At random with Martin Laing 13.06.19

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Can’t see the wood …

What a can of worms I appear to have opened with my column last week.

I wrote that I had been approached by an acquaintance, Roddy-Joe, about the problem of the view from McCaig’s Tower being obscured by trees.

I was subsequently contacted by Gillies Pagan to say he has twice written to Argyll and Bute Council – in 2016 and 2018 – flagging up precisely this issue at McCaig’s Tower and at Pulpit Hill but that nothing had been done.

Gillies said: ‘I was very glad to see you highlight the overgrown trees and bushes at McCaig’s Tower. I wrote to Pippa Milne [Argyll and Bute Council’s executive director of development  and infrastructure] in May 2016. She promised to pass on my comments to Jim Smith, head of roads and amenity, who “will look into this and respond to you in due course”. There was no response as promised.

‘I wrote again in September 2018. However, almost predictably, I have yet to receive a reply.’

In his 2016 letter, Gillies said: ‘These viewpoints are a huge asset to the town with very little overheads or running costs to the council, and as such any spend on this is extremely good value for money.

‘Trees are substantially obscuring the viewpoints and it is only a matter of time before the views are obliterated altogether. With every growing season, the cost of taking action increases substantially and as such it is in the best interest of the public purse for action to be taken sooner rather than later.’

Gillies’s letter to me throws this issue into even sharper relief on a number of levels, not the least of which is poor form indeed that no one bothered to respond to his complaint, which has much merit.

He is also quite right to say what an asset these viewpoints are.

How hard can it be for the council to organise a crew of workers to trim back the trees so that visitors and residents can enjoy the spectacular vistas that both sites provide? Come on, Pippa and Jim, do something about this.

What do you think?

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