I BOOKED my car and caravan on the Ardrossan/Brodick ferry approximately two months ago for one of my several annual holiday trips to the Isle of Arran.

Regrettably Calmac has cancelled my booking with just over a week before the trip was scheduled to take place. Calmac, trying to be "helpful", has advised that I can still travel to Arran via Claonaig, which is fine, because whilst it is a four-hour trip from my home, I know the route like the back of my hand since I've had to travel it so often due to last-minute cancellations in the past.

So why did I want to raise my latest holiday ferry booking problem? Quite simply I am utterly fed up with the lottery operated by Calmac which leaves travellers to Scottish islands in the position where they are unable to guarantee whether they can either reach or return from their chosen destination on the dates booked.

I might lose out on a holiday which in the overall scheme of things is a relatively minor issue, but perhaps more importantly the long-suffering island communities will also lose out. For example Janie's cafe just outside Brodick will not be serving me or my other seven family members lunch, neither will The Coffee Pot in Whiting Bay, the Lochranza Caravan Site won't be getting our booking, the Stag Pavilion in Lochranza won't serve us dinner, Pirnmill Stores along with numerous others won't receive our custom.

All of those businesses which need a reliable ferry service to exist are significantly disadvantaged by the mess that is our so-called island ferry services. I don't know whether Calmac or the Scottish Government is to blame but I do know that the current situation cannot continue with its current hit or miss approach.

This would be an ideal time for our new First Minister to show that, although under the previous regime he was part of a Government which was unable to successfully build ships on time, he can successfully deliver projects on time for the people of Scotland.

John S Milligan, Kilmarnock.

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Read more: We must get rid of the unfair standing charges

We must press on with DRS

REPORTS suggest the UK Government may seek to block the introduction of Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. Ludicrously Whitehall believes the scheme should be delayed to protect cross-border trading. In Scotland drinks producers and even candidates for First Minister have erroneously suggested the scheme should be delayed to safeguard business interests.

Attempts to water down and delay Scotland’s DRS are wholly unacceptable. By including glass bottles in its proposed DRS Scotland has thus far led the rest of the UK in building a scheme that works for people and planet. Capturing 90 percent of the glass bottles in the scope of the scheme would enable Scotland to recycle 504 million glass containers each year.

In England and Northern Ireland, glass bottles are set to be excluded despite 75 per cent of Britons demanding their inclusion. And the DRS there is not expected to go live before October 2025 – more than two years after Scotland.

In Scotland the proposed delay is not to join forces with a greater, more ambitious UK-wide DRS, but actually a way for brands and retailers putting glass on the market to exempt themselves from their producer obligations. A 2020 report from Changing Markets Foundation exposed the hypocrisy of some global corporations, who claim to be tackling the waste crisis while fighting legislation behind closed doors. And this is exactly what is happening now in Scotland with the glass industry.

We call on both Holyrood and Westminster to push ahead and deliver a DRS that will protect the environment for future generations and create a market free from needless distortion. That means introducing deposit systems with glass bottles included north and south of the border.

James Dornan MSP, Scottish National Party; Maggie Chapman MSP, Green Party; Ariane Burgess MSP, Green Party; Ross Greer MSP, Green Party; Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Green Party; Dr Sian Henley, University of Edinburgh; Professor Dora Scholarios, University of Strathclyde; Professor Maria Dornelas, University of St Andrews; Professor Elizabeth Kirk, Centre for Ecological Justice; Steve Hynd, Policy Manager, City to Sea.

Anglers should look in mirror

YET again the anglers representative organisation Wild Fish blames salmon farming for the decline of wild salmon stocks ("Scottish salmon farms failing to control lice, says report", heraldscotland, March 29). It chooses to ignore the fact that the decline of wild salmon on the west coast in the areas around salmon farms mirrors the similar decline on the east coast where there is no salmon farming.

Since records began in 1952, anglers in Scotland have caught and killed for sport around 5.9 million wild fish. These are fish that have returned to Scottish rivers to breed but were prevented from doing so. Wild Fish now wonders why there are so few left?

Dr Martin Jaffa, Callander McDowell, London.

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We owe it all to the Bible

I WAS intrigued to read the misquote in the Herald Diary (March 25), "Gentlemen, do you not see that the handwriting is down the hall?" I presume that what was meant is, "the writing's on the wall". This of course comes directly from the book of Daniel (Chapter 5:5-31) in the Bible when indeed mysterious writing appeared on the wall and Daniel anticipated from the sentence that the current king would be deposed by the invading Medes and Persians.

Here are some other idioms in general use which may not be known as coming from the Bible: 1, No peace for the wicked; 2, Set in tablets of stone; 3, The apple of their eye; 4, Seeing the light; 5, Feeding of the five thousand; 6, As old as Methusaleh; 7, Forbidden fruit; 8, Scapegoat; 9, Washing your hands of the matter; 10, There is nothing new under the sun; 11, How the mighty have fallen; 12 , The land of Nod.

Irene Munro, Conon Bridge.

Call of the wild

ALMOST every phone call that we make now is answered with “this call is being recorded for training and quality purposes”. It must be soul-destroying for them then to have to sit through half an hour to 40 minutes of tuneless “muzak” on every call before anyone actually speaks.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.