Letters, June 11 2021


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Ferry prices could put passengers off

Having waited five weeks for the delayed start of our ferry to Ardrossan, I was excited to plan a trip out of Kintyre.

Since the new timetable has all sailings stopping in Brodick, allowing only four hours in Glasgow, I decided on a trip to Arran.

However the price for this is off-putting. Campbeltown to Brodick – a distance of 20.9 miles – for a car return journey is £81.90, only marginally cheaper than the return fare from Campbeltown to Ardrossan which is £88.50.

Compare this with the return fare from Brodick to Ardrossan at £33.10 for a distance of 14.6 miles.

With the additional stop in Brodick giving a journey time of three hours 40 minutes, I can’t see many Kintyre residents using this service.

It seems that the CalMac ferry fleet is not fit-for-purpose but it is very interesting to note that between 1901 and 1903 the passenger steamer Glen Sannox ran a seasonal service from Ardrossan to Campbeltown which took only two hours 25 minutes!

Surely after 120 years we could expect a better service with faster, more efficient ships for the 21st century.

Catherine Dobbie, Campbeltown.

Islay hand sanitiser dispenser vandalised

I was out for my evening walk in Port Charlotte recently and sadly came across a vandalised hand sanitiser dispenser which was previously attached to the bus shelter just across from the Rhinns Medical Centre.

I gathered up the broken parts of the hand sanitiser dispenser and placed them on the bus shelter seat.

This is yet another incident of vandalism that has been happening on Islay recently.

Unfortunately I have had many reports from my constituents of littering, vandalism and general anti-social behaviour.

This is not typical of our friendly and welcoming island community and must be addressed with a more active presence of our local police.

I have contacted the police about this and have also raised these ongoing issues at a council level.

‘Business as usual’ is not the right approach to this problem in my opinion.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands.

The vandalised hand sanitiser dispenser.
The vandalised hand sanitiser dispenser.

Young people and mental health

Resourcing mental health treatment for young people has never been more important, after new statistics from Public Health Scotland indicated that 161 young people in the NHS Highland area sought treatment between January and March 2021.

Sadly, the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have taken a toll on the mental wellbeing of many young people across the country including here in the Highlands and Islands.

We should remember that the consequences of this can be long-lasting. As the report notes, the majority of adult mental health problems begin in childhood with 50 per cent of mental health problems established by age 14.

This is a reason why my party will continue to push for 10 per cent of the health budget in Scotland to be spent directly on tackling mental health issues.

Although NHS Highland’s waiting time track record is better than the Scottish average, with 75.2 per cent people seen within 18 weeks, that is still well below the Scottish Government’s own target of at least 90 per cent of patients being seen within that timeframe.

It has never been more important to ensure that young people receive the help they need, when they need it.

Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands MSP.

Let’s paws plastic

The Scottish SPCA is pledging 500 miles to Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Summer Clean.

Keep Scotland Beautiful is asking people to pledge time to pick up litter over the campaign from May 28 until June 20 where one hour equals three miles.

Staff members across the society will be taking part in the Paws on Plastic initiative, alongside Keep Scotland Beautiful’s campaign, encouraging people to pick up at least two pieces of litter per dog walk.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity received 273 calls to its helpline about animals affected by litter from January to May.

That’s almost two incidents every day and a similar figure to the same period in 2020 when there were 265 accounts.

We see first-hand the devastating consequences litter can have on animals. Seals and birds get caught up in fishing line or wire or animals can ingest small pieces of rubbish and choke or die.

The sad thing is that these injuries and deaths are entirely avoidable if people just disposed of their rubbish responsibly.

We are proud to be making a difference by taking part in Paws on Plastic for the Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Summer Clean.

The Scottish SPCA is dedicated to improving the lives of animals through protecting environments and habitats to ensure Scotland’s wildlife can thrive for years to come.

Picking up litter will help people respect their environment and protect animals from the dangers of litter.

No matter how small, it has the potential to be hazardous or lethal to pets, wildlife and farm animals.

The public should exercise caution and be careful when picking up litter and we ask that children taking part be accompanied by a responsible adult.

We recommend picking up litter with a dog bag or litter picker to avoid direct contact with any litter and do not pick up anything that could be harmful like glass or sharp objects.

Any syringes found should not be picked up but reported to the local authority emergency waste uplift informing them of the location of the syringe.

Anything that can be done to protect animals is so appreciated and it will have a wonderful effect on the local community too.

Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA chief superintendent.