Letters to the editor week 47

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Car park and pumping station would benefit Oban

Many years ago, if my memory is correct, a letter published in The Oban Times suggested a yacht marina for Oban Bay, which, by all accounts, is now a success.

It could be even more so if extended with certain safety features and lanes created in the bay for the increase in boat traffic.

But the future town parking and flooding can both be partially alleviated by the building of a new two- or three-storey car park and connected water pumping station at the car park now virtually empty at Lochavullin. It should be built with a basement lower catchment tank area, which would fill at times of flooding and prolonged rainfall, thence being pumped automatically out by this allied pump house, perhaps situated beside Lochavullin bus stop on council land.

Flood water could then being pumped down a 400mm pipe the length of the Black Lynn and one kilometre out to sea , a system used at Penrhyn Bay in Wales.

This could be funded by government grant money for flood defences and partially from the income from the marina and the ready cash the council receives from car parking fees, which would pay for the construction of all this in less than a decade.

Our council and councillors have to make some tough, forward-thinking choices about whether they wish to build, invest and create employment and secure adequate parking space for Oban’s hopefully booming future tourist industry. Or will they just sit back and wait for the great floods due in 2025 and 2040.

Stephen Jones, Burnside Place, Millpark, Oban.

Strange incident on the shores of Loch Awe

Like Thomas Middleton from Dalavich (Letters, November 1), I, too, am intrigued by these stories about the strange happenings around Loch Awe.

I grew up around Loch Awe at my grandparents’ cottage, where we spent most school holidays and on occasion attended Mrs Clark’s school house in Ford village.

I was always fishing as a young boy in the burn that feeds Loch Awe at the Ford end. The fishing was very good there during the 1970s: I used to catch big bags of perch, eels, jack pike, rainbow and brown trout and was used to being on my own around Loch Awe from a very early age.

We were always told the stories as children including the one about the old chapel of Killieneuer at the foot of the loch.

Like Mr Middleton, I only mention now an event that occurred to me and my erstwhile partner, Jessica Seal, while driving up the Dalavich side of the Loch in 1996 because of these more recent stories.

I am not someone who makes stories up and knew the loch from a very early age. I was a ghillie at Slatach Estate, Glenfinnan, at the time and we were out for a drive on a day off work. It was night, showery and there was a bit of mist but the driving conditions were fine and there was no other traffic on the road.

About half way up the loch, a massive bull stepped on to the middle of the road and blocked our way. As it was such a big creature, I thought it was best to stop the car and wait patiently for the beast to move. The bull wasn’t threatening in any way but was not in any hurry to move either. After about five minutes, the bull reversed back into the field on the left side of the road as we were driving up from Ford.

Being an unusual event in itself we were both quite relieved when the bull went back into the field and were laughing and talking about this as we slowly moved the car forward again.

At that stage, what I can only describe as a ghoul or phantom appeared in what I would describe as a mist cloud. There was not a great deal of mist around at the time but the detail that was in this apparition of what appeared to be an old mischievous man in spirit form was terrifying and sent the shivers up both our spines and both of us screamed or exclaimed and were shaken after the incident. It is something I have never forgotten or experienced since.

Danny Aitken, Fort William.

Sunday service is welcome but new trains are needed

It took years to come but at long last the people of Lochaber are getting a second Sunday service to and from Mallaig to Glasgow Queen Street, courtesy of ScotRail, bringing us into line with Oban, which has enjoyed Sunday services for years.

Let us hope the next phase for Lochaber is new or refurbished coaches to replace the almost 40-year-old, run-into-the-ground ice boxes the travelling public and the onboard staff have suffered.

They call it one of the world’s most scenic journeys on the West Highland Line. So, ScotRail, let your passengers travel on trains worthy of the name.

Joe Wilson, Spean Bridge.

Who is responsible for recycling of glass bottles?

Rather than expressing shock at seeing empty glass bottles in a car park in Oban, would it not be better to address the root of the problem? We are all consumers.

I have yet to meet anyone expressing the same shock or taking photographs when the same bottle are standing in their serried ranks on shops shelves. Why is this so?

Across the whole of our nation, manufacturers refuse to take responsibility for the millions of bottles they produce every week and both wholesale distributors and retailers generally do not care what happens to the bottles once they leave their premises.

So, whose responsibility should it be to ensure the efficient return of glass to be used again? The civic act of depositing a bottle or jar in a glass bank can only be the start of the process or reusing a material which would otherwise languish in a landfill site.

I place the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of decision-makers in high places to ensure efficient recycling and reuse rather than limiting it to those who actually go our of their way to do the decent thing with the planet’s finite resources.

Julian Senior, Arinagour, Isle of Coll.