MARTIN Williams's article on the Rest And Be Thankful ("Race to stop 100,000 tons of debris falling on Rest And Be Thankful", The Herald, February 16) was most apposite appearing in the same edition as Catriona Stewart’s column on tunnels ("Irish Sea tunnel plan shows lack of ambition", The Herald, February 16) – surely the answer to this long-running saga in Argyll? Why cannot a long-term engineering solution be found instead of piecemeal sticking plasters costing a fortune over time? One does not require to be an engineer to see from pictures that placing barriers to catch debris on such a steep slope is a futile exercise, especially if the barriers do not extend the full length of the problem area.

I cannot believe the terrain to be unique in the world, where many solutions abound and if the Rest And Be Thankful could be transferred to the Alps with a large ski resort at the end, I can predict a solution, regardless of cost, would be found in a single season and be quickly implemented. The long-suffering residents of Argyll deserve better and we read that after all these years only now are we at the stage where 11 corridor options were presented to the public last year with a decision this spring – the question to be asked is: what are they waiting for?

Many of these 11 options include by-passing the Rest and Be Thankful altogether and adding many miles to existing journeys. A visitor to the Faroe Islands will be impressed with their 19 large tunnels, built in some case to join up an island for only couple of hundred residents but it is important to them. Throughout the world avalanche galleries can solve landslip problems and not just for snow, where debris goes over the top. Have they been considered and rejected?

Time to forget grandiose tunnels in the Irish Sea, let’s sort out some of our many problems in Scotland first of all.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.


NEIL Mackay asks for suggestions as to how he might persuade a loved one to agree to a Covid vaccination ("The sadness, fear and upset of having a vaccine refusenik as a loved one", The Herald, February 18).

It is clear that he cares deeply about the welfare of this person and has gone the extra mile in attempting to change his, or her, mind, but without success.

It is possible that the more he has tried, the greater the resistance has built up, and that it is now time to stop trying.

In doing so, he will explain that it does not mean that he has abandoned his views that the vaccine would benefit the loved one as well as the wider community, but that both parties have to get on with their day-to-day living. He would hope that the person would recognise that, while he continues to care as much for them as before, he or she would understand why he may not find it possible to visit as frequently as in the past. This from concern about either of them potentially contracting or spreading infection.

In easing any perceived pressure, it is possible that Neil's loved one may reconsider their decision and that this will give Neil some peace of mind.

Neil's concern for the best interests of his friend or relative and for sharing his dilemma with readers is to be commended.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

* NEIL Mackay writes that someone he cares for will not agree to have the vaccine. He mentions the person is "anti" a lot of things, particularly if instigated by authorities. I am of a similar frame of mind. The more some medication, policy, dictat is in favour, the more I will deny it, until foraging research; and then satisfied in my own mind, I will decide what to do.

It may not be what other people want, but the decision is what's best for my circumstance. The more family and friends try to persuade or pressurise me, the less inclined I am to concur. So, Neil, maybe don't mention the vaccine issue again to the person you love. As an adult, let them decide for her/himself.

Lesley Barrow, Edinburgh.

* NEIL Mackay wants to know how to convince vaccine sceptics. It's fairly hopeless. A plumber came round to repair my boiler. He was a young man, wearing a face mask. I asked him if he had had his jag. He said no, and he would refuse to have one. I asked him why. "They may have bad side effects," he said, "and I don't want to produce three-legged babies." I decided to leave him alone with the boiler. Sorry not to have any more constructive ideas.

Helen Ross, Bridge of Allan.

PHARMACEUTICAL Giant Glaxo Smith Kline currently advertises its pain relief product Voltarol on TV using a scooterist going for a spin with a young child in the side-car.  Both are suitably kitted with helmets. There is no excessive speed but unfortunately the scooter is driven off clearly on the wrong side (actually, on the right-hand side ) of the road.  Obviously, the message of a soothing effect miscarries due to consequent hazards on the road ahead.
Allan C Steele, Giffnock. 


DO I read the headlines in The Herald first at breakfast in the morning, or perhaps the latest Covid figures, or even the sports section to see what games are on TV in the evening? No, I turn to the centre pages to see Steven Camley’s latest cartoon. He has reached a new level of excellence over recent weeks. His often hard-hitting but hilarious pictorial commentaries are ... well, brilliant. Thank you.

Bill Dalgleish, Sanquhar.