There have recently been a series of incidents of vandalism and littering at the historic Dunollie Castle in Oban, including a fire being lit inside the castle and floodlights smashed.
Now a spectacularly colourful unique flag has been stolen from the castle, only days after it was hoisted in time for the Oban Games.
Ironically, the MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust that looks after the Castle had decided only hours before the discovery of the theft to install a CCTV camera.
The long pennant (above) was a gift from the Clan MacDougall Society of North America, presented to Madam MacDougall of MacDougall, the 31st Chief, at a special ceremony during Dunollie’s innovative programme of events during the Year of Homecoming in 2009.
It is only raised on special occasions.
This time it had been hoisted for a special visit by a party of six American MacDougalls who helicoptered into Dunollie last Saturday.
After their visit, it was decided to leave the flag in place for the week of the Oban Games, with the Games itself taking place next Thursday – 25th August 2011.
The taking of the flag, however, appears to be a different sort of operation from the casual and probably impulsive anti-social actions decribed above.
This incident seems to have followed a different pattern.
The flag was removed carefully, with the ends of the lanyard left tied into a neat reef knot. It wold also have needed a long ladder to reach to the cleats on which it was secured.
All of this speaks to a planned operation as opposed to a spontaneous loss of civic responsibility.
The police have been informed, and messages have spread far and wide along with a photograph of the flag – shown in closer focus below – in the hope that someone will see in someone else’s possession.
This is a glorious one-off, crafted object, made and given in a generous spirit of clanship to Dunollie Castle.
What one can only assume is personal greed in planning and carrying out the taking – and presumably the hoarding – of such an artefact is an abuse of the feeling imbued in the gift.
If anyone believes they have seen the flag, please contact 01631 570550 or Oban Police.
And if anyone has it, please arrange for it to be found and handed in to the police in Oban. The single important thing is to see it back, undamaged, where it belongs.