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YOUR VIEWS: Two decades on and better off out of the Cairngorms National Park

By Gavin Musgrove

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Correspondent believes that being in Cairngorms National Park has brought little benefits for local communities.
Correspondent believes that being in Cairngorms National Park has brought little benefits for local communities.

It is now 20 years since the Cairngorms National Park was finally formed.

After much consultation and listening to the concerns of the local, native and indigenous population in multiple village hall consultation events, it appears one of their original promised aims has now been quietly dropped, because they say it is no longer a priority any more, and to quote them ‘things change in 20 years’.

We were all promised that our way of life would be the most important objective the new park would uphold.

That one concern was that we wanted our ‘cultural heritage’ preserved and nurtured.

To us that was our jobs, history, heritage and way of life. Now the only cultural heritage mentioned in the current five year plan 2022-27 is Gaelic language, Song and Story. But that is only a tiny part of what we considered our “Cultural Heritage” to be.

Also now the CNPA is obsessed with ‘saving the planet’ and ‘reducing climate change’ for the rest of the world – a mere drop in the ocean.

This is all at the cost of our ‘climate’ with rural jobs being lost right, left and centre and people made homeless from tied housing etc.

It is a huge price for the original people of the national park to pay to ensure that the rich get richer and big business can continue to keep polluting elsewhere – through peatland restoration, carbon credits trading, rewilding etc.

Is it too much of a cost for us to pay?

Are we really better as a national park or would we be better off without it?

We never wanted to become an environmental theme park and certainly not one that actually encouraged global pollution and making the rich richer at the cost of the poorest who finance it through taxes.

It is The Highland Clearances all over again

Ruaridh Ormiston


* * *

Highland Council ‘Way’ off with street name

There is a row over the proposed name for the housing development in Cromdale. Picture: Sandrone.
There is a row over the proposed name for the housing development in Cromdale. Picture: Sandrone.

I am writing in response to the Strathy article: “Which ‘Way’ for Cromdale? That is the question’ (November 27).

Lou and Liam Simpson, of locally-based Valley Building and Construction Services want to name their new housing in memory of their late gran Dolly Gordon.

I was born in East Lethendry Farmhouse, and Douglas Gordon’s grandfather and my grandfather were brothers. I remember his wife Dolly with great affection, a farmer’s wife bringing up their children at Dellachapple.

I take great exception at someone in the Highland Council, who probably has never been to Cromdale, displaying a bullying autocratic attitude, naming a new road in the village. We, the people who were born and bred there, and the current residents are the people who will choose the name. It is Dolly’s Way.

Jimmie McQueen


* * *

Tragic madness in Gaza

Even with a few days ceasefire in Gaza, pain and misery stalks the land where three great religions began.

With the tragic madness of the Russian invasion and continuing war in Ukraine, the present Middle East war sadly compounds mankind’s insensitivity, having learned little in millennia on beautiful planet Earth.

Israel’s war on Hamas has become a blatant aggression on Palestinian civilians, that threatens to engulf the entire region.

In never forgetting the horrendous Hamas war crimes, it is now the Israeli military that is committing further war crimes by continuing to besiege Gaza, cutting off power, food and water, medicine and fuel.

In the words of the old song:- “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn”.

Cutting through the fanatical minority on both sides, the only obvious solution for the majority is to work towards the establishment of a free and independent Palestinian State, which recognises the reality of the State of Israel.

Only then will peace and respect prevail and age-old hatreds cease, between two ancient Arab peoples.

Grant Frazer


* * *

Lest we forget their sacrifice

I see the war memorial at Grantown is decorated with four UK union flags to commemorate the Armistice.

Why is the Scottish Saltire not there? Many Scottish servicemen paid the ultimate sacrifice in two world wars and in many more recent conflicts.

Why are they not also commemorated?

Alan Anderson


* * *

COP 28 at Dubai will be global crossroads

Charles Wardrop clearly had not listened to Channel 4’s ‘The Great Climate Scandal’, when he wrote that the UK cannot afford the cost of net zero (Strathy, November 23).

Instead, as the programme explains, we cannot afford not to. Global warming continues as long as we keep increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. This will be when the world reaches ‘net zero’ (IPCC ‘AR6 Synthesis Report’): GHGs emissions will then be less than GHGs captured from the atmosphere.

In 2015 nations agreed to do their best to keep global warming to no more than 1.5C than before the industrial revolution. We now have global warming of 1.2C.

Nations promised to act. But their promises would lead to global warming of around 2.5C, considerably more than 1.5C. Worse still, plans for fossil fuels will breach those promises and lead to warming of 3C or more.

Burning those planned fossil fuels would emit nearly twice as much GHGs as would warm the world to 1.5C.

The UK Government is off track from meeting its net zero promises, and further off track than a year ago. With warming of 3C, many parts of the world may become uninhabitable.

There would be mass extinctions of animal and plant species. This is an existential threat to many people, and to much of nature.

We have the science and technology to hold global warming close to only 1.5C warmer than before 1850. The problem is of politics and economics.

Some 197 countries will meet at the UN climate conference COP28 in Dubai to decide on how to stop global warming. COP28 is a decision point between tackling the climate crisis or locking us into a world deteriorating towards a future unliveable for much of our planet.

Dermot Williamson


* * *

Atrocities and terror acts all condemned

Gaza on and since October 7 has seen an extreme level of violence and destruction.

The carpet bombing of civilian areas has dwarfed the explosive force of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

That an air and land attack on Gaza of such ferocity would have a devastating affect on the civilian population was utterly predictable and must have been foreseen by politicians and military alike.

Although an open air prison for decades – the most densely populated few square miles in the world – Gaza’s streets teemed with vitality, warm hospitality and the Palestinian heritage of families displaced decades ago, following World War II.

Many such areas are now a wasteland. It is hard not to conclude that we are witnessing the planned, utterly ruthless clearing out of the remaining Palestinian families in Gaza.

Meanwhile in the West Bank, the United Nations states that some 200 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, either by Israeli forces or illegal settlers.

Israel has broken International law and breached human rights for many years. Many families have been forced to leave their ancestral lands by murderous thugs, protected by Israeli security forces. The list of their inhumane actions terrorising defenceless Palestinians goes on and on.

Western friends of Israel – one of the most heavily armed regimes in the world – have failed to stop it from breaking International law for many years and it has become a brutal, militarised state. A true friend tells you when you are wrong.

A ‘Friends of Israel’ banner in Inverness at the weekend proclaimed the message ‘Free Gaza from Hamas’. I wonder how the over 140,00 dead and their grieving families would reply to that.

Heba Kamul Abu Nada, a 32-year-old Gazan poet from a refugee family displaced in the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, wrote recently:

Gaza’s night is dark. Apart from the glow of rockets.

Quiet, apart from the sound of bombs.

Terrifying, apart from the comfort of prayer.

Black, apart from the light of martyrs. Good night Gaza.

She was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Friday October 20. Every Saturday, at noon, ‘Highland Palestine’ stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine outside Inverness Town House.

They can be contacted on Facebook, Instagram or by email at highland.palestine@gmail.com Of course, I condemn the atrocities of Hamas, as I condemn the acts of terror by the IDF and Israeli settlers. Salaam, Shalom, Peace.

Paul Derbyshire


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