITRANS). Councillor MacIntyre has called for an kimmediate review of ferry fares. Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid also supports the islanders, while warning of the need not to imperil the innovative RET scheme.

If you support the islanders’ concerns, click on the petition link in the text above to sign it.