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Waverley summer sailings cancelled

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The Dunoon Observer can exclusively reveal this afternoon (Friday) that 2019 spring and summer sailings for the world-famous Waverley paddle steamer have been cancelled.

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SCHOOL lollipop patrollers in Argyll and Bute have been spared the axe – but other services will be slashed after the local authority set its spending plans for 2019-20 today (Thursday).

Among the cuts approved by members of Argyll and Bute Council at its Kilmory headquarters were a reduction in the youth and adult learning services budget to less than half its current level – despite protests across by secondary school pupils across the area which made national headlines yesterday.


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Maid of the Loch suffers a setback

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Loch Lomond paddle steamer Maid of the Loch is once again berthed at Balloch Pier after an attempt to move her up the slipway failed today.


After a rocky year in 2018, the Maid had finally secured enough funding for her to be shifted from her Loch Lomond berth to the slipway nearby.


The move had been meticulously planned, as despite only being moved a short distance, the Maid was not doing it under her own steam but by a series of winches to shuffle her into position above a cradle, and then by the original slipway winch on the shore.


Local and national press and television were in attendance, alongside hundreds of members of the public, to watch the momentous occasion.


While still tethered to the pier in case anything should go wrong, the Maid cast off her stern ropes at around 11.50 this morning, followed by her bow lines, and began the traverse to her starboard side to line up with the slipway.


The sideways part of the journey took a little under an hour to complete.


The next step was to line her up above a submerged slipway cradle, a job which required inch-perfect precision. That stage completed, the on-shore winch took up the slack and began the slow lifting of the 555-tonne vessel up the slip.


So far, so good.


However, around 2.30pm, with the Maid's bow just 30 feet from her goal, a problem occurred which sent her running back down the slipway and into the Loch.


So far the indications are that the cradle suffered a failure which lead to the boat returning to the water, but a spokesperson for the Loch Lomond Steamship Company said that an investigation will be carried out to find out the actual cause of the accident.


Nobody was hurt in the accident, and the Maid did not suffer any damage either.


*in tomorrow's Standard, we report that the move of the Maid was a success. At the time of going to press, the operation was going as planned. We apologise for this mistake.





A Christmas message from Rt Rev Susan Brown

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altFor many, there is no happier time than Christmas. For others, there is no harder time. When it comes around, Christmas tends to be something that either floats your boat – or rocks it. It is something you love. Or it’s something you endure.
In Scotland, there was a period in our history when, in response to our Presbyterian heritage, we were not very fond of Christmas and in spite of our reputation for always being up for a party, Christmas day, up until the mid 1950s, was just a day like any other.
On December 25th people in Scotland got up as usual: they went to work as usual and life on that day continued as it would on any other. Children may have found a stocking with an orange and a penny in it at the end of their bed and if they were really lucky a book too - but that was it. Not for Scots the excesses of meals, presents and ‘happy holidays!’.
There are those around who would quite like to see a return to that leaner approach to the Christmas season, but not, I suspect for the same reasons as before. For many it’s not because they are dour Presbyterians that they don’t look forward to Christmas. There are other reasons – reasons that are complicated and sometimes interwoven. The emphasis on family for example can be difficult for a whole variety of reasons – because of bereavement, or separation, or family fall outs. Or because someone doesn’t have any family or friends.
Then there is the very child-centred approach we have to Christmas. It can be really tough for those who have lost a child or who can’t have any and for those who are estranged from their offspring for whatever reason.
Then there’s the present giving. If you barely have enough to pay the bills, how can you buy presents? And just like every other child, your child will want to write to Santa – how do you live with knowing they will be disappointedyet again? And others saying: “that’s not what Christmas is about”, doesn’t help if you are not actually choosing to opt out. Many a foodbank will be open on Christmas day and many a church and community will offer a meal because they know that if they don’t, there will be people all over Scotland with nothing much more than a tin of beans on Christmas day. I think it’s good to celebrate. I think it’s even better to do so, sensitive to how others are feeling and in a way that doesn’t exclude anyone. Be blessed this Christmas – and share that blessing.
Rt Rev Susan Brown,
Moderator of the
General Assembly of
the Church of Scotland

A Christmas message from the Provost

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It’s always lovely to feel and see things changing as Christmas gets closer – even if some might say the whole festive season gets started a little too early these days.
Of course it is inescapable once television and radio adverts switch to their Christmas focus, and shops roll out their festive decorations.
It’s a lovely time of year though, and we are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world where even the winter weather doesn’t take away from the scenery and feeling of community.
Argyll and Bute looks festive and colourful, and a lot of credit must go to the community groups who take such great pride in putting on festive events and leading the charge when it comes to Christmas lights and decorations in their towns.
It all helps to add to the feeling that Christmas is a joyous time that should be filled with family, friends, fun and festivities.
Christmas means a lot of different things to different people, and I hope that whatever is most important to you this festive season plays a big part in your celebrations.
And once Christmas has come and gone, the New Year allows us all the chance to look forward to the next 12 months.
I would encourage everyone to take a moment to think about those in our communities who may not find this time of year as much fun as others, for whatever reason.
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Councillor Len Scoullar,
Provost of Argyll and Bute

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