AS the businesses of Arran count the cost of the breakdown of the MV Caledonian Isles over the entire Easter weekend and as the travellers who never made it to their holiday destination consider ever coming back ("Calmac launches probe after vessel ‘crashes’ into harbour", The Herald, April 19), it is worth noting that the 38-year-old MV Isle of Arran has once again taken up the slack in doing what she can to reduce the damage to the Calmac timetable.

She is an absolute stalwart that has acted as relief vessel during the breakdowns of many of the much more modern ferries around the west coast of Scotland in her long life with a high level of reliability and very few breakdowns. Not bad for a ferry launched by Ferguson's at Port Glasgow in 1983, on time and on budget.

If the MV Glen Sannox ever makes it to the lower reaches of the Clyde, she will spend the first two years of her life plying to Troon, a 40 per cent increase in voyage distance with consequences for CO2 emissions and fuel usage. Will the RET (Road Equivalent Tarrif) be increased to the temporary route which will almost certainly become permanent, as the cost of essential alterations of the Ardrossan Terminal to take the new, over-sized ferry is now £60 million?

The good burghers of Arran have had difficulty securing a vehicle booking for some time and now it appears that the solution of the MV Glen Sannox will be an albatross around their necks with increased costs, journey times and a reduced service frequency.

Perhaps the First Minister, who now has a little more time on her hands, could exchange the daily Covid briefing for one on Calmac ferries. It would certainly be a more accurate reflection of the performance of the Scottish Government and the companies that it owns.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.


AFTER my letter published last week (April 11) describing the fall and fall of Glasgow Airport, I was surprised that a corporate body like the airport's owner made no response.

Upon investigating the background of AGS Airport Holdings, what emerges?

The company's main directors are Spanish and of 11 directors only two are engineers, the remainder are lawyers, financiers or bankers. How is that to run a complex technical concept?

Its UK base is listed as Leeds, but on examination that seems to be only an accommodation address. Presumably mail and the like is sent to Spain.

That almost implies that AGS is probably unaware of all that has occurred recently both importantly to its airport and to the current correspondence at a level that might respond with an explanation, or I daresay an excuse.

Also following on from my earlier letter and subsequent correspondence, Glasgow Airport once was indeed exceedingly progressive. Its management team was actively considering building a further international finger, the location being the large expanse between the existing international finger and the Loganair hangar that was prepared. Also thoughts were turning at one time as to how a second runway could be built.

I think after AGS took over, and when not even the travelator in the international finger's corridor could be repaired, we might have seen a sign of things to come.

John Taylor, Dunlop.


THE ending of face mask use will reduce Covid, as it is those very devices that have assisted its spread.

Masks that are constantly adjusted, taken on and off, and probably rarely washed, simply become dirty handkerchiefs that are soaked in condensed breath, saliva, and other facial emissions. One sees them removed at restaurant tables, laid on the table, then scrumped into pockets and handbags as a prelude to the handling of menus and cutlery.

Masks should be worn constantly or not at all, the latter being preferable.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

* SCOTTISH mask mandates have finally been dropped. Judging by scientific research this is long overdue.

A 2021 Belgian study on masks lead-authored by Lize Delanghe found that after four hours of use 43 per cent of bacterial colonies on masks were resistant to widely-used antibiotics.

They found that the best mask-cleaning methods were boiling, ironing with a steam iron or washing at 60C with detergent. Cleaning should be done daily as a minimum.

In their survey of 25,000 participants only 21% of responders reported cleaning their cotton face masks daily, 27% washed them weekly and 6% never washed them. Only 8% of surgical mask users threw them away after each use, and 15% only threw them away if they were visibly damaged or dirty; 36% had a health complaint when wearing a mask.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


I FULLY agree with Vicky Allan ("Do we really have to choose between rewilding and eating?", The Herald, April 19).

At the start of the Second World War, all ground was turned over to growing food, from people's smallest front gardens to every bit of spare ground in Britain. This is what we must do now, as many people as possible who are willing must be given a piece of ground and shown how to grow food plants.

We must also continue with protecting our trees and wild places because the Earth is a self-regulating organism, which does not function independently. It functions as part of the green chain, and human beings must realise they are part of the green chain, or web of life. Until we humans fully understand that our food supply depends on microbes, insects, plants, animals, (including human beings) we will not weather these crises.

To protect the ecosystem we are all part of means understanding that each of us must co-operate. Complaining about the actions of those who know the importance of protecting our wild places is not helpful.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


AS a keen composter I can very much relate to R Russell Smith's comments on the propriety of peeing on the compost (Letters, April 19). The expert on the subject is of course Bob Flowerdew of the BBC's Gardeners Question Time; the recycling of beer and cider is one of his many areas of expertise, but the trick, of course, is in the execution of the process.

Standing on an adjacent wall is not recommended. I believe Bob retires to the shed with a watering can, as I do.

John Jamieson, Ayr.