Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has thanked farmers and other rural businesses for their efforts during the recent wintry conditions.
Mr Halcro Johnston, the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, said volunteers had stepped up to help people in their communities, keep roads open or helping out those in trouble.
The Scottish Conservative MSP said “A very big thank you is owed to our farmers, crofters and other rural businesses who have been out in this bitter weather helping people out.
“Council gritting teams have done a great job, but they can’t be everywhere at once and many communities across the Highlands and Islands have been left cut off because of the severe weather.
“With hundreds of miles of rural roads closed or difficult to access due to snow and ice, the voluntary efforts of our farmers and other rural businesses have been invaluable.
“They have cleared roads, dug cars out when they’ve got into difficulty and helped keep vital supplies get through to those who need it.
“Farmers regularly step up when needed and, given it is voluntary and comes on top of the long hours farming demands, it is immensely appreciated”.
Mr Halcro Johnston, himself from a farming background in Orkney added: “One of the striking things about the recent snowfall is that is has badly affected even areas like Orkney and Shetland which usually escape the worst of the weather. But even in the Northern Isles, we have seen farmers opening up roads which would otherwise have been closed but for their efforts.
“It’s been a great effort, particularly at a time like this when we are so anxious to ensure the uninterrupted flow of vaccines across the country and also allow folk to attend their vaccination dates.
“Let’s hope that we are now over the worse of the bad weather and life can return to a semblance of relative normality.”