The bag packers guide…

Arentinny Community Trust goes bag packing at Morrisons in Dunoon and find that the public mostly know about the Garden project  and are delighted to have it happening in Cowal.  Merle Ferguson provides some tips for future bagpacking…

Having had a great day on Saturday at Morrisons supermarket, Dunoon bag packing for the Walled Garden Funds.:

1. You have to book very far ahead so don’t do as we did and have the actual day sneak up on you, like Christmas does, when you think its ages away.
2. At least 2 months before your allocated date, and before they can organize to do something else that day, ask friends and  villagers  for a couple of hours of their time. We had more than  eight  good people  who would have come (seriously) if they weren’t otherwise booked.
3.  Have  some extra folks in reserve  because someone’s bound to have to pull out on the day.
4.  Don’t put a notice asking for volunteers on the village notice board.  It doesn’t work. Well, would you make the telephone call? Be honest.
5.  Help  your till manager by dressing up  to cheer up those faces looking at you while  queuing (especially the kids). Everyone is actually very patient in the face of  the purse fumbling, card losing, bottle breaking public (just like you and me!)  Next time we are dressing up as  fairies!! (only kidding).
6.  Three hours is the absolute maximum  to pack before taking a break… best to have three – 2hr shifts shared out.  The good bit is that  if anyone need to leave they can do just that without any fuss.
7.  When everyone tells you they’ve read about your project in the local rag and  think it’s just great for Cowal… don’t go kissing them… there isn’t time!
8. Remember to get some coin bags from the Bank and leave plenty more time for counting up the hundreds of pennies.

Merle Ferguson


Local MSP takes a walk around the Glenfinart Walled Garden

Councillor Ron Simon, Trust Convener Dennis Gower, Mike Russell MSP & Trust Director Anna Williamson.

Members of Ardentinny Community Trust warmly welcomed MSP Mike Russell and local Councillor Ron Simon to the Glenfinart Walled Garden in Ardentinny.

The local MSP and Councillor congratulated trust convener, Dennis Gower, on the Trust agreeing the purchase of the garden from the Forestry Commission, a purchase that has been made possible with funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the National Lottery’s Awards for All program and the creative fund raising efforts of the local community.

Mike Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, enthused about the potential of the garden, siting established projects in Campbeltown and the Organic Growers of Fairlie as great examples of how community gardens can bring positive social and environmental benefits to communities.

Situated near the shores of Loch Long, the Grade B listed walled garden, featuring a unique curved wall, is a ‘hidden gem’. Designed as part of the original Glenfinart Estate the working garden included a series glass houses, orchards and vegetable plots. Now only the walls of the garden and some fruit trees remain.

With backing from the local community, the Ardentinny Community Trust are purchasing the garden with the express aim of turning it back into a community resource and saving it from dereliction. They have plans to reinstate the garden for food growing, recreation and environmental education and have recently appointed a project officer, Hannah Clinch, to support these developments with the backing of funding from LEADER.

If you would like more information about the Glenfinart Walled garden or would like to volunteer then please contact the Ardentinny Community Trust or visit

Hannah Clinch


What’s happening in Ardentinny Village Hall in December?

Monday: Bridge 19.00 – 21.00
Tuesday: Badminton 10.00 – 12.00
Tuesday: Art Club 14.00 – 16.00
Wednesday: Hobbies 19.00 – 21.00
Thursday: Carpet Bowls 14.30 – 16.30
Friday: Soup & Sandwich 11.00 – 13.30

On Fridays the most delicious homemade soup and home baking is to be found in the Village Hall and we are very proud to keep this social event going throughout the winter, weather permitting. Every month Ardentinny Community Trust takes a table to raise money for Glenfinart Walled Garden. There is also a weekly table to raise money for Clic Sargent. The Village Hall also has a table selling bric-a-brac and secondhand books to raise money for the Village Hall funds. Look out for details of our annual Christmas Drop-in which will be happening in early December (great mincemeat pies!). The Village Hall Committee would like to thank everyone for keeping alive the traditions of a village hall which has now been going for over 100 years.
Merle Ferguson


Recollections of the 50’s…

Primrose Tearoom 1950's

Along with my husband, I visited Ardentinny in September 2011 with the purpose of walking down Memory Lane to the late 1950’s when I had spent many of my childhood holidays there.

It was certainly lovely to see the village looking so orderly and prosperous with such an apparently active and friendly community. The natural beauty remains as wonderful as my recall. Having looked at the notice board, we met briefly with Sandra Davidson in order to buy some 2012 calendars. She was one of several people from whom we learned a bit about life in Ardentinny today but the purpose of this e-mail is to ask if anyone shares our recall of earlier times.

My Aunt and Uncle owned and ran the Primrose Tearooms in Ardentinny in the 1950’s. The tearooms are now known as The Heron and the building is a private residence. Leaving our normal London life behind, my Mother, my two sisters and I spent many summer holiday periods in Ardentinny helping Auntie and Uncle with the busy trade – many coaches came from Dunoon stopping at the tearooms to partake of the good Scottish fare! Uncle worked for the Forestry Commission and they lived in one of the FC houses.

I attach (above) a photo of my Aunt and Uncle and of some of the local ladies who worked for them. Can any of your readers recall these times or recognise the people? We three remember the name Jenny Moffat and we think she is sitting back right. My Aunt and Uncle were Agnes and Neil Wareham who hailed from Campbeltown prior to joining the Ardentinny community. Agnes was of Glaswegian origin, my Mother’s older sister, and Neil came from Bute. They had no children. On leaving Ardentinny they had a small grocery store in Glasgow in order to be nearer to siblings but of course all have long since passed on.

We become more nostalgic with passing years! As sisters, our teenage years spanned the 1950’s and therefore our memories now fade. Are any of your readers able to help and share with us any recall of the period or information about these people since that time?

We have such happy memories of The Primrose Tearooms and Ardentinny. We were at that time Rosemary, Margaret and Phyllis and my Mother’s name was Mary. Our surname was ‘Day’.

With kind regards,

‘Pippa’ Greenwood


Aerial Spraying – CAA acknowledges communication difficulties

July 2011 - Aerial spraying behind Ardentinny

For those of you who regularly read this site, you will already be aware that aerial spraying took place over Ardentinny, for the second year running, in July of this year. This happened without any apparent forewarning, despite an undertaking from Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) last year that notice of any future aerial spraying would be communicated to the public, in advance. Consequently contacted FCS and there ensued various correspondence, all reported here, regarding whose responsibility it was to inform the public and who had done what, in that regard. Two of our site visitors were kind enough to supply evidence of what was required by law in England and Wales and we checked with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and it confirmed that the rules regarding signage also applied in Scotland.

FCS then provided information supplied by the helicopter company, MFH Helicopters Ltd., who undertook the spraying, which said that warning signs had been posted but could give no further detail (see Aerial spraying – the future). As we were invited to deal directly with Mr. Hawkings-Byass of MFH Helicopters, we did so on 27 September, 2011 asking if his company retained the data required in their Aerial Application Certificate which was detail of the company’s procedures for the provision and positioning of warning signs within 60m of the land to be treated so as to warn pedestrians, drivers and others of the activity. In addition we asked: How many signs were posted; when they were posted, the wordage of the signs; and their exact location, preferably with map co-ordinates. Mr. Hawkings-Byass responded to say that he would reply to our questions on 3rd October. On hearing nothing further, on 11th October we wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requesting said information, in the knowledge that it is one of their requirements when issuing the appropriate license.

On 14 October we received the following response from MFH Helicopters Ltd:

I apologise for the delay in replying but I have been away. I am sorry that I am not able to produce much more information than I have already. As I have stated already we are not obliged to keep records of where and when signs are posted. All our ground vehicles carry such signs.

Since the regulation was introduced, open access has required us to re-evaluate the measures we take with regard to 3rd parties and these will be particular to each location and its relevant circumstances.

Kind regards,

Nicholas Hawkings-Byass

and on the 26th October we received the following response from the CAA:

MFH Helicopters are granted their annual Aerial Application Certificate on the basis of a number of items including an Operations Manual that states how the spraying operations are to be conducted. In compiling this manual the guidance in our CAA publication CAP 414“The Aerial Application Certificate” is followed, which states,amongst other things, how warnings should be posted to nearby residents etc. I can confirm that the MFH Operations Manual does contain instructions to its crews to post warning notices on public roads and footpaths within 60m of the boundary of the land to be treated.

The CAA carry out an annual inspection (audit) of the field operations of Aerial Application Certificate holders including MFH. The most recent inspection took place in July of this yea rand there were no findings that would have justified suspending MFH’s certificate.

I understand that you are having a constructive dialogue with MFH in order to ensure that the warning signs are posted where they can be readily seen and fulfil their purpose. If the warning sign system is not proving effective we would reasonably expect MFH to use additional media(websites/local liaison etc)to ensure fair warning is given and the local effected local populace are aware of what is taking place.


Lawrence Hay

Encouraged by the CAA’s approach to ‘ensuring fair warning is given and the local effected populace are aware of what is taking place’ we asked if the CAA would communicate this to HMF Helicopters as, apart from Community Council members, it seemed that neither the local residents, nor the general public visiting the village on the day the spraying took place, were aware of it and that hill and forest walkers at the time reported they saw no warning signs. On 1 November, 2011 we received this response from Mr. Lawrence Hay of the CAA:

I will discuss the use of additional media with MFH and they were copied in on my last e-mail to you. I am having a regular dialogue with MFH on the future of aerial spraying as this has been under threat due to various EU decisions. The UK is seeking to continue having aerial application of asulox/asulam as an option since its only present use here is for this type of conservation work. The use of helicopters is regarded as less invasive in remote environmentally sensitive areas (typically rural hill sites and moors) because they do not have to use tracks and paths or leave a surface ‘footprint’.

I note that the Community Council did not have the opportunity to pass on information to the residents of Ardentinny and that some of the posted signs were missed. From my dealings with other operators, this problem of communication is one of the hardest to get right especially as they are at the sites for a very brief time; it may well be that some of the places that signs are posted are not the same places that would be obvious to those with local knowledge.

It would help if a local liaison point/person were established so that prior to operations, critical information could be passed on to the right people and the benefit of local knowledge obtained.


Lawrence Hay

While the lack of forewarning of spraying, which should include the name of the substance being employed, has been our main concern, it is interesting to note that the chemical used appears to be of concern on many fronts, though perhaps for different reasons. However, it is heartening to see that there is a will to overcome past failures to forewarn the public and to ensure that this does not recur.

Related links:

Asulam (Wikipedia)
ASULOX UPDATE Oct 2011 (MFH Helicopters)
MFH Bracken Control Brochure 2011 (MFH Helicopters)
CAA Aerial Application Certificate
SEPA: Bracken Control – A Guide to Best Practice
Bracken Eradication (The Scottish Government)
Bracken & Asulox FAQ (MFH Helicopters)
Asulam Voted for Non Approval (Sept. 2011 – United Phosphorus Ltd)
Asulox supplies (Oct. 2011 – United Phosphorus Ltd)
Asulox ban a blow to Scottish farmers – Lyon (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
Uplands protest over ban on bracken spray (The Guardian)
Farmers urged to act over bracken control agent asulam (Farmers Guardian)