Letters to the editor

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Celtic festival success


I would like to extend our thanks to everybody who helped to bring last weekend’s Celtic and Pictish Festival back to Lochgilphead.

From everybody who helped make arrangements and the volunteers who helped to set up and then clean up the site, to the workshop providers, re-enactment group and stall holders – everybody involved had a hand in making the day a great success and we look forward to next year’s event being bigger and better.

Brian MacLennan

Lochgilphead Community Council


I was thrilled to hear that Michael Russell MSP is concerned about the proposed Sound of Jura fish farm, and how reassuring it was to read that, as regards any aquaculture or similar, there is a ‘strict regulatory framework’ in place.

Are these the same regulations he assiduously imposed when he was Minister for the Environment? As the problems regarding fish farms poisoning the sea is a long standing one, I rather doubt it, but who knows?

And are these the same ones being ignored by his government and its agencies?

Mr Russell seems to want to be known as ‘the man who brought the beaver back to Scotland’, but while pursuing this he may have overlooked the activities of fish farm interests.

So just being concerned about the seabed is foolish? How like a politician to belittle a genuine concern just because it is not couched in mealy-mouthed phrases, half truths and prevarication. If he had seen the presentation of sub-sea flora and fauna he would perhaps be less dismissive.

But then, there are no votes under the sea.

I am quite sure that I may have got a fact or two wrong but, since speaking from a standpoint of ignorance is not the exclusive preserve of politicians I am quite comfortable with that.

Yet again the same tired old excuse for environmental damage equalling jobs is trotted out. It is high time someone told the truth about these endeavours. I see that some wind farms pay communities funding to buy favour the way wind farm developers do. What will we get from aquaculture – rides on submersible tractors?

I do hope that in his latest incarnation as Brexit minister Mr Russell  doesn’t forget the stand he has taken in opposition to the fish farm and all such matters, though these will no doubt pale into insignificance compared to the thrill of opposing the will of the people.

Alexander Hamilton, Tayvallich


Minister should visit


I wrote a week or two back about the dangerous bend at Strone Point, near Inveraray.

I was interested in the replies to my letter from Julie Sutton, published in the July 21 edition of the Advertiser, and the letter in last week’s edition from Robert Wakeham.

I am glad that both recognise that this is a bad corner and that failure to reach agreement between the trunk roads authority and the appointed contractor is a sorry state of affairs.

The A83 is a trunk road. Argyll and Bute does not have a single dual carriageway anywhere on its trunk roads. Other parts of Scotland do have dual carriageways.

We will probably never have any dual carriageways as the cost would be enormous. So please, please try to make the roads we have which are like the curate’s egg – good in parts – better throughout.

The Strone bend is particularly serious. Perhaps temporary (never permanent) traffic lights would assist at peak times until the necessary work is done.

Narrowing a trunk road is not a good idea, though it was done a good few years ago at Minard to instal a footpath for those living in the shore houses there.

Could not our MSP, Michael Russell, persuade his colleague responsible for roads to visit and see for himself this dangerous bend. Mr Yousaf has visited the Rest and be Thankful and things seem to be somewhat better there now, though not perfect.

I am sure the police and roads authorities would be pleased to give the minister full details of accidents, with death and serious injury statistics available should he visit this site.

The road is really part of the old ‘military road’ over the Rest to Inveraray and north to Fort William. It served remarkably well, with some alterations, until the late 1940s onwards, when even then a car was pretty fast that could reach a top speed just over 50mph, and likewise motorbikes.

Times change. This bend has not.

Niall Iain MacLean, Inveraray

On behalf of carers


Did your readers know that there are 6.8 million carers in the UK and every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility?

Unpaid carers face huge challenges providing care for disabled or older loved ones. For instance, according to our own research, a third of carers have never had any significant time off since they started caring. Would you like to do something about that?

I work for a fantastic charity called Revitalise. We provide much-needed respite holidays for disabled people and carers at three accessible UK centres, and we’re appealing to the nation on BBC Radio 4 to ask for more support for the nation’s unsung army of carers.

Our Appeal will be presented by our good friend, the writer and comedian Arthur Smith, who is a Vice-President of Revitalise. Arthur talks about his own experience as a carer for his mother Hazel, then goes on tell the story of Mavis and Colin, who recently benefitted from a respite break with Revitalise, which helped sustain their relationship.

Mavis and Colin have been married for 56 years. When Mavis developed MS in her 20s, Colin gave up work to care for her, but was himself diagnosed with dementia in 2002 and Mavis is now his carer.

We want to help thousands more couples just like Mavis and Colin but to do so we need your help, so please tune in and support this very worthy cause. The appeal will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday August 13 at 7.55am and 9.26pm, then repeated on Thursday 17 August at 3.27pm.

To find out more about our Appeal, visit our website: www.revitalise.org.uk Please help.

Colin Brook, Revitalise, London

Avoid stalking conflict


As Scotland’s deer stalking season gets into full swing, a web-based service to avoid conflict between walkers and stalkers has been relaunched.

This year Scottish Natural Heritage has worked with partners including Mountaineering Scotland and the Association of Deer Management Groups to create a more user-friendly service, which has expanded again this year, particularly in the north-west Highlands, and is accessible from mobiles and tablets.

The site provides information on specific Munros, Corbetts and other popular hills. It also includes routes that are ‘always okay’ and general information such as when the estate will start stag stalking and the days of the week when stalking does not take place.

The web service is a quick way to check that you won’t disturb deer stalking when heading to participating hills between July and October. We hope that you find the service easy to use and would welcome feedback by email to HFTSH@snh.gov.uk .

We expect the service to continue to grow, so if the hills you want to climb aren’t included on the site, it’s worth taking another look before you head out.

The website helps walkers follow the advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code to try and find out where stag stalking is taking place and who to contact if more information is required.

The code also encourages walkers to take account of reasonable advice on alternative routes and to avoid crossing land where stalking is taking place.

The website can be found at www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/hftsh

Fiona Cuninghame, SNH recreation and access officer and James Orpwood, Mountaineering Scotland access officer