At Random with Martin Laing week 13

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Potholes pose a danger

I have written here on a number of occasions recently about the state of the roads across Argyll.

As you all know only too well, they are shockingly bad.

Now, as we report this week, there are fears they could pose a deadly risk to the many cyclists who will compete in the Oban Sportive on Sunday April 22.

No kidding.

The countless number of potholes are a real danger to all road users in the area and have been for weeks, if not months.

Argyll and Bute Council recently allocated an additional £5.5 million to its roads budget and BEAR Scotland announced a further £4 million for trunk roads. That is a welcome start but the work needs to be done urgently.

I travelled at the weekend between Oban and the central belt and the roads are scary in places. Indeed, there are stretches on the A85 where you are forced to slow to a crawl to avoid damaging your vehicle or bursting tyres.

The five miles or so of road from Tyndrum to Crianlarich are among the worst anywhere and there is a patch just north of Tyndrum that is almost impassable.

But those are just a couple of examples. The menace of the potholes is almost beyond description.

If the harsh reality of the threat to the Oban Sportive finally prompts some urgent action, it will not be before time.

Well done to the spring cleaners

Scores of people turned out at the weekend to take part in the Oban spring clean.

These people were of all ages and backgrounds but were united by a common purpose: to improve the town for everyone.

It is heartening there are so many community-minded folk in Oban who clearly care for their environment. What a contrast to the morons who dump their rubbish.

It was surprising what was picked up. As well as plastic bottles and food cartons, waste items included supermarket trolleys, a lawn mower, a pregnancy test, a cycling helmet and fire extinguishers.

It highlighted how widespread the problem has become but I fear there is no long-term solution other than heavy-handed enforcement and severe penalties.

Well done to the organisers for setting up the initiative.

What do you think?

Write to me at mlaing@obantimes.co.uk or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB.