AS I was going to be on Islay for business, my wife decided to join me (using bus and boat) at the end of my trip for a short holiday. I discovered the recommended connection time at Kennacraig ferry terminal is 45 minutes bus to boat. Needless to say there is no bus from Glasgow which arrives 45 minutes before sailing time. You either have to arrive on a bus which allows a rather tight 15-minute connection, or take the earlier bus and hang around in the middle of nowhere for two and a quarter hours. Bus to boat connections are not guaranteed.

I am old enough to remember when MacBraynes ran everything in the West Highlands, and there were convenient connections which were guaranteed; bus or boat waited if necessary. How is this progress? No wonder it's difficult to entice tourists (or indeed locals) out of their cars.

Scott Macintosh, Killearn.

Cause of division

IN his belief that faith schools have nothing to do with sectarian violence such as in Glasgow earlier this month, Kevin McKenna ("Catholic schools don't cause but they can cure it", The Herald September 21) suggests that this “probably owed more to the current heightened tensions surrounding the prospect of a hard Brexit, the Irish border and inflamed British nationalism”. While these must have been factors, it seems counterintuitive to suggest that 100 years of “them” and “us” schooling doesn’t cement and perpetuate division. Remember of course that even so-called non-denominational schools are regularly serviced by Church of Scotland ministers.

Mr McKenna reminds us that “the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their religious beliefs is a universal human right”. This is of course true but surely refers to the private Sunday preferences of families and not to schools paid for by the state?

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Edinburgh EH12.

Disastrous poetry

GOOD luck to Tom McGovern, now starring in The Signalman at Glasgow’s Oran Mor, based on the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879 ("'I was captivated by story of Tay Bridge disaster'", The Herald, September 23 ).

I am certain his performance will outdo that of William Topaz McGonagall, poet, tragedian, and contender for the world’s worst poet, and his rendering of The Tay Bridge Disaster, which he published in 1880:

“Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!

Alas! I am very sorry to say

That ninety lives have been taken away

On the last Sabbath day of 1879,

Which will be rememb’rd for a very long time.”

R Russell Smith, Kilnirnie.

Queen no lobbyist

A THANK you to Keith Howell (Letters, September 20) for bringing some perspective to the headline “How can we ever again believe in the notion of a non-political, independent monarchy?”

David Stubley (also September 20) takes the view that the Queen is involved in political shenanigans; and Alasdair Galloway (September 21) questions her strict political neutrality, having, in his opinion, made clear her preference on a vote of the utmost significance for her United Kingdom.

I think, not, I have to say: our head of state simply expressed the hope, at a pivotal point for the nation, that people "think carefully about the future”. David Cameron’s recent indiscretion is an error of judgment; yes. But is the monarchy really, to use Mr Stubley’s words, this very expensive lobbying group? Hardly.

Brian D Henderson, Glasgow G42.