This week's Advertiser letters page includes readers' views on Helensburgh pier, the Brexit negotiations, cycling and Geilston Garden.

To have your say on any local issue just email your views to with your name, address and a contact phone number and 'Letter' included in the subject line. Happy writing!

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Brendan O’Hara’s column (Advertiser Comment, September 14) interested me, as our MP expressed his views on Brexit.

Like all Remainers, the only reason for the opinion that Mr O’Hara expressed was abuse of those ministers charged with trying to get the best deal possible for the now-inevitable withdrawal in March 2019.

Mr O’Hara should understand that any agreement depends on the remaining European nations and their negotiators; we can ask for anything at all, but if Europe says ‘No’, or even ‘Non’, there is no agreement.

These ministers, and, indeed, the Leavers, want exactly the same as Mr O’Hara. We want free trade and the freedom to make our own laws.

(Well, I presume Mr O’Hara wants the freedom to make our own laws, as that is the reason there is a Scottish National Party, and surely laws are better made in London in English, rather than in Brussels in all the languages of the Tower of Babel!).

The best contribution at this time that Mr O’Hara, Miss Sturgeon and the SNP can make to the future of Scotland is to encourage our European friends to recognise the damage that the trade barriers erected by the European Union do to world trade, and to further support our negotiators to persuade those on the continent who wish to buy and sell to us, and the rest of the world, that their best interests are served by an open door rather than a closed shop.

At this time, we must all realise that we are on the same side, and it is important that we all sing from the same hymn sheet.

John F. Stirling, via email

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Last week the Advertiser published my letter about the problems of attracting cruise ship passengers to Helensburgh Pier.

Since then I have been in touch with the Helensburgh Seafront Development Project and was very pleased to learn that they in turn have contacted one of the two principal shore-based excursion operators. Not only are they aware of the difficulties which I mentioned, but they are also in the process of trying to find solutions.

However two major problems still remain. Firstly and most importantly, how can Helensburgh be marketed as an attractive destination for these excursions? Just doing up the pier and having some kind of ferry between Helensburgh and Greenock will not be enough.

It must always be remembered that Helensburgh will be competing with other attractions throughout central Scotland for these passengers.

If the excursion operators cannot attract enough passengers to go on one of their itineraries and hence to make it profitable, they will then just drop this itinerary.

Careful consideration must therefore be given as to how Helensburgh should be marketed.

Secondly, improvements to the pier may or may not take place in the short term, but we all want to start bringing cruise ship passengers here as soon as possible.

If we can succeed in adding Helensburgh to the coach tour itineraries which are currently operated for cruise ship passengers, this may in turn persuade the shore-based excursion companies that it is worthwhile having some kind of direct link across the Clyde in the shape of a ferry.

Stewart Noble, via email

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Mike Thornley (Helensburgh Advertiser, September 7) has very clearly presented the evidence from the National Trust for Scotland’s own documents that the Trust was fully aware of Miss Hendry’s wishes in relation to the future management of her home and gardens - although Keith Halstead of the NTS, in the same issue, appears to have interpreted the same information quite differently.

However whichever interpretation one believes to be the more credible there can be no doubt that Miss Hendry made a bequest of her home and garden believing that the NTS would care for it prudently and with sensitivity.

Instead the NTS accepted her generous gift of a significant asset and then allowed it to deteriorate to the extent where it has apparently become a liability and reallocated the financial provision made to support it.

As an organisation the NTS should be deeply ashamed of betraying her trust and squandering such a valuable asset.

There may be potential benefactors to the Trust who will be viewing this situation with alarm that any resources which they may be considering bequeathing may be treated in such a careless, cavalier manner and decide to look towards another organisation which would use their donations in accordance with their wishes.

The Trust’s current policy of concentrating its financial focus on their large properties which generate the highest income may be sound business practice.

However the NTS is more than a business. It is also charged with preserving all aspects of our culture, which have shaped the rich tapestry of Scottish life, making them available to the public in order that we can appreciate our history and society all the better.

This surely involves not only the lives and possessions of the rich and titled but also people such as the Hendry family whose involvement in shipping and trade played a fundamental part of our west of Scotland culture, creating wealth and employment for all levels of society.

As Jeanette Scobie (Helensburgh Advertiser, September 14) rightly pointed out, Geilston House and Gardens are of significant cultural and historic importance locally.

I became a volunteer assistant gardener at Geilston three years ago having enjoyed many happy hours there as a visitor. I love the peaceful, tranquil atmosphere of the gardens which retain the feeling of being a family garden.

The character of the house, gardens and estate are intertwined and each element complements the others. To separate any part would be a retrograde step.

This entire property has a rightful place within the NTS - an important part within a small but rich offering in the west of Scotland.

Alana Ingram, Milngavie

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In her opinion column of September 7, Ruth Wishart asks why more cyclists don’t use the cycle paths. As a cyclist, I can answer that.

My wife and I often use the cycle routes for trips around the area, or over to Luss. Sadly, while I applaud Argyll and Bute Council’s initiative in building these tracks, they are generally in a poor state.

The surface is often very poor - even poorer than the roads; they are covered with litter, debris, brambles and mud.

One of the reasons cyclists prefer the roads is not only the better surface, but the fact that the traffic clears the roads of debris. But when the cycle path is right beside the road, that is where the debris goes - on the cycle path!

If you want to see what a network of cycle paths should be like, look at the Netherlands - 32,000km of paths in a country half the size of Scotland.

OK, the two countries have a very different geography, but the Netherlands has a cycle-friendly culture (most Dutch people have at least two bikes), and a well-maintained network.

The other argument I often hear from motorists is that cyclists don’t pay road tax - but the roads are funded by council tax, and I expect just as many cyclists as drivers are council tax payers.

Then there is the speed factor. I can well understand that the average club rider contemplating even a modest trip, or someone using their bike to commute say to Faslane, will prefer to use the road - it is so much quicker.

Apart from the circuitous path of some of the bike routes, there is also the fact that to follow the cycle track exactly you would need to get off and cross the road at various places.

Additionally, every farm track or private house drive that crosses the cycle path is marked out for the cyclist to give way - if they were on the road they would have right of way.

I can get from Shandon to Helensburgh in under 15 minutes on the road (at just a moderate speed) - it takes nearly twice that via the cycle path. If I was on a road bike, I too would be on the road.

Cycling is an environmentally-friendly way to travel, and a good way to keep fit. I deplore both cyclists or drivers who make rude signals, or just sound their horns (which is common); we should all be more tolerant.

And we should all respect the Highway Code - we’ve all seen cyclists jump the lights and drivers overtake impatiently in a dangerous way.

In the UK we love our cyclists - Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, etc etc - just as long as they are in a velodrome somewhere, or on somebody else’s roads, not in front of us in our cars!

Before we think about any more cycle paths here, think about the cost of their upkeep, and talk to the cycling community about what works.

Rob Colston, Helensburgh