A remote peninsula in Argyll is facing a “fight for survival” as it remains isolated from a vital road link almost a month after a record-breaking rainfall caused a massive landslip.
How the landslip happened and its impact
On October 7, the Craignish peninsula was battered by heavy rain that triggered a landslip on the A816 near Ardfern. The debris covered the road, blocking access to the peninsula from the south. The road connects the peninsula to the nearest town, Lochgilphead, where many residents work, shop and access essential services.
The landslip has caused significant disruption and hardship for the local community, which is still recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Businesses in the area have seen a drop in customers and income, while residents have to take a long detour to reach Lochgilphead from the north.
What the community is doing to cope and survive
A group led by the charity Craignish Community Company has launched a campaign to help the peninsula’s businesses and residents get through the difficult time. The group has set up a website, craignish.info, to provide the latest information and updates on the situation, as well as to promote the local businesses and attractions.
The group is also urging the wider Argyll and West of Scotland community to support the peninsula by visiting, shopping and staying in the area. The group says that many businesses are offering deals and discounts to attract customers and that the peninsula has a lot to offer in terms of scenery, wildlife and culture.
The group is also calling for the local authority and its contractors to speed up the work to clear the road and restore access as soon as possible. The group says that the current estimate of six weeks is too long and that the community needs urgent assistance and support.
How the local authority and its contractors are responding
Argyll and Bute Council and its contractors, BEAR Scotland, have been working to clear the road and make it safe for traffic. The council says that the landslip was “unprecedented” and that the work is “complex and challenging”. The council says that it is doing everything it can to reopen the road as quickly as possible, but that it has to ensure the safety of the workers and the public.
The council says that it is also providing support and advice to the affected businesses and residents, such as offering business rates relief, hardship grants and welfare assistance. The council says that it is working closely with the community group and other partners to mitigate the impact of the landslip and to help the peninsula recover.
What the experts and the politicians are saying
The landslip has raised questions and concerns about the impact of climate change and extreme weather events on the rural infrastructure and communities in Scotland. Experts say that such events are likely to become more frequent and severe in the future, and that the country needs to invest more in resilience and adaptation measures.
Politicians from different parties have also expressed their sympathy and solidarity with the peninsula, and have called for more action and funding from the Scottish and UK governments to address the issue. Some have also criticised the council and its contractors for the slow progress and the lack of communication and transparency.
What the future holds for the peninsula
The Craignish peninsula is facing an uncertain and challenging future as it waits for the road to reopen and for the normal life to resume. The community is hoping that the road will be cleared and repaired soon, and that the visitors and customers will return to the area. The community is also hoping that the authorities and the governments will provide more support and resources to help the peninsula recover and thrive.
However, the community is also aware that the landslip may not be a one-off event, and that the peninsula may face similar or worse situations in the future. The community is therefore looking for ways to become more resilient and self-reliant, and to diversify its economy and activities. The community is also looking for ways to raise awareness and influence policy on the issues of climate change and rural development.
The Craignish peninsula is a beautiful and vibrant place that has a lot to offer and a lot to overcome. The community is determined to survive and succeed, but it also needs help and support from the outside. Will the peninsula get the help it needs and deserves? Will the peninsula be able to adapt and prosper in the changing world? Only time will tell.