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Views on our landscape

Down the years, there have been more than a few daft ideas on how better to promote Scotland's landscape.

But the three-year, £1.5 million Scottish Government initiative Scottish Scenic Routes, launched yesterday, is not one of them.

Developing vantage points to enhance the appreciation of particular views by locals and visitors alike is not only sensible but overdue. The landscape and our place within it have sustained Scottish creativity, in our poetry, prose, music, art. They continue to do so.

From Norman MacCaig's Assynt to Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Mearns and from the gable ends of John Lowrie Morrison's croft houses to the Gaelic songs of exile, there has been a constant dialogue between the artistic spirit and the physical geography in Scotland.

But there should be a way of opening up the process for selecting the next viewpoints, so that local communities can have an input.

We seem to consult on everything else, so why not viewpoints? After all, there are now votes to name new CalMac ferries. It might well be that the best views are not those in the guide books.

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