At Random with Martin Laing – Thursday March 25

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Genuine conundrum

I have sympathy for those who fear ‘all hell will break loose’ once Covid lockdown restrictions are eased and visitors return in their expected droves.

I also have possibly even greater sympathy for those businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors who have been so desperately hard hit by the pandemic rules and regulations.

And I most definitely have sympathy for those trying to plan for a ‘reopening’ of society and how to keep us all as safe as possible given the resumption of mass movement of people around the country. Argyll and Bute Council officials tasked with this duty will, I fear, get it in the neck from all sides as they will not be able to please anyone sufficiently.

Oban and Argyll and the Isles will, unsurprisingly, be a magnet for tourists and visitors who are yearning for a break and who cannot or will not travel abroad.

The truth is we increasingly need our economy to start on the long road to recovery. Jobs and livelihoods depend on a return to something approaching a previous reality but the need to keep our communities safe is also a great imperative.

Let us all please give the council officers and others some slack as they try their best to negotiate such a difficult road.

Spring into action

Oban’s Big Spring Clean, organised by the excellent folk of Keep Oban Beautiful, has been on the go for three years now but, you will not be shocked to learn, cannot go ahead in the same way this year for obvious reasons.

My colleagues at The Oban Times have been among the many locals who have supported the initiative since it started, with the paper’s staff filling bags with rubbish collected from the area around our offices.

Now Keep Oban Beautiful is urging residents to do their bit once more, albeit without the structured organisation of recent years.

It is a message I would echo. Go out there and pick up rubbish. To borrow litter-picks and get bags, contact Keep Oban Beautiful on its Facebook page.

What do you think? Send your comments to