WHAT a delightful break it was to have, at this moment in time, a short week’s holiday on the Isle of Skye.

My son Frazer and his partner and my wife Anne all took the trip firstly to Fort William, where son and partner took the trip to Mallaig on the Harry Potter train. We stayed put, having done the journey previously.

After a pleasant stopover, we continued to Skye in pouring rain, which neither hindered nor helped. Eilean Donan were charging £3 just to walk over the stone bridge to the castle, where a further hefty charge was available to enter into said property. We avoided the rip-off and continued on our way to Plockton for some food and drink sustenance.

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Skye was beautiful, as we all know, with the sun occasionally helping out with the views therein. The excessive tourism problems ever since the NC500 was discovered by the rest of the world are now being dealt with where Skye has the same problems.

Highlands and Islands authority have provided visitors with better parking spaces for motorhome and for other vehicles. Freshly resurfaced roads with lots of white lining indicating to one and all which is the middle of the island’s roads, and indeed where there isn’t a middle. However, there is still a shortage of public toilets, not helped with the obvious lack of available plumbing along the mountainous highways and byways.

But let’s be thankful for small mercies, even the helpful maintenance charge for parking said motorhomes and other vehicles. We pay our road tax to drive to do our shopping, so let our visitors help by paying to park their mobile homes somewhere rather than on passing places anymore. Maintenance is necessary.

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A very enjoyable wee break was for had for all four of us on Skye, taking in the Fairy Glen, Fairy Pools, Old Man of Storr and a trip around Quiraing.

If you visit Skye yourselves and want to eat out, be prepared by booking your table days in advance. We had to settle for a carry-out shop on our last night, and drive back to our cottage for a meal-in watching a Netflix movie.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

AS a wee boy, before the war I followed cattle and sheep through the streets of Inverness to the mart, behind collie dogs and “plus-four” tweeds. For centuries livestock played a major role in the Highland economy and was central to maintaining soil fertility and bio-diversity. Today, Inverness swarms with cars, revving motorbikes and fleets of container lorries. Driving cattle has given way to rampant consumerism. Landfill sites are filling, hence new rubbish incineration plants are required to deal with our “must have it, throw away lifestyle”. Where are we heading? Off to Mars? Is the muskrat leaving a sinking planet?

Iain R Thomson

AS I was sure they would, my comments on the priority given to the allocation of allotments by the Scottish Parliament over arguably more urgent issues have raised three responses, one from none other than the vice-president of the Scottish Allotment and Gardens Society.

I have no doubt that allotments are in general terms a really good concept for those willing, fit and able to put in the possibly considerable effort required to grow some of their own produce. They have my admiration. I suspect, however, their individual output is not sufficient to provide the entire food supply for an average family. I also suspect that even the vice-president of the Scottish Allotment and Gardens Society could be found purchasing in the vegetable aisle of a major supermarket, or even better a wee local shop, most weeks.

My question – which remains unanswered, oddly enough, by any of the MSPs on the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee – is whether this subject should be among the top priority for their attentions at the expense of, for example, special needs learning provision or a very long list of other rather obvious topics. I hesitate to even suggest something as radical as possible reform of the council tax.

I hope those allotment supporters who have responded to my concerns take the opportunity that has apparently been granted to them and participate in the investigation into allotment allocations. The parents of ASN children will just have to wait in line for the spotlight to be turned on to their situation at some possible point in the future.

If the Scottish Parliament is to grow into an independent parliament it has to be seen to be a lot more relevant to the majority of the electorate. It has to be about a lot more than the weekly angry exchanges at First Minister’s Questions, never-ending debates on the Port Glasgow ferries and now the allocation of allotments. It is that majority that we need to convince to vote Yes in the coming referendum.

Brian Lawson

THE word Tory is derived from an old Irish Gaelic word “toiraidh” meaning outlaw or criminal. Was Hannah Bardell not spot-on? Give the dog a name, eh??

Tommy Murphy