I WAS presenting my open bag for inspection when I heard a commotion. We were queuing up to access the arena of the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, and security staff were checking no-one was smuggling in anything that they shouldn’t be. What was someone trying to sneak past them, I wondered. Booze? Drugs? Flares?

None of the above. A middle-aged woman was trying to smuggle in a teenager. “That’s not your son!” a security guard declared. “You don’t even know his name!” There was some indignant spluttering, but I heard no evidence to the contrary.

The rules stated that all under-18s had to be accompanied at all times by an over-21, which it seems had created something of a black market for fake mums. I like to think I was not approached for smuggling duties because it is inconceivable that I could have teenaged children, but supply likely outstripped demand.

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Happily I didn’t see or hear a single instance of behaviour that would have given the real mums cause for alarm. Adorably, the fashion accessory of choice for the lithe, bronzed young women was a promotional hi-vis vest emblazoned with the name of an event sponsor, and the teenage boys who took it in turns to watch Nile Rodgers and Chic from atop each other’s shoulders knew all the lyrics. Good times indeed. These kids are alright, despite two years of disappointment and on-off confinement.

Others, however, are not enjoying such a carefree youth. They are not following the same fashions or living up to the same beauty standards. They are depressed, distressed and seeking urgent help.

Amid the revelry, my phone briefly connected to the internet and a buzz of notifications arrived. One announced the closure of the Tavistock gender identity clinic in London – the only one of its kind in England dedicated to treating children and young people. This comes after it was heavily criticised by an independent review, which found there was no “routine and consistent” collection of data about patients and, crucially, a “lack of consensus and open discussion about the nature of gender dysphoria and therefore about the appropriate clinical response.”

This news about Tavistock will likely have alarmed many young people who are waiting for appointments there, especially those banking on the doctor they see adopting what the Cass Review calls an “unquestioning affirmative approach”. What this means is clinicians taking at face value a young person’s claim that their psychological problems are caused by a mismatch between their body and their gender identity – which can be “fixed” by medical transition – rather than exploring other potential factors. For those desperate to access hormones and ultimately surgery in order to transition, this exploratory approach is perceived as a barrier to be overcome.

It would be naive to think the same challenges are not faced by the Scottish equivalent to Tavistock, the Sandyford Young People’s Gender Service. One woman who medically transitioned and later detransitioned has said her first appointment there was a box-ticking exercise, and described the therapy she received as “unbelievably shoddy”.

Clearly, it is vital that safeguards are in place to protect the vulnerable young people using these services, just as it is important that festivals don’t let under-18s have free rein in their arenas. But in reality workers are under pressure, which means a young person can slip through, provided they have prepared in advance and learned the right script.

Some have tried to spin the closure of the Tavistock as a positive on the basis that it is to be replaced by two “regional centres” – suggesting waiting lists could be halved. But if those new centres heed the Cass Review’s warning about “diagnostic overshadowing”, and properly probe the reasons why so many youngsters – especially girls – are saying they identify as the opposite sex, there’s no guarantee anything will speed up.

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The Doune the Rabbit Hole festival earlier this month was more of a family affair, with few groups of teenagers in attendance. One group pitched their tent slap bang in the middle of the family camping section, likely by accident. Late at night the group were not particularly rowdy, but every so often one lad would let out a bellowed expletive. A mother in a nearby tent would shout back for him to be quiet, but minutes later he would do it again.

Hell hath no fury like a woman trying to get some shut-eye in a tent with two weans. She emerged to confront them, and when the lad gave her back chat she responded with a swift slap to his face. After a stunned silence, his girlfriend piped up in protest only for she, too, to receive an open palm to the cheek.

Of course the woman was seriously in the wrong here, but the protests that followed were interesting. Amid justified wailing about being physically assaulted by a stranger, the young woman cried out: “We’re children! You’re hitting children!” ... She was actually 19 (“19 years of the age,” she asserted with cider-fuelled grandiloquence). “You’re children when you want to be,” shot back Mrs McSlappy, who hopefully had time overnight to reflect on her choices.

If young people weren’t pushing against the restraints placed on their choices by adults, there would be something wrong. As adults it’s our responsibility to respond appropriately – by not slapping them, obviously, but also not allowing emotional blackmail to prevail by letting safeguards slip and standards of medical care plummet.

Scotland must learn lessons from the closure of the Tavistock clinic. Young people deserve much better.