THE Colintraive community

has lost one of its outstanding members with the death of Archie Clark.

He was born at Dunallan Farm on Bute but moved to the Colintraive area in his early months. He was educated at Southhall Primary School, followed by two years at Colintraive School. Although he never had the benefit of further education and never obtained formal qualifications, these things were no handicap to him. He was one of life's instinctive seamen and this natural skill served him well throughout his life.

From his early days, he played and worked with boats - repairing them, sailing them, and adapting them to suit particular needs. He could take a rusty engine, lying in bits on the foreshore, and within a short period he would have it running. The experience that could do a thing like that came from doing and not from looking!

Archie, with his own boat called the ''Marjory'' (named after his sister) provided the ferry services between Colintraive and Rhubodach on Bute. Many a time he never charged his passengers. If someone was stranded on one side after ''normal'' hours, Archie would start up the ferry, transporting them across with no thought of payment. Many a time the shinty team or the young adults would be due back on the blackest of nights and Archie would be waiting to meet them and would not charge them.

During the war, Archie ran a ferry service first with his brother Neil. After Neil was called up, he joined with Jake Turner to provide services to the Royal Navy. They were contracted to ferry supplies between the Renfrewshire coast and the Holy Loch and also meeting, further down the Clyde, the ships that had seen action, ferrying the wounded to hospitals in the area.

After the war, he continued with his own ferry business transporting papers and milk round the Kyles to Tighnabruiach in the time before the road was built. It was at that same time that Lord Bute introduced the first roll on-roll off ferry at the narrows between Colintraive and Rhubodach. This ferry was converted from an old landing craft and Archie was the first skipper.

Many people sailing in the Kyles today will recall from their early years the skills that they learned from Archie. He was always willing to share what he knew about boats with others. The children then and now loved him and learned from him. He was constantly looking for an opportunity to help others without payment and without publicity.

Archie was known as the ''King of the Kyles''. He knew every rock and obstacle on the seabed. It didn't matter how dark the night, he could instinctively calculate the height of the tide and rate of the current, and without hesitation he could land you on a gravel spit of your choice. He knew the best fishing in the Kyles. If one day his catch was too big he simply went round all the houses until he had given it away.

Archie, like all of us, was not without his faults, yet I never heard him say a derogatory thing about someone else. Moreover, he was a person whose skills were available for the good of anyone in the

community or any visitor to it. He is survived by his sister, May. All of us in this community and elsewhere are the poorer for his passing.