At Ran­dom

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

An unimag­in­able tragedy for Barra

IT IS hard to know where to be­gin, such has been the scale of the tragedy vis­ited upon the peo­ple of Barra in gen­eral and two of the is­land’s fam­i­lies in par­tic­u­lar.

The shock that fol­lowed the atroc­ity which claimed the life of Eilidh MacLeod, 14, and se­ri­ously in­jured her friend Laura MacIn­tyre, 15, has been felt right across the world, but most achingly on the is­land.

There is still a sense of dis­be­lief that the bomb­ing in Manch­ester could have hap­pened in the first place. Yet there is an added feel­ing of utter in­credulity that a safe com­mu­nity such as Barra should be in­volved at all.

Trag­i­cally, such com­mu­ni­ties are, as was made all too ev­i­dent last week.

How­ever, such is the strength of Barra and Vater­say that it has been hugely mov­ing to ob­serve how peo­ple have come to­gether to con­sole, sup­port and help those in­volved and each other.

This has been an unimag­in­able chain of events, re­sult­ing in a des­per­ately sad out­come for the MacLeods and MacIn­tyres in par­tic­u­lar, and their wider fam­i­lies and cir­cle of friends in this close-knit so­ci­ety.

The vast ma­jor­ity of us are so lucky that we have never had to even con­tem­plate the ag­o­nies our neigh­bours are suf­fer­ing right now. Our com­mu­ni­ties have ral­lied to help in many ways. It is cru­cial that we con­tinue to of­fer what lit­tle suc­cour we can.

Turn to page 10, An­gus MacPhail.

An ap­peal well worth sup­port­ing

ANY­ONE who has been to the Argyll and Suther­land High­landers Reg­i­men­tal Mu­seum within the con­fines of Stir­ling Cas­tle will know what a great as­set it is.

A visit to the cas­tle is a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence any­way but the mu­seum at its heart is a fine trib­ute to a great reg­i­ment with an il­lus­tri­ous his­tory.

As we re­port today on the fac­ing page, the Thin Red Line Ap­peal has been launched – with the very wel­come sup­port of Prince Wil­liam, the Earl of Strat­hearn – to im­prove and ex­tend the mu­seum and ar­chive it con­tains.

The ap­peal wants to hear from old sol­diers, their fam­i­lies and de­scen­dants, with a par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on set­ting up a ‘liv­ing ar­chive’ of recorded rec­ol­lec­tions and mem­o­ra­bilia.

There must be very many for­mer Ar­gylls in our area who served and have vivid mem­o­ries of their time in the reg­i­ment, in­clud­ing those who were in North­ern Ire­land dur­ing the trou­bles. They must also have pho­to­graphs and other arte­facts that would be of great in­ter­est to the mu­seum.

I would urge any­one in such a po­si­tion to con­tact the ap­peal and help to bol­ster the project.

The reg­i­ment may no longer ex­ist as a sep­a­rate en­tity but its long his­tory go­ing back more than two cen­turies – in­clud­ing ser­vice, fa­mously, dur­ing the Crimean con­flict and its Bat­tle of Balaklava, the Boer war, both world wars, the Korean war and the Iraq war – will en­dure.

A good sea­son for Oban Saints

I RE­CALL the great Jack Charl­ton (for those too young to know who I’m talk­ing about: Google the name) be­ing in­ter­viewed at the end of, I think, the 1972-73 sea­son.

The in­ter­viewer put it to him that it had been a pretty dis­ap­point­ing sea­son for the club.

To en­lighten those who may not know, Leeds had fin­ished third in the league, run­ners-up in the FA Cup and were beaten fi­nal­ists in the Euro­pean Cup Win­ners’ Cup.

‘Aye,’ replied the bluntlyspo­ken cen­tre-half, ‘it’s been so dis­ap­point­ing that about 90 other clubs would have hap­pily swapped places with us.’

This sea­son just com­ing to an end has been a bit like that for Oban Saints. The Glen­cruit­ten boys have had a de­cent league per­for­mance, reached the semi-fi­nal of the Scot­tish Ama­teur Cup and on Fri­day were de­feated on penal­ties in the fi­nal of the Jimmy Mar­shall Cup af­ter Easthall Star fired an equaliser in the 93rd minute.

Saints’ ever-af­fa­ble club sec­re­tary, Davie Buchanan, was dis­ap­pointed af­ter los­ing the cup fi­nal.

‘ We were gutted,’ said Davie. ‘ But it was great to make the fi­nal and we had a good run in the Scot­tish Cup, only be­ing beaten by Colville Park, the even­tual win­ners. And we’ve played some good stuff in the league.’

What­ever way you cut it, this has been a sea­son many other clubs would have en­vied.

What do you think?

Do you have some­thing you want to share? Let me know by writ­ing to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to mlaing@ oban­times.co.uk.

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