Letters to the editor 10.10.19

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Action is needed to protect The Royal Way

May I through your newspaper draw people’s attention to a matter of considerable importance and urgency.

I refer to  a threat to the ancient right of way that follows the route of least gradient from Tarbert Harbour to Tarbert Castle. The old people called this route The Royal Way. It runs through Kings Way, where Bruce’s Brig crossed Black’s Burn, past Tarbert Academy, through Baluachrach to approach the western walls of Tarbert Castle.

Why it was given its name is obvious and, though not documented, it is likely that Kenneth MacAlpine himself travelled it.

This is an invaluable cultural asset both locally and nationally but its continued existence is now under threat from a planning application which, if granted, will close a short section of The Royal Way to the public.

The planning application was advertised September 20 under the case reference 19/01854/PP (retrospective) but appears, from the representation made on it to date, to have attracted little local attention.

Local authorities have a duty under section 13 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to ‘assert, protect and keep open and free from obstruction’ rights of way but inexplicably our council has never included The Royal Way in its Register of Core Paths thus leaving it vulnerable to threats of closure.

However, if enough of people, including the many who have walked The Royal Way and particularly the stretch between the Tarbert Academy area and Tarbert Castle, are prepared to demand its protection and, if able, to give testimony that they did walk it ‘openly and peaceably’ (even if only once in their lives) The Royal Way’s future can be secured.

People should also bear in mind that the threatened section of The Royal Way is shown on Ordnance Survey maps, title deeds plans, planning application plans and Land Registry plans. It is shown clearly on the ground as a very short length of the easiest route of access to Tarbert Castle and its grounds for those with mobility problems and the safest route for Tarbert Academy children pursuing educational projects.

The Royal Way matters and I cannot think that future generations will think much of us if we just sit back and let something of such value slip through our hands.

I would urge everyone who has an interest in Tarbert’s history (and Scotland’s) and who is concerned about the protection of our cultural heritage to look at the planning application and the representation already made on it and to consider if they too should have their say.

Arthur McFarlane, Mount Pleasant, Tarbert.

SNP has let us down on superfast broadband

During my period as MP for Argyll and Bute, I campaigned to bring superfast broadband to the area and was successful in obtaining government money to support this.

Recent years have been very frustrating watching the SNP government fail to follow up on this good work. In its 2016 manifesto, the SNP promised to ‘deliver superfast broadband to 100 per cent of premises in Scotland by 2021’.

Three years on, hardly any progress has been made. In Holyrood recently, the SNP minister responsible for delivering this promise admitted it would be ‘challenging’ to deliver it. The reality is that the SNP still has not awarded the contracts and its promise cannot now be kept.

As a result, many rural homes and businesses in Argyll and Bute have been left behind in the race to improve access to online services and technology, with some households barely able to get internet speeds of one megabit-per-second.

If I am re-elected to parliament, I will pick up where I left off and campaign relentlessly to bring superfast broadband to all premises in Argyll and Bute.

Alan Reid, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Argyll and Bute.

Loss of ‘special man of God’ is very keenly felt

A special man of God has left us in the name of Rev Angus Smith, whom I well remember in his effort to stop the breaking of the Sabbath while he was minister at Snizort in Skye during the 1960s.

We can but only wonder how different and peaceful the islands would have been over the past 50 odd years had that happened.

However, as time in God’s hands is quite different to ours, and it is said a day is like a thousand years, or a thousand years is just a blink, so to that end albeit a spiritual one, it is a good thing to ponder and admire for us all as feeble, vain  materialistic souls.

This also transcends into the fact and the gospel prophecy of nothing was seen to have taken place back then but is it a thought to think the Lord is biding his time and only giving folks more than enough rope before it eventually gets back to being  peaceful, and non-materialistic once more. Then we will know who won and who lost as our one day moment becomes a thousand years in a blink.

May the good servant now rest in peace, a peace he strived for all his life, and on the pier at Kyleakin in 1965.

Aonghas Eoghainn Mhoir.

More work is needed to secure economic future

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to serve Argyll and Bute in my new position as policy lead for economic growth at the most recent council meeting.

There is little doubt that Argyll and Bute’s growing and dynamic economy is a success story but that success can bring many challenges and I will do all I can in my new role to address these challenges.

We must become even more of a draw for business investment and growth across our vast constituency that stretches from the urban commuter-belt towns to our island communities.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and Islands ward.