About a month ago, National Geographic named two places in the UK, the Moray Firth coastline in Scotland and Pembrokeshire in Wales as two of only 18 coastlines in the world that were top-rated. Top-rated means that 340 experts rated the areas in terms of the environment, the way that historical sites were maintained and how development was managed and voted accordingly.
The Scotsman newspaper ran the story only last week but it was the reaction of its readers that I found interesting. From the outset let me say that those who comment on stories in that newspaper are an interesting bunch with usually, deeply polarising views. On tourism, however, you might have thought there would be some agreement and so the rest of us could pick up tips on some of the better places to visit. That’s not how contributors to The Scotsman operate.
The first comment was how the article missed out the sound of RAF jets screaming overhead closely followed by another pointing out the screaming of the jet-skis on Loch Lomond. Onto wind turbines which litter the Scottish landscape and how in future the coastlines and firths might be so affected as well. And it’s all down to the politicians who don’t invest in things like the botanic gardens and fail to follow up successes. As someone called McFreedom pointed out, there were 11 negative comments before the first positive ones started to appear.
But then it became almost a scrap over whether the coastline on the east was better than that of the east. Regardless of what people wrote, it was the west, or at least the Moray Firth that won the accolade and not the east. But from here, at last, a list of what people thought were unsung highlights of the Scottish landscape. The coastline between Wick and the Pentland Firth down to Oban was suggested by one reader. Appleside, the Kyle of Lochalsh and the Uists were suggested by others. The Clyde rated a comment as did the Solway Firth. Even then there were still comments irrelevant to the story and arguments.
One of the very last contributors, (at least so far) summed up my attitude. To “Portnoi” whoever you are, I leave the final words.
“Ach! Can ye nae just acknowledge and enjoy the beauty of Scotland? This article doesn"t call for competition and snide remarks. Show your pride.”