At random with Martin Laing 06.02.20

Kerrie Galbraith back behind the wheel at Oban Fire Station.

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Reasons to be cheerful

I am never anything other than amazed at how resilient people are, particularly perhaps here in the Highlands.

The weather has been unremittingly awful for what seems like weeks now, yet still people are going about their business in Oban and elsewhere with a smile on their faces.

From Storm Brendan a few weeks ago to the recent heavy snowfalls and those apparently ceaseless downpours we have endured, there are countless reasons why you might have expected a general degree of despondency.

And don’t forget that Blue Monday – supposedly the most depressing day of the year – fell just a couple of weeks ago, on January 20.

Yet the pages of The Oban Times have been replete with upbeat stories about people thoroughly enjoying themselves. From Burns celebrations, to sporting triumphs, to children’s outdoors adventures, to the World Mince and Tatties Championships, to post-Christmas pantos, to charity fundraising events … our communities simply refuse to wearied by the weather.

Indeed, one of my favourite stories last week was that of Oban firefighter Kerrie Galbraith taking on a prime-time Top Gear challenge against the other emergency services in a driving challenge to be screened in March.

Brilliant attitude.

Poor show from SEPA

To me, athe plans for development at Tobermory seemed eminently sensible.

Argyll Properties’ proposal for a retail unit, visitor centre and three self-catering units on land next to Taigh Solais and fire-gutted MacGochans pub will be a real bonus for Tobermory, I thought.

However, despite many expressions of support, SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) objected because of what it deems a flood risk. This came out at a meeting on the issue last week in Tobermory, an event to which no one from SEPA bothered to turn up. If you have an interest in something like this, you must at least explain yourself.

Now a decision will eventually be made on the application by Scottish ministers. That is simply not good enough.

What do you think?

Write to me at mlaing@obantimes.co.uk or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4HB, or call 01631 568021.