I HAVE seen the information published by Transport Scotland on its website about plans for new roads to bypass the problematic Rest and be Thankful part of the A83. It lists 11 different proposals, and is seeking comments.

The first listed option is to reconfigure the existing route up Glen Croe, either on the north-east slope (where the existing road runs) or on the opposite south-west slope. There is no indication of how the problems of the existing road would be overcome, however. And I have read that the south-west slope has similar potential problems. Nevertheless I am guessing that one of these will be the eventual choice, as the other options listed are clearly unsatisfactory in various ways. Maybe the engineers can come up with a magic solution in Glen Croe, but it would have to be radically different from what has been tried in the past, and correspondingly more costly.

The most realistic of the other options are via Glen Finglas and Inverarnan and via Glen Fyne and Inverarnan. But these both involve road construction which would seem to be just as difficult as either route up Glen Croe. And they would also involve non-trivial increases in driving distances for most routes.

The other options involve essentially new routes, any of which would be excellent in themselves as extensions to the national road system. But as substitutes for a Rest and be Thankful road, all of them would seriously reduce convenience in that area (i.e. around the north ends of Loch Lomond, Loch Long and Loch Fyne). And they would also be very expensive, as they involve the construction of large bridges across sea lochs (even across the Firth of Clyde). One of them goes from West Kilbride to Lochgilphead via the Isle of Bute, involving four substantial new bridges. That is pure fantasy. I have the feeling that options 4 to 11 on the list are included simply to be rejected.

But there is another option, which is not on the list given by Transport Scotland, namely a tunnel through from the head of Glen Croe to Glen Kinglas. This has been suggested before. Has it been seriously considered? It would need to be about two kilometres in length only. The Italians, the Norwegians and the Swiss can build road tunnels. Why can’t we? Surely such a tunnel would be no more expensive than the big bridges suggested for the other routes? And it would preserve the A83, which is a very useful route.

Alan Hamilton, Uddingston.


EVERY time I walk (or cycle) through Pollok Country Park I see more cars and dogs than wildlife. When I used to saunter through Royal Lazienki Park in Warsaw (a park whose wild majesty, over the course of three years exploring it, I celebrated in various poems, paintings and essays), I was always pleased to see no sign of cars, and also no sign of dogs. There were however plenty of people, deer, woodpeckers, and wildlife. Having cars (and a road running through your country park's heart) along with too many dogs (and their irresponsible owners) scares off wildlife when it doesn't vitiate the entire "country park" aspect.

More significantly, having cars and dogs (most of which are running free and not on a leash) in a country park puts the domesticated and the de-wilded (if not the bark of the dog and the fume of the exhaust) first whilst the wild (the naturally pristine and uncontaminated) is relegated to a distant second. Which is kind of like turning a cathedral into a creche when you're not turning it into a car park.

Mike Roman, Glasgow G51.


AS we come towards the end of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain it is with sadness that we have learned that the Royal Air Force has decided to cease use of the term Royal Auxiliary Air Force or its abbreviation RAuxAF, when describing or referring to reservists within this force. Instead the RAF directive, issued on September 1, replaced the iconic Force name with the bland term "RAF Reserves".

Almost one quarter of all squadrons that took part in the Battle of Britain were Auxiliary squadrons yet they were responsible for the destruction of more than one-third of enemy aircraft shot down. In recognition of this impressive performance King George V1 conferred the title Royal on the Auxiliary Air Force.

Further the imposed change has removed the post nominals RAuxAF from those entitled to use them. The questionable rational is that use of titles such as Royal Auxiliary Air Force or Royal Air Force reserve are overly complex and are not well understood within or external to the RAF. The Royal Auxiliary Air Force Foundation records, preserves and promotes the history and achievements of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force's formation in 1924 up to the present day. Tradition should not die in the ashes but be carried forward in the flames. As the senior squadron we of 602 ask: is the RAF at risk at losing another thread of its history? Cave Leonem Cruciatum. Good advice.

Ax 55D-1, Roderick K MacGregor, Honorary Secretary 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron R Aux AF Museum Association, Glasgow G2.