For Argyll end of year nominations 2012: a baker’s dozen


Farewell of the year, public service – Clyde Coastguard:


We’re starting with this one because it affects Argyll and the rest of a massive sea area of Scotland’s west coast, from the Mull of Galloway, out to Tiree and over to Ardnamurchan Point. Clyde was formally closed on 18th December, after a progressive shut down of its facilities and loss of staff . This was part of a cost cutting exercise and modernisation of the entire UK coastguard service by the UK government.


The top photograph is of the last major campaign event, the Flare Friday Flotilla on 31st August, with a crowded esplanade at Greenock as the light went down. The middle photograph is of a line of Sea Cadets watching the flotilla from the shore below the station. The photograph above gives a sense of the people who had come to support the flare flotilla stretching away down the esplanade on a damp and breezy night – and there were others on the grass bank back from the front of the esplanade, between it and the road used by vehicular traffic.

Farewell of the Year, individual – Catherine Gillies:


Catherine Gillies departed this year from her curatorship of Dunollie – the MacDougall castle and the 1745 house on the northern entrance to Oban Bay. After a markedly successful impact at Dunollie, where her strategic capability took what was no more than an idea to a triumphant and inventive reality, she has gone to Edinburgh to recharge her own intellectual batteries in studying to submit a PhD thesis on historic costume at Edinburgh University. She is seen above, about to lead a guided walk around Dunollie in 2011′s first Oban Winter Festival programme.

Best Planning Decision – Helensburgh keeping faith with Colquhoun Square:


The Helensburgh community decided to dump the planned devastation of Colquhoun Square – image above – and Argyll and Bute Council agreed. The sustained effort of Councillor James Robb in this campaign must be recognised, running from his early awareness of just how damaging an excursion this grossly inappropriate plan would have been.

Most determined campaign – Dunoon-Gourock Ferries Action Group:


They won’t get what some of them want – the return of a town centre-to-town-centre vehicle and passenger ferry to this route [because it cannot be economically viable]. They might get a more substantial passenger ferry with pontoon berthing at both destinations. But their determination, dedication and resourcefulness commands respect – one might say ‘shock and awe’.

Young Hero of the Year – Myles Clark:

Myles Clark withj Ilympic flame in Tarbet

Myles Clark is the young man from Ardfern who carried the Olympic Torch through Tarbet on its progress through Argyll, coming from Luss in the south and going on to Crianlarich. Myles is a gifted young athlete who has to combat ADD, Epilepsy and learning difficulties. He has struggled throughout school with his academic studies and the general social interaction with peers. He has been successful in studies at his level and has also gained his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, Silver Award and is working towards his Gold Award.

Best Performance Event – Wild Biscuit’s  MOVE:

MOVE Wild Biscuit Celtic Connections 2012

This unique and spectacular performance event, fusing traditional music – with a twist – pipes, song and street dance from Random Aspekts made its mark on the international music festival that is Glasgow’s Celtic Connections and went on to perform at the Scottish Tourism Expo, at the Trad Music Awards – and had a film of the performance screened at Go North.

Career achievement for Argyll – Willie Young:


Willie Young is Sports Development Manager for Argyll and Bute Council. He is retiring after a career dedicated to innovative service in sports development, with many achievements to his name, including the annual Coaching Champions event – a mouthwatering multidisciplinary event which attracted over 450 participants in 2012 – a number Willie Young and his team are aiming to better this year, with the courses taking place in the first week of February 2013. He also organised – flawlessly and with his superb team – the crowded event to mark the passage of the Olympic Flame through Argyll at Tarbet. He is seen above, right, at this event, in conversation with Councillor George Freeman.

Most Enabling investment – Southworth Developments:


Southworth Developments’ reopening of the two grand hotels they bought and refurbished in Kintyre, the Ugadale Hotel at Machrihanish and the Royal Hotel on the waterfront in Campbeltown is a multiple investment with the capacity to add substantially to the regeneration of this important and stunning part of Argyll. The standard of the work has been impeccable and the addition to Campbeltown of a first class coffee shop and restaurant [pictured[ and a cosy upmarket bar on the waterfront adds hugely to the pleasure of a visit.

Caroline McKaySporting achievement of the Year, Individual – Caroline McKay:

Caroline McKay, an extreme runner of serious ability, successfully ran around the Isle of Mull – 133 miles in three days – from 6th to 8th April. The challenge of a marathon pales by comparison. Caroline took on this run both for environmental charities and as a tribute to her much loved mother, Alice Lambert, a marine scientist who lived in Mull and who died prematurely from ovarian cancer in 2005.

Sporting Achievement of the Year, Team – Lochgilphead Red Star:


Lochgilphead Red Star won the Coronation Cup on 12th May. With a crowd from the town of about 200 supporters, ‘The Star’ went on to win the Cup 3-2. This photograph was taken by mustard-keen supporter, Councillor Dougie Philand and shows Captain Connor Crawford and Vice Chairman Duncan MacLean holding the prestigious Coronation Cup as the celebrations begin at the Stag Hotel in Lochgilphead.

Business Initiative of the Year -  BID4Oban:


Oban set the pace for Argyll and for Scotland in being the first town in Argyll to see a wholesale business development initiative, BID4Oban, through to completion and operation; and to be the first in Scotland to include all businesses within its 30 mph zone. The BID was energetically supported by Argyll and Bute Council. which contributed to its funding, largely born of levies on all local businesses within the speed limit area. THe photograph above, © Kevin McGlynn,  shows the Memorandum of Association being signed by Steering Group members on Tuesday 9th October 2012 – Left to right sitting: Andrea Simpson (Ark Hairdressing), Rosanne Ogden (MacPhee & Partners), Graham MacQueen (Chair – MacQueen Bros) and Lindsay MacDonald (Corran House). Left to right standing: Sandy MacArthur (Alt na Craig Guest House) and John Forteith (Forteith Foodservice).

Inspiration of the year – No Tiree Array:


This campaign, still fighting the plan to site an enormous and tall offshore wind farm almost on the toes of the Isle of Tiree and whose winter logo is above, have, with the successful Kintyre Offshore Wind Array Group, has showed that intelligence, attention to detail, research, hard work and endless resourcefulness can never be discounted. It’s not home and dry yet but it has seen Scottish Power Renewables, the developer, throw in a series of towels. The campaign, whose strategy effectively renamed the formally titled Argyll Array as the ‘Tiree Array’, is going nowhere until it wins.

Lazarus of the Year – Yeoman Bontrup:

Lazarus ship yeoman bontrup back to glensanda 7 april 2012

The self-discharging aggregates bulk carrier who was all  but destroyed when she suffered a disastrous fire at her berth at the Glensanda Quarry on 2nd July 2010 – returned to Loch Linnhe almost two years later, on 7th April 2012in new livery after an all but complete rebuild. Aided and abetted by Struan Smith of Coastal Connections, we slid into Oban Bay at dawn that morning to catch her as she turned out of the Sound of Mull. This was a memorable homecoming.

Note: For Argyll’s 2012 Christmas nominations are here.

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3 Responses to For Argyll end of year nominations 2012: a baker’s dozen

  1. Your coverage of the Clyde Coastguard missed out one important fact; the ‘Flare Friday Flotilla’ was a poorly-attended damp squib of a demo. There are some 3,000 yachts on the Clyde – however, barely 2 dozen turned out for this demo.

    The ‘crowds’ on the shore in the other photo reveals how strong the sailing/boating fraternity felt about this issue.

    I seem to remember also that the shore ‘crowd’ was actually Coastguard members rather than sea cadets…

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    • The event was considerably better attended than you suggest – it was a decent crowd but not jam packed. We have now added another factual photograph above to evidence this. Many people knew it was a lost cause by then – with no serious engagement in the issue by the Scottish Government and with Forth already closed.
      A sad and depressing aspect of what was more muted support for Clyde than we had expected – and less than they needed – was revealed to us when we asked certain major players in the maritime world why they weren’t in the flotilla. The answer was ‘Too political for us, I’m afraid’. Completely gutless. We were given versions of this same explanation from several we questioned.
      Make of that what you will.
      However, yachts came from all over the Clyde and kayakers paddled over from the Rosneath peninsula. Those efforts spoke to a care to help by straightforward people.
      We had initially thought – and said – that it was coastguards on the shore below the station and were then informed by the coastguard themselves that these were the cadets – so this information too is accurate.

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  2. I wish I knew about it, I would have been there.

    It was a sad day when Oban CG Station closed down, I lost contact with a lot of people many of them became friends; it was reassuring to know just who was watching my back whilst out at sea, plus when i said that I was at ‘rudha’ or rubha, Tarbet, or Tarbet, they knew where I was!

    Clyde CG did an excellent job filling in from Oban, but something was lost in that transition; but now…the personal touch has gone, the local knowledge might just be on anther watch…be careful out there. Just one last point; wait until the technology fails!

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