Dateline March 2001
Another frosty morning, but bright sunshine and a warm day if you stay out of the cold wind. The daffodils are a riot of colour in places, and I spot the first marigold of the year - tucked away among some trees in a sheltered spot by the roadside. Still no Foot and Mouth disease this side of Glasgow. Tourists are thinner on the ground than usual, deterred by the advice to stay away from the countryside. And yet we need people here. Our biggest industry is tourism, and reports suggest that both enquiries and bookings are down at a time when they should be increasing.
The pattern continues - northerly winds, bright clear days, and cold nights. Argyll is seeing more stars this winter than many have seen over the last few years put together. Oban FM begins to pass on the thanks of the Foot and Mouth volunteers to the various businesses and individuals in Oban who help them out with overnight accommodation, food, and resources. The list is long, indicating just how seriously people are taking this.
Disinfectant points appear on the main roads leading into Argyll and the Highlands. There is no sign of Foot and Mouth disease north of Glasgow, and everybody wants it to stay that way.
The bitter wind continues, but this time its moved more southeasterly. The Foot and Mouth volunteers are active in spraying vehicle wheels on the Mull ferry, and I have to walk over a disinfectant mat tat the foot of the gangway on either side.
A bight and sunny, but cold day. A familiar pattern for this winter, but unusual for the area generally. people are getting used to it though. The advice is not to go into the countryside unless you have to. Forest Walks are closed, and sings are beginning to pepper the laybys, farm roads and other access points. Like many others, I search around for roads where I can walk safely. Fortunately, there is such a place not far away, but walking on tarred roads isn't as pleasant as forest trails or the open hills.
A cold wind scatters broken cloud over us, and one or two of them spray us with rain. But its a brisk day - almost springlike. the odd daffodil has opened out, as if to test the waters for the rest. The primroses are well on, and provide the occasional splash of colour.