Annual Reports

Please click on the links below to see our previous annual reports:

Annual report - 2010

Past Events

Please click on the links below to see reports of our previous events:

The New Glen Sannox Revealed Brodick Ferry Terminal Annual Conference 2014 Tim Pomeroy Neil Sutherland Alastair McIntosh


You can view the reports of our previous excursions here.



!Arran Civic Trust hosted a meeting with James Anderson Director of Vessels at CMAL, and Lewis Hammell also a ship’s architect with CMAL. The new ship, built at Ferguson’s Yard, and recently launched, is now being fitted out. James explained the reasoning behind the challenge to both meet the increasing demand on the Brodick to Ardrossan route, due in part to RET, as well as to be a more fuel-efficient vessel with new technologies on board to ensure reliability. It was a fascinating illustrated talk, with enthusiastic and informed presentations from both James and Lewis.

The main hull of steel and the superstructure of aluminum is designed to meet expectations over the next 35 years service life with 1000 passengers, 34 crew cabins, and a ship capable of carrying130 cars with an open aft deck for hazardous cargo. There will be four passenger lifts from the car decks and we were assured there will be enough room to get out the cars once parked on the car decks. The Glen Sannox will be able to be used on all CalMac routes.

On the performance side, emissions will be reduced by 66%. The Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will be stored in a tank weighing 100 tonnes and initially the LNG will come from the Isle of Grain. The ship will have 2 main engines and 3 auxiliary generators. Three bow thrusters will assist docking.

Lewis explained the layout of the ship. There will be a much larger and more comfortable medical transfer room for patient and family, even with a television. There will be five areas for passengers, fore and aft lounges on level 5, each holding 250, observation lounge on level six for 260 and 2 exterior decks, one covered for 122. Also included cafeteria and shop, video gaming area and two pet areas. Provision of a bar facility is still under discussion.

There will be much better lower windows to enable passengers to take in visual surroundings from the ship when they are sitting down, so a major improvement on the Cally Isles.

The ship we were assured will turn on a ‘sixpence’, deal with 50knots of wind and have great maneuverability. It is 102.4m long compared to the Cally Isles of 94m, so there were questions about Ardrossan. CMAL, Peel Ports and the Scottish Government are in weekly discussions about Ardrossan and potential access systems. The simulator for training is continuing to be developed and discussions about Ardrossan Harbour are on-going.

This was a fascinating insight into the new ferry due to enter service in 2019.

J Inglis, chairman.



A letter to CMAL on behalf of the Arran Civic Trust



The Arran Civic Trust considers that the overall size of the building is excessive for our small island. The island population is falling and, although Arran is popular during the spring and summer with a small, steady flow of visitors throughout the year, the existing terminal building is easily capable of dealing with the through flow, except occasionally at peak periods. It is evident, studying the plans, that the design was originally for a much larger population. It follows that substantial cost savings could have been made by matching the design to the population.

QUESTION : Were studies made of existing and potential traffic through-flows to enable the building to be designed to an economical size?


The building design in itself is not unattractive in a modernist way. The Civic Trust, however, regards it as unsympathetic to both its site and to the island environment. Criticisms are directed in particular at the severe, rectilinear form, at the use of sandstone which weathers badly especially in upper walls and at the flat roof. Weather on Arran can be so severe that flat roofs, even with the use of modern materials, are not reliably waterproof.

QUESTION : Were the designers fully aware of weather conditions on Arran ? Would it not have been wise to consult directly with the Civic Trust and other island experts regarding the aesthetic appearance of the building?


The Trust is of the opinion that there is a fundamental design flaw in the terminal building arising apparently from the brief. This is that it requires foot passengers to climb to a height of 5.5 metres in order to enter the departure lounge. It is not clear why this decision was taken nor by whom, since it follows from the location of the car marshalling area on the seaward side of the building. This results in foot passengers having to cross the vehicle flows at two points: at the west side where vehicles enter the site and on the pier itself. Had the terminal been located adjacent to the sea, apart from offering a more attractive outlook for waiting passengers, these conflicts would have been avoided. We realise that it would have been necessary to persuade Cal Mac to berth the Ardrossan ferry on the east side of the pier rather than the west, but it is difficult to understand why this was an insuperable objection when the resulting simplification of the plan and layout would have saved so much inconvenience and money.

Internally, the plan requires foot passengers either to climb and descend 35 steps to the departure lounge, or to use the two lifts provided. The lifts, we are told, will have a nominal capacity of 13 adults, but this capacity reduces to approximately 7-8 adults with luggage, or less where there are push or wheel chairs. This is not adequate in view of the time pressures likely to be experienced in a passenger terminal. Lifts themselves are not liked by all and, in the event of routine maintenance or breakdown, capacity will be halved or reduced to zero, leaving no alternative but the stairs. CMAL’s chief engineer has stated that, in the event of breakdown, engineers would have to cross from the mainland, leading to an unacceptable delay. In the event of a power outage, a generator would have to be on stand-by, together with its fuel storage. There is no sign of the provision for this on the plans.

The long staircases, even with landings and relatively low risers, will be taxing, not only for many elderly people - over-65s comprise over 30% of the island’s population - but for young parents with push chairs and toddlers and those heavily burdened with luggage or shopping.

The departure lounge is excessively large in providing 192 seats. Often there are fewer than 50 persons waiting to board and even in high season the majority of people will not sit but stand around. It would be better therefore to halve the number of seats and provide more standing room.

You show only one WC in the men’s toilet. This is not enough in view of the large population you envisage passing through the terminal.

The walkway to the ferry from the terminal building appears to be 1.5 metres wide in each direction. This will be a problem where the speed of boarding will be at the rate of the slowest walker. There are many slow walkers and partially disabled people on Arran, not to mention the relatively young and fit hampered by trolley bags and shopping.

QUESTIONS : Were the paramount needs of foot passengers considered at the initial design stage ? Were commercial interests allowed to dominate in that whereas the provision for vehicles is excellent, foot passengers are being provided for much less well than at present? Could the number of lifts be doubled to minimise waiting times and reduce the risk of just one or no lifts being available during maintenance or in the event of breakdown?


At present there is provision for approximately 85 cars on the site, scattered in various locations. The new plan shows roughly 92 spaces, of which 51 are marked in the short stay - i.e. up to 5 days - zone. This is inadequate since, on a busy day, approximately 80-90 cars are parked in Shore Road to the west of the site. Most of these cars belong to people intending to use the ferry. Knowing that there is too little parking on site, passengers on foot will continue to park in Shore Road, but will then have to walk an additional 200 metres to the terminal building, plus a further 250 metres to board the ship. In bad weather, encumbered with trolley bags and push chairs, this is too far. Furthermore, there is no longer any provision for long stay parking, a serious oversight since it is not desirable to leave cars for a fortnight or more in Shore Road, where they would in any case reduce the provision for the short stayers.

We assume, having studied the site plan, that large vehicles approaching from Market Road, including bin lorries and service vehicles, would join the boarding stream via the road shown to the east of the terminal building and that the principal flow from Shore Road, including heavy vehicles, would follow the new access to the rear of the existing terminal building. This will create a problem for both vehicles and pedestrians arriving from Invercloy to the west, since the latter will have to wait to cross the traffic stream. This problem could have been avoided, as noted above, had the marshalling area been located to the landward side of the terminal in the area occupied by an expanded short stay car park. We hope that there will be enough capacity in the approach to the marshalling area to accommodate all vehicles waiting at the ticket barrier at peak periods. If not, queueing will take place along Shore Road to the detriment of through traffic.

It is essential for people travelling with their cars to be able to cross on foot from the marshalling area to collect or buy their tickets. There appears to be no provision for this. Nor has there been adequate consideration of the need for many arriving foot passengers to reach the Tourist Office without crossing major vehicle routes. In this respect, it might be a good idea to re-locate the Tourist Office in the existing Terminal Building, which is only 20 years old and in first class condition.

QUESTIONS : What studies were made at initial design stage of vehicle numbers likely to be using the new facility, including parking and movement? Were the needs of those leaving their cars in Brodick but travelling by ferry properly considered? What hard data were used regarding numbers of foot passengers using the ferry and how was this data used when designing the new terminal?

Arran Civic Trust


SCOTTISH CIVIC TRUST - Annual Conference - Oct 29th 2014

“FEELING GOOD, Wellbeing and the Built Environment”


The conference was held in Maryhill Burgh Hall, a recent winner of the “My Place” award, a fine Victorian building with a completely redesigned interior to cater for various community activities. As the title leads you to expect the content of the conference was totally urban. The contributions were from architects, town planners, health workers and a spokesman for sustainable transport.

The most entertaining speaker David Spaven showed a selection of photos taken recently round Edinburgh demonstrating the most crass, dangerous, idiotic and thoughtless obstacles to safe and enjoyable walking in the city. These were so extreme that they raised a laugh from the audience. He followed with some good examples showing sense and awareness, noticeably fewer in number than the former. The Glasgow city planner, Etive Currie itemised good intentions with plenty of technical phraseology but not many concrete examples while the speaker from GEHL architects, Riccardo Marini, took us on a photographic world tour of good and bad urban design always stressing the need for the architecture to take account of its surroundings and contribute to encouraging people to be out on foot meeting each other. He produced a phrase new to me “birdshit architecture” eg when a building is dropped into its setting without taking its surrounds into account which is the case with most new buildings. One of his photos was of a young mother pushing a pram in Brasilia in what was a vast, desolate empty space between two buildings. Discussion groups later did point out that designing a whole area involves overcoming the difficulty of multiple owners, often of small plots of land. This produced a variety of suggestions.

Sir Harry Burns spoke movingly of the depressed condition of what we sometimes refer to as the “underclass”, stressing that health begins with the environment and not the health service including the statement that the greatest damage to health was not alchohol or tobacco but lack of exercise. He produced a chart that showed a preponderance of “yes” votes in depressed areas which he felt demonstrated a desire for change. Anne Lumb of Scottish Natural Heritage, in charge of the Green Space Project for NHS estates and hospitals showed examples of how NHS land, often around hospitals, could be made attractive, inviting and contribute to a sense of patient wellbeing.

A doctor, Peter Gordon who is also a qualified landscape architect made an appeal on behalf of Mavisbank House in Penicuik, designed by William Adam (also Hamilton old Parish church and Chatelherault). A beautiful house in a terrible state. At lunch time five people, including myself, gave a 5 minute summary of their organisation’s purpose and activity. A couple of delegates later asked about our interior project.

J Inglis


March 29th 2012 - Tim Pomeroy

On the evening of March 29th, Arran Civic Trust hosted an illustrated talk in the Ormidale Pavilion by Arran’s distinguished sculptor, Tim Pomeroy. All present were both entertained and richly informed by what he had to say. After recounting the slow process by which his artistic career took shape over some eight years - from Latin scholar at Hamilton Academy, via varied stints teaching and lecturing, to his emergence as a full-time freelance painter and sculptor - Tim went on to describe the various projects and commissions in which he has been involved.

As he talked, those present gained fascinating and valuable insights into the creative process, Tim’s sources of inspiration in, for example, nature, geology and archaeology (but also such everyday objects as string), and the technicalities and difficulties of working with materials such as granite and bronze. His talk was tellingly illustrated throughout with photographs. It would take too long here to cite all the examples of Tim’s work that were covered, but the audience will certainly have taken special note of local examples, such as the fascinating sculptures in Merkland Wood, and some major off-island works, particularly the font he made for St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow, with its wonderful frieze of figures waiting to be baptised in the Jordan. This alone involved some five hundred hours work. There was also a spellbinding account of the technical feat involved in drilling a pathway for the continuous flow of water.

It was interesting to learn that the commissioning of this font was suggested to the Archbishop by an earlier one that Tim had created for Provand’s Lordship. With other commissions for such patrons as the Duke of Devonshire, Carnoustie Golf Club and Cawdor Castle (a four-and-a-half metre Tree of Life in bronze), as well as exhibitions in leading London galleries, Tim Pomeroy’s reputation has spread well beyond Arran, and the island is fortunate to be his base. It would be difficult to sum up his versatile talent in a nutshell, but perhaps one key to his wide appeal is the observation that he uses traditional materials, but in a modern idiom.

⇒ To view this report in PDF format please click here. ⇐


September 19th 2011 - Neil Sutherland

Arran Civic Trust ‘ACT’ Talk “Rural House Design, Affordability and Sustainability”

On Monday Sept 19 Neil Sutherland, an award winning architect from Inverness gave an informative and inspiring talk on rural house design, the speciality of his company. In his presentation he showed several examples of houses he had designed and built mainly of wood, a material, abundant in rural Scotland, in the use of which Neil is expert.

Of particular interest was the speaker’s philosophy of house building, that houses should be a pleasure to live in, capable of adaption and extension, be constructed of locally sourced materials, be frugal in the consumption of power and appropriately sited within their surroundings. He stressed the life-enhancing effect of good quality materials and their ultimate economy. He saw volume builders as disregarding these while they enjoy ready planning approval for the mundane and mediocre in contrast to the difficulties faced by innovative and principled designs. The speaker cited Scotland as having the lowest percentage of self-build in Europe as a result of planning rules not designed to facilitate this, the high cost of land and the pernicious practice of land-banking.

In helping the audience to come to terms with the “shock of the new” in house design he pointed out that the style commonly described as the vernacular is inherited from enlightenment new towns initiated by aristocratic estate owners in the eighteenth century. The implication was that they need not represent an inviolable standard by which new designs should be judged.

The presentation was followed by questions and expressions of approval and thanks for what had been fascinating and educative talk.


⇒ To view this report in PDF format please click here. ⇐


7th April 2011 - Alistair McIntosh

!This was a talk that truly involved the audience as Alastair initially asked everyone present what questions and areas of discussion were in their mind to have tackled during the evening. From these flowed ideas, strategies covering a variety of topics:

Alastair was born in Doncaster and raised on the Isle of Lewis. His father’s roots were there and he returned with the family and practised as a GP. Throughout the talk and questions from the audience Alastair interwove his own experiences, especially as a child and young person, as illustrative about the interdependence of community and the development of the young to be resilient and take managed risks: he told the great story of heading off to fish by himself, in worsening weather determined to make it, knowing various binoculars were trained on him- so learning resilience and yet knowing there is an almost invisible hand of care in the community too; all leading to self respect and respect for the “elders” or those with knowledge learned through life’s experience. He sees resilience as an export when young people leave the island community, and this is important to remember when islands are told they are “subsidised” by the mainland. The island gives a great deal to our area, to careers and other communities off the island.

The community is about creating synergies out of the diverse skills of islanders, whether their families have been here for 100 years or one. Tapping into different skills and experiences and welcoming them, will build a more resilient community able to face change. No one has a monopoly of knowledge or skills. We learn from each other. Listening and sharing are vital ingredients to a community. He spoke about our cycle of belonging in communities. The learning to share feelings both in joy and suffering; the capacity to respond to others. Whilst at times we may feel people know too much about us individually, when the really difficult times arise the community supports and cares for us. Community cohesion and regeneration go together.

Alastair also talked of the G-spot- whether you call it God, spirituality, understanding self, the ability to reflect, go inwards to develop the god in ourselves, to find the richness of self development, to let go of some of the ego. This will contribute to our understanding of us in a place. Belonging to a place; a sense of place contributes to a real sense of our own identity where local initiatives are important bedrock. The farmers markets, ARCAS, local societies all contribute to the sense of “our Place”. This sense of identity embodies relationships and includes our values. Knowing ourselves is an important development. In this cycle these values give rise to our sense of responsibility to each other and our community. He described the sharing of resources and energy in the crofting community when there was a national seaman’s strike. Community regeneration comes from reinforcing these four areas:

Alastair works with the GalGael Trust in Govan. At present he lives in Drumoyne and experiences every day in working with young people that they have little resilience- and seek to prop themselves up with alcohol and drugs. The loss of manly roles, apprenticeships, and role models has been devastating in Govan. There is estrangement which leads to despair and defiance in young people. The changes in the last 30 years have meant a loss of resilience and the learning “how to be a man”. Govan has X5 rate of hospital admission due to drugs and x7 the rate of hospital admissions due to alcohol abuse compared to the rest of Scotland. The GalGael Trust works with young people, helping them to relate through their five outer senses through woodworking as well as learning about themselves. He contrasted these experiences with his own growing up on Lewis and going out with a much older man in the community to learn to fish and handle a boat.

It was clear that as Alastair talked so those in the audience were reflecting on Arran, our place; those community activities each of us is involved with and which give Arran a sense of identity along with its history and ever present environment around us of the land, mountains, sea and sky; the values of this island community and the responsibility we each take to ensure the needs of islanders and visitors are met. He is also a great believer in the “complaints committee”. If Arran feels misunderstood by the Council or others, we need to be sure we do not just complain on the island to ourselves, but that our needs are heard off the island, and those off the island understand the contribution the island and islanders make to the welfare and wellbeing of the whole of society. He said that he noticed on the ferry on his way over that people started to relax, there was a change in mood. The sea, the ferry and making the journey helped people to unwind. What a contribution therefore Arran makes to society even before the ferry ties up in Brodick.

Arran Civic Trust hopes to invite Alastair back to Arran for a day of shared discussion in 2012.

See: Alastair McIntosh (2008) “Rekindling Community” Connecting People, Environment and Spirituality. Schumacher Briefings 15: Green Books

⇒ To view this report in PDF format please click here. ⇐


Summary of our Work in 2010 - 2011

Last year was a successful one for ACT. Key points were:

Sadly, our vice-chair Dr David Irwin died during the year. His contribution to our work is greatly missed.

We are always looking for new members to share the work of the committee and were delighted to welcome Caroline Fleming to the committee this year. If you are interested in joining us please do contact me or any other committee member.

Thank you also to those of you who have paid your subscription to ACT for 2011-2 (either by cheque or standing order) and to remind those of you who have not, that subscriptions are now due. The rate has been held at the same level as last year - £10 single and £15 for a couple. They should be sent to our treasurer David Scott, Tighenemnach, Blackwaterfoot, Isle of Arran KA27 8EX.

The Arran Civic Trust is a registered Scottish charity, number 023504 and is affiliated to The Scottish Civic Trust