Fitness enthusiasts in Tarbert Loch Fyne will soon have a new outdoor training area, thanks to an award of almost £10,000 made to Tarbert & Skipness Community Trust by the People’s Postcode Trust.

Tarbert (Loch Fyne) Harbour Authority will provide additional funding, and the Harbour Authority and Community Trust both hope that construction of the new facility, on the site of the former Dickie’s Boatyard, will be complete in time for the summer.

Various items of outdoor gym equipment will be installed, and these are likely to include an exercise bike, a rowing machine, and a skiing machine.  To supplement these, the Harbour Office now has available for hire a number of sets of boules (French bowls), allowing the game of petanque to be played on the firm-surfaced open space available.  

Former Dickie's Boatyard site, Tarbert Loch Fyne
Former Dickie’s Boatyard site, Tarbert Loch Fyne (© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

The new training area, adjacent to Barmore Road and Garvel Road, represents the second stage of development of the boatyard site, which was earlier cleared and prepared in late 2009 and early 2010, using monies largely from the Scottish Government‘s Town Centre Regeneration Fund (TCRF) and with the support of Argyll & Bute Council.

The TCRF award enabled the Harbour Authority to purchase the boatyard, demolish the existing structures, and construct a footpath linking the North Pontoons to the village centre and, onwards, towards Tarbert Castle.

In the course of doing so, the Harbour Trustees committed a certain amount of land for amenity use.  The first stage saw the provision of picnic tables and shadesails, which have proved popular with both visitors and residents, together with space in which to display to best effect the massive winch recovered from the old boatyard and restored with great care by Community Trust director Robert McPhail.

With the People’s Postcode Trust award, co-operation between local organisations has once again proved crucial to the success of a funding application.

Partners on this occasion were the Community Trust, the Harbour Authority, and Jog Scotland (Tarbert).  In addition, a number of local arts, fitness, and youth groups were consulted, and there can be no doubt that their views added weight to the final application.

Alan Macdonald,  Chairman of the Harbour Authority’s Board of Trustees said: “The Board is delighted to have worked with the Community Trust and Tarbert Jog Scotland to provide another worthwhile facility for the village.  We look forward to improving the area further and would welcome suggestions from other community groups as to what facilities would be of benefit.”

Harbour Master Peter Bates explained that the surface is an ideal one on which to play petanque, and he highlighted the existence of national co-ordinating bodies in the UK as evidence of growing interest in the sport.

Speaking on behalf of the Community Trust, Robert McPhail said: “The co-operation between the various community groups, to develop the project, is another achievement for the Tarbert Community Plan  –  the objectives of which provided the necessary support for the success of the funding application.”

Frances Hardie, “Active Schools” Sports Co-ordinator, led the consultation process for the project.  She commented: “I’m very pleased with this new keep-fit facility in the village.”

Posted in Funding Awards, Leisure & Recreation, Tarbert | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Pipes & Drums, Schools Closures Protest, Kilmory Castle, Lochgilphead (19.4.11)
Kilmory Castle, 19 Apr 2011 (© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

On Tuesday (19 April), Argyll & Bute Council met, at its Kilmory Castle headquarters in Lochgilphead, to debate issues related to the proposed closure of a number of local primary schools.

At 11½ hours, the length of the meeting was indicative of the strength of feeling amongst  –  and tenacity of  –  those councillors who are opposed to the closure plans.

As Council staff arrived for work, parents, pupils, and others opposed to the closures assembled in the grounds.  Armed with placards and flyers, vuvuzelas, pipes and drums, and megaphone, they made their feelings known loudly but peaceably.  Their in-house face-painter kept the younger children occupied and entertained, and an anti-closure video prepared by Clachan Youth Club was screened.

 Before moving on to the main debate of the day, the Council accepted the terms of a lengthy and detailed report responding to allegations made by the Scottish Rural Schools Network; SRSN had alleged that, at a seminar held on 17 February, council officers had deliberately misled elected members.

Kilmory Castle, 19 Apr 2011 (© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)
Kilmory Castle, 19 Apr 2011 (© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

Ultimately, the Council rejected SRSN’s accusations in full, agreeing that there had been no deliberate attempt by officers to mislead councillors and that the allegations made by SRSN were unfounded.

As the day wore on, a majority of councillors voted to consult formally on eleven proposals to amalgamate primary schools.  The following six proposals are those which are directly relevant to Mid-Argyll & Kintyre schools, and these proposals are now subject to a period of statutory consultation:

St Kieran’s Primary School to Castlehill Primary School
Ardchonnel Primary School to Dalmally / Kilmartin Primary Schools
Skipness Primary School to Tarbert Academy
Clachan Primary School to Tarbert Academy
Rhunahaorine Primary School to Glenbarr Primary School
Minard Primary School to Furnace Primary School

The Council agreed not to take forward to formal consultation the proposals to merge Ashfield Primary School with either Tayvallich Primary School or Lochgilphead Joint Campus, and rejected a proposal to amalgamate Minard Primary School with Lochgilphead Joint Campus, preferring the alternative option of amalgamating Minard Primary School with its Furnace equivalent.

Following recent pre-consultation meetings with communities, there is an opportunity now for parents, children, and other interested parties to make their feelings known as part of the formal consultation process before further decisions are made by the council in October.

Kilmory Castle, 19 Apr 2011 (© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

Kilmory Castle, 19 Apr 2011 (© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

In the interests of present and future generations of rural Argyll children, it is incumbent upon all those who value the quality of education provided by the area’s smaller and more isolated primary schools to speak up now, and to ensure that, at the very least, their arguments are heard publicly and recorded formally.

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Tarbert Yacht Chandlery © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

A brand new chandlery opened this week at Tarbert Loch Fyne.

The arrival of Tarbert Yacht Chandlery, owned by established Mid-Argyll company Ardfern Yacht Centre (AYC), marks an important step in the development of the village’s much-loved harbour, and comes at a time of year when many sailors are preparing their boats for the season and considering the replacement of existing items or enhancement of their yacht’s inventory.

The new business is housed in a pristine newly-acquired Portakabin-style building, overlooking Jake’s Quay and adjacent to the Harbour Office in Garvel Road.  Car parking is available at the door, and the chandlery is less than a minute’s walk from the pontoons.

Tarbert Yacht Chandlery © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

Initial stock includes marine hardware, rigging, electronics, repair materials, and leisure wear, and any product not on the stocklist at Garvel Road but available at Ardfern can be shipped down promptly to the Tarbert facility.

AYC’s general manager Mark Cameron believes that the service offered by the new business will benefit yacht owners, visitors, and local residents alike, and he sees the mission as being to provide “a wide range of boating products in addition to some well-known clothing brands”.

He added: “We are looking forward to working with Tarbert Harbour Authority during this exciting period of harbour regeneration, improving the facilities offered to yachtsmen visiting the harbour.  The strength of having two chandlery outlets on the West Coast of Scotland will mean that we can tap into both stock holdings in order to meet customers’ requirements, especially when it comes to sourcing vital technical spare parts for yachts”.

Tarbert Yacht Chandlery © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

Cameron believes that the new business  –  able to draw on the wealth of technical experience acquired over the years by AYC’s workshop facilities at Ardfern  –  will be well placed to offer key advice on marine products and their installation.

Chandlery manager and buyer Guy Neville said: “Our aim is to stock a broad range of chandlery and clothing items at Tarbert, which will include everything from antifouling, paints, and varnishes, to rope, rigging hardware, dinghies and outboards, along with a range of eco-friendly cleaning products”

Ardfern Yacht Centre is the sole Scottish agent for Rocna Anchors, and is an installing dealer for Raymarine and Garmin electronics, Mariner outboards, and Profurl reefing systems.  As a result, Neville expects to be in a position to offer competitive deals for supply and installation of these products.

Tarbert Yacht Chandlery © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

The new chandlery’s arrival means that AYC ‘s existing brokerage service will now be available in relation to Tarbert-based vessels also.  Collaborating with AYC and the new Tarbert venture are international yacht brokers Boatshed West Scotland (BWS).  BWS proprietor Ian Sawkins is looking forward to introducing Loch Fyne-based boat owners to the advantages of displaying their yacht for sale via a widely-read website  –  325,000 registered subscribers at the last count  –  and to giving owners the benefit of the expertise which Boatshed has accumulated through its 60 offices worldwide.

Back in the chandlery itself, the clothing section  –  Sea Horse  –  offers a selection of technical sailing apparel from well-respected popular brands.  There’s also a range of lifestyle clothing for use on dry land, and most of the major brands in footwear for ashore and afloat are represented, with accessories  –  including base & mid layers, hats, socks and gloves  –  also stocked.

Tarbert Yacht Chandlery © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

Alan Macdonald, Chairman of the harbour’s Board of Trustees, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ardfern Yacht Centre to Tarbert.  The chandlery will enhance further the new facilities that are being provided here in Tarbert, and we wish them every success in this new venture”

Tarbert Yacht Chandlery will be open 0900-1700 hrs, 7 days a week.  Running the premises on a day-to-day basis will be AYC’s Fraser McIver.

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Crinan Canal
The Crinan Canal (Photo © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

A wry look  –  by Richard Barrie

On Sunday (17 April), 118 runners competed in the Scottish Sea Farms Crinan Puffer 8.5 mile race organised by Mid Argyll Triathlon & Cycle Club (MATCC). 

The 10am start at Pier Square in Ardrishaig deterred neither the racers nor the large crowd of supporters, and Strathclyde Police closed briefly the A83 to allow the runners to start on the trunk road. 

On the whistle, the pack was off, with the front-runners already battling to establish race position.  Before long, everyone was on the banks of the Crinan Canal.  Next stop: Crinan itself.

The slightly overcast, cool, and almost windless conditions were ideal for this type of event.

MATCC members were out in force to marshal the various road junctions and bridges along the route.  Having a busman’s holiday were Mid Argyll Community Pool manager Mark Kelly, who handed out water at Baddens, and Health Visitor Dorothy Clark, who showed her caring side by doing the same at Barnakill.

There were running battles left, right, and centre, but these particular conflicts required no police intervention.

Out in front were Lyon, Barbour (Strathblane) and Docwra (Shandon)  –  the only barefoot runner  –  all setting a blistering pace.  Just behind, were Law and Whiston (both Ardrishaig), and Morran (Campbeltown), who, for his 23 years, was an equal match for the two gnarly veterans.

Talented David McAlister (17) got out of bed early to represent Mid Argyll youth, sticking with those who should be wearing slippers as opposed to running shoes!

At the front of the field, the ladies were represented strongly by Thompson (Glasgow) and McCallum (Clydebank), both of whom were an equal match for most of the men.

Claire Thompson
Claire Thompson (Photo © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

Neil Souden couldn’t be persuaded to run; instead he led a team of six Red Cross volunteers.  No major injuries during the event  –  just a few blisters, a strained ankle, and some emergency transport to the finish for one runner who couldn’t undo a stitch and therefore withdrew!

At Cairnbaan, the residents cheered on the racers.  Followers and supporters, in a fleet of cars, stopped to encourage family and friends from the opposite bank of the canal.

Mid Argyll Pipe Band members, led by Struan Thorpe, played at various locations and stirred the blood of the athletes.

Lyon left Bute like a lamb and finished like a lion, crossing the finish line in first place.  With an average pace of 6mins 02secs per mile, no one could match him on the day  –  but a mere 39 seconds separated 1st and 3rdplaces.

Shaun Lyon
Shaun Lyon (Photo © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

Meanwhile, Whiston was having pacing problems; his half-mile splits were all over the place, but he was making quick-paced slow progress in reeling in Law.

Morran took his opportunity, and overtook Whiston not far from the finish, but the wily dog was not going to roll over  –  as he bounded past the pup.

Morran’s attack was quashed and he had no response.  Law could not be caught.

As official timekeeper, Mid Argyll Athletic Club’s Bill MacCallum had some inspiring times to record.  He witnessed the elation and relief at the finish line, and he saw many happy faces.

Each runner received the now-traditional goodie bag.

The event’s lead organiser, Richard Barrie, thanked Scottish Sea Farms, Storvik Ltd, The Co-operative Membership, Mid Argyll Council on Alcohol and Drugs, Argyll & Bute Council Road Safety Unit, and Thomas Tunnock Ltd., for their involvement with the event.

He acknowledged also the work of the marshals and of the British Red Cross, the assistance of Charlie Greenlees and Colin Hunter with photography duties, and the invaluable support rendered by Anderson’s Coaches, Strathclyde Police, and Mid Argyll Pipe Band.

The runners and supporters were very responsive  –  a really good crowd  –  and treated the event organisers to some positive feedback.

L to R - Elena Adair, Andy Law
First locals home – Elena Adair and Andy Law (Photo © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011)

MATCC member and breast cancer fundraiser Fee Corner presented the prizes at the end of her inspirational run.  Donations on the day raised £280 for her cause  –  the Mid Argyll Hospital Chemotherapy Unit.

Junior Male
1st David McAlister (Mid Argyll)  –  56:59
2nd William Salton (Mid Argyll)  –  74:05
Female Senior
1st Claire Thompson (Glasgow)  –  57:21
2nd Marina MacCallum (Clydebank)  –  58:19
3rd Elena Adair (Mid Argyll)  –  63:18
Male Senior
1st Shaun Lyon (Isle Of Bute)  –  51:12
2nd Ian Docwra (Shandon)  –  51:32
3rd Tommy Morran (Campbeltown)  –  54:02
Female Veteran
1st Fiona Greer (Old Kilpatrick)  –  62:44
2nd Katie Ferguson (Campbeltown)  –  65:04
3rd Fiona Irwin (Campbeltown)  –  67:16
Male Veteran
1st Hendrie Barbour (Strathblane)  –  51:51
2nd Andrew Law (Mid Argyll)  –  52:39
3rd Stephen Whiston (Mid Argyll)  –  53:49
Local Female
1st Elena Adair (Mid Argyll)  –  63:18
Local Male
1st Andrew Law (Mid Argyll)  –  52:39

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Tarbert Yacht Chandlery

© Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011

This afternoon (Monday 18 Apr), the new Tarbert Yacht Chandlery opened for business. Situated adjacent to the yacht pontoons and the Harbour Office, the new business is owned by established Mid-Argyll company Ardfern Yacht Centre.

More news soon of this exciting new development for Mid-Argyll and North Kintyre.

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On Sunday (17 April), Mid Argyll Triathlon & Cycle Club (MATCC) holds its annual Crinan Puffer 8.5 mile (13.5 km) point-to-point running race, named after what is probably Scotland’s best-loved class of small ship.

The canal-side route takes competitors through some of the finest scenery on the West Coast of Scotland, from Pier Square in Ardrishaig, to the finish line at photogenic Crinan.

Crinan Canal
Crinan Canal
Image © Copyright Gordon Brown and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The course, following the banks of the Crinan Canal throughout, has a total ascent of just 75 feet (23 metres).  As a result, runners are expected to set a good time for the distance.

Stirling-based aquaculture company Scottish Sea Farms is sponsoring the event this year and until 2013.

MATCC spokesman Richard Barrie says: “The Club is delighted to be associated with such an enthusiastic and committed sponsor, and we thank Scottish Sea Farms for its support.  The boost which the company’s sponsorship brings to the event will ensure years of competitive running in Mid Argyll”.

Barrie is convinced that the flat (but scenic) route, and the fact that the event is located within sight of Dunadd  –  the historical capital of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada  –  are unique selling points when it comes to attracting entrants.

A runner himself, he’s aware that his fellow competitors thrive on the scenery as they near the finish line, and he believes that the attractions of the immediate area  –  the working Highland canal,  the Mid Argyll Pipe Band pipers playing at points along the route on the day, and the waterscape of the Add Estuary  –  combine to offer a unique family day-out.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, the weather forecast for Sunday is favourable, predicting sunshine and 13° C.

Last year, 90 competitors took part in the inaugural staging of the race, and this year the organisers set a limit of 150.  At the time of writing, only 6 places remain unfilled, and Barrie believes that this confirms “the continued popularity of middle distance running, bridging the gap between a 10k run and a half marathon”.

This year’s Crinan Puffer will be particularly significant for Inveraray B&B owner Fee Corner (46).  She is currently receiving chemotherapy, having recently been diagnosed as having breast cancer.  A keen and established runner with a self-evident positive outlook, she decided to compete in Sunday’s race in order to raise funds for the Mid-Argyll Hospital Chemotherapy Unit and Breast Cancer Care.

It’s noteworthy that her inspirational approach to her situation doesn’t stop there.  With the chemotherapy due to continue until the end of May, she has opted to fundraise further by competing in two other challenging Argyll races whilst still receiving her current treatment.

On Sunday 8 May, she’ll take part in the annual Inveraray Jail Break  –  a 4-mile hill race involving 236 metres of ascent.  And on Sunday 29 May she’ll run in the Mull Of Kintyre 10k at Campbeltown.

Anyone wishing to make a cash donation towards the Mid Argyll Hospital Chemotherapy Unit can do so in person to Fee at any of her races.  Alternatively, such donations can be sent to her at Claonairigh House, Bridge of Douglas, by Inveraray, Argyll PA32 8XT.  Her contact number is 01499 302160, and her website and blog are at

Those wishing to donate to Fee’s fundraising for Breast Cancer Care may do so online at

The 2011 Crinan Puffer will start at 1000 hrs at Pier Square, Ardrishaig, and finish at Crinan Basin.  Prize-giving will take place at Crinan at 1200 hrs.

The organisers suggest that the best en route viewing points are at Cairnbaan Bridge, Dunardry Locks, and Bellanoch Bridge, but point out that the liveliest action is likely to take place approaching the finish line, where there are bound to be some last-minute shoulder-to-shoulder sprints.

Sunday’s race is promoted by Mid Argyll Athletic Club, supported by British Waterways and MATCC, and sanctioned by the sport’s governing body scottishathletics.

The event will benefit Mid Argyll Community Pool and Mid Argyll Athletic Club.

The Crinan Puffer’s sponsors, in addition to Scottish Sea Farms, are Storvik Ltd, The Co-operative Membership, Mid Argyll Council on Alcohol and Drugs, Argyll & Bute Council Road Safety Unit and Thomas Tunnock Ltd, and MATCC acknowledges the assistance it has received from Strathclyde Police, the British Red Cross, and British Waterways, in relation to planning the event.

In the wake of Sunday’s race, MATCC will look ahead to its MacQueen Bros Mid Argyll Triathlon 2011, which will take place on Sunday 25 September.  In this, the 10th anniversary year of the Mid Argyll Tri, 150 competitors, from first-timers to elite Scottish triathletes, will vie for honours.  The entry list opens in May.

(Editor: Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News wishes Fee Corner all the very best with her efforts  –  both fundraising and athletic  –  on Sunday, and on 8 and 29 May.  Her resolve and positivity are truly “inspirational”, and guaranteed to lift the spirits of fellow-sufferers)

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On Monday (11 Apr 2011), Argyll & Bute Council reported that its monitoring work has identified increased levels of naturally occurring algal toxins in the Stonefield area of Loch Fyne.  Stonefield lies just north of the entrance to East Loch Tarbert.

Barmore Island, Stonefield, Loch Fyne, Argyll, Scotland

Stonefield, Loch Fyne (Barmore Island)

Photo © Copyright Patrick Mackie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Council warns that eating shellfish, such as cockles, mussels, or razor fish, from this area may pose a risk to human health.  As a result, and in order to warn the public, the Council has posted notices on the shore.

The Council, which has contacted commercial shellfish harvesters in the affected area, reports that steps have been taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

The Council advises that it continues to monitor the situation across Argyll & Bute, and that the warning notices at Stonefield will be removed when the levels subside sufficiently.

Further information is available from Argyll & Bute Council’s Environmental Health team at 01631 567920.

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by George John Stewart

Many an Argyll concert-lover should be writhing in despair at having missed such an amazing performance from Scotland’s premier concert pianist, Steven Osborne, in his first ever recital at Crear, near Kilberry.

Steven Osborne

Steven Osborne

Image copyright © Eric Richmond

Over the years I have not been a frequent concert-goer  –  just enough to discern what distinguishes the good player from the not so good.  But, on Sunday 3 April 2011, in a bright sun-dazzled Studio at Crear, I knew that I was in the presence of greatness.  And I am not one normally given to rapturous praise.

Words like “master at creating the sense of atmoshere”, “superlative performance”, “immaculate in technique”, “Osborne at his extroverted best”, cling to every review of this astonishing performer.  To have him play at Crear was a very special occasion indeed.

This was Steven’s 1000th concert.  People travelled from Glasgow, Paisley, Edinburgh and further afield to hear this young virtuoso.  It’s too early to say how much has been raised for the ‘Piano in Peril’ Appeal, but the fund is off to a good start with £5000 raised at the concert.

And what was extra special is that Steven was so bowled-over, by the space and the setting at Crear, that he’s very keen to return in the near future.

Crear geograph-2025023-by-Patrick-Mackie

Crear - home of arts charity Space to Create

 Photo © Copyright Patrick Mackie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Schubert had a worthy champion in Steven Osborne at this concert.  I’m glad I was there.

From this coming weekend, Steven is in Stuttgart, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore, performing Messaien and Mozart.  I hope they can hear that they are in the presence of one of the greatest concert pianists Scotland has produced.

See for more concerts throughout 2011 organised by Crear-based arts charity Space to Create  –  and look in at for more on this masterful performer.

(STOP PRESS  –  Steven Osborne returns to Crear on Wednesday 6 July 2011 at 1930 hrs, when he will play all Beethoven bagatelles)

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The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) issued today (Wed 6 Apr 2011) an updated Flood Alert for Argyll & Bute.  It covers the period 1133 hrs today to 1133 hrs tomorrow (Thu 7 Apr 2011), and reads as follows:-

“Heavy rainfall is continuing in the area, and will continue until this evening. High total accumulations are forecast.

“The main area at risk is in the north of the area, around Oban, although all areas will be wet

“There is a risk of flooding from rapid surface water runoff, small watercourses and blocked culverts.

“Remain vigilant and remember, it is your responsibility to take actions which help protect yourself and your property.  Advice and information is available through Floodline on 0845 9881188.  This FLOOD ALERT UPDATE is now in force until further notice.  If you haven’t already signed up to receive free flood messages, please call Floodline or register online at

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At 1556 hours today, Argyll & Bute Council published a Flood Alert.

Heavy rainfall is forecast from 1800 hrs today (Tue 5 April)  until 1800 hrs tomorrow (Wed 6 April).

Widespread rainfall totals of over 100 mm are expected in the north of the Argyll & Bute area during this period, with possible “point” maximums of 150 mm.  Elsewhere in Argyll and Bute, rainfall will be heavy but not extreme.

Rivers in the north of Argyll may be at risk of flooding.  The peak flood risk will be overnight tonight (Tue) and into tomorrow (Wed) morning.

There is a risk of flooding from rapid surface water runoff, small watercourses and blocked culverts.

There is high confidence in the rainfall forecast, but most of the rain is expected to fall further north  –  into Lochaber.

At time of publication, the southern limit of the extreme rainfall is expected to be around Oban, however all areas will experience high totals.

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