THE traffic lights had just turned to red at the foot of Sinclair Street so there was plenty of time to wonder when ‘straight ahead’ would provide access again to our much loved and much missed pier.

Wasn’t there a magic about seeing the Waverley drawing in? And who of us who belonged to St Columba Church will ever forget our 150th anniversary CalMac treat “doon the watter” to Dunoon?

But will the boats ever again berth among us, and for us? Let’s hope so, and do our best to ensure we can see their silhouettes from West Clyde Street once more.

We appreciate that there’s important work to be completed in the pier area but wouldn’t it be an incomplete completion if beyond it was only the slowly crumbling memory of a once vital part of Helensburgh’s story?

What would be the benefits if somehow our pier could be restored? For starters, whether “up the watter” to Glasgow, or “ower the watter” to Renfrewshire, or “doon the watter” to west Argyll, we could leave our cars behind and foot it, eco-friendly like, and help decongest our busier than ever roads.

And from all directions, in would come the visitors to experience the town and its welcome and keep returning and help strengthen our radically challenged economy.

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

And health-wise, wouldn’t widening vistas be a healing after our Covid lockdowns?

What would be needed for this hope to materialise? Material, certainly! And nearby we have access to highly specialised tough timber.

And yes, certainly there would have to be high-level consent, but who would deny that, given the long-term benefits? And yes, democratically we’d have to share the costs if possible. But wouldn’t we have a proud focus for any extra bawbees?

Across the road from my Banchory birthplace is a house called Ythanbank, named after the River Ythan, which flows into the North Sea just north of Aberdeen.

One day in 2010, a group of local environmentalists were ensuring that the mouth of the River Ythan was its bonny self again and noticed a bottle, with a rolled up bit of paper in it, nestling in the mud.

They picked it up and opened it, and what did they find? A message from Helensburgh, written eight years before by eight-year-old George Mackinlay and his older sister, and thrown into the Clyde from Helensburgh pier.

READ MORE: Helensburgh councillor hopes pier project group reconsiders decision to disband

What the letter said, that May’s Advertiser didn’t say. But wouldn’t it have been just a friendly hello from Helensburgh with names and addresses included?

Anyway, the hands that launched it heard from the hands that found it, and we can just imagine what it meant to both senders and finders.

Just think of that bottle and its adventure. “Doon the watter” it had bobbed, then turned right at the Mull of Kintyre, headed north past Skye and the Hebrides.

Then right again at Cape Wrath, nodding at the Orkneys and Thurso, then saying hello and cheerio to John O’Groats before crossing the Moray Firth and easing down past Fraserburgh and Peterhead.

And then, feeling like a wee rest, snuggling into the embracing mud of the Ythan, and then into the welcoming, wandering hands and hearts of those who care about life, and who made the day for a Helensburgh boy and his sister.

And it all began with their pier: theirs and ours.

I think that pier is saying to each and every one of us: “Help me recreate more adventures for folk, help me give more joy. Make me safe and exciting to journey from again. I can only wait and watch and hope: only you can repair and rebuild. Thanks to everyone sharing my dream: nothing would make me happier than if you became one of them.”

Let’s not let it down.

Rev Fred Booth

Shore Road, Clynder

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: January 21, 2021

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DON’T you just love the snow? All those beautiful environmental expressions; shimmering trees, glittering lakes, stunning peaks.

For me snow is about enjoyment and satisfaction through play and enterprise. As a child in industrial Lanarkshire my friends and I would rush with brushes and shovels to clear neighbours’ paths. At sixpence a house quite an earner! This instilled in many of us an entrepreneurial spirit.

Sledging followed. What a range of sledge designs and constructions. Our fathers would spend their lunch hours in the steel works creating and building ‘winning toboggans’! More creativity and innovation.

For well over a decade the SNP Government has been espousing the climatic and environmental possibilities on which Scotland could build industrial and commercial growth.

Sadly, Scottish Government has not optimised these opportunities. A decade-long failure to invest has left Scotland struggling to compete with other nations for contracts to build turbines and equipment for offshore wind farms.

READ MORE: 'There is plenty to be thankful for in our town'

The First Minister and her colleagues have thrown away billions of pounds of people’s money on foolish investments, whether it be on Prestwick Airport, the construction of new ferries on the Clyde, a new crossing of the Forth which has to close due to the danger of ice, or an unsafe children’s hospital.

The demand for environmentally friendly services and solutions has never been greater. Hopefully the SNP will recognise that it needs to be aware of its failures and limitations.

Simply ignoring these disappointments and stating that independence is the answer will be the ruination of Scotland and its future.

Come along Ms Sturgeon – take a walk on the snowy wild side, and learn how to make effective sustainable decisions.

Finlay Craig


READ MORE: 'I don't understand vitriol around promotion of Gaelic language'

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LAST Friday there took place a truly momentous event; after decades of campaigning, we finally “Banned the Bomb”, and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force.

It is now illegal under international law to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.

This treaty is “ius cogens” or compelling law; that is, a peremptory norm from which there is no derogation (like piracy, genocide, or enslavement), as opposed to customary law, where parties have made a mutual agreement.

States who ignore this are stigmatised, and stand revealed as criminal. And nuclear weapons are delegitimised. Yet this historic event was ignored by our media. Why?

The first country to sign this treaty was the Vatican City. The Pope has said: “If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.”

He, along with other faith leaders, is unequivocal in his rejection of all strategies involving the use of nuclear weapons.

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: January 14, 2021

President Biden is a Catholic and must make a choice. Either to follow the unambiguous teaching of the Pope and cease policies of nuclear terrorism, or to ignore the Pope and carry on regardless.

But the Pope said: “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family.”

This verdict remains undeniably true.

The Vatican has called on all other states to ratify the TPNW “as soon as possible”, commending it as “an important step towards a nuclear-weapons-free world”.

By adhering to the treaty, states formally reject “the fallacy that might makes right and its pernicious modern corollary that some nations have the right to nuclear weapons while others do not”, and they affirm that “international peace and security consist in what supports the common good of all humanity”.

The pro-Bomb lobby has always said they believed in multilateralism. Here is a chance to prove it. Let all unite in supporting the TPNW.

Brian Quail

2 Hyndland Avenue, Glasgow

Read more news, views and local opinions here

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NICOLA Sturgeon has conceded that she will miss her target to vaccinate 560,000 Scots by the end of January.

Under questioning at Holyrood from Ruth Davidson, Ms Sturgeon finally admitted that all over-80s would not get the jab until February 7 - a week later than the SNP previously claimed.

GPs say they could be delivering the vaccine far more quickly, but the SNP are failing to get supplies where they are needed. The vaccine is our key weapon against this virus, so we Scottish Conservatives will continue to push the SNP to pick up the pace and meet their targets.

Vaccines are our best route to reducing restrictions, returning life closer to normal and rebuilding Scotland’s communities.

Cllr Alastair Redman

(Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

Keep up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond headlines

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