5.15am: The young seal which was stranded on Ardentinny beach on Sunday afternoon is this morning back in Loch Long. Overnight it managed to pull itself back down to the water.
Tonight a stranded seal pup remains on Ardentinny beach. The young seal, which is beached just above the high-water line and is around 100cm long, appeared on the beach this afternoon (Sunday). There are no apparent signs of injury. The SSPCA have been contacted, however they are unable to assist tonight. They have requested they be contacted on Monday morning if the seal is still on the beach.
We reproduce below correspondence received from Marian Norris, Vice-Convenor, Ardentinny Community Council, which relates to the closure of the FCS Discovery Trail.
IMMINENT CLOSURE OF ARDENTINNY NATURE TRAIL
This is a picture of the Ardentinny Nature Trail, and a copy of a letter I have sent to the Forestry Commission. I have also asked for the support of the Ardentinny Community Trust, Ardentinny Centre, Strone Primary School, the National Park and Councillor Bruce Marshall. I would be grateful if all those who, like me, would like to retain the Nature Trail for the village, put in your protest by writing to
David Robertson : firstname.lastname@example.org
Argyll District Office, Glenbranter
Gordon Donaldson: email@example.com
Cowal and Trossachs Forest District, Aberfoyle, Stirling, FK8 3UX
Forest Enterprise Scotland, 1, Highlander Way, Inverness Business Park, Inverness IV2 7GB
As vice convenor of Ardentinny Community Council, I would like to make a formal protest at the plans of the Forestry Commission to close the Nature Trail and Bird/Squirrel Hide at Ardentinny. I visit it frequently, and think it is a wonderful facility for the village. I have watched squirrels and many species of bird, and the hide has also been used by the local camera club. Many varieties of wild plants can be seen, and I have particularly enjoyed the profusion of violets and primroses in the Spring. The information boards were of great value to visitors and also of educational value to local schools. I understand that Ardentinny Centre will be following the John Muir scheme this year, and as a trained John Muir leader I can state categorically that the nature trail would be invaluable to support this study. It would also be very useful to any local school following the Forest Schools syllabus.
Ardentinny residents are grateful to the Forestry Commission for the new toilets it has provided at the beach and for its continuing grass cutting and removal of litter. The number of visitors has increased recently and is likely to continue to do so with the interest in the restoration of the Walled Garden and the Coronation Wood, and the re-opening of the Outdoor Centre, and the continued attraction of the beach and forest paths. It is ridiculous that just at this time the Commission should make the decision to remove one of its best and most creative amenities.
The Forestry Commission has cut back its Education and Recreation activities considerably over the last few years, and while I understand the financial restraints they have to work under, this would seem to be a comparatively low cost facility.
I would be most grateful if you could consider any strategies by which we could keep this great addition to forestry education. I am sure there must be possibilities that volunteers could assist in the maintenance of the trail, and perhaps we could join together to restore the information boards so that this facility would be available for future visitors and schools for a long time to come.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Vice Convenor Ardentinny Community Council
Over the past year Dunoon’s Community Payback Team has been contributing to the success of Glenfinart Walled Garden.
Including the regular strimming, weeding, planting, compost collection and general garden maintenance, the Community Payback team, under the direction of supervisor John Gilchrist, has also been laying paths with road *planings and gravel provided by Argyll & Bute Council Roads Department.
Such is the success of the contribution they have made to the garden, this year the team will be allocated a plot to enable them to grow their own produce. They will also receive training from Glenfinart Walled Garden’s volunteers’ coordinator and gardener, Glyn Topliss.
* An aggregate produced when the surface layer of tarmac is removed
Working with the John Muir Trust, Ardentinny Outdoor Centre will be undertaking monitoring and cleaning of the beach from Ardentinny Hotel to Finart Bay from the end of February. It’s anticipated that the visiting groups will undertake the work every 4-6 weeks, with local Strone School children hopefully also participating.
The Outdoor Centre’s Aidan Docherty said at the recent meeting of the Community Council that the conservation project will encourage the participating children to work towards the John Muir Trust Discover Award. Mr. Docherty also suggested that the centre may be able to offer some of its resources to the community such as strimming, grass-cutting and possibly assisting in the nature trail initiative.
Additionally, Ardentinny Outdoor Centre is introducing weekend groups at the centre, promoting existing centre activities with both the John Muir Trust and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park and acting as an information point for promoting the area.
Over the past months there has been much discussion regarding the eradication of Japanese Knotweed in the village. At a cost of £522, Ardentinny Community Council has now financed the training of local resident Geoff Carr to undertake spraying of the public areas in the village.
Spraying equipment will be provided by Blairmore Community Council. Additional equipment still to be purchased includes storage locker, overalls and safety equipment. Prior to spraying, the Community Council will need to liaise with the various local bodies including Scottish Water, SEPA and local householders. Anticipated spraying time would be August.
National Park board member David McKenzie gave a brief update on the Historic Kilmun project (formerly Kilmun Mausoleum) at the February Ardentinny Community Council meeting. The new visitors’ centre opens on 12 February for 3 days a week during the winter and 6 days in the summer. It is hoped that the centre will attract some 6,000+ visitors in its first year.
Blairmore Village Trust are also pushing ahead with their plans to purchase Blairmore Village Green as a community facility. Indications are positive that the project will go ahead for a wild flower garden and additional parking.
Plans for a 25 mile cycle route from Kilmun Arboretum to Whistlefield, Ardentinny and back to Kilmun using existing forestry tracks were outlined by Councillor Bruce Marshall at the recent Ardentinny Community Council meeting. Preparations are also underway to promote and organise a cycle event using the new route in 2015.
Also under consideration is Ardentinny Outdoor Centre and Benmore Centre being used to disseminate visitor information on the area to children visiting the centres.