Earlier this month, Argyll and Bute Council and Argyll and The Isles Tourism played host to the RYAS Malin Waters Sail West fleet which had sailed from Derry in Northern Ireland in to Campbeltown.
Deputy Leader of The Council and Spokesman for Tourism, John Semple, welcomed the group of around fifty at a dinner in Campbeltown’s magnificently refurbished Royal Hotel – on the waterfront and, appropriately, a traditional focus for yachting folk.
Councillor Semple was accompanied by town centre manager and Kintyre and Gigha marketing group member, Mary Dott and Mike Story of Argyll and the Isles Tourism.
The sailing delegation was part of a series of thematic cruises led by RYAS appointed contractors to introduce Argyll and The Isles as the premium sailing destination in Scotland and demonstrate the natural links between us and the north west and north east coasts of Ireland.
Argyll and Bute Council are delivering this important programme in conjunction with VisitScotland, British Waterways and Donegal County Council as lead partners in delivering the Sail West Marine Tourism initiative.
At the conclusion of the dinner, Mike Story thanked everyone for visiting Campbeltown and spoke of how important tourism of all kinds is to the area,
He then went on to note that, with Argyll and the Isles possessing over 50% of Scotland’s entire coastline, the choice of sailing destinations throughout the area are fantastic, as is the lengthy list of things to do, see and eat – from castles to corncrakes, whisky to whirlpools and seafood to sunsets.
Malin Waters Sail West is an important initiative born of a good idea – but folk need to know about it and, in any serious sense, they don’t.
If the enterprise are to succeed, it needs to escape into the wider world from the public sector corporate ethos that gave birth to it.
In a way, the sailing fraternity and effective tourism marketing groups need now to take ‘ownership’ of it to themselves.
For proof of what we’re talking about, go to the Clyde Cruising Club website and enter ‘Malin Waters’ in its search box at the top right of the screen.
You will get ten results that do not mention or essentially relate to Malin Waters. Try ‘Sail West’ as well.
Yet , in the sailing world – and particularly for Scotland and Ireland – Clyde Cruising Club is the general reference point for expertise, experience and engagement in all major matters relating to sailing and cruising.
Malin Waters could usefully add to its list of marinas and like facilities here, the visitor moorings and landing stage provided at the town itself by Oban Bay Community Berthing at Cardingmill Bay by Oban Sailing Club. All it currently lists is Oban Marina – which is across the bay at the Isle of Kerrera.
One would have expected Argyll and Bute Council – which helps to fund the Malin Waters initiative and which is well aware of Oban’s Cardingmill Bay facility, to have picked up this omission and made sure it was represented.
Update Note (19.30): Since we published this article just over nine hours ago, there is now an entry in the marinas and facilities listing for West Scotland, entitled simply ‘Oban Bay’ – which, when you click on it, is actually Oban Bay Community Berthing. This title now at least slides this facility into eventual visibility. However, with other listings – such as Ardfern Yacht Centre – rightly given their proper commercial name (not ‘Ardfern’ or ‘Loch Craignish’), we expect the next amendment to bring the Oban Bay Community Berthing entry up to due speed.