Love’s labour’s lost (again) in Wester Ross


The love note as it appeared before being removed once again by Bear Scotland this week Credit: Noel Hawkins
The love note as it appeared before being removed once again by Bear Scotland this week Photo: Noel Hawkins

Whilst cutbacks mean public toilets are closed in the Highlands and potholes remain unfilled, it appears that resources are not so limited when it comes to dealing with a token of love on the A835 driving into Ullapool.

A small piece of graffiti saying ‘Del ♥ Kelly’ that has been on the rocks leading into the north west highland village since the 70s was painted over last week and local supporters of the emotional and now iconic statement took it upon themselves to restore the art that many view as a local sign of coming home — but on Tuesday it was painted over once again.

On Twitter Bear Scotland have now said they removed the love note “after receiving a complaint from member of the public” prompting local group UllapoolDotCom among others to ask: “Decades & a complaint means removal? Will a complaint see potholes on the same road filled?”.

A petition — signed so far by 247 people — has now been created on stating: “Despite the original artist and love story becoming lost in time and local folklore, the landmark symbol became an iconic part of the Highlands loved by locals and visitors alike yet has been smothered in black hearted paint thanks to a callous BEAR Scotland – a company supposedly responsible for road maintenance in the region (excluding potholes, culverts, verges and road signs and safety) who say they received ‘a complaint‘ from a love hating anonymous member of the public.

“Let’s tell BEAR Scotland and the minister of transport of Scotland that we want them to reconsider this black symbol of jobsworthyness and show some heart. Or at least Del and Kelly’s. Give us back back the Highland loving! Del ♥ Kelly (4eva!).”

A spokesperson for ‘Welcome Ullapool’, a local group representing businesses and tourism in Ullapool, said “If there are resources to send out people to paint over such an innocuous and quite harmless piece of local art that many people know and actually like, then we might ask why the nearby public toilets at the old Corrieshalloch Car Park remain closed despite local mass requests to reopen. Some might even say that those behind the rock face censorship are starting to take the p… painting out of the Highlands.”

The petition can be viewed at