FOR anyone into nature and the outdoors, Ardmore is one of those places that keeps pulling you back.

Its roughly circular outline thrusts itself out into the Firth from a low lying connection to the mainland near Lyleston Farm. The Gaelic name means “Big Headland”. People have been living there for thousands of years and there is archaeology to prove it.

I’ve been down there quite a lot recently and so too have lots of others - perhaps, like me, looking for somewhere new to walk away the lockdown blues.

Just about everyone seems to have a dog these days, and increasingly it’s not just one, but two or even sometimes three. And then you have that new 21st-century breed, the commercial dog walker, who arrives with a vanload.

READ MORE: Six of the best lockdown winter walking routes in Helensburgh and Lomond

The rough path threads its way between the shore and the bogland, the woods and the fields which occupy the interior and so you have four habitats on hand as you make your way around the three-kilometre route.

And if the call of the curlew isn’t so much to your taste, then surely the stunning scenery will make you pause and ponder how lucky you are to live close to such a place.

On a recent visit earlier in the month I met a local who mentioned there had been a dog incident a few days before involving a couple of deerhounds. Two deer, apparently, had been killed.

Helensburgh Advertiser: A roe deer was found at Ardmore PointA roe deer was found at Ardmore Point

Sure enough, on a subsequent walk a few days later, pictured, we came across the carcasses – roe deer they were, a doe and her fawn. A fox had been at the fawn, and it was almost unrecognisable, half eaten and half buried in the snow.

A few metres away, propped against a fence and her head upright, the seemingly uninjured doe, was still looking with her dead, empty eyes towards the body of her infant.

Back home, the Police Scotland website instructed me to ring 101 to report wildlife crime so I did. The conversation was predictable: no, I hadn’t been a witness and yes, they would look into it.

If you are tempted to take your dog or dogs walking around Ardmore, or indeed anywhere in the countryside, do please remember that roe deer and her fawn. And do please remember that sheep will be lambing soon, cows will have calves, and birds will be nesting.

Have a care, and keep your dog on a lead!

John Urquhart

Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: February 11, 2021

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YOUR correspondent Geoff Atkins raised a very valid point on the Advertiser's online story last week ('New designs discussed for 'Welcome to Helensburgh' road signs' - 8/2/21) that the town’s entry signs have outlived their usefulness.

They are indeed very difficult to read and in a poor state of maintenance.

This is why the Community Council has joined forces with the Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary Club to produce new signs. The costs, I can assure Mr Atkins, will not be borne by council tax.

If Mr Atkins would care to continue the discussion, I would invite him to get in touch with me by emailing or by making contact through the Helensburgh Community Council website.

Norman Muir

Convener, Helensburgh Community Council

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: February 4, 2021

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WITH reference to your coverage last week of the possible return of a ferry service to Helensburgh: it pains me to say this, but despite the present state of Helensburgh Pier, it was never designed for, or in a position to, accommodate a modern all weather ferry service.

The previous ferry was withdrawn, apparently due to lack of use, but perhaps it was designed to fail as justification to discontinue a service which, if it were to operate efficiently, would have required investment in a completely different design of ferry.

Western Ferries tried this with their catamaran Highland Seabird many, many years ago.

For a moment let’s forget that the Navy and Peel Ports place speed restrictions in the Clyde and the Gareloch and that the wash from certain fast ferries has been known to sweep children off the beach.

A modern ferry, with only 25 per cent passenger capacity on board (100), taking a trip from Greenock to Faslane would take about 30 minutes and burn around 200 litres of fuel.

The same 100 passengers, taking their cars and driving 40 miles from Greenock to Faslane at an average of just over 40 miles per gallon, would burn 400 litres of fuel.

Just food for thought.

Brian Robertson

Via Facebook

READ MORE: New Helensburgh ferry service among options considered by Transport Scotland

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A RESTORED ferry service for Helensburgh, as mooted in the Advertiser last week, is something I would only welcome if it’s actually any use for workers.

If it was to return as it was when it was withdrawn – four ferries a day, none of them before 9am and cancelled at short notice due to low tides – then there’s little point.

A lot depends on what emanates from the “puzzle palace” over the water; if the choices made about the new vessels for 2024 are as doltish and hidebound as those made over the white elephants at Port Glasgow, then there may be little operational capacity to accommodate a Helensburgh service while maintaining existing service commitments to Dunoon and Kilcreggan.

On the other hand if faster, more efficient vessels can be realised, there could be a better service, lower ticket prices, lower subsidy and a return to Helensburgh.

David Bradshaw

Via Facebook

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: January 28, 2021

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REGARDING your report last week on the ballot of Unite members working for Babcock and ISS at Faslane and Coulport: we should be supporting these workers in our community and not turning on each other.

I know many are in dire straits but that doesn’t mean we should criticise those who are prepared to defend their bargaining rights. If workers at Babcock gave up and let their management walk all over them, it wouldn’t improve the position of those who haven’t got a job or those who haven’t formed a union.

Good luck to them. Let’s hope the management see the size of that vote and turnout and get back to the table.

Michael McNeill

Via Facebook

READ MORE: Unite to ballot Faslane and Coulport staff on industrial action

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SCOTLAND’S mental health deserves better. A growing number of people across the country are facing mental health problems and are struggling to access help.

There have been too many promises on mental health and not enough action. With the added pressure brought about by the pandemic, we need a radical new plan.

We must now, more than ever, see political and government commitment to make mental health a priority. That’s why the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has launched our manifesto, urging the next Scottish Government to put the mental health of the nation first.

It’s time to listen to the hopes, fears and needs of people with mental health problems.

The next Scottish Parliament will see many new MSPs, as well as experienced members returning for a further term. We hope we can rely on each and every one of them to stand up for Scotland’s mental health.

Billy Watson

Chief executive, SAMH

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