Martin Laing: At Random

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Good sports deserve support
I was very pleased last week to be asked to go along to a meeting of the recently-constituted Oban Community Sport Hub.

There was a gratifyingly large attendance at Oban Bowling Club for the hub. Chaired by Nicola Hackett, Argyll and Bute Council’s Active Schools manager, the hub saw representatives of a broad sweep of local sports clubs, including hockey, shinty, karate, orienteering and the Atlantis Leisure Centre, among others, including councillors.

The local hub is part of a nationwide movement which aims to help promote the members’ sports, improve publicity, source funding and increase participation.

Those present were keen to inquire as to how they can ensure their clubs can have reports published in The Oban Times. The simple answer I gave them was to make sure information, previews and match reports are sent to us at the earliest opportunity, preferably with photos as well.

We are sports mad here at The Oban Times, and it may surprise people how many different sports are covered in the paper and our online platforms. In the past few weeks alone, we have covered shinty (men’s, women’s and children’s), rugby (men’s, women’s and children’s), football, sailing, martial arts, athletics, rallying, table tennis, 10-pin bowling, swimming, badminton and shooting.

The gathered hub members, who also enjoyed a presentation from Derek Connery of Bid4Oban, were hugely positive and bursting with ideas for ways to develop their sports.

One thing they can all be sure of: The Oban Times will support them in every way we can.

Beach hut decision is correct
I have been a vociferous critic of Argyll and Bute Council’s planning committee and some of its decisions.

However, in the case of the Tiree beach hut, I have to say I agree that ordering its removal is correct.

Yes, it’s only a wee hut but when an environment is as pristine as Tiree’s beaches – and people come from all over because of that – it requires to be protected.

Erecting the hut without permission was, at best, naive. Had it been allowed to remain, it would have set an unfortunate precedent.

It is a shame for the surfers who used it but that is not the planning committee’s fault. And, by the way, the waves will still be there after the hut is gone.

Dogged determination paws off
Wasn’t it great news late last week to hear that Rowan, the wee dog that got lost for more than a week down rabbit holes at Ganavan Sands, is back home safe and well?

It is testament to the bond between mutts and their owners that kept Sandra Muir hunting for the wee dug and never giving up hope. But it’s also to the very credit of all her friends – and people she didn’t know – who helped in the search.

Get in touch with your thoughts
Do you have something you want to share? Let me know by writing to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to