I DEEPLY appreciated Shona Craven’s column on Tuesday (Conflicting aims of site visitors pose a challenge, Sep 19).

We have visited Harris annually for a good number of years now. We have often visited Callanish while there, and know all too well the crowds of people busy taking photographs and talking at the top of their voices.

The magic of the place lies in its setting in the landscape, and in the character of the individual stones. The landscape includes the island of Great Bernera across Loch Roag (in the news a couple of days ago), and the hills along the Harris border in the distance, some of which you can see as the outline of a woman sleeping on her back. This wide setting is impossible to capture in a photograph.

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The individual stones have a beautiful grain, giving a pattern of subtle colours. Each stone is unique and I love to contemplate them, like the woman Shona describes.

One time we had spent the day down at Uig and looked in at Callanish on the way back, late in the afternoon. The crowds had gone, the campervans and coaches. Also there was a younger couple with a girl about three years old, and a German television crew filming for a travel show. Everyone was respectful of everyone else, and it was a magical experience – the one time we were able to soak in the spirit of the place without constant interruption.

Presumably if there is a controlled entrance with fees, the hours will be limited, and the ability to look in late in the day will be lost.

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On the subject of cruise ships, I despair at their intrusion on what should be unspoiled places. They are all ugly, and too big, and when Stornoway can accommodate even bigger ships, what will be left for those of us who love such sites for themselves, rather than as selfie opportunities? I don’t know who is supposed to benefit from the “trade”. I was talking some years ago with the owner of a café in Kirkwall who saw practically no benefit to local businesses. The passengers were loaded onto coaches and delivered to Orkney’s neolithic sites, then taken back to their ship. Everything was provided on board, and apart from at a couple of gift shops, they spent nothing in the town.

As for cruises to Antarctica or East Greenland (also recently in the news, where a cruise ship ran aground), what is the point? An inexperienced, unequipped person can’t even set foot ashore in such places. They are just a liability when things go wrong, as they did.

Robert Moffat

WE were there in Calanais six months ago and now sadness is evoked again on reading your article of the damage arising from rising visitor numbers (Admission fee plan for ancient standing stones, Sep 15). On ideas for protections – yes, do it. Do it as soon as possible. Protect the place.

Noting the remark that protective work has taken place at Brodgar, this is good to hear but why is this not moving rapidly and proactively ahead, moved by government directive, for all our sensitive and hugely important places?

My shock at the condition of Skye’s Fairy Pools some five years ago had myself and partner vowing never to return to Skye.

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It is clear enough that Scotland and certain bodies within Scotland are totally inept. Our national fibre and history is up for sale when it belongs to no-one and everyone. The Scottish Government has totally let exploitation of our existence take place because we in Scotland have so very little to survive on except to sell family silver. Silver does not last forever though. Silver is stolen.

The horror of cruise ships. Mobile towers of horrific pollution. From environment to society. Cruise ships are filth.

I look askance at each breathless report in my local paper, the Largs and Millport Weekly News – wheee! Another giant cruise ship passing by as it leaves the Clyde. Look at my amazing photo of this modern marvel!

Underlining how folk are stupid beyond stupid. 6000 people on the move are 6000 people. All the attendant mess that brings. Environment to consumption. Exploitation of heritage and workers. Material used and energy consumed. Plus a large bucket of ignorance – they care not of what they see. They know and feel nothing for what is around them.

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For what? To give a few days’ expensively fleeting happiness to folk with drab lives.

I have lived my whole life around the sea. From my dad’s wee yacht, my own yacht and working from age 16 through another 50 years to retirement. Nothing but ships and shipping.

Cruise ships disgust me. Stunningly ugly and an embodiment of man’s brute force over nature. Yes, my life was commercial shipping but cruise ships are horrific.

Beware what you embrace with joy when thinking business success. As for Calanais to Brodgar and Edinburgh and on and on – God help the ghosts of those places. They will place their hate in us for sure. God help us.

Nick Durant