At Ran­dom

The Oban Times - - News - MARTIN LAING mlaing@oban­times.co.uk

Road cam­paign sup­port

IT IS hugely grat­i­fy­ing to see the level of sup­port we have gar­nered for our cam­paign to im­prove safety on the A85 be­tween Oban and Con­nel.

In the first two days alone, well over 100 peo­ple signed our on­line pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing ac­tion from the statu­tory author­i­ties to act to halt the car­nage on this stretch of road.

And some of the com­ments from our sup­port­ers make har­row­ing read­ing, re­count­ing, as they do, stark stories of fam­i­lies who have suf­fered as a re­sult of ac­ci­dents on this no­to­ri­ous stretch.

What is also in­ter­est­ing is that those who have signed the pe­ti­tion are not all from this area. We have been backed by peo­ple from Cork in Ire­land, He­lens­burgh, Glas­gow, Wishaw, Larkhall, Ed­in­burgh and Blainslie in the Bor­ders, to name but a few.

One of the most notable com­ments from a sup­porter was that from Isla Kerr, of Powmill (in Clack­man­nan­shire, I think), who said: ‘That is THE most dan­ger­ous road I have ever driven.

‘My mother, fa­ther and brother have all been in ac­ci­dents (on sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions) on that road. Some­thing needs done.’

We have three eas­ily af­ford­able and em­i­nently achiev­able de­mands: re­duce the speed limit on the road, paint dou­ble white lines to pre­vent over­tak­ing and cre­ate a lay-by at Pen­ny­fuir ceme­tery.

To sign on­line, go to https:// www.change. org/ p/ humza-yousaf- stay- alive- on- the- a85oban-to-con­nel- and- be­yond/ w?source_ lo­ca­tion=pe­ti­tion_ show.

Proud of school pipe band

WE HAD a fan­tas­tic re­sponse on so­cial me­dia last week to our stories, pho­to­graphs and shared videos of Oban High School Pipe Band in New York.

For any­one who missed it, the boys and girls were in the Big Ap­ple to take part in the now world fa­mous Tar­tan Day pa­rade along Sixth Av­enue.

The band was in its usual fine form and caused quite a stir. But one of their mem­bers be­came an on­line sen­sa­tion even be­fore they ar­rived in the United States.

Gre­gor MacDon­ald, 13, was cheered and clapped on the flight to New York af­ter he gave an im­promptu per­for­mance on the air­craft.

Gre­gor and his hugely tal­ented school band col­leagues did us all proud.

They are a credit to their town, school and fam­i­lies, but mostly to them­selves.

If you missed Gre­gor’s per­for­mance, you can see it at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scot­land­glas­gow-west-39570050

In­quiry looks to be flawed

THE FORTH­COM­ING fa­tal ac­ci­dent in­quiry into the sink­ing of the fish­ing ves­sel Speed­well in 2013 ap­pears to be se­ri­ously flawed.

The fam­ily of Scott MacAlis­ter, who died when the boat went down, have raised se­ri­ous con­cerns the hear­ing will be ‘sham’. It is hard to dis­agree.

Scott’s fa­ther, Peter, has com­plained, quite jus­ti­fi­ably, that with­out ev­i­dence from the boat it­self, there is lit­tle point in hold­ing the FAI.

I have no knowl­edge of marine en­gi­neer­ing but it seems ob­vi­ous the con­di­tion of the boat is es­sen­tial to es­tab­lish why the Speed­well foundered.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial MAIB re­port, there were a num­ber of faults with the boat that had been iden­ti­fied be­fore the tragedy, in­clud­ing the pump in the hold not work­ing, life­jack­ets had no record of ser­vice, the lif­er­aft had no record of ser­vice, and it was sus­pected the alarm in the en­gine-room was not work­ing.

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