WE have just endured another weekend and another shambles with cancellations of the Arran ferry. I have the greatest regard for CalMac crews and shore staff, who are invariably polite and helpful, often in the most trying of circumstances, but I cannot say the same for the company management, nor for successive Scottish governments and transport ministers who allow blatant incompetence to perpetuate itself without sanction.

If a ferry has an expected working life of 25 years, why is the Caledonian Isles (32 years old) still in service? Why were the new ferries which were belatedly ordered designed with an untried and untested fuel system? Why are the boats taking so long to build? Why was £32 million of public money wasted on the white elephant at Brodick pier? A building which is mainly air space, a single-file walkway which is not fit for purpose, and a pier which, having been designed and built at 90 degrees to the original, leaves the ferry broadside on the both westerly and easterly winds, and to the tidal swells.

CalMac is a public company. How does it continue to get away with it?

John N E Rankin,

Clyde View, Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran.

Weather eye

I SUPPOSE the jury is still out on the success or otherwise of the BBC Scotland channel.

I have been unimpressed, however, by its poor daily weather forecast presentation.

The predictive track snakes an impressive trail from Lerwick to Dumfries, via inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Stirling, Edinburgh and Hawick. Next in line is Glasgow, where a north-westerly bearing shoots directly to Stornoway, thereby omitting the Firth of Clyde, Kintyre, Islay, Firth of Lorne, Mull, Skye and most of the Outer Hebrides.

Given the famously vagarious nature of Scottish weather, when conditions can differ dramatically within relatively short geographical distances, surely the BBC can do better than this.

In the meantime, perhaps it is just as well that many of us on the west coast are blessed with an intrinsic ability – passed on by oral tradition – to accurately predict forthcoming conditions by the study of natural phenomena and, of course, daily referral to the time-honoured barometer.

Freddy Gillies,

Skerryvore, Sound of Kintyre, Machrihanish.

Capping it all

POOR Thelma Edwards with her lament for flat caps (Letters, April 13). I started wearing a flat cap in 1958 when I was 15, being in rebellion against my father’s insistence on my wearing a Fedora-type hat. (It seemed to be a “rite of passage” in his family.) Ever since, the “bunnet” has been my choice of headgear – not quite glued to my head, but almost. Can I issue an invitation to Ms Edwards to visit the countryside around Strathaven where the dear lady will see an array of bunnets to assure her that they have not yet disappeared from the face of the earth?

William S Cooper

7 Giffen Place, Strathaven.

Boom time

I REFER to Alistair Grant's recent article (“Let me take you down, cause we’re going to Argyll and Bute”, The Herald, April 13). I fail to understand why he, and others, refer to a timescale of 1946-1964 as relative to "baby boomers". As far as I'm concerned, this description is applicable to those born to fathers returning home at the end of the Second World War. As one born in 1946, I consider myself to be a genuine baby boomer, and as such, discount others born past circa 1950.

Derek B Petrie,

15 Cairns Drive, Milngavie.