Category Archives: Area

VIDEO: Proposed school run

The updated Argyll & Bute proposal recognises that the ‘Hill Road’ route between Ulva Primary and Dervaig is regularly impassible during winter months – and suggests an alternate route via Burg and Ensay.

Not only is this a longer journey, but the condition of this road is equally poor – and it’s equally as remote as the ‘Hill Road’ with many miles of the journey lacking any mobile phone coverage.

Here’s a video we recorded this weekend, showing that it took us 53 minutes to drive this route, under ideal conditions, with good weather and minimal Saturday morning traffic.

Things to note:

  • Our 53 minute journey time included five child pickups, which took 4 minutes 25 seconds in total.
  • Our average pickup time was 53 seconds – which we think is very fast, especially when we had two little P1 children to strap in.
  • The stretch of road between Torloisk and Ensay was closed for several weeks last winter.
  • The proposal completely fails to take into account travel times of future children and families on the islands of Ulva and Gometra.
  • The Ulva Primary catchment area extends for a further 4.2 miles to the east – which would add an additional ten minutes to the journey time, should a child move to Kellan.


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Elevation of the Hill Road

The geography of this part of Mull means many places have their own unique micro-climates. The stretch of hills that dissect the north-west of the island are steep, bleak and act as a barrier, both physical and psychological, between Ulva and Dervaig.

Here’s the elevation of the Hill Road section – the Dervaig side of the road faces north and gets very little sun, so often freezes. And as the route is not gritted, it’s only thanks to the kind work of locals and their shovels that this road is passable at all during lengthy cold periods.

This means we often see completely different weather conditions in Dervaig compared to Ulva. We know there will be several days over winter when the weather changes and these roads quickly become impassible. It’s therefore inevitable that the children will find themselves stranded in Dervaig.

It’s simply not acceptable that our primary-age children will find themselves stuck away from home over winter as a result of this proposal.

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Proposed school run route

Here’s a map illustrating the proposed winter school run, which takes the kids to Dervaig via the Burg road – which will be a routine trip when the shorter Hill Road route is closed in the winter.

Also, the route could possibly start and finish further away, were a child to move into the Kellan area – which is part of the proposed new catchment area. We’ll be driving this route tomorrow, taking accurate timings of the trip.

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Hill Road photos

OK, so 2009 was a terrible winter across the whole country, but the ‘Hill Road’ the council propose we drive our children over to Dervaig school regularly freezes over the winter – every year.

Last year the ‘Hill Road’ was impassible for several weeks, and the high altitude and rapidly-changing weather conditions on top of the hill means it’s inevitable our children will find themselves stranded in Dervaig on some winter days.

This is one possible alternate route. Equally bad!

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We made the news!

A few of us drove to the council buildings in Kilmory, Lochgilphead, to voice our upset at the plans to close Ulva Primary. ITV’s STV news covered the council meeting, and look – there we are.

We’ll be off to the next meeting, too. So many local people, both with and without children at Ulva Primary, want to come and support the school that we’re hiring a bus to fit us all in.

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