JUST one point surprises me in the letter from Robbie Drummond, managing director of Calmac Ferries (March 12) explaining the difficulties facing Calmac with the Caledonian Isles ferry. As a maritime country with a long naval and mercantile tradition, a huge history of shipbuilding and with ferries operating all over the place from mainland and island ports, is it not disappointing that an item such as a mooring winch, which must be basic to the normal operation of shipping, has to be sourced nowadays from somewhere in Europe?

I suppose we should be thankful that it doesn’t have to come all the way from China like so much else seems to these days, though I would not be surprised if they could offer a replacement. Why can’t we?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

CONSIDERING the growing list of problems getting supplies to the Western Isles, should the Scottish Government now be considering commissioning the construction of a small fleet of puffers, or VICs (Victualling Inshore Craft)?

Rough and ready, easy to build, shallow draft and so on. We're not talking tourists or cars here, but bulk foodstuffs and other essentials. Bring back the 20th century.

Eric Duncan, Cardross.