TARBERT GAINS NEW LINK PATH AND OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

By Colin Hunter

A new all-weather cycle path in Tarbert Loch Fyne offers a safe route to school for local youngsters, as well as better access between housing areas in the village.  The project benefits Tarbert Academy pupils by incorporating an outdoor classroom, including a wildlife garden and nature study area, on land next to the track.

Argyll & Bute MSP Mike Russell declares the new path open

Argyll & Bute MSP Mike Russell declares the new path open

The 200 metre long traffic-free link, between the local school and the south end of the village, began life as the TAWNI (Tarbert Academy Wildlife & Nature Initiative) Trail, an environmental management project for senior pupils.  The new path allows direct access from the Academy in School Road to the sports field at Cil Andreis, and forms a safe, well-surfaced shortcut from Easfield to the new playpark beside the grass football pitch.

Community groups worked with the Academy and Argyll & Bute Council to secure funding for the £95,000 path scheme, which includes the TAWNI Trail’s woodland area, burn, and ecologically sustainable garden.

Tarbert Academy display the school's Green Flag alongside two of the new interpretation panels

Tarbert Academy pupils display the school's Green Flag alongside two of the new interpretation panels

At the official opening, on 24 February, Argyll & Bute MSP Mike Russell praised the village for working together as a community to achieve success in this and similar projects.

The tarmac path runs from School Road to the village football pavilion, where it connects with the existing all-weather track from Oakhill.  In line with current design standards, the new route is ideal for walkers, cyclists, buggies, and wheelchair users, and is wide enough for users to meet and pass easily.

The TAWNI Trail is being developed on both sides of the new path

The TAWNI Trail is being developed on both sides of the new path

The path replaces an informal muddy shortcut whose steep banking, unstable surface, and burn crossing rendered it almost impassable in anything but the driest weather.  Even in summer, it was fit only for surefooted pedestrians.

The new track – car-free, with an open outlook and gentle gradients – offers a safe alternative for users of all ages.

The direct access which the path offers between the Easfield and Oakhill housing developments is expected to reduce vehicle use, particularly short car journeys, in the village, leading to lower carbon emissions and to greater safety for pedestrians near the school gates.

Academy pupils show their cycling skills on the newly-opened path

Academy pupils show their cycling skills on the newly-opened path

Community demand for improved access was crucial to the success of the entire project.

In early 2010, Tarbert & Skipness Community Trust (TSCT) published the Tarbert Community Plan, which was based on the views of local people – including many connected with the Academy.  The plan highlighted the need for a new path, and ultimately this strengthened the case for public funding.

Meanwhile, the school’s Geography teacher Rowena Ranger proposed the Tarbert Academy Wildlife & Nature Initiative (TAWNI) Trail as a project for senior pupils studying Management of Environmental Resources (MER) during the academic year 2010-11.  Embracing the project, the students consulted appropriate community groups, and primary pupils who will be major beneficiaries of the scheme throughout their years at the Academy, before carrying out initial surveys and consideration of the ideal route.  Community gardener Jim Paterson and environmental consultant and paths designer Neil Donaldson guided and assisted the MER students throughout.

Community gardener Jim Paterson

Community gardener Jim Paterson

At the time, one senior pupil said: “We learn so much more from doing a job like this, in both the maths-type skills and a variety of literacy skills too”.

It became clear that combining the TAWNI Trail with a high-quality path would maximise benefit for all likely users.

Tarbert Academy, TSCT, and the community trust’s Big Green Tarbert carbon reduction project, all vouched for the project’s potential benefit to the community, and TSCT applied successfully for Awards for All funding for interpretation panels.  The panels, describing the natural elements of the TAWNI Trail, will be displayed alongside the new path.

Environmental consultant Neil Donaldson

Environmental consultant Neil Donaldson

Design and construction costs for the path and the TAWNI Trail were met by Argyll & Bute Council, the Scottish Government, the Argyll & the Islands LEADER Programme, and sustainable transport charity Sustrans.

Tarbert Academy already holds a Green Flag award for demonstrating its commitment to environmental performance and its pupils’ awareness of environmental issues, and the TAWNI Trail is further evidence of the school’s green credentials.

Formally opening the new path and nature trail, Argyll & Bute MSP Mike Russell told a crowd which included schoolchildren, teachers, and community volunteers: “When I see a school with a Green Flag, I know that school, and everybody in it, is focused on environmental improvement.  You do a fantastic job working together.  The real enthusiasm of the community in Tarbert is great, and the improvements are of the highest quality”.

Big Green Tarbert volunteer Ed Tyler

Big Green Tarbert volunteer Ed Tyler

TSCT former chair and Big Green Tarbert volunteer Ed Tyler explained: “The TAWNI trail is, in effect, an outdoor classroom.  But it’s a linear classroom, so it spreads from School Road to the place where they’re going to have the garden, and also down to the playing field.  It actually follows the tarmac trail”.

“There are three interpretation boards, and these boards are a permanent reminder to all the pupils – and visitors – that there’s some very good wildlife here”.

“We chose this area specifically because it is a very natural area.  There are some interesting plant species there, and also the burn is very interesting; it actually varies in water quality – some parts are better than others – and you can test this by doing what we call a pond dip, or a burn dip, and then we can see what species are present.  And if the water quality’s low, you get certain species, and if it’s high you get other species.  This is all recorded on the interpretation panels, so that staff and pupils can learn about nature”.

Some of the children who will benefit from the funding by Sustrans and others

Some of the children who will benefit from Sustrans' funding of the new route

Rev Catriona Hood, Tarbert Academy’s head teacher, commented: “At its most practical level, (the new path) provides a far safer access for our children to go from the school to the sports fields.  Before, they would climb down a bank – which they’ve done safely – but it’s even better than that.

“It’s just great for the young people in the community to see what happens when folk work together.  It started off over a year ago, with the previous S6, who have now left.  It was hard to see it coming together at that point.  It’s lovely to see it accumulate and all the effort of various community groups working together – and then we have a path”.

“The Community Plan was very supportive of Tarbert Academy and, likewise, we wanted to support the community as much as we could.  It’s a definite improvement, because it’s not just the school which is using it; you’ve got young families, cyclists, and better access to the town, a less steep hill for folk who’re less able to come up the hill.  So everybody wins with this one”.

In the foreground, the original path, with the new one beyond

In the foreground, the original path, with the new one beyond

The Academy’s depute head John Welsh said: “There’s going to be an area for a primary garden, and it’s all going to get tidied-up … there’s been a lot of tree-planting happening already.  So what looks rough and tough just now is going to become a rather nice piece of woodland”.

Kintyre & the Islands councillor Anne Horn said: “Hopefully, (the option for pupils to walk or cycle to school) will cut down the car travel … during school hours.  There was a muddy path, but you couldn’t really walk it.  Children could use it, but it certainly wasn’t safe.  Now, it’s an established path … and there’s access for all abilities.  (It’s) a positive sign of agencies working together for the good of the village”.

This stub will form part of the outdoor classroom

This stub will form part of the outdoor classroom

Arlene Scott, who lives in Glenfield at the south end of the village, works at the Academy and her son and daughter are pupils.  She welcomes the fact that a traffic-free route is now available for them to use.

She says that, until now, she wouldn’t let her daughter walk to school on her own, because the available route included a public road with traffic “and there’s always bins and everything all over the pavement there”.

Arlene feels that the crossing at the School Road end of the new path is a big improvement, and she is comfortable letting her daughter use the new route: “You can see both ways.  It’s great.  It just gives her a bit more freedom.  It’s a shorter route for the kids (and) it’s safer as there’s less (contact) with cars”.

The Academy end of the path, with the school visible top left

The Academy end of the path, with the school visible top left

Councillor Donnie MacMillan, Chair of Mid Argyll Kintyre & the Islands Area Committee, said the project was “of tremendous merit to everyone in the community”.

A spokesman for Scotland’s national transport agency Transport Scotland said: “The new Tarbert path will make it easier for the local community to enjoy the very real social and health benefits of walking and cycling around their village.  Sustainable transport and active travel are hugely important priorities in which we continue to invest.  This will help meet our carbon reduction targets as well as making our roads safer and less congested.  Projects such as the Tarbert path also play their part in making Scotland a healthier, fitter, and more active nation”.

The new path offers safe access to the playpark (right) and the football pavilion (centre)

The new path offers safe access to Oakfield (top left), the football pavilion (centre), and the playpark (right).

About these ads
Posted in Education, Environment, Funding Awards, Kintyre, Public Safety, Tarbert | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CELTIC CONNECTIONS 2012 – KATHRYN TICKELL’S “NORTHUMBRIAN VOICES”

Click here to read our review.

Kathryn Tickell, Celtic Connections, Glasgow, February 2012

Kathryn Tickell, Celtic Connections, Glasgow, February 2012

Posted in Events, Festivals, Music | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A83 DRIVER HAS NARROW ESCAPE

This afternoon (6 February), the occupants of a private car escaped serious injury when their vehicle struck a garden wall, rebounded, and overturned, on the A83, Barmore Road, Tarbert.

Road Crash, A83, Barmore Rd., Tarbert, 6 Feb 2012

The crash scene, A83, Barmore Rd., Tarbert

The Ford saloon car was extensively damaged, and, despite the best efforts of police in attendance, caused disruption to traffic pending its removal by recovery contractors.

It is understood that no other vehicle was involved in the collision.

Emergency services in attendance at this afternoon's road accident

Emergency services were on the scene within minutes

The crash occurred only three days before representatives of Scotland’s national transport agency are due to attend a public meeting of Tarbert & Skipness Community Council (TSCC) in connection with concerns about the A83 route.  TSCC has circulated posters encouraging members of the community to attend and have their say in relation to safety issues involving the condition and design of the trunk road.

TSCC poster re A83 meeting 9.2.12

Poster advertising the Community Council meeting with Transport Scotland

Today’s accident happened at one of the areas highlighted on the posters, namely the “pinch point at Barmore Road”, where narrowing of the roadway makes it difficult for goods vehicles, meeting and passing, to avoid mounting the pavement.

It is anticipated that, at this Thursday’s meeting  -  due to take place at Tarbert’s Templar Arts & Leisure Centre  -  Transport Scotland’s National Network Manager David Hamilton and the agency’s Road Safety Manager George Henry will also hear road users’ concerns as to the frequency of landslides at the Rest & Be Thankful, and the agency’s contingency planning for dealing with such incidents.

(Photos © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2012)

Posted in A83, Emergency Services, Incidents, Road Safety, Tarbert | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

GREEN LIGHT FOR HARBOUR FUNDING AWARD

Tarbert Loch Fyne Harbour is to receive £200,000 of Scottish Government funding for improvement and expansion of berthing space, in a funding award which acknowledges the port’s potential for future growth.

The local harbour authority will use the Enterprise Growth Fund (EGF) cash to increase the capacity of the yacht pontoons, allowing greater numbers of visiting boats to be accommodated.

Tarbert Harbour, Loch Fyne: Yachts on the pontoons

Tarbert Harbour, Loch Fyne: Yachts on the pontoons

The grant, augmented by a portion of the authority’s own funds, will allow the harbour’s trustees to add an entirely new stretch of pontoon, boosting berthing capacity by 40 additional boats, and to replace existing pontoon sections which are reaching the end of their useful life.

Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald says that many users of the popular West Highland yacht haven indicate a preference for berthing directly alongside the pontoons, rather than rafting onto other vessels.

Tarbert Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald

Tarbert Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald

He explained that the trustees are intent on ensuring that the pontoons are safe, sound, and sufficiently accommodating to meet future needs.  He believes that the planned improvements, minimising the need for boats to “raft-up” at busy times, will encourage many more crews to visit the harbour.

Explaining the background, he said: “The yacht pontoons at Tarbert are subject to annual inspections, and our engineering consultants advised us that certain areas would require replacement in the near future”.

Alan continued: “We are obviously delighted that the Enterprise Growth Fund has chosen Tarbert Harbour as one of the recipients of this grant funding.  The EGF’s application process is rigorous and comprises two stages  -  the first to gain a place on the short leet, and a second in which we had to provide substantially more detail.  (The award) is a great boost to the harbour’s plans for providing the necessary facilities for the leisure industry.  It will also help sustain the local economy during this period of financial restraint and hopefully will lead to an increased number of visitors to the village”.

Tarbert is the home of the annual Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series yacht race, and Alan MacDonald hopes that the new berthing facilities will be completed in time for this year’s event at the beginning of June.

Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series 2011: Competitors' yachts rafted-up at Tarbert after a day's racing

The harbour board’s next step will be to identify, and announce the appointment of, its choice of contractor.  This is likely to take place within the next few weeks.

According to Alan MacDonald, the trustees’ existing aspirations  -  of providing a new harbour building within the existing amenity area on the north side of the harbour  -  remain in play, however the board took the decision that it would be prudent to wait for the economy to improve before progressing the shoreside plans.

The Tarbert award forms part of an overall £6m funding distribution by EGF, with grant values ranging from £25,000 to £200,000.

EGF, which is managed by a consortium including the Wise Group, aims to identify and invest in progressive bodies within the Third Sector, including voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations.  The Fund gives priority to groups which are ambitious and enterprising, and which are most likely to show growth, use resources thoughtfully, and generate tangible results such as employment, in the years ahead.

Wise Group project director Diane Greenlees said: “(The) additional berthing facilities will contribute greatly to the Scottish economy, and (will) make a positive difference to the lives of…..individuals and communities in Argyll & Bute.”

John Swinney MSP  -  Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth

John Swinney MSP - Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth

The Tarbert award was announced on Tuesday (31 January), when Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP released the list of EGF’s latest awards to more than sixty Scottish organisations.

(Image of John Swinney MSP courtesy of the Scottish Government, and licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0)

Unless otherwise stated, all images are © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2012

Posted in Funding Awards, Harbours (incl Ports and Havens), Kintyre, Tarbert, Yachting | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

KEEPING HEART OF ARGYLL’S VISITORS INFORMED

An innovative tourism advice service was launched yesterday in Lochgilphead.

The hi-tech touchscreen facility, situated within the Fyne Tackle angling and outdoor shop in Argyll Street, places a valuable range of local information at the fingertips of visitors to Mid-Argyll.

The project’s supporters are promoting it as a solution to the gap in provision caused by VisitScotland‘s June 2011 decision to close and dispose of the town’s Visitor Information Centre in Lochnell Street.

Mike Russell MSP unveils Lochgilphead's new Tourist Information Point

Mike Russell MSP unveils Lochgilphead's new Tourist Information Point

The new Tourist Information Point initiative, opened formally yesterday by Argyll & Bute MSP Mike Russell, is the result of co-operation between Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance (HoATA), VisitScotland, and Argyll & Bute Council.

Mr Russell, who is the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “It is a great pleasure and privilege to be asked to open this much needed facility.  But it is here not just because it is needed, but also because the local marketing group knew it was needed and showed great determination and enterprise in getting it established.  I am glad that the various partners have come together to make it happen, because tourism is a vital industry for all of Argyll  -  including its heart!  Making sure that those who come here are welcome and informed not only improves their stay but makes them want to come back.”

Argyll & Bute's Provost William Petrie (left) with Mike Russell MSP at yesterday's launch ceremony in Lochgilphead

Argyll & Bute's Provost William Petrie (left) with Mike Russell MSP at yesterday's launch ceremony in Lochgilphead

Present at the launch was Argyll & Bute Provost William Petrie, who said: “I am delighted to be part of the launch of the new…..Visitor Information Point in Lochgilphead.  This innovative solution to visitor information has, in large part, been due to the work by the Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance.  Together with Fyne Tackle, they have shown how important it is for the public and private sectors to work together to achieve a shared ambition”.

Councillor Petrie, who chairs the Argyll & the Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership, added: “Tourism is extremely important to Argyll and Bute.  Approximately fifteen percent of jobs in our area are tourism-related, and the innovative approach that’s been taken today shows how successful partnership working can be.  Together, we make sure that not only do we deliver but (also that we) can sustain jobs in our area.  I would like to wish the Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance and Fyne Tackle every success in this venture, and I am delighted that Argyll & Bute Council and VisitScotland were able to be a part of it.”

The Provost said he believes there is currently a tendency for visitors to avoid office-type tourist information resources, and that the new facility, with its ability to engage shoppers, will provide at least as much support for tourists as did the previous arrangement.  He confirmed that Argyll & Bute Council has provided financial support to the new information point, and that it will continue to do so.

(l to r) Archie MacGilp Jnr, Mike Russell MSP, Archie MacGilp Snr

(l to r) Archie MacGilp Jnr, Mike Russell MSP, Archie MacGilp Snr

Fyne Tackle proprietor and HoATA member Archie MacGilp Snr welcomed the new project.  He described how, since the closure of the Lochnell Street office, he has been “inundated” with people asking for information on where to go and what to see in the area.  He is happy to share his own considerable knowledge of the landscape and the terrain, and believes that even relatively simple advice, such as where to see a good sunset, can be what “makes” a holiday for some visitors.  Whilst welcoming the self-service nature of the new facility, Archie makes it clear that – shop business permitting – he will do his best to provide supporting advice where necessary.

Andrew Wilson, Vice-Chair of HoATA and owner of the Square Peg group of shops in Lochgilphead’s Colchester Square, said: “Since (HoATA) launched less than a year ago, we have been trying to raise awareness of the Heart of Argyll, and encourage as many local businesses as possible to get involved and work with us to promote the area.  From today’s announcement, you can see that we’re not just about marketing or having a website; as a co-operative, we provide a strong combined voice for tourism businesses in the area.  When we realised the (Tourist Information Centre) wasn’t going to reopen last spring, we were compelled to do something about it, and today the fruits of our efforts can be seen.  Who better to offer this service than HoATA members – the MacGilp family at Fyne Tackle  -  who know this area like the back of their hands?”

Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance, whose official launch took place in March 2011, describes itself as a co-operative, comprising local tourism businesses working together to better promote the area to visitors.  Its members and supporters work, on a voluntary basis, to raise awareness of the area among its target audiences and to grow tourism.

The organisation describes the Heart of Argyll as the area known as Mid-Argyll, loosely bounded by Ardfern, Inveraray, Tarbert, Loch Fyne, and the Sound of Jura.  It incorporates some of the most scenic parts of Scotland’s west coast, from the picturesque fishing village of Tarbert in the south, to Loch Craignish in the north, to Kilberry, Knapdale and Crinan in the west, and to Inveraray in the east.

Posted in Lochgilphead, Mid-Argyll, Tourism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A83 BLACKSPOT TO BENEFIT FROM ACCIDENT REDUCTION MEASURES

A notorious accident blackspot on the A83 trunk road in South Knapdale is scheduled to benefit from special safety measures in coming months, according to the route’s management and maintenance contractor Scotland TranServ.

A83, Uamh Ba'rr Challtuin, between Ardrishaig and Tarbert Loch Fyne

A83, Uamh Ba'rr Challtuin, between Ardrishaig and Tarbert Loch Fyne

The bend, at Uamh Ba’rr Challtuin, between Ardrishaig and Tarbert Loch Fyne, lies a mile north of the entrance drive of Stonefield Castle Hotel.  Recent years have seen a series of road accidents at the location, with the majority of incidents involving cars leaving the east side of the carriageway before descending a steep embankment.

In December, Sergeant David Ferguson from Lochgilphead Police Office said: “We’re aware of a number of vehicles having left the road at the bend in question in recent months, and we’re in discussion with Scotland TranServ with a view to seeking a solution.  We’re very conscious of the fact that many of the drivers using this road are local people, and we ask that they drive with care”.

Later, a spokesman for Scotland TranServ explained: “The area in question falls within the area of the A83 Route Accident Reduction Plan Phase 3.  The bends in the area have been assessed against nationally-used criteria and will be signed with yellow-backed warning signs, “SLOW” road markings, yellow-backed chevrons and new verge markers”.

He continued: “High friction surfacing will be applied at the bend in question when the weather is more conducive to such work.  The application is highly weather dependent and can only be applied in dry weather conditions”.

The accident hotspot hit local headlines last month after a car containing a woman and three children left the road and narrowly avoided striking a second car which, following an earlier accident, remained abandoned at the foot of the embankment.

The A83 has trunk road status between Tarbet on Loch Lomondside and Kennacraig on West Loch Tarbert.  It carries traffic to and from the Kintyre Peninsula, including vehicles using the area’s ferry terminals.  The latter are situated at Claonaig, Kennacraig, Tayinloan, and Campbeltown, and serve the islands of Arran, Islay, and Gigha, and the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland, respectively.

Since early December, the Argyll First group of Argyll & Bute Council members has been pressing for numerous improvements to the A83′s management and maintenance, including upgrading the route’s Kennacraig – Campbeltown section to trunk road status.  The group has set up an e-petition and intends to use this, in tandem with hard-copy petition sheets in local shops and businesses, to bring the cause to the attention of the Scottish Parliament.

Posted in Ardrishaig, Road Safety, Tarbert | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

CELTIC CONNECTIONS ANNOUNCES BIG TOP MUSIC EVENT ON SKYE

Celtic Connections 2012

© Celtic Connections 2012

In 2012, Celtic Connections  -  Glasgow’s annual folk, roots, and world music festival  -  will extend its reach far beyond the city boundary.  For details of this exciting new departure, see our feature article here.

http://www.celticconnections.com/bigtop/

© Celtic Connections 2012

Posted in Events, Festivals, Music, World | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

TREE PLANTING PROJECT EXPECTED TO BEAR FRUIT

The availability of locally grown fruit is likely to increase in Kintyre next year, thanks to a programme of tree planting linked to a new community orchard scheme.
On Monday 28 November, local MSP Mike Russell visited Tarbert’s harbourside walkway, where, accompanied by young pupils from Tarbert Academy, he planted the first tree of the Entire Kintyre Orchard project.
EKO is run by Tarbert & Skipness Community Trust, which Mr Russell praised warmly on several counts.

Mike Russell MSP plants the first tree
Mike Russell MSP plants the first tree

Between now and May 2012, EKO, which benefits from an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund, will see a thousand fruit trees planted across Kintyre, Islay, and Gigha, providing apples, pears, plums and cherries for community use.

Supporters around the inaugural tree

Supporters around the inaugural tree

Speaking at the planting ceremony, Mr Russell said: “…people who live here and people who come here…need to see a place that’s proud of itself, that’s actually projecting itself well. I’m all in favour of planting trees anyway – I used to be a Forestry minister. I think trees are great, and I think fruit trees are fantastic”.
He added: “But to get the young children involved, to get a public body like this involved, to make the place look good, to make the place feel better – it’s a fantastic achievement. We should all be doing as much as we can in a comparatively low-cost way, because this is not an enormously costly project. But….it takes away what was a bit of an eyesore, it creates a nice new path, and it makes the village look better. There’ll be a lot of people that come here and say “What a bonny place this is!” – and they’ll come back”.

Community Trust chair Ed Tyler

Community Trust chair Ed Tyler

Community Trust chair Ed Tyler explained: “One of the long term aims is to get more produce grown in the area. We’re looking at fruit as well as vegetables, but we’ve identified vegetables as the key because in the old days we had mixed farms and the farmers used to grow a whole range of crops. We’re trying to encourage them now to grow a range of crops again, so that they can be sold locally”.

Scottish Orchards’ chair John Hancox

Scottish Orchards’ chair John Hancox

Also involved in the EKO project is Scottish Orchards, an organisation which develops community orchards. In addition to supplying the trees to EKO, it supports the project by providing fruit growing advice.
Scottish Orchards’ chair John Hancox said: “In the past, people maybe thought that fruit wasn’t something that would grow here, but it grows very successfully, and there’s actually a long history of fruit growing in Scotland. There’s a lot of walled gardens and places like that around the West Coast, where fruit grows very successfully”. He added: “We also worked with landowners and farmers recently, to try to plant some larger plantations of fruit trees – to try to get some real fruit production going in Scotland again”.

Tarbert Academy head teacher Rev Catriona Hood

Tarbert Academy head teacher Rev Catriona Hood

Rev Catriona Hood, Head Teacher of Tarbert Academy, said: “The whole development of Tarbert waterfront has been to the benefit of the entire community. Of course, our school and our pupils are very much part of that community”.
Welcoming opportunities for the school to further enhance the community, such as planting the trees, she added: “There’s been a lot of tree planting and various environmental work going on at the school. We got our Green Flag just a few months ago. So, it’s a mixture of supporting the community on a wonderful development which has taken place here, and continuing the ecological work of the school……seeing where food comes from naturally, tasting food without any additives, just doing things naturally – it’s a good healthy message”.

Tarbert Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald

Tarbert Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald

Tarbert Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald commented: “The Harbour Authority is delighted to have been able to offer space at the new amenity area for the planting of fruit trees, and is very much a beneficiary of this project. The new trees are yet another contribution to the work of improving the environs of the harbour, and the whole project is an excellent example of organisations working together”.

EKO project co-ordinator Jim Paterson

EKO project co-ordinator Jim Paterson

EKO project co-ordinator Jim Paterson said: “We can provide trees to schools, community groups, youth groups, and tenants’ associations, as well as to individuals”.

He explained: “Growing the trees will increase community awareness of fruit as a local food, and will get people talking to other members of their community. Any trees remaining, after we honour our commitments to organisations, will be available to individuals, who can contact me on 07500 677651 or via jphpaterson@gmail.com”.

Posted in Community, Funding Awards, Kintyre, Tarbert | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

HARBOUR AUTHORITY SENDS OUT UPBEAT SIGNAL

The chairman of Tarbert Harbour Authority recently expressed optimism about the port’s future.

Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald
Harbour Authority chairman Alan MacDonald

Addressing the authority’s Annual Public Meeting in Tarbert on Thursday 17 November, Alan MacDonald said the harbour’s finances were relatively healthy, and that, so far, the port has “weathered the recession”. He described next year as “a crunch year”, but said he remained hopeful of seeing the business grow in 2012.
Speaking at Tarbert’s Templar Arts Centre, Mr MacDonald presented his review of 2010/11.
Reporting 7% growth in turnover, he attributed this to a recovery in the value of fish landings, combined with increased income from permanent berthholders, and reductions in maintenance costs achieved through investment in new pontoons.
Board vice-chairman Kenny MacNab said the increased income from fishing boats had been achieved with a decreased fleet.
Mr MacDonald reported increasing demand for berthing space at Tarbert. He said that the Harbour Authority awaited the outcome of funding applications, which, if successful, would allow the board to augment and improve, over the winter, the existing pontoon provision.
Acknowledging past visits by the cruise ship Hebridean Princess, the chairman committed the Harbour Authority to encouraging further such traffic.
Recent strengthening works at the East Pier had, he said, allowed the paddle steamer Waverley to continue visiting and had led to increased traffic involving fish farm vessels, resulting in the repair works having been paid off already. He revealed that he is hopeful of seeing growth in East Pier trade.

Passengers boarding PS Waverley at Tarbert's East Pier, July 2011
Passengers boarding PS Waverley at Tarbert’s East Pier, July 2011

A feasibility study involving the proposed main shoreside development had, he indicated, proved disappointing in terms of its economic outlook. Nevertheless, he signalled the board’s intention to seek the best outcome for the village and the harbour with the Crown Estate as a major investor, whilst cautioning that 2012’s economic climate would be a significant factor in any decision.
Acknowledging the success of the new harbourside walkway and the popularity of the open-air gym equipment, Mr MacDonald invited proposals for further activity in the adjacent outdoor amenity area. He highlighted also the public’s positive response to the opening, earlier this year, of the new yacht chandlery in Garvel Road.
Taking questions, he conceded that, if the board identifies a market for a boat lift and enhanced hardstanding for wintering boats ashore, and if funding and a sound economic case are forthcoming, it would be desirable for the Harbour Authority to provide such facilities.

(Images © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

Posted in Leisure & Recreation, Marine, PS Waverley, Public Meetings, Tarbert, Yachting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ARGYLL FM: NORMAL SERVICE RESUMES FOR NORTH KINTYRE & MID-ARGYLL

South Knapdale Transmitter at Meall Mhor

South Knapdale Transmitter at Meall Mhor

As of this evening (Friday 11 November), local radio fans in North Kintyre, Mid-Argyll, West Cowal, Bute and Arran, are able again to enjoy following their favourite programmes on Campbeltown-based Argyll FM’s 107.7 MHz service, thanks to the efforts of the station’s enthusiastic staff.
In recent weeks, a technical fault at the station’s South Knapdale transmitter site left Tarbert Loch Fyne, Lochgilphead, Ardrishaig, and a number of other communities in the northern part of the broadcaster’s catchment area, without reception.
Argyll FM, which is managed and operated on an entirely voluntary basis by its dedicated staff, is well-known throughout the South Argyll region for its broad range of programming and its local information offerings, all tailored to the particular requirements of its largely rural listener base.
Station spokesman John Armour, who with John Galbraith co-hosts the weekly Farming Programme, said today: “I’m pleased to say that we were up at the transmitter at Meall Mhor this afternoon and the new amp is now in place. Hopefully we are now up and running in Mid-Argyll once again. Sorry for the break in transmission over the last couple of weeks”.
In addition to its 107.7 MHz service in Mid-Argyll, Argyll FM broadcasts on 106.5 MHz and 107.1 MHz.
The station is always on the lookout for new presenters. John Armour says: “We are always happy to welcome new presenters. All they really need to do is come in and do a wee bit of training, and as long as they can handle the equipment they can be on-air fairly quickly. They can record shows if they are unable to do them live”.
Anyone interested in taking up this fantastic opportunity to contribute to local life in South Argyll should contact the station via studio@argyllfm.co.uk or call personally at the studio at 27/29 Longrow, Campbeltown PA28 6ER.

(South Knapdale Transmitter image: © Copyright David Neale and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

Posted in Argyll FM, Local Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment