Tourism, wind turbines, nostalgia, politics and community sport all feature in the latest crop of The Buteman’s readers’ letters.
To add your voice to the lively debate, email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Letter to the Editor’ in the subject line and, subject to space, we’ll publish your contribution in our next print edition.
Please keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can, and remember that we need your name and postal address for publication.
A daytime telephone number is also required in case we need to check any details at short notice, although this will not be published.
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Be proud of Bute’s unique character
Since my first visit to Arran in 1960, my family and I have spent most of our holidays on islands in the west of Scotland. Arran was followed by Skye, Harris and Lewis; later Mull became a favourite, and also Islay.
But we never thought to visit Bute. Bute seemed a non-entity compared to Arran’s ‘Scotland in miniature’, the magnificent mountains of Skye, the wild remoteness of the Outer Hebrides and the grandeur of Mull.
True, we sailed into Rothesay Bay a couple of times, but were never tempted to land.
And then, some years ago, we started buying Bute butter at our local supermarket. My wife quizzed me as to where Bute was, and asked me why had we not been?
With some reluctance on my part, we booked a cottage on the island for a week. Doing some research, I was amused, though not impressed, to find that the two features most extolled were, one, brilliant views of Arran and, two, impressive public lavatories. However we absolutely loved Bute, and have returned for a further holiday.
Sadly the USP (unique selling point) that attracted us, the Bute creamery, has now closed, of course, but, in light of recent debate in The Buteman, I would like to highlight what I see as Bute’s USPs.
Bute is beautifully compact, unlike straggling Skye or Mull. This means, for the visitor, an immediate sense of intimacy. It is an island you can embrace without having to drive mile after wearisome mile.
Bute is also accessible. The fact that you can just turn up at Wemyss Bay and catch the next ferry without the worry of booking in advance or of catching a particular crossing, makes everything so much more relaxing.
And, yes, I have heard of the complaints of unreliability, andI have even experienced this myself. But it may come as a surprise for Brandanes to discover that public transport on the mainland, be it by train, bus or air, can be similarly affected.
Oh, and you should try my commute over the M62 - more than two hours to travel 50 miles because of road works which are scheduled to last until August 2017!
The very fact that you have to take a ferry is, for the holiday maker, a psychological plus: it creates a demarcation between the humdrum of everyday life and the adventure of the holiday upon which you are embarking.
Bute must be a cyclist’s paradise. So much better than Arran, with that tedious circular road and hilly roads in the interior. And again, the very compact nature of the island and the pleasant winding lanes makes it so wonderfully accessible.
During our last holiday on Bute - over the end of February and beginning of March this year - we saw seals, an otter, and masses of lovely birds. We didn’t even have to seek wildlife: these were sightings from ‘our cottage.
All right, I could say so much more, but that’s enough for now. Please be positive about your island. Be proud of its unique character.
And, most of all, get over any lingering inferiority complex. I promote Bute whenever I get the chance: you should do the same.
Stephen Leather, 16 Wilsden Rd, Bingley, West Yorkshire
Where is the missing £4m in turbine plans?
The advert in The Buteman of March 27 from Bute Community Power Limited stated that the proposed wind turbines on Bute would make a profit of £1 million over 20 years.
Yet this figure contradicts the ‘£5 million over 25 years’ which has been stated in other literature produced by the same groups.
It has been noted that those who cannot be trusted with small things should not be trusted with bigger things, like wind turbines, either. Where is the missing £4 million - or is it merely ‘dust in the wind’?
Catherine McLean, 24 Castle Street, Rothesay
Share your Rothesay Academy memories
Following the interest in Rothesay Academy in the 1950s and 1960s generated by your Bygone Bute pictures from Jim Bicker and a related thread on the ‘Isle of Bute’ Facebook page, which, at the time of writing, has three hundred comments, we at the island’s brand new community radio station have decided to do our bit for nostalgia.
Bute Island Radio’s weekly Community Show on Friday, April 10 will be reminiscing about those golden years of Rothesay Academy Primary and Secondary.
If you attended the Academy in the 1950s and 1960s, the show’s producers would love to hear from you with your memories.
If you are in Rothesay on that date, it would be wonderful if you could come into the studio for an on-air chat.
The show will be broadcast live all around the world on www.buteisland radio.com and in Rothesay on 96.5 FM and will air from 4-6pm on Friday, April 10, 2015.
If you can help please contact the producers at the address below or by email to email@example.com.
Mike Blair and Kaz Molloy, Bute Island Radio, 7 Castle Street, Rothesay
SNP ‘conniving to achieve instability’
The growth of SNP membership to over 100,000 and a packed conference of over three thousand supporters are major achievements. Many first time voters and disappointed Yes campaigners found solace in joining the party.
Joining with like-minded people is a good and recognized way of finding consolation and support after a loss. But is it a genuine political advance or merely a source of succour? The evidence would suggest the latter.
Many SNP beliefs and policies are based on false assumptions. Yes voters felt that it was the ‘Vow’ which lost them the referendum, but we now know from university research that this is not so.
The SNP Scottish Government has failed to achieve many of its own pledges, such as smaller school class sizes, cutting waiting times at hospitals, failed house building targets, and economic predictions verging on fantasy.
But more worrying than all these are the mind games that Alex Salmond and the First Minister are playing.
Both have recently been trying to ingratiate themselves with English voters.
SNP MPs have an appalling attendance record at Westminster with their representative on the Scottish Affairs Committee not turning up to the committee’s meetings at all.
They excuse themselves by saying they only vote on matters that have a direct relevance to Scotland. So what is Nicola Sturgeon promising the people of the UK? Part-time, partly interested, fully paid MPs?
Ms Sturgeon claims that SNP will hold the ‘balance of power’ in a hung parliament. Having made clear she will not support the Tories, and demanding the impossible of Labour in terms of an end to Trident, the First Minister is conniving to achieve totally unstable government.
This would enable her to demand another General Election with a SNP manifesto calling for independence.
The only way in Argyll and Bute to avoid this SNP inspired chaos is by electing Liberal Democrat candidate Alan Reid.
Finlay Craig, Rossarden, Shore Road, Cove
Take time and be active in Rothesay
The S3 xl class at Rothesay Academy are organising an event along with the Argyll and Bute Sports Hub to showcase local sports groups and clubs acitve in the community.
Our planned event will take place at Rothesay Academy in June, and we whould like to invite as many ‘sport orientated’ organisations, groups or clubs to participate.
This is an appeal to you to get in touch with us if you are part of one of these clubs.
We would love for you to come along and promote your sport to get as many people, especially young people, in the community involved in sport.
You will be given the chance to have a stall where you can have posters, leaflets, photographs, examples of kits, sign up and information sheets for people to join up.
If you are interested in coming to the Joint Campus for our Take Time and Be Active day, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or Lynnsay.email@example.com, or you can contact them at Rothesday Academy on 01700 503367. Please get involved and help us raise the profile of sport on Bute. Thank you.
Ryan Wilson, S3 xl, Rothesay Academy