IT’S not new for towns and cities in Scotland to undervalue what are potentially their greatest assets.

Nevertheless the disbandment of the group who have laboured long and hard to save and restore Helensburgh’s pier is a matter for huge regret - not least since they cite a lack of engagement by the council as the primary source of their being too scunnered to carry on.

Arithmetic never being my strong suit, I’ve lost count of the number of schemes devised, debated, and discarded to bring the pier and its surrounding area back into prominent life. It doesn’t take advanced higher maths however to work out that a few more years of neglect will render the pier beyond affordable redemption.

READ MORE: Saving Helensburgh pier branded a 'hopeless cause' as restoration group disbands

The immediate consequences of any failure to save the pier include the loss of Waverley visits when the grand old lady of the lochs starts her new season, assuming repairs have been completed by next spring. (I don’t subscribe to the theory that there is some kind of jinx in operation, though I do note, purely in passing, that every time she comes into contact with an immovable object, there appears to be a man at the wheel.)

More seriously, the ability to bring summer visitors to the Burgh by one of the most atmospheric means of travel was always a big plus.

I can promise you that getting a bus back round to Helensburgh, should Helensburgh-bound tourists disembark at Kilcreggan, does not qualify as a romantic experience. I wouldn’t dream of telling you why this has sometimes been described as being aboard “the vomit comet”. (I blame the timetable, not the drivers.)

READ MORE: Your letters to the Helensburgh Advertiser: October 15, 2020

But, as I say, Helensburgh is far from the only villain of the piece in the matter of turning her back on seaborne assets.

At the time of the Glasgow Garden Festival, there was an inspired idea to ferry the citizenry there from the city centre by riverboat. And it came to pass, with elegant overhead signage at the pier stops, reminiscent of the iconic Parisien metro stations.

Yet, as with so many brilliant notions, it died a death, and with it Glasgow’s new found relationship with the river which built so much of its reputation.

Just as various schemes to let Helensburgh’s workforce travel by water to their place of employment in Glasgow never seem to have borne permanent fruit.

Boats, you’ll find, are rarely inconvenienced by the wrong sort of leaves on the line.

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