Letters to the Editor - April 24

Here are the letters sent to us this week that can be seen on page 10. If you have a letter you can e-mail it to news@mearnsleader.com or mail it to 12 Ann Street, AB39 2ER.

Reply to MSP - Richard Baker

Sir - Richard Baker Stated Scotland would have a £7.6Billion black hole in the economy.

Hhe is careful with the truth that his masters in Westminster Labour and Tory have built up a DEBT of £1.5 Trillion. Eye watering, and still borrowing that is with all Scotlands at their disposal so Scotland would be better on its own having all our own taxes Westminster will never get out of the hole it is in.

Yours etc,.

Charles Paton

via Facebook

Election - Tactical voting

Sir- Like the writer of the letter in the Mearns Leader on 17 April titled “election leaflet outrage”, I also received similar.

However, I also received a letter through the post addressed to my Wife and myself from a James Murray.

The letter, which was titled “Voting for the Conservatives will just help The SNP get closer and closer to number 10” and contained the same pathetic drivel as was in the leaflet.

Although there was a photograph in the letter, which I assume was James Murray, and that he was a 74 year old retired director of a construction PLC; there were no contact details for which I could reply. I then realised there was a footer to the letter stating it was published on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.

If there is such a person as James Murray, my response to him is as follows:

I am of the same generation as you and have always voted, both in general and local elections and at all times I have voted for the candidate I wanted to win, no matter where they stood in the race.

I have never voted Liberal Democrat and after seeing them sink to the level demonstrated in the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine group’s campaign; I never will.

Tactical voting is a contemptible practise, if everyone did this we would end up with people in power that very few want. Our democratic system could be better, but it is what we have and has been reasonably successful for many generations.

Yours etc.,

James Paterson,

via email

Dunnottar castle - Visitor Centre plans could do better

Sir- I was interested to read the news in last week’s Mearns Leader of a planned £1.5M Visitor Centre for Dunnottar Castle. Finally, I thought, the owners of the castle are going to make some meaningful changes to how this impressive historic castle on our doorstep is presented to visitors. But then I read the details and realised that what was being proposed was not much more than a somewhat modest cafeteria and visitor centre next to the existing gatehouse – a location that would surely not even allow visitors to fully appreciate the wonderful vista of the castle that one gets standing at the top of the cliffs.

Stonehaven has a fantastic asset on its doorstep with the castle - a spectacular location, stunning views, an impressive structure, some wonderful history and even a bit of Hollywood and Mel Gibson thrown in - yet the visitor experience to date has been almost non-existent. Per Dunecht Estates, visitor numbers have been rising and are now apparently at 80,000. However, it has been estimated in the past that up to three times the number of castle visitors simply visited the tops of the cliffs nearby to view and photograph the property. The top of the cliff is surely also the best location to site a new efficient and modern visitor centre. This could be done in such a sympathetic way as to blend into the natural environment. An intelligent development that could not only offer visitors much more but also one that could provide a far greater impact on our local economy.

I have said before that one of the best illustrations of what could be done is perhaps Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. I have always been very impressed with the visitor centre that was built here a few years back. The centre is built into the hillside with natural stone in a way that wonderfully complements rather than distracts from the main attraction. The centre combines a good shop and cafeteria and a great audio visual presentation which shows how the castle looked in the old days and how it changed over the years to the ruin that it is now (impressive but not nearly as impressive as Dunnottar Castle). Last year, Urquhart Castle was apparently the sixth most popular tourist attraction in Scotland with over 330,000 visitors – or more than four times the number reported for Dunnottar Castle. How many more could Dunnottar get if things were properly done? A revitalised attraction could be a huge benefit to Stonehaven and the whole area.

One final matter. I learn that the proposed new visitor centre is apparently to be funded through the development of five new houses nearby. Is this what we want? A housing estate next to an iconic national treasure? If Dunecht Estates does not itself have the money to properly develop the opportunities for Dunnottar then the time has finally come for the Estates to let a proper body such as the publicly funded Historic Scotland or the separately funded National Trust for Scotland take over the castle and do the job properly.

Yours etc.,

Malcolm Ritchie

Upper Toucks