I LIVE on a Hebridean island. People come here for the whisky, the birdwatching, the shooting and a few to enjoy the local culture. Few understand the realities of life here.

I worked in a home care and the summer season added at least an hour to each shift as I was stuck behind visitors doing 15mph and weaving about the road as the driver looked at sheep, cattle, deer and views on the move instead of stopping and getting out the car. Don’t even start me on abandoning cars on a blind bend to photograph birds, or parking in passing places, or being unable or unwilling to reverse for cars going uphill on single-track roads.

READ MORE: Rhoda Meek: Visitors are being sold false picture of our islands

I saw a motorhome taking an hour to reverse along our 100m-long drive after ignoring the “house only” sign. I have been asked is there a school on the island, why isn’t there a taxi rank at the airport, why are places shut on a Sunday and why are the buses infrequent.

Some visitors are (patronisingly) surprised that locals are often able to answer in French, German or other European languages. We are not “backward natives” or Disneyland “Whisky Galore” characters; we are modern people living and working on our island.

Mary Bavin
via thenational.scot

RHODA Meek’s article accurately portrays how the islands are “sold” to tourists and how this lie leads to disappointments for tourists and negatively affects locals. If articles and adverts for the islands emphasised culture, local traditions, history, current crofting life etc then visitors would have more chance of an enriching holiday and hopefully the interactions between visitors and locals would be more beneficial to both!

Charlotte Hamlyn
via thenational.scot

READ MORE: Shona Craven: Scotland's island communities steal the show in Designing The Hebrides

RHODA Meek hits the nail squarely on the head regarding the problems being caused to island communities by the way in which we are being misrepresented in the media and by tourist bodies. Far from being in an “empty wilderness”, many of the most popular tourist spots are in working crofting communities, with real people trying to get on with real jobs.

VisitScotland needs to add a bit of reality – and a bit of education – into its promotional materials. As for the media, the tired old tropes only highlight the ignorance of the journalists who propagate them.

Cha robh agad ach an tuil fhìrinn, Rhoda chòir.

Anne Macaulay
via email

I WRITE in response to the Rhoda Meek piece in Monday’s National. The word “remote” has ALWAYS annoyed me. Remote from where/whom? This is a word abused mainly by city dwellers who want to use a bus if their destination is more than two city blocks away, imagining that THEIR location is “where it’s at”. There are some Glaswegians who think Cumbernauld or East Kilbride is “remote”. I wonder if New Yorkers think THEY’RE remote, they’re certainly remote to ME (Blantyre).

Not EVERYONE wants to live in a city (even a remote one like New York).

Barry Stewart

THE British public were conned by a predominantly right-wing-establishment-driven Brexit just as the Scottish public were conned by a predominantly right-wing-establishment-driven opposition to independence.

The infamous Vow may have had “Scottish Labour” faces in Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, but Brown and his predecessor as Prime Minister, Tony Blair, were about as true to socialist ideals as was Margaret Thatcher. All have been resolute defenders of the interests of the right-wing establishment and both Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar will follow the same “New Labour” path of appeasing the rich and the powerful in spite of any interim messaging to the contrary.

READ MORE: Labour would honour Rosebank licence if granted by Tories, says Sarwar

Federalism, proportional representation for the “Commons” and the long-overdue overhaul of the “Lords” will no doubt be again injected into the political debate ahead of the next General Election, but the wealth gap in Scotland will not significantly reduce, and poverty here will not be eliminated, until Scotland takes control of its own destiny.

Decades of sticking plasters have not worked; we need major surgery to address the dire and deep-rooted consequences of the deprivation that resulted from Tory and Labour politicians at Westminster neglecting to plan beyond the decimation of our major industries, even with the colossal economic bonus arising from trillions of pounds of North Sea oil and gas production.

The Scottish public, and in particular well-intentioned Labour Party supporters (remember it was Messrs Blair and Brown that buried the McCrone Report while in effect covertly annexing Scottish territory for England), must not allow themselves to be conned again.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian