I HAVE been an enthusiastic reader of The National since the beginning. Even by The National’s high standards, I have rarely read such a positive, and franky inspiring article than Carolyn Leckie’s piece on Monday (Let’s keep the debate self-critical, The National, November 6).

I am only sorry I wasn’t part of the SIC conference. I was, however, at another superb event in Edinburgh which took place in parallel with the conference. We didn’t have 2000 people there but there were hundreds of us on Salisbury Crags.

The display of flags and banners could, apparently, be seen all over Edinburgh. What would have been less visible to anyone who wasn’t actually there was the feeling of solidarity and sheer warmth amongst everyone who attended, and the numerous visitors who asked numerous very intelligent questions. The number of Estelladas was only exceeded by the huge number of Yes flags, so yes, we showed concern for our many Catalan friends as well.

The SIC conference will no doubt be shown to have been an incredibly important step on our journey. Our demonstration, in the great scheme of things, may perhaps not be quite as important, but still an extremely impressive display of single-minded and enthusiastic dedication to the cause of independence. The very fact that we had many pensioners – like me – to babes in arms on the side of the hill shows independence will benefit us all, not just the young. We even had a lady in a wheelchair pass us on the way up. I’m not sure if she made it to the top or indeed how far she and her hard-working “driver” got, but it is to their credit that they attempted the path at all.

There wasn’t a single person there who wasn’t delighted and enthused to be part of it. Despite the chilly weather, even the ice cream man must have had a good day. Apart from anything else, it is a much more pleasant way to spend a bit of time than simply supporting the dying union. Until we achieve our aim, hopefully this kind of demonstration will become a regular event.

Malcolm Brown

Blairhall, Fife

I AM delighted to see The National taking the lead in protecting Scotland the Brand, and in particular the priceless integrity of Scotland’s food and drink products. Our supermarket shelves are now awash with union flags attached to the most inappropriate items, such as strawberries from Angus. However, your recent accounts of the misrepresentation of Scotch whisky are quite astonishing.

What, I must ask, is the Scotch Whisky Association doing about this matter? They were quick enough to point out the imaginary problems of independence in the 2014 referendum. What are they doing now about protecting the very name of the product that pays their salaries? Or perhaps they are quite prepared to change their name to the British Whisky Association?

Peter Craigie


JOHN Macanenay’s letter (Letters 4 November) regarding the King’s House Hotel in Glencoe raises some insightful points about the balance of employment needed to assist the repopulation of the Highlands.

We would like to clarify that the John Muir Trust has no problem with sustainable development that can support local economies. We raised no objection to the original proposal for the King’s House Hotel, for a 30-bedroom single-storey building. We did, however, object to the revised application, which involves a block-designed, 60-bedroom hotel, double the size of the original plan, and out of scale with the surrounding landscape and the cultural significance of the historic building.

While tourism is undoubtedly a major economic driver for the Highlands, a proliferation of huge hotel complexes in sparsely populated locations is more likely to undermine local businesses than contribute to economic regeneration.

John Low

John Muir Trust

THE President need lose no sleep over The Open leaving Scotland; it started here at Prestwick (Trump a Yes man?, The National, November 6). Scotland’s claim is superior to that of any other part of the UK (who can pay a fee if they wish to hold The Open.) There appears to be a common misapprehension that England has priority over British assets – eg, the Armed Forces, North Sea oil, etc. It is not so.

Ian Gilbert

Address supplied