At Random with Martin Laing – week 26

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Welcome memories are made

What a weekend. I personally had much to enjoy, catching up with some old friends, meeting new people and discovering how good the sea shanty festival turned out.

But there was also a concern in the early hours of Sunday morning caused by extremely loud and raucous behaviour by numerous young people in the town centre. As well as the appalling racket, I saw several people urinating in the street and behaving badly.

I spoke to a very nice police officer at around 2.30am, as I was unable to sleep because of the noise. The police officer was friendly and polite, and said she thought the streets had been cleared of the crowds successfully and quickly.

Not sure I agree, though I accept there was a very visible police presence.

Earlier on Saturday, I was chuffed to see a number of shanty festival venues jam-packed with folk enjoying the music, and I was treated to some fine performances.
It was, generally, brilliant to see Oban so busy, with hospitality sector businesses coining it in after the tough times of recent years.

Among the people I met for the first time was the splendidly named Leith Soutar, visiting from New Zealand with his girlfriend Lynsay, daughter of well-known Oban couple Jim and Sally McLeish. Surprisingly for a Kiwi, Leith had little interest in rugby but turned out to be a very sound fellow nonetheless.

Late-night shenanigans aside, it was a memorable weekend for all the right reasons.

Tragic loss

I was genuinely shocked to hear last week of the death of my former colleague Colin Cameron, for many years the main man behind The Argyllshire Advertiser, our sister paper affectionately known to most as The Squeak.

Colin was a splendid chief reporter who was utterly professional, unflappable, affable and knowledgeable. He was far too young to be lost to us only in his fifties.
Thoughts are, of course, with his family but it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the extremely high regard I held for him.

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