How things change

Jan 12th, 2023

How things change

It is nearly 10 years since we moved to Lochgoilhead and many changes have taken place. Obviously the big one for us is that Tora and Schrodi grew old and died. But life goes on and we are now owned by Saphy and Amber. There have been some major changes in other areas which mostly have had a positive impact on living here.

a) When we moved in here Internet connectivity was very limited. We had a business grade ISP and three bonded ADSL lines for a total package of 12MB down and 1MB up. We had satellite as a backup. In total our package cost about £400 a month and provided the ability for both of us to run tests from here and one person could watch video on line – two people and the whole thing would start to break up. Ten years later we have 1G downstream, 100MB up – for obvious reasons this has made life a great deal easier. It costs £70 a month. Having said this – we paid for our own fibre to premises which cost £3000 but even in the village with non-dedicated lines you can still get decent access – certainly enough to run a business. I think this is having an impact on the area as with remote working becoming increasingly popular – beautiful places like this will attract people like R and I. To give a concrete example – when we moved here there were loads of houses for sale from small cottages to near mansions and many of these had been on the market for years. Now there is literally nothing apart from chalets at Drimsyne.

b) Mobile – when we moved here it was 2G with Vodafone or nothing. Now 4G everywhere with EE and 4/3G with Vodafone (I suspect that other providers will be the same as Vodafone as the reason EE are so good is because of the emergency services masts).

c) Facilities – there is still only a Post Office and one small local shop in the village. However the big change is that ASDA and Morrisons now deliver – this has made a huge difference to us. Stupidly we never even thought about food shopping when we moved here and we got stuck with going to Dumbarton every two weeks and Glasgow for Costco once a month. I’m going to take partial credit for this one as I wrote a letter to ASDA asking them to consider delivering here – and they did! Over the last few weeks ASDA have even started same day deliveries so assuming you can get a slot (which you generally can) you can book it in the morning and have your food the same afternoon. The other main thing is Amazon – we have always been able to get deliveries here but it always took at least two days – now the range of things they sell is greatly expanded and on at least some things it is next day delivery.

d) Physical connectivity – still very bad. The track to our house is riddled with potholes and the Forestry won’t repair it. The A83 is a perpetual disgrace and no end in site for a proper solution. This must be seriously damaging Argyll tourism and business in general. The bus services to Helensburgh in one direction and Dunoon in the other are two a day. Four trains a day from Arrochar to Glasgow. Trains from Helensburgh to Glasgow every half an hour.

e) House and garden. For us – the move has worked out well although certain aspects of what we had intended didn’t pan out. Growing veg proved to be beyond my ability because everything I put in the ground got eaten by either slugs, deer or badgers. The garden is too much – 90% of it we never use and the remaining 10% is a lot of hard work. It turns out that gardening is not a favourite occupation for me! We’ve spent a lot of money and made a lot of changes to the house including converting the garage into two large offices and adding an extra en suite. The cats have their own room and so does J who regularly comes to stay. We have solar panels which we estimate will provide most of our energy needs for 3/4 of the year.

So villages like Lochgoilhead aren’t for everyone – certainly not if you want city level facilities – but they have a great deal to offer.