Proud of SAMS
I HAVE had the privilege of visiting the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) at Dunstaffnage on a couple of occasions.
I’ve been able to meet some of the teams there to hear about the excellent research and work that is being carried out.
SAMS is a world- class institution doing cutting- edge studies and earning itself an enviable reputation for its state- of-the-art work.
So it came as little surprise – though with a healthy measure of pride – when I read that Professor David Pond from SAMS is helping to lead a £10 million research programme that will investigate how the Arctic Ocean is changing.
Professor Pond is one of more than 20 researchers from 16 UK institutes now heading for the Arctic.
As we report this week, there are 76 scientists within the programme itself, with the lead investigators based at SAMS. Doesn’t it make you want to puff out your chest just a little that such influential work is centred on our doorstep in Dunstaffnage?
Great news for Oban
MORE good news came these past few days with the announcement that the Caledonian sleeper service has introduced a new bus connection service from Crianlarich to the town.
The new service will, they say, help to make journeys from London to the West Coast more efficient.
We have been reporting frequently in recent times that the economy in Oban and Argyll is booming, with a surge in the tourism sector that is bringing increasing prosperity to the area.
What makes this story even more appealing is the fact that the new service involves West Coast Motors in the 14-week trial, which hopefully will allow visitors to take a direct route to Oban without having to wait at Crianlarich for connecting rail services. With new hotels in the pipeline and the refurbished Perle Hotel (formerly the Caledonian) re- opened, the future looks brighter than ever.
Deep into history
I WAS intrigued to learn last week about the archaeological excavation taking place at Rubha Port an t- Seilich on the east coast of Islay.
The dig, according to Steven Mithen, chairman of Islay Heritage and a professor of archaeology at Reading University, is helping ‘to add a whole new chapter to history of Scotland: it begins within the ice age and falls with the Palaeolithic (old stone age) time period’.
Professor Mithen says elsewhere in this week’s paper that ‘14,500 years ago, these were the first signs that, while the Scottish Highlands had still been covered by ice and Britain joined by land to the continent, ice age huntergatherers had come to explore the furthest north-west margin of the ice age world’.
He adds that ‘the Palaeolithic stone tools at Rubha Port an t- Selich remain undisturbed where they had once been lost or discarded.
‘As such, there is the opportunity to expose and excavate an ice age campsite in Scotland for the first time, although quite how much will have survived remains unknown. An excavation and research programme by the charity Islay Heritage (www. islayheritage.org) working with the University of Reading began in April 2017’.
I look forward with interest to hearing about more developments from the excavations.
What do you think?
WRITE to me at The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB, or by email to mlaing@obantimes.