Original RET architect to speak at book festival

Roy Pedersen.

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One of Scotland’s leading experts on transport will be discussing how travelling around the islands can be made cheaper as part of West Over Sea, Tobermory Book Festival.

Roy Pedersen’s interest in ferries and the development of the Highlands and Islands are long standing and as part of his talk – which refers to his book, Who Pays the Ferryman – at the Western Isles Hotel on Friday October 25, he will also look in to the costs of the current system and why change is so fiercely resisted.

‘The book caused something of a stir within the ferry industry,’ he explained.

‘Being a critical analysis of Scotland’s ferry services it highlights current shortcomings and huge cost together with illustrations of best practice in Scotland and worldwide that could be applied to serve our island communities more effectively.’

Pedersen was born in Ayrshire and brought up in Aberdeen where he graduated from Aberdeen University with an MA in Geography and Economic History.

After a brief spell in London, where he created and published the first and best-selling Gaelic map of Scotland. He has spent most of his working life based in Inverness where he pursued a successful career in the economic, social and cultural development with the Highlands and Islands Development Board and its successor Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

In the course of this career, he was the original architect of the ferry charging system, Road Equivalent Tariff (RET). He was also intimately involved with the Community Co-operative scheme and revival of Gaelic, including acting as development director of Comunn na Gàidhlig.

More recently he has run his own consultancy business covering the diverse fields of transport and cultural development and has served as a Highland councillor.

Pedersen writes, publishes, speaks and broadcasts on a variety of issues connected with world affairs and with the history, present and future development of the New Scotland and its wider international setting.

He is chairman of Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba, Gaelic Place-names of Scotland, and he specialises, among other things in maritime issues, serving on the Scottish Government’s Ferry Industry Advisory Group.

‘In the course of the talk, I will look specifically at Mull, Coll and Tiree to set out practical alternative arrangements that could revolutionise access to and from these islands,’ he added.

The 2019 Tobermory Book Festival takes place from Thursday October 24 to Sunday October 27, and this year’s programme is a veritable feast of literary indulgences featuring a smorgasbord of authors from near and far.

A full programme of events is shown on the festival website www.comar.co.uk

Tickets for the events are available from Comar, the Tobermory and Mull Arts Centre, by following the link on the website to the Comar Box Office or phoning 01688 302211.