Cascade April 2022

Chief Executive's introduction

Pippa MilneWelcome to the April issue of Cascade. This month, we celebrate a husband and wife duo who together, have worked for the council for over 70 years. What a fantastic achievement!

I am incredibly proud of the council’s Growing our Own initiative that offers opportunities for young people at the start of their working life, to join the council. In this issue, hear from one of our mechanics who started his career as an apprentice and five years on, he shares what he loves about his job.

We are lucky in Argyll and Bute to have so many beautiful places to visit and enjoy. In this issue, colleagues share their favourite spots to enjoy a picnic. Fingers crossed the good weather continues!




Chris and Sandra celebrate 70 years

A husband and wife duo have received long service awards for working with the Council for more than 70 years between them.

Chris Cobain has been with the council for 40 years. He began his career with Strathclyde Council in 1983 as a gardener and general handyman at Clarendon House on Bute, which operated as a holiday home for older people from North Lanarkshire during the summer. He moved to Kames Castle – a children’s home on Bute – in the winter of 1983, when Clarendon House closed for the season, before returning to Clarendon in 1984 for one more summer.

He started working at Thomson Home (now Thomson Court) as a driver/handyman in 1984 and has remained there ever since.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed all my jobs. I’ve also been a member of the bank of social care workers at Thomson Court although I have recently stepped back from this. I’d like to thank all the wonderful people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years at Thomson Court and Thomson Court Day Centre. They have been truly supportive.”

Chris’s wife Sandra is a Registrar and Service Point Officer based at Eaglesham House in Rothesay. She started working for Argyll and Bute District Council in 1988, on a six-month contract in the Poll Tax Office in Rothesay. Sandra then got a job with the rents and rates team based in High Street, and latterly Union Street, where she worked until moving to Eaglesham House in 2008 when it opened as a Customer Service Point.

Sandra says she ‘fell’ into working as a registrar but loves the role: “I was asked if I’d like to do some registration work alongside being a service point officer and I said yes. I love weddings, I love being part of someone’s special day. It’s the same with registering births; it’s such a happy time in people’s lives. At the same time, I like being able to help people in their time of sorrow when their registering a death.”

Sandra loves the variety her job brings. “No two days are ever the same and I like it like that,” she said.

Chris and Sandra have been married for 27 years and have two sons, Ryan, aged 26, and Marc, 22.

James rises up the ranks

James sitting behind the wheel in an Argyll and Bute Council vehicleJames McTaggart from Uist is a great example of someone who has worked their way up the ranks with the council and loves his job as a mechanic.

James started his career as an apprentice mechanic at the Council’s Millpark depot in Oban when he was just 17. He travelled to Glasgow for two months to complete his training over a three-year period. Just five years later, he is now a qualified HGC mechanic based at Jackson’s Quarry.

James has also gained his Class 2 driving licence and is certified to operate a telehandler and other elevated platforms, such as a cherry picker.

Talking about the job, he said: “I’d highly recommend a job as a mechanic with the council. Fleet services is a great, hard working and fun department.

There’s great team morale and if you’re ever stuck the other depots are always happy to lend a hand or offer advice down the phone.

Working for the council has lots of perks but the best ones are definitely the good hours, the opportunities to gain other qualifications while in the job, and career progression.”

Congratulations to the Communications Team

Images shows a white background with the words PRCA Dare Awards 2022 FinalistWell done to the Communications Team who are finalists in the PRCA Dare Awards 2022 for ‘In-house team of the year’. Good luck to the team for the results in June.



Hidden gems

From sparkling lochs to beautiful beaches, there is no shortage of stunning scenery here in Argyll and Bute. We’ve asked colleagues to share their favourite picnic spots so grab a blanket, some sausage rolls and a flask of tea, and make the most from what’s on our doorstep.

Image shows two children walking on Carskiey Beach with the waves crashing in Inneans Bay. Images taken from a height overlooking the bayCommunications Officer Aileen MacLennan found it difficult selecting just one perfect picnic spot, so she choose two.

“The first is The Inneans Bay which lies on the coast between Machrihanish and Southend. It’s a bit of a trek to get there but it’s worth every blister.”

“The second is Carskiey Beach in Southend. Even in the wildest weather, it’s stunning.”

Douglas Grierson is the Council’s Sustainable Transport Co-ordinator. His favourite place in Argyll and Bute is Castle Dounie viewpoint.

He said: “There are so many fantastic places to visit in Argyll and Bute, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but I’ve gone for Castle Dounie on the Crinan Trail mainly because it is close to where I live. The Crinan Trail is a really nice walk with some great views of the landscape and seascape of Argyll.”

Esther Clarke works in education as an Administration and Management Information Officer. Her favourite spot to go for a picnic with her son Eli (pictured) is Bishop’s Seat in Dunoon.

She said: “It is a long walk, but the views (and extra snacks) are well worth the effort!”

Cristie Moore is a Gaelic Development Worker with the Council. Cristie’s hidden gem is the beach close to the Marine Centre at Dunstaffanage near Oban.

Calling all budding photographers

Image taken on Iona shows the sign for the post office overlooking a red letter box with the sea in the backgroundWith summer just around the corner, we’re looking for great images celebrating all that Argyll and Bute has to offer. We had a great response when we asked colleagues to send in scenic shots to use as backdrops in Teams and we need your help again.

This time round, we want to share your images on MyCouncilWorks and on Instagram. They can be landscape shots or feature activities including walking, swimming or climbing. Maybe your pet is a social media influencer and you want to share their photos out and about in Argyll and Bute! We would love to hear from you.

Thanks to Jim Smith, Head of Roads and Infrastructure for sharing his fantastic image taken in Iona.

Please send your images to

Many thanks
The Communications Team

Choose local with the Argyll and Bute gift card

A person holds an Argyll and Bute gift cardIf you struggle to find the perfect gift – whether that’s for a birthday, wedding or simply a thank you present, why not buy an Argyll and Bute gift card?

It works just the same as a gift voucher. Simply choose how much you want to add to the card and send it to the recipient. They can choose to spend their gift card from over 100 independent businesses across Argyll and Bute.

From bespoke jewellery to luxury beauty products, diving expeditions to pub grub. There is a huge range of products and experiences for people to choose.

Buy a gift card and you help keep spending local and support businesses across Argyll and Bute who really need our help.

Visit to purchase your gift card and find out more about the scheme.



Get in touch

If you would like to feature in the May issue of Cascade, we would love to hear from you. Please email