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Plans for Kingshouse are all about money
Sir,
I lived at Kingshouse for 16 years, working at White Corries Ski Centre.
Before the introduction of outside lights on the hotel, Kingshouse was on par with some of the darkest places in the UK for night skies, the aurora borealis being particularly spectacular.
The Kingshouse Hotel has long been associated with climbing and walking. The bar and bunkhouse were particularly busy at the weekends as it was where people from all over met and where dogs were welcome. The coming of the West Highland Way saw a huge change, with hundreds of walkers passing by and many using it to stay.
Living there allowed me to see wildlife up close and I still have a photograph of a red deer at my front window. Walking to work in the mornings I passed grouse, hares, capercaillies and red deer.
We all know that progress brings change and we all move on, but there are some things and places that should be kept precious, Kingshouse and Rannoch Moor among them.
I note that the expansion at White Corries Ski Centre is encroaching on the remoteness of an area that not so long ago was described as one of the last wilderness spaces left in northern Europe.
George Goldsmith’s vision for Kingshouse is purely a money-making one, advertised as closed but with bunkhouse open, at £20 per night, the hotel at present has only a bar open, called the Way Inn with no dogs allowed.
The existing extension was built by Robin Fleming and Philip Rankin, one the landowner and the other the ski centre owner. It was built to house the influx of skiers expected and, in the first year of opening, included a resident alpine ski instructor. There was also a curling rink.
The extension bears the brunt of the westerly weather and in the mid-eighties suffered severe damage during a gale that destroyed buildings at the ski centre.
Perhaps the time has come to modernise the building and bring it into the 21st century but at least it should be done in keeping with the character and the past of the original building.
The decision will ultimately lie with the planners but they must listen to the wider community and the people who have known and used and appreciated the uniqueness of the area  for a long time.
The Kingshouse and its surrounding area are precious in a time when ‘modern’ is synonymous with destruction, and I feel that the modernising of Kingshouse is all about making money.
Cyril Bonnett,
Maccoll Terrace, Ballachulish.

Wonderful treatment from Oban hospital
Sir,
While on holiday in Oban last week I was admitted to Lorn and Islands hospital for three days and wish to comment on the wonderful treatment I received there.
We read so many negative comments in the papers regarding the National Health Service, but from the porters, kitchen staff, nursing staff and consultants I have enormous thanks regarding my treatment.
I must also comment on the cleanliness of this hospital and again my sincere thanks to all.
David Phillips,
Brynawel White Hart, Cardiff.

Decision is political correctness gone mad
Sir,
I would like to join the numerous councillors that have quite rightfully criticised a decision to ask our heroic Royal Marines to leave their unloaded weapons outside a school when they were delivering a classroom presentation.
Shockingly, our marines who were invited to talk to pupils at primary schools in Oban and Dunbeg were given a last-minute instruction not to bring the tools of their trade inside.
I have received a deluge of emails and phone calls from people across Argyll and Bute who share my outrage at this slap in the face for our armed forces.
It seems that all it takes to ruin an armed forces school visit is a complaint from one councillor and the woolly-minded bureaucracy of some in the council.
This is clearly political correctness gone mad.
I hope that all future attempts to undo what has become a tradition in Dunbeg, in memory of one of their brave sons who died in the Falklands, will be ignored.
It is high time we all stopped listening so much to a vocal minority who do not speak for the majority in Scotland.
As a country we are hugely proud of our military tradition and, despite the hysterical objections from an easily triggered minority, that pride our country has will not be erased.
Councillor Alastair Redman,
Islay.

Islands transport needs to be addressed
Sir,
Once again there are murmurs of an extra ferry for Stornoway. Why?
Do we not earnestly require two ferries to replace the 30-year-old problematic boats presently serving Lochboisdale and Castlebay? Of course we do. It is what islanders wish first and foremost.
Roads engineers and others associated with transport promotion would do well to get the two-lane track finished from the Butt to Barra, which began more than 35 years ago. To do the roads would also show us islanders that they were taking care of people’s priorities.
All well-read folk will understand the continuation of the madness of last summer needs addressed.
If you continue with the blinkers on not serving us islanders as noted, the island’s image in the world, along with the environment being ruined, are going to be your reward.
Aonghas Eoghainn Mhoir,
Gearraidh na Monaidh,
Uibhist a Deas.
Council should not be asked to intervene
Sir,
I am astonished that a Dalmally charity should expect Argyll and Bute Council to carry out expensive improvements to a remote coastal track and build a cycle path on Mull in order for them to have a stress-free walk to Iona, during the present financial crisis (‘Mull walking route is blasted as an accident waiting to happen’, Oban Times, September 28).
It must be a lovely walk but no-one is asking them to do it. I wonder how the pilgrims of old, clad in cassocks and sandals with only sticks to defend themselves from the pagans and wild beasts, managed?
When will people realise that the world is not covered in cotton wool and that there are places they should not go?
Iain Thornber,
Knock House, Morvern.

Where is CalMac’s sense of humanity?
Sir,
I recently had a cataract operation in Glasgow. All was going well until the fourth day when I developed a relatively urgent situation whereby the eye pressure was building up and I needed to get back to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley within a few hours.
CalMac would not fit my car on to the next ferry as there was no room. I explained that it was a medical emergency and I needed to go right then.
I understand that if it was life-threatening, I could have got an air ambulance to Glasgow. However, it was not life-threatening, but I could have lost an eye.
Luckily, we managed to get off the island on the Lochaline ferry and made it to Glasgow in time.
Is CalMac so motivated by all this money it is earning lately that it has lost sight of the humanitarian needs of its passengers ?
Hazel Morris,
Arle Lodge, Aros, Isle of Mull.

Praise for young man who helped couple
Sir,
I wonder if it’s possible to thank a young man who came to our aid on Friday September 15, when our tyre burst near Ardnamurchan point.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the young man’s name. However, he lives on Mull and was delivering animal feed, we think to the shop at the point and was accompanied by his grandmother.
He would not accept any payment and said that he was just passing and was pleased to help. This young man is a credit to Mull and his country and has restored our faith in human nature.
I perhaps should mention that another, older, ‘gentleman’ motorist had said, while I was attempting to jack up the car, that I should move the car out of his way, even though the tyre was completely flat and it could have damaged the wheel.
Brian and Cath Jameson,
Llandysul, Wales.

 

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