Nov 2003 - Feb 2004

February 20th 2004


Caledonian MacBrane's newest ferry, MV Coruisk, finaly made her first appearance on the Rothesay to Wemyss Bay route on Monday.

Much criticised for her performance elsewhere, the sheltered water vessel's first day on the Bute service went without any major hitches, and most of the passengers on board for our trip- including CalMac's chief executive Lawrie Sinclair and chairman Dr. Harold Mills- seemed pleased with what she had to offer.

The steep climb up the gangway at high tide remained a concern to some, but help is on hand for anyone who needs it, and once on board the contrast between the new ship and the streakers she is relieving could hardly be greater.

The internal passenger lounge is fitted out to the highest standard and offers a remarkably comfortable way to pass the short journey. With a service speed of 14 knots-two knots faster than the streakers- there's ample time at either end of the crossing to make sure that the delicate berthing procedure is carried out correctly"


Staff at Ardmaleish Boat Building Company are celebrating after agreeing a deal with Sir Robert Smith, owner of Inchmarnock Island, to build him a second boat.

Managing director of the company Ewen Ferguson confirmed on Monday that Ardmaleish boat Building will begin work on a 13 metre long four berth leisure replica puffer in March which will be completed in time for the Scottish Boat Show in August at the Falkirk Basin.

The island company built a 15 metre long ferry for Sir Robert in 2000 to take machinery and cattle to Inchmarnock.

Sir Robert Smith approached Ewen Ferguson recently with a new plan to build a replica puffer after a previous idea was scrapped because of a lack of experienced boat fitters on Bute. The new boat, which will be powered by a 70 horse power diesel engine, will be used by holidaymakers on the Forth and Clyde canals.

Ewen Ferguson told The Buteman on Monday ;"For me, having this boat built completely on the island is very important and I think Sir Robert feels the same. We are obviously delighted to get this contract and it's also a good thing for the island.

Ardmaleish Boat Building Company has seen a steady growth since building Sir Robert's ferry, "Marnock", in 2000. The company,which now has a staff of 15, is currently finishing work on a 15 metre long fishing boat for an Ayrshire customer and another for a Tarbert fisherman. The latest contract secures the short term future of the company and at least 15 staff.


This year's pike fishing weekend on Loch Fad turned out to be the most successful yet, with pike from 4lbs. to 21lb.10oz.being landed.

On Saturday the weather was horrible with rain and sleet, blown along by a very strong northerly wind, keeping the anglers under their brollies for most of the day. Perseverance was the name of the game with some really nice fish being caught.

James Lockhart from Johnstone had four pike,with the best wieghing 21lbs 10 oz.; Mr Betham from Glasgow had three up to 20 lbs; and Mr Mair from Greenock had two up to 12lb; while Alan Poole had a 10lb fish right at the boat jetty just before he went home for the night.

February 13th 2004


St.Blane's Hotel was full to capacity for the Rothesay Police Burns supper which was held recently. Constable John Beattie chaired the evening, with Robin Patrick piping the haggis, which was ably addressed by Billy Sprowl. Later on Billy gave a rendering of TamO'Shanter to much applause.

Principal speaker for the evening was retired former Rothesay police officer Iain D. Macleod now proprietor of the newsgent at the top of the pier in Wemyss Bay. Iain proposed a toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns, covering many aspects of the bard's life, in both a serious and humourous vein, much enjoyed by all those present.

Afterwords Sergeant Jim Naismith of Kirkintilloch police office gave the Toast to the Lassies in a most unusual but interesting manner. The Toast to the Rothesay police was done by Segeant Gary Steel, who certainly made sure he didn't miss out any of his colleagues.

One former Rothesay policeman even made the trip all the way from Lerwick and wasn't disappointed as an excellent evening was had by all in attendance.


Former Rothesay Academy pupils had a fantastic time when they met up again for another school reunion last year. The 'Class of 1943' met up at Ardmory House Hotel in August, although we just received the photograph last week.

Locals will recall the weekend in question, when a celebrity event took place on Bute, and our photographer was kept very busy and could not attend the former school pupils gathering. The man who took the picture returned to the United States with his camers and a number of reasons- including a hurricane- prevented it from reaching us sooner.

Twenty two people attended some having travelled from England, Wales and two from America. This was the second time the group have met and everyone enjoyed reminising and listening to what each other are getting up to in their retirement. It is hoped they will all meet up again in 2008.

February 6th 2004


"Bute Recycling Centre will become a reality after a 44,000 grant completed the initial piece of a 15,000 funding jigsaw.

The grant from Fresh Futures Sustainable Communities Initiative has enabled work to get underway at the Colbeck Lane site currently owned by Fyfe Homes Limited. Bute Recycling Centre stems from an innovative joint partnership within the local community between Fyne Homes and Bute Waste Watchers, the local voluntary group committed to principles of recycling and waste minimisation."

"All the materials will be processed and and transported to recycling outlets on the mainland. In doing so a substantial amount of material will be diverted from landfill.


The recent Volunteer Fairs held in the Jobcentrplus office and Baptist Church hall were a resounding success.

Organised by the Bute Healthy Living Initiative, Bute Community Links,Argyll and Bute Volunteer Centre and Jobcentreplus, the event targeted to those people willing and able to offer their time, assistance and services to one of the many organiations that turned up on the day. Jim Clinton from Bute Community links was very happy with the way the whole day went.

January 30th 2004


Caledonian MacBrayne has re-affirmed that a second new ferry for Bute is at the top of its shopping list.

The company's managing director, Lawrie Sinclair, confirmed that a second new ship to replace the 'streakers' remains its top priority, while speaking at a dinner on Islay last week. Mr Sinclair used the event to announce that CalMac board had recommended a new ferry for Islay, together with timetable and port improvements, but said a second Bute ferry would come first.


Loch Fad will open its doors to pike fishermen on the weekend of February 7 and 8 for its annual pike fishing weekend. With the numbers of 20lb-plus pike being caught increasing each year, who can guess how big the 'big ones' really are?

To catch one 'twenty' in a session is great, but to catch three is superb, as local pike angler Richard Whaielaw recently found out. He caught two fish over 21 lb. and one at 24lb. 8oz. which is not a bad day's fishing!

January 23rd 2004


"Rothesay to Wemyss Bay ferry passengers will no longer be able to buy tickets on board ship when pursers are withdrawn from the vessels- a move which will happen within the next three months. The decision which will surprise few is nonetheless likely to anger travellers- including those who failed to show a single hand in supportr of shore ticketing at a public meeting in the Discovery Centre last Thursday."

The company are looking at various options for on shore ticketing. These include portable and static ticketing machines in car parks. We are also speaking to ScotRail to discuss the possibility of selling tickets on trains. "We will also sell books of tickets on the web and we are also looking into selling tickets in the shops, like we do in Dunoon."

Issues raised at Thursday's meeting included disabled access on the new ship; information systems to replace pursers; lift access to the open upper deck; "etc.

"Responding to a question from Alan Reid MP about boarding the ferry at high tide. Lawrie Sinclair said the ship was designed so that passenger access would be direct into the main passenger lounge at all states of the tide".

January 16th 2004


"Rothesay Playgroup has received an early birthday present in the shape of a glowing report from the Care Commission and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. The playgroup, which celbrates its 35th anniversery later this year,emerged with flying colours after the findings of an integrated inspection were publshed in a glowing report last week.

The inspection, which took place in September, covered every aspect of the day-to-day running of the playgroup. It focussed on everything from the staff and the accommodation to the educational benefits to the children and the interaction between staff and parents"


"Local Salvation Army, Major Nessie Thomson was the guest speaker at the Rothesay Rota Club meeting last Thursday evening. She spoke about her experiences throughout her many years in the Salvation Army,22 years of which have been spent on Bute. At the end of her talk Rotary President John Watson presented Major Nessie with the club's Community Service Award.

The certificate is awarded by the Rotary Club of Rothesay to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the life of the community of Rothesay and the Isle of Bute-and the members decided they could not have found a more deserving recipient."

January 9th 2004


This letter sums up the saga of the cancellation of the Ferries to Bute on Hogmanay and sounds the praise of so many refugees. J.D.

from the Letters page


We wish to thank most sincerely several people who came to our rescue and transformed what could have been a dismal New Year into a most memorable and happy one.

Like so many others we made a 'brief' trip to the mainland on Hogmanay, during which there was a rapid change in the weather,only to reach Wemyss Bay in the afternoon to find that dreaded sign announcing 'Ferry Cancelled'. We learned that all ferries to the island were off and there would be none until January 2nd. The feeling of despair grew as we had eager plans afoot for the bells and the prospect of two days over the festivities stuck in Wemyss Bay or Greenock was very uninspiring to say the least.

Knowing that there would be the comfort of some community spirit at Colintraive we drove for two most unpleasant hours through lashing rain and sleet to Colintraive where it was confirmed that indeed there would be 'no ferry tonight'. Things changed rapidly for the better when we entered Colintraive Hotel and received a most warm welcome and met other stranded Rothesay refugees. After a much needed meal and fluid sustenance, accommodation was soon arranged with friends locally and we then relaxed to enjoy certainly the most wonderful impromptu Hogmanay that we have experienced.

Even better was to come the following day as the ferry crew took pity on the many stranded Bute folk and, despite horrendous weather conditions still, they sacrificed their day off and gallantly rescued at least 12 car loads and returned us home for New Year's Day. This, I gather, is an almost unprecedented action." This letter was written by Lachlan Lewis-Smith and on behalf of his family.

Another letter, from Councillor L Scoullar voiced his thanks "for approving my request to provide emergency ferry sailings at Colintraive/Rhuboadach on Thursday 1st. Jan 2004" "On behalf of those who managed to get home and their families, as a result of the special sailings, may I especially commend to you the CalMac staff who volunteered to turn out on New Year's Day to make it possible"

December 27th 2003


The funeral of the Reverend Ronnie Samuel, formerly minister at Rothesay Trininty parish church and one of the best loved and most respected figures on Bute, was held on Saturday afternoon in front of a packed congregation.

Rev.Samuel passed away peacefully at the Victoria Hospital last Tuesday, December 16, after a long battle against cancer. His burial took place at Barone Cemetery later on Saturday. "He was born in Glasgow in August 1931, the third of four children, and went to Jordanhil School before being evacuated to Wigton during the war."

On graduating from Glasgow University in 1955 with a degree in mine engineering, he decided to enter the ministry - and by the time he became a bachelor of Divinity from Edinburgh University in 1959 he was already engaged to Aileen.

They married that year and both went to St.Colm's College in the capital for basic missionary training." The couple went out to South Africa, to the Lovedale Mission in Cape Province, where he would preach to a thousand students every Sunday. There he filled the role of minister in charge- a minister, teacher and administrator."

"When he won a Fulbright scholarship he chose to go to Union Theology Seminary in New York in 1964 -at the height of the civil rights movement. Squeezing a two year Masters course into just nine months."

"He returned to South Africa a year later. With the apartheid situation rapidly changing and the potential for unrest growing,Ronnie and Aileen decided to bring their family home in the late 1960s".

Rev.Samuel preached as the sole nominee for the then vacant charge of Rothesay Trinity in April 1970 and was inducted to the charge two months later."

"His thirty years at Trinity were marked by a gala evening at the Pavilion on March 4, 2000 when more than four hundred people came along - from all walks of life - to show their appreciation for a man who was a popular minister and friend to many.

Rev.Samuel is survived by his wife Aileen, his sister Shirley Irvine, his children Leslie, Fiona and Scott and five grandchildren, Robert, Duncan, Joanna, Marcela and Elena.

December 19th 2003


Port Bannatyne got into the festive spirit in big style on Friday night with the switching on of what we're told is the village's first ever Christmas light display.

Locals crowded around the newly erected tree next to the shelter at the village's stone quay for the ceremonial switch-on, performed by the Port's local councillor Robert Macintyre.

As well as the tree itself, strings of rope lights adorn the front of the village-and there's even a sleigh climbing up the adjacent bus shelter!

After the lights were officially switched on, Santa- swapping his reindeer and sleigh for a very elegant horse and carriage for the evening - paid a visit to dish out presents for local youngsters. Councillor Macintyre told the assembled gathering:"This is wonderful occasion for Port Bannatyne- it just shows what people can do when they put their minds to it."

He saved a special word for Alison Dunn, co-ordinator of the village's neighbourhood watch committee- who, he said, had galvanised everyone into action after suggesting only a few weeks ago there should be a tree and lights in the centre of the village.


Mount Stuart's annual Christmas fair on Sunday was another huge success. A steady stream of visitors throughout the day kept stall holders and their till very busy- which was hardly surprising, with so much variety on offer.

All the stops were pulled out to ensure an action packed day, and the organisers were thrilled as Santa managed to make an appearance as well. Visitors were treated to a great selection as they rushed to snap up Christmas gifts for all the family."

During the afternoon, Rothesay Primary School choir and the Glenrosa Singers gave impressive performances to a very appreciative audience in the marble chapel, where Ian Sinclair also impressed with some delightful organ music.


Rothesay is a brighter place this Christmas after sparkling rope lights were erected on heritage lamp-posts throughout the town, adding to the festive look of the island. The displays of lights on the heritage lamp-posts was made possible after the island was allocated around a third of Argyll and Bute Council's 18,000 budget Christmas Crhistmas lights in Bute and Cowal area.

November 28th 2003

OBITUARY: Stewart Logan, Mar 29th 1959 - Nov 12th 2003

"With the pews in Trinity Church already overflowing half an hour before the scheduled start, later arrivals for Saturday's memorial service to Stewart Logan had to perch themselves on the steps to the pulpit or join those already crowding the aisles.

The island turned out in mass to celebrate the life of one of its favourites. Stewart was born in Salcoats, the eldestof three children of John and Catherine Logan. His schooling was at the nearby Ardrossan Academy before going on to Glasgow University where he graduated MA(Hons) in English.

After a year at Jordanhill College, he took up his first teaching post at Oban High School in 1982, firstly as assistat teacher of English before being promoted to assistant principal of guidance."

"In 1986, after four years in Oban, he was appointed principal teacher of guidance at Rothesay Academy. He left Oban with steadfast regard and affection for that place, but Argyll's loss was to be Bute's gain for here was someone who instantly embraced all aspects of island life with his all-round talent."

"Many will recall his roles in Academy productions- as a particularly evil Fagin in 'Oliver' and as the Friendly Lion in 'Wizard of Oz'

Although not by nature a games player, he took on the post of Bute schools' shinty co-ordinator, initially with Isobel Strong, acting as the link between Bute Shinty Club and is stars of the future. Soon he was attending Camanachd Cup finals and his trips away with referee Ted McDonald were a fine excuse to visit old haunts in Argyll."

"A star performer of'Holy Willie's Prayer', he would be on his feet again to entertain with gems such as 'The Lea Rig'"

"For many the lasting memory of his memorial service will be the brave and touching tributes in which his sister Helen Stirling, and brother Andrew expressed their love and affection for Stewart. Helen, accompanied by husband Alastair on Guitar, sang a song in his memory, composed by her in the immediate aftermath of his death.

It was left to Andrew Logan to sum up the feelings of all who knew him-"He was a lovely man"


"The economy of Port Bannatyne could be set for a huge boost if a proposed marina in Kames Bay gets the go ahead.

Plans for the development, which would be capable of accommodating 58 boats, have been lodged with Argyll and Bute Council-and the prospect of a marina attracting yachts from all over the country has been widely welcomed by locals in the village."

"The company behind the the ambitious proposals, Port Bannatyne Marina Limited, is a separate company backed by two local businesses- The Boatyard Ltd. and Ambrisbeg Ltd."


Port Royal Hotel proprietors Dag and Olga Crawford picked up their national pub of the year award a a lavish presentation ceremony in London earlier this week. The Four Seasons Hotel in London was the venue for the presentations, which also saw the launch of the Les Routires Guide 2004.

Following the award of the Campaign for real Ale's pub of the year for Argyll and Bute, the couple were thrilled when The Russian Tavern in Port Bannatyne was awarded the Les Routiers award for pub of the year in Scotland. The Crawfords dressed in traditionsl Russian costume to pickup the award.

November 20th 2003


"The congregation of Rothesay TrinityParish Church heard the Rev. Samuel McCurdy Harris preach as sole nominee for the vacant charge on Sunday morning. Following the service a ballot was held and it was decided by a majority of 145 votes to two that Rev.Harris be elected as Trinity's new minister."

"Rev. Samuel McCurdy Harris ws born and educated in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland. He gained a BA (Hon) from Queens University, Belfast,before coming to Scotland to study for his BD (Hons) at St. Andrew's University.


Teacher David Hanschell was thrilled as every pupil at North Bute Primary school got involved in the Eco Schools initiative by planting a tree at Port Bannatyne park last Wednesday afternoon. David helped implement the scheme which was set up last year to actively encourage children to get involved with, and be more aware of, the environment.


The speaker a the third meeting of ' The Lit' was Mr Ken Colville. Among Ken's many interests and acheivements is one of which he is very proud. He helpe to organize the voyage of the curragh 'Colmcille' which retraced the steps of Columba from Ireland to Iona in the year 563.

Ken had asked along Rev. Iain Goring to set the scene and tell his audience something of the background of this epic journey. Included in his introduction was Saint Columba's prayer written on his deathbed for his community on Iona in 597: "See that you are at peace among yourselves my children,and love one another, follow the example of good men of old, and God will comfort you, both in this world and the world which is to come."

November 14th 2002


Three young members of Rothesay and District Mount Stuart Pipe Band have won high praise for their first ever performances at the world solo drumming championships.

Scott McNeil, Kieran McGregor and Lydia Nellis all received a certificate for their efforts after playing in front of two judges and a packed conference room in the championships which were held at Bathgate Academy in West Lothian on Saturday October 25th. Although not in the prize list the Bute youngsters were warmly praised by the judges and beat several drummers from established juvenile drum corps including Boghall and Bathgate and Craigmoount High School.


Bute Pet Suppliers in Guildford Square had their summer hanging basket display recognised by Bute Beyond 2000 at an award ceremony earlier this week.

Councillor Isobel Strong, the steering group's chair, presented proprietors Jim and Val Lucas with a 'special recognition award' to mark the achievement. Councillor Strong said; "It was nice to see the plants, which certainly brightened up the whole area. It was admired by locals and people coming off the ferry too. I'd just like compliment Jim and Val for their very attractive display."


Mount Stuart will have to close to the public for two of the busiest weeks of next summer to accommodate the change of date for the third Motorsport Classic. The first two events were held in mid-September but, as reported in The Buteman last week, the organisers have moved the date next year's event to July31 and August 1.

Johnny Bute said the organisers had "studied all the relevant motorsport calendars" before deciding the new date was "the ideal choice" for 2004. The change of date means the house and gardens- which attract thousands of visitors to Bute every year- will be closed for the last week in July and the first week in August for safety reasons.

The house and gardens closed for the season in late August this year- several weeks earlier than in past years- to prepare for the wedding of Stella McCartney at the end of that month, while the Motorsport Classic took place just three weeks later.

A spokesman for Mount Stuart said this week that the closure next year, to allow the grounds to be prepared and made safe enough for motorsport, would be restricted to the weeks immediately before and after the event.


RothesayAcademy has a new acting rector after high level changes at the school recently Former depute head Stewart Shaw has taken over from present rector Andrew Gilmour, who has begun a four month secondment programme.

Mr Shaw is extremely enthusiastic about his new position. He said, "Obviously the job will give me great experience. The buck will now stop at my door and this is a position I have never been in before."


BalmoryHall is the best bed and breakfast in Scotland- and that is official. Proprietors Tony and Beryl Harrison were "overwhelmed" after being awarded the prestigious Scottish Thistle Award for their section at lavish ceremony in Edinburgh recently.

Tony and Beryl are astonished with the success of their business which has gone from strength to strength in only their third season as guest house proprietors. The couple were thrilled when it was announced that Balmory Hall had successfully beat off tough competition to take the prestigious award. Tony said "We are absolutely delighted. This is super for us, and great for Bute too I hope.


Work on the wave attenuation scheme at Rothesay's outer harbour is now well under way. "General foreman Charlie Deans from Ayrshire is in charge of the day to day running of the contract." Said "We hope to drop around 100 tonnes of armoured rock a day although this will be monitored as the project gets underway" "At the furthest point armoured rock will be placed around 16 metres out." Charlie said, "We work seven days a week from 7am until 7pm and will do for for the duration of the project. It is anticipated that the job will be completed in around six weeks."


Our web news publishing system produces its own archives. Unfortunately, the news published on our old website cannot be retrospectivley added to this system, so we've added these items in these 3 web pages...

Nov 2003 - Feb 2004

October 2003

September 2003

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