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13 September 2016

Community event set to shine spotlight on Oban’s heritage

Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference comes to Oban - Sept 2017

An image of a clear, blue sky and the shores of a loch beside Inveraray

The Hand of the Loch

The oar of the boat plunged into the black water, turning in a small circle. The boat only moved a little bit.

“Oh my goodness, Eilidh!” Luna said with a sigh like a camel. “Where did that year lifting weights go! We've been on Loch Fyne 2 hours now, and I can still see the bottom of the lake as if it's dancing beside me!”

Avi put his hand in the water and splashed Luna in the face. “Eilidh is trying, gobby!”

The boat started to move much faster and they all jumped. A wave came across the loch and when the three of them looked over at the Inveraray road, there was a beastly green and blue hand, climbing up into the air from the water. The shell covered hand lifted a small red car from the road and the two occupants fell out. The hand took the car down under the water of the loch and nobody ever saw it again.

Eilidh was sitting by the fire, her two brothers and her sister sitting at her feet. They were arguing because their favourite program wasn’t on the television. The news was only talking about “The Hand of the Loch”.

Eilidh found herself in the Co-Op in Inveraray at eight at night. She was alone, but the shop was quite busy. She picked up the things she needed, her legs like stones. Suddenly, a girl hit into her. Her artificial nails in Eilidh’s eyes, her Nike platform shoes breaking poor Eilidh’s toes, long blonde hair like a whip. “Oh! My! Goodness! I'm so sorry!!” She stood up, her tight trousers strutting away. Eilidh paid and drove away. It was dark, nothing could be seen in the dark blanket that lay on the loch. Out of the darkness there was a girl - the girl from the shop - climbing over the river. Eilidh stopped. “It's you! I'm Chloe! Can I have a lift?” She jumped inside.

A week later, Eilidh, Luna, Avi and Chloe were all sitting in the caravan in the forest next to Eilidh's house. Luna and Avi were asking Chloe questions and Eilidh was writing on a board. “Okay then!” Eilidh stood up, in this small place, the whole caravan shook from side to side. “I've created this board to figure out what in the mad world was that beastly hand. As you can see, I have obtained pictures from the newspaper and, with a lot of research, I found out that this has happened more than once. I'll just say that the last few times it wasn’t only a car that monster had got.” Chloe gasped and put her hand over her mouth.

“What?” Luna said. “Luna! It ate people!” This time Luna made a small gasp and Avi was horrified. “And...” Eilidh began again. “I've identified patterns. Scary patterns. Every time the hand appears, it’s moved around 1.5 miles. It started at the end of the loch, near us. Meaning that this hand, for as long as it takes, is going to Inveraray.”

‘The Hand Club to Stop the Beastly Fingers of the Loch’. This was on the front of the caravan and the four of them were standing at the door. They all had badges, with their names. Eilidh, Breaker of Nails. Avi, Cracker of Knuckles. Luna, Puller of Fingers. And finally, Chloe, Turner of Wrists. Luna raised the large net. “Well then, are you ready?” She smiled, and they started for the loch. They were on the beach, where Eilidh thought the hand would appear again. “It will be a miracle if the hand comes up,” said Eilidh with a sigh. Avi shouted, as he saw a green finger break the quietness of the loch.

Luna ran down to the end of the beach, jumped into the water and the net went over the monster’s finger. The finger went higher and higher, dragging the net with it. A hand, shoulders, belly, neck, and finally a head appeared. Sunlight bouncing off the side of its teeth. Luna shouted and tried to jump off. The beast grinned and gave a frightening laugh as it went back down, Luna screaming as she disappeared under the water.

Two hundred 'lost' posters across Inveraray. 'Luna, 15, Long black hair’ and a picture of Luna. Eilidh, Avi and Chloe were sitting at the pier. “Three months.” Chloe said. “Three months without a single word.”

Avi looked at them. “Aye. This is crazy!! Chloe!! Eilidh!! Look!!” Avi went like a deer down the shore, heading straight for a large patch of seaweed. Or they thought it was seaweed…

“She’s still breathing!” Avi was going crazy, jumping around like an idiot, arms flying around his head. Eilidh and Chloe came over to him. “What?” Eilidh said with a sigh. Amongst the seaweed, as cold as the poison, was Luna.

They were all standing around a hospital bed, with flowers and balloons covering the place. Luna opened one blue eye to a light blinking. “Luna?” Eilidh said softly, kneeling by the bed. Luna didn't say a word, but with all her energy, she put her hand on Eilidh’s.


The four of them stood at the beach, looking out at the head of the lake, beyond Inveraray. In the middle of the sunset, there was a huge tail. It waved, and it went under the water for the final time.

People in Oban and the surrounding areas have the chance to discover how they can get involved with their local history at a special event about community heritage.

Celebrating archaeology, history and heritage at a local level, Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference in Oban – which takes place on Saturday 17th September – will focus on the volunteer groups embarking on heritage projects in the Argyll and Bute area and meet communities who are bringing their public buildings back into use for the benefit of the local area.

As well as a series of talks, interactive workshops and displays, the Oban event will feature a special session on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. Hosted by Phil Richardson from Archaeology Scotland, this session will include topics about ‘Right To Buy’ and the ‘Asset Transfer’ schemes and explore what these new changes will mean for community bodies and groups throughout Scotland.

This new legislation, which will be implemented later this year, will bring greater opportunities for publicly-owned assets to be transferred to and managed by local communities. Community and volunteer groups from across the country who are already involved in this process will be on hand to talk about their experiences. Recent such work involving The Oban Communities Trust saw the safeguarding of the former Rockfield Primary School from demolition with their campaign to give the building a sustainable future as a community and cultural hub, now known as The Rockfield Centre.

Commenting on the Community Heritage Conference, Carol Stobie, Audience Development Officer for Historic Environment Scotland’s community engagement project Scotland’s Urban Past, said:

“This conference is the perfect opportunity for people to engage with and discover more about their own local history and heritage. Having the chance to hear both from experts and those involved in community-led projects and initiatives will help those attending to identify potential opportunities for greater community empowerment and participation. With specialists on hand to offer advice, guidance and a series of interactive workshops, it promises to make for an engaging day-long event.”

Highlights include speakers from Oban Communities Trust and the Ardnamurchan History and Heritage Association on their work to celebrate the heritage of the Ardnamurchan peninsula and the historic township of Glenrea.

Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference is organised and delivered in partnership with Archaeology ScotlandHistoric Environment ScotlandScotland's Urban Past, the SCAPE Trust and Dig It! 2017.

The Community Heritage Conference in Oban is the second of three conferences that are being held across Scotland this year. The event takes place on Saturday 17th September, from 10am-5pm at the Argyllshire Gathering Halls, Breadalbane Street, Oban, Argyll, PA34 5NZ. Tickets are priced at £10 each and includes a light lunch and refreshments.

Further information about the event and how to book can be found here.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.
  • Scotland’s Urban Past is a five year community engagement project led by HES and supported by the National Lottery with a grant of £1.65m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Archaeology Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity (SCO01723) working to inspire people to discover, explore and enjoy the past.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering for media release email alerts. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (IAD). Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland's position as an "innovation nation", its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

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For further information, please contact:

Grant Thomson 
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct Line: 0131 668 8603
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