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Readers’ letters: High time rescued hillwalkers made to foot bill

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Sir, – It has been quite noticeable that since the recent unusually warm spring weather many hillwalkers and others of similar ilk have flocked to the Scottish mountains, all quite commendable if they are well equipped and the route is properly planned.

Unfortunately, this has not always been the case and the sad fact is that lives have been lost, and many people have had to be rescued by our excellent volunteer services on numerous occasions, with senior members of such rescue teams stating that many of the people who have benefited from their expertise have been poorly equipped and badly prepared.

How difficult is it for such people to check out weather reports from the areas they intend to visit, and also take advice vis-a-vis the type of equipment, clothing, and means of contact if difficulties occur?

The volunteer services rely on a small grant to assist with their running costs, and have to self- finance, fundraise, and obtain sponsorship, especially when running costs of helicopters come into the equation, so surely it is time that people whose lives have been saved by the aforementioned volunteers should be charged a fee for this service.

Countries like Switzerland, France, and Italy, to name but three, all charge for rescue operations on their mountains. Charges in Switzerland can be between $2,000 and $4,000, but it is normal for hillwalkers and climbers to take out insurance policies; this also applies in many other countries.

It is high time that the idiots who venture on to our mountains, ill-equipped and clad, should be made to pay for the rescue by people who risk their own lives to save them.

John Reid, Regent Court, Keith, Moray.

The Courier did a short documentary on the Tayside Mountain Rescue team, you can watch it here.

PM has shown he has skills for role

Sir – In his weekly piece in The P&J, columnist Chris Deerin continues his denunciation of the prime minister.

Among his many accusations, surely one can query his claim Boris Johnson lacks the political skills necessary for his high office. If we think back to the period before his tenure, the political establishment in Westminster was in a state of paralysis due to never-ending debate over Brexit as those who could not accept the democratic wish of the British voters to leave the EU sought to delay the process.

Johnson became PM with the promise to get Brexit done and did just that. In the general election that followed, he was the driving force that won seats for his party in areas never before voting Tory and in the process banished the Corbynites to the political wilderness, allowing a more effective opposition to be formed. In addition to the above, there is the no small achievement of having served two terms as mayor of London.

Overall, surely not the sign of someone lacking political skills or intellectual acuity.

One day he will be gone and I care not when, for as Tony Blair stated, all PMs have a sell-by date, but let it be in the hands of the electorate and not, as your columnist advocates, by the treacherous knife of his colleagues.

Ivan W Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.

Fresh fish not very practical for many

Sir, – Alan McPherson’s question about why we are using Russian fish is a bit behind the times.

I ran a fish and chip shop for 15 years and occasionally used Russian FAS (frozen at sea) fish.

We also used FAS from Norway, Iceland and Faroe trawlers. While some may say fresh is best, for many shops, fresh is impractical.

It’s also worth mentioning that on these boats the fish is processed and frozen within eight hours whereas “fresh fish” may have been in a hold for several days before a day in a market then processing before getting to the shop. Once defrosted, FAS fish also lasts longer in a chiller.

Stewart Wight, Haddo, Aberdeenshire.