At random with Martin Laing – week 25

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Hair-raising issue

We published hundreds of photos on our website and social media last week from Oban Live, the vast majority of them showing smiling, happy people posing with The Oban Times selfie frame.

They included pictures of some of the police officers who did a superb job making sure the two-day event went off without a hitch.

One of the photos showed two bearded officers and, bizarrely, drew some considerable opprobrium directed at the men in question for having facial hair.

I was totally bemused by the strident criticism, which included phrases such as ‘scruffy and unprofessional’ and ‘cheap T-shirt uniform’ and accused them of ‘looking like binmen’.

First, the uniform is hardly their fault: all police officers in the country wear the same. And why the slight against binmen?

What also struck me is that some of these critics were themselves former police officers.

But, seriously, what on earth does it matter if a police officer has a beard? These dedicated public servants deserve our thanks for the challenging job they perform, not criticism for their facial hair.

I suppose the critics were also upset that some of the officers at Oban Live were also sporting face paint as they joined in with the carefree spirit of the event.

Excellent tours

My colleague David McPhee wrote an excellent piece last week after joining one of the new walking tours in Oban.

Organised by BID4Oban, the walking tours are a great idea and deserve to be a success.

Anything that adds to the visitor experience is to be welcomed. We want tourists to go away well pleased with time they have spent among us and telling their families and friends what a great part of the world this is.

But David admitted that, though born and bred in Oban, the tour was an eye-opener for him in terms of information gleaned during the tour.

I would encourage all local residents to find the time to take a tour. I certainly intend to make the effort.

What do you think?

Write to me at or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4HB, or call 01631 568021.