DENNIS Canavan (Letters, July 10) may be correct when he says that "there are still selfish landowners who use fences, locked gates and notices to stop people exercising their legal right to access". He fails to mention that there is another side to the argument. There is a legal difference between simply the right to roam and the right to access land in Scotland.

The main problem is that in wishing to exercising their rights many members of the public take little heed of the areas of land which is specifically excluded, and when challenged insist that "it's my right" and when further asked if they would like strangers to wander through their garden up to the front door of their house, still take the view that what they are doing "is their right".

While the public have the immediate ability to complain to their local council and name places of concern, it is of no help to those residents to complain to the access officer of the local council that one's right to a degree of privacy is being constantly eroded.

As I write this a stranger, complete with backpack, has just sat down on a bench in front of my window and is busy using his phone. I live in a block of flats surrounded by private land. While people have the right to access the perimeter they do not have the right to pathways round the building.

It is said that "a little learning is a dangerous thing". Nevertheless I would commend more than a browse through The Law of Access to Land in Scotland by Malcolm M Combe, rather than ploughing through the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

Robin Johnston, Newton Mearns.


I READ with great interest your article "How Scotland became a world leader in treating heart disease", The Herald, July 10).

I am a retired consultant physician/cardiologist and worked for 25 years in Ayrshire. You do well in commending the excellent work of Drs Julian and Oliver but I would draw your attention to the work of myself and my former colleagues Dr Gavin Shaw and Dr Andrew Allison who conducted a trial of early mobilisation of patients who had sustained a myocardial infarction (heart attack) commencing in 1964 in the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow. The results of this trial were published in the Scottish Medical Journal 1967 ,12, 297, "The Management of Myocardial Infarction: the effect of early mobilisation" and followed up by a series of papers in a number of medical journals. My own MD thesis was on this subject. These showed no adverse effects from early mobilisation and a number of benefits in the reduction of medical complications, psychological problems and improved return to work statistics.

I gave lectures and talks on the subject all over the country and abroad, including lectures at the World Congress of Cardiology in Tokyo in 1978 and Washington in 1986.

The concept spread rapidly all over the world, that bed rest was not necessarily a good thing, and that early mobilisation was, and was adopted by many other specialties such as obstetrics, orthopaedics and general surgery and is now the norm. "Early to bed, early to rise" was our catchphrase.

I think it is important to put the record straight and remember the immense contribution to coronary care made by my colleagues and myself.

Bernard M Groden MD, FRCP Glasg, FRCP Edin, Glasgow.


LAST Friday I suffered the indignity of falling whilst disembarking from a ScotRail train on to the low platform at Dunkeld & Birnham Station. The conductor did remind us about the low platform, and I had used the station before, so I was aware of the problem. ScotRail staff and a member of the public came to my rescue, and I am glad to report that, apart from a sore knee, I am doing fine. To provide some background, I am 76, a keen walker and cyclist. I have disembarked from trains many hundreds of times over my life and have never fallen before.

But things could have been much worse. A broken hip at my age is, unfortunately, associated with a much-increased chance of dying within a year.

The rail operators whose trains use this station appear to be satisfied with the argument that “as long as we warn the passengers about the low platform then we are in the clear”. And so they go on using a potentially dangerous facility and hoping that nothing too serious happens. I find it hard to imagine that the argument would withstand a legal challenge. Surely passengers should expect a safe environment throughout the rail network?

Roderick McLeod, Nethy Bridge.


LETTER writers over the past week have commented on various aspects of sports commentary and punditry but I am slightly surprised no one has highlighted some of our own, home-grown “experts” (on BBC Radio Scotland, in particular) who regularly treat us to such gems as “they players” and “them people”.

May be we should get our own house in order before throwing pelters at Gary Lineker, who can at least speak the Queen’s English.

James Miller, Kirkwall.


I STARTED reading Fidelma Cook's first Herald column ("I feel an excitement that, as a woman of a certain age, I haven’t felt in years”, Herald Magazine, July 10) feeling really sad, but when I got to her description of French villages after 8pm, I laughed out loud, and frightened the cat.

This is my experience of villages in La France Profonde and the experience of most Francophiles I have spoken to. But I love it anyway, as did Fidelma, once she became acclimatised. If this is what I can expect reading the best of her columns, maybe I won't be as sad as I had anticipated.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.

*SO glad you decided to re-publish Fidelma's first Herald column.


Ian Sommerville, Largs.