Walled Garden team looks forward to new season

The imaginative Children's Garden takes shape.

The imaginative Children’s Garden takes shape (complete with bed ends!).

Glenfinart Walled Garden’s plans for participating in Forestry Commission Scotland’s Annual Easter Eggstravaganza at Ardentinny on 21 April are well underway.  After the winter storms which flooded parts of the garden, the volunteers (with the help of the Payback Team) have been hard at work constructing paths, installing edging in the vegetable plots and constructing raised beds in the polytunnel.

Claire’s innovative Children’s Garden is set to become a favourite with the kids this summer. Joining Bug Hotel, Elfin Cottage, the cycle wheel sculpture and the amazing flying fishes will be real flower beds complete with bed ends!

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Another view of the Kid’s Garden.

Over the past couple of weeks, levelling work has been taking place at the garden’s public area. This will provide a picnic site as well as an area for the erection of marquees. The Trust would like to extend its gratitude to Alan Cartledge of Glenfinart Caravan park who kindly loaned a digger and driver. Thanks also go to Scott, who over three days made an excellent job of the levelling.

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Scott making progress in the new picnic/events area.

With the garden going from strength to strength, so also are the volunteer numbers. Despite the (sometimes) inclement weather, it’s a wonderful tranquil environment in which to spend a few hours each week. Of course, it’s not all weeding  and digging, with many facets to the garden, volunteers can easily find an activity that they are comfortable with, and contribute to the success of the project.  So if you’re interested in getting involved, get in touch with Jimmy Gordon on 01369 810170 or Lynn Kerr on 01369 810275, or simply drop in to the garden if you see the gate open (usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

The Glenfinart Walled Garden Team looks forward to welcoming you for the new season.

Glenfinart Walled Garden Newsletter – March 2014 (PDF)

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Children’s Garden.

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Edging in place at the vegetable plot.


Coulport blasts: Argyll MP Alan Reid writes to Defence Secretary

Ardentinny.org has today received an email from Argyll MP Alan Reid regarding the Coulport blasts. Mr. Reid has stated that “The MoD are supposed to inform the public of exercises in advance”. He has written to the Defence Secretary and will let us know his response.


Coulport blasts: MSP letter to UK Defence Minister


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Argyll MSP Michael Russell has written to UK Defence Minister Philip Hammond regarding last week’s explosions at Coulport. With permission, we are publishing the letter in full here.


Argyll MSP writes to Philip Hammond over Coulport blasts.

In a scathing attack on the MoD reported in today’s Sunday Herald, Argyll MSP Michael Russell said “Coulport has been a bad neighbour and it needs to apologise and mend its ways. Many residents were very worried by the blasts which were at times intense enough to shake houses. The fact that no warning was given and that there has still been no adequate explanation makes the situation even worse – and there is a fear that explosions may start again at any time.” Mr Russell has also written to UK defence secretary Philip Hammond.

3 of the horses from Dun Daraich Stables, Glenfinart

Terrifying experience: Three of the five horses from Dun Daraich Stables, Glenfinart who on Thursday panicked during one of the blasts, pinning someone against a wall.

No prior notice of  ‘the exercises’ resulting in the explosions which rocked Ardentinny last week was given to residents. In today’s newspaper report, the MoD apologised to the community and pointed out that the exercise took place in a “remote area”. This “remote area” was in fact directly opposite Ardentinny shore and the explosions could clearly be seen, heard and felt from the village. The MoD spokesperson added “We will ensure advance warning is given for any future training.”

Ardentinny Community Council’s bi-monthly meeting takes place on Tuesday 1 April at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. “MoD Coulport” is on the agenda. All are welcome.

Sunday Herald: MoD apologises after terrorising nuclear base village with series of bomb blasts.
Rob Edwards: Blasts at nuclear bomb plant made us feel we were in a war zone, say villagers.



Nine Blasts today at Coulport

Loud blasts continued to shake Ardentinny today from the exercises taking place at RNAD Coulport. The nine explosions, which varied in intensity, began at 12.15hrs and concluded at 16.52hrs. Some of the blasts could be heard some 4+ miles away from Coulport, on the Whistlefield road (the Larach).


The final explosion early this evening


Possible exercises today at RNAD Coulport

We have received the following statement from HMNB Clyde, Helensburgh.

Royal Marines and Ministry of Defence Police are undertaking planned exercises in a redundant area of RNAD Coulport and carry no risk to the local community or military personnel. The exercises may result in intermittent explosive noise but there is no risk to the public.

HMNB Clyde has also informed us “that further exercises may take place today between 11.45 and 16.45hrs, and there is also the possibility of further exercises taking place either next Tuesday (1 April) or Wednesday (2 April). This is to be confirmed”. They also confirmed that, as Community Council Convener Val Kennedy has offered to be a conduit between the MOD and the community, including ardentinny.org,  that they will liaise with her in future if they are issuing any pre-emptive information about RNAD Coulport activity.


Ardentinny shaken by more Coulport blasts

[Update 16.30:  An MOD spokesperson has just informed us that his colleagues in Coulport have confirmed that the exercises have stopped for this week but there is a possibility that they may continue next Tuesday or Wednesday.]

[Update: 16.15: So far today five loud blasts have been heard from Coulport. Police Scotland have said they are aware of exercises taking place at Coulport and any complaints should be made to the MOD.]

The peaceful village of Ardentinny continued to be shaken today by huge blasts from Coulport. With four blasts on Monday, two blasts were heard yesterday (Tuesday) and a further two today.

An MOD spokesperson said “We apologise if any alarm was caused and that there was nothing to worry about and that the MOD are undertaking exercises which involve the setting off of charges and that these should be completed by this Friday”.

We understand that a local resident has made a formal complaint to the Police in this regard.


Mysterious Coulport bangs explained

This afternoon villagers may have heard a series of loud bangs emanating from the direction of Coulport. On enquiring with the MOD Press Office, a spokesperson told Ardentinny.org that there was nothing to worry about and that Coulport had confirmed it was testing security which involved the setting off of some things like pyrotechnics.


HMS Dauntless passes Coulport earlier today


Angus Sutherland: Enjoying life at 100


Angus with his 97 year-old little cat porridge bowl.

Ardentinny Resident of 31 years, Angus Sutherland, celebrates his 100th birthday this Saturday. Born at the onset of World War 1, his earliest childhood memory is receiving the gift of a little cat porridge bowl (pictured above) from his Dad at the age of three. Other childhood recollections in Angus’ still razor-sharp mind, are the dimming of the gas lights as zeppelins flew overhead and the declaration of the Armistice in 1918. Hailing from Barnhill, he and his family had gone shopping to Dundee when the announcement was made. He vividly recalls everyone celebrating in the streets, not quite understanding why, and the fact that the trams stopped running. One driver agreed to take them as far as Broughty Ferry, after which they made the three-mile walk home.

Angus admits to having hated school, preferring, instead, the great outdoors. However it certainly didn’t hamper his many professional and other achievements in later life. He began working as an apprentice in his father’s joinery firm and then went on to attend Dundee Technical College for seven years, qualifying as a civil engineer. His professional career took him to Dounreay nuclear power station and then to Warrington for 10 years. Thereafter he joined the Electricity Board where his ‘patch’ included Manchester, Liverpool, North Wales and Anglesey and as far north as Carlisle.

During the Second World War years Angus was in the fire service training many of the fire personnel and among his colleagues was Jimmy Shand who went on to become a close friend. Other notable achievements were driving (with his Dad in the country) from the age of ten; building a family home from scratch on what turned out to be a peat bog once they got through the feet-high brambles; and turning a 25-foot hull into a cabin cruiser which he sailed on Loch Long in his retirement.


An accomplished artist, Angus continues to paint at 100 years old.

In 1947 Angus married Mary Marshall from Kilmany in Fife and they had two sons, Peter and Jack. One of Angus’ great loves was fishing, which he shared with the children, and he recalls Jack, at the age of four, ably casting his line on the river Tay. The family always had a caravan and regularly took it round Scotland on holiday which is how they eventually found the home they retired to in Ardentinny.

So, in 1983 Angus moved to the village. He recollects that, at that time, there was an active village school; the Heron Tea Room; and a very busy ‘Outward Bound Centre’, run by Dave Lilley. Over the years Angus has regularly delivered the Selkirk Grace at the village’s annual Burns Supper and he twice opened the annual flower show.


Angus with one of his watercolours.

Until recently Angus has also been a keen traveller, cruising the Mediterranean, South Africa, the West Indies, Iceland and Norway and was always treated royally by local Saga Cruises Captain Alistair McLundie. He now maintains his more gentle hobby of painting and enjoying a regular meal out at Chatters restaurant in Dunoon.

He will celebrate his big day with a party for 100 at Kilmun Hall which is being organised by Rosie Macinnes of Chatters and with Ardentinny’s Bill Tierney providing the music.

Regarding the future, he will be voting a resounding YES and is looking forward to seeing an independent Scotland.

We wish him Many Happy Returns!


Walled Garden project exceeds LEADER expectations

Jimmy Gordon, ACT convenor and Glyn Toplis, gardener, show Sheila the plants in the Mandela

Jimmy Gordon, ACT convenor and Glyn Toplis, gardener, show Sheila the plants in the Mandala

As a major funder of the Glenfinart Walled Garden project, Argyll and the Islands LEADER Programme staff visited the garden recently.

Project coordinator Sheila McLean and her colleague Annemarie McLean discussed and evidenced progress to date, in support of their completion report. They were both very impressed with the work that had been done and said that the project had more than met the original success criteria.

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Dennis Gower, Treasurer, Anna Williamson, Trust Director and Annemarie review the project against the success criteria and complete the final forms.

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Visiting the polytunnel Jimmy, Glyn and Sheila discuss the planting proposals for the Spring.

This work by ardentinny.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 UK: Scotland.