Getting the kids tooled up for spring

Sophie and friend Emma wheel in the goodies

Glenfinart Walled Garden’s kids’ section this week received a welcome visit and gift from its patron and friend Actor, Sophie Thompson.

Conceived as part of the overall plan for this community garden which also includes an orchard, a growing area, a lawned social space and a sensory garden, the imaginative children’s garden boasts a bug hotel, willow tunnel, yellow brick road, Elfin cottage hide, wheel and animal sculptures and growing beds (with bedheads) and keeps the kids occupied and entertained whenever they visit.

With this in mind, Sophie kindly donated a pair of much needed wheel barrows and six sets of children’s hand tools in preparation for the garden’s reopening at Easter.

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Forestry roadline blast – This Tuesday

Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) have advised that they are carrying out a roadline blast near Ardentinny on Tuesday 6th February. Residents in the area may hear 2 bangs at around lunch time. The first will be the blast itself and the second will be any unused explosives being destroyed on site. FES will have two sentries stationed on the public road to halt traffic passing through Ardentinny, only for a few moments, while the blast goes off.

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Pathways to the Future – Cultural Heritage Trails Consultation

Benmore & Kilmun Community Trust hosted the first of several consultation events in Ardentinny on Saturday. Led by Robin Patel of Ergadia Museums & Heritage, it explored interest in and content suggestions for the creation of two cultural heritage trails in East Cowal, one for walkers and another for bikers and motorists. The trails would link local historical figures and events along with local attractions and amenities in the communities of Benmore, Loch Eck, Glen Massan, Strone, Blairmore, Ardentinny, Sandbank and Kilmun.
 
The Consultation was well attended by interested residents and visitors and a variety of names and events of note were elicited and plotted on the East Cowal map along with cultural heritage sites of interest, of which there are potentially 180.

If you were unable to attend, you are invited to participate in the project’s online survey, the results of which will feed into the Trails’ feasibility study which is funded by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. A Pathways to the Future – East Cowal Conversation Facebook page is also available here

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Ardentinny FC 1938

Our photo, kindly provided by Ian MacPherson-Blane, is of Ardentinny Football Club circa 1938. Ian’s mother lived in the village in the 1920’s and has been sharing with us her memories of Ardentinny life from some 90+ years ago.

Hopefully those with long connections (and memories) to the village will be able to put names to some of the players in our photograph.

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Friendship Holiday Association at Glenfinart House 1939

Following on from our previous articles related to when Glenfinart House was used for summer holidays by the Friendship Holidays Association, we are grateful to Richard Woolley who has provided us with the above photograph taken in August 1939 and shows a group of FHA guests outside Glenfinart House. The photo includes Richard’s Mother (back row, third from the right).

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Glenfinart Walled Garden – Newsletter

Read the December 2017 Glenfinart Walled Garden newsletter from Ardentinny Community Trust.

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Childhood memories of Ardentinny 1926

Mr. Ian MacPherson-Blane’s 91-year-old mother, Margaret MacPherson has written about her childhood in Ardentinny where she lived for 19 years from 1926. Her parents, Cecilia and Jack MacPherson lived at Seaview Cottage from 1926 until 1954, prior to which they had lived at The Steading.

Ardentinny 1929

The photograph of schoolchildren at the jetty is c.1929 and Mrs MacPherson started school shortly after it was taken. 10th from the right is Jackie MacPherson, Mrs. Margaret MacPherson’s brother; 13th from the right, Donnie MacPherson, another brother; 5th from the right is Jock McIntyre. She thinks 12th from the right is Renee Gardener who was much older than her and who used to wear a lot of makeup.

She recalls she (Margaret) once plucked her eyebrows but didn’t say anything and her father looked at her for a while then said “there’s something different about you and I don’t know what it is but you look like Renee Gardener”. Margaret then confessed and got a row. Renee happily married a Commando and had a family. 20th from right is Ian MacLean “who was a nice, quiet lad who was taken prisoner at Dunkirk and at the end of the war died on the long walk home, too malnourished to make it.”

Further recollections are that “Jake Cairns, a widower lived in the Octagon (the row of cottages near the jetty) and Glencairn cottages although they let out Glencairn in the summer and lived in the Octagon, moving back to Glencairn in the winter and shutting up the Octagon.

Jack Cairns had two daughters, Nelly and Jenny and a son, Joe, who drowned in the loch as a youngster. They moved to Glencairn and the Octagon from The Bothie at Stronvochlan after Mr Cairns, who worked for the estate, had a heart attack, and lived there rent free, which was most unusual. Nelly married Jake Longmuir who had come from Carluke to Ardentinny in search of a wife after losing his second wife and Mr. Cairns went to live with them in Carluke. Jenny married Tommy Greer and, after working in Edinburgh for a few years, they settled in Newton Stewart.

Next to Glencairn was Blink Bonny but Mrs. MacPherson can’t remember the name of the end house (now part of Blink Bonny) although someone called Mrs. Rhodes bought it. She was a widow from England and had a son called John.”

We are grateful to Mr. Ian MacPherson-Blane who provided the photograph and his mother’s recollections. 

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Santa entertains at Village Hall party

Organised by Anna and Maryjane, more than 35 youngsters enjoyed themselves at Ardentinny’s annual Christmas party in the Village Hall.

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Hall adopts free membership model at community meeting

Ardentinny Hall Management committee held an open community meeting on 10 October to inform residents on the status of the village hall and to discuss the possible future role of the asset within the community. 

For the moment the committee is keeping the hall ‘ticking over’, having reopened it for club and other bookings; ensuring that it is cleaned, that regular outgoings are paid; and making the relevant official changes of office bearers.

Management committee member Guy Elder reported on the fabric of the building. The gutters and downpipes were blocked and water is overflowing and seeping into the building and, despite clearing the back and side, the actual source of the ingress has yet to be determined. There are also no obvious drains taking water away but once they obtain field drawings of what drainage exists the committee will then decide what needs to be done before hiring a digger to make the appropriate provision. In the meantime they have applied for a National Park (building) grant to cover the cost. This has successfully reached the second stage whereby a further application has to be submitted by 20 October.

The Chair then referred to the 2015 Community Action Plan and the likes, dislikes, wants and needs of the residents expressed therein, with a view to discussing if/how the village hall asset might play a part in achieving the community’s vision for its future. There were various suggestions from the floor including the need to consult the whole community. This was agreed along with scheduling another open community meeting in the near future.
 
In addition, after many years of charging an annual hall membership fee, it was decided to provide free hall membership to all the community in line with other village halls along ‘the shore’.
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Ardentinny Community Trust AGM

Ardentinny Community Trust held its AGM on 19 September 2017 which covered the year April 2016 – March 2017. Its reported activity concerned Glenfinart Walled Garden which is the Trust’s sole project.The Trust Chair reported as follows:

The garden opened for the season on Monday 28th as part of the Forestry Commission’s Easter Eggstravaganza.
The garden was open Saturdays and Sundays 12.00 – 4.00 p.m. and on the first Friday of each month 11.00 – 2.00 p.m. (when Ardentinny Village Hall had their ‘Soup n Sandwich’ event).
However visitors were welcome in the garden any day if the gate was open or by appointment.

In April Franziska decided to return to her home in Germany. She held very informative Masterclasses which were well attended and helped to raise the profile of the garden. She encouraged volunteers and generally improved the flower and vegetable areas. Franziska shared her knowledge with all through her Gardener’s Blether. Simon Richardson was appointed as the new Volunteers’ Coordinator/Gardener and began work in July.
In the interim months volunteers and Community Payback planted out the vegetables in the polytunnel and kept the garden ticking over.

Our thanks go to Friends of Benmore Gardens who once again donated plants left over from the Benmore Botanic Garden Open Day.

Corrie MacDonald from Dunoon Grammar School Learning Centre started work experience in September 2016 travelling to the garden with a support worker every Monday.

Joe Robinson started work experience in the garden in February 2017 for his UHI College Course.

Events:
The Big Picnic, with live music from the ‘Elderly Brothers’ attracted a lot of picnickers and despite the damp start was enjoyed by all.

During Cowal Open Studios, Anthea Gage exhibited in the shed and welcomed 145 visitors to her exhibition.

The Harvest Fair, our annual fundraising event attracted many visitors and raised £1100 some of which went towards a diesel generator. Thank you to all the people who helped to make it such a success – too numerous to mention!

There was a ‘Sparkle Bomb’ the Garden event. Locals and visitors brought Christmas decorations to sparkle the children’s area.

Fundraising and Outreach:
The Trust was awarded a Tesco Groundworks’ Grant to put in Disabled parking.

A grant, awarded by Cowal Health and Wellbeing Network in February, will assist with the transportation of volunteers to the garden.

Trustees attended the Community Partnership’s Annual BBQ in Ardentinny Village Hall and their EGM and workshops in The Three Villages Hall, Arrochar.

The Garden had a fundraising stall at Dunoon Dazzle.

The garden had a stall at the Jobs’ Fair in Dunoon Grammar

A powerpoint presentation about the garden and its history was delivered at one of the TSI meetings in Dunoon, at the first meeting of the DASH Recovery Cafe and at one of the Parkinsons’ and Carers’ Group meetings. Talks were again given at the Job Centre

Visitors:
The 500th visitor of the season signed the visitors’ book in September. This did not include the visitors who do not sign the book, regular, local visitors and the people who attended the Easter event, the Big Picnic and Cowal Open Studios.

Other groups who visited the garden were: Strone Primary, Dunoon Grammar School Learning Centre and Glasgow Art Students who were staying at the outdoor centre. Carers from ENABLE and ASSIST brought their clients to enjoy the space.

Neil Black and Eilidh McKerry from the National Park visited the garden on their annual grant monitoring visit. They were delighted with the progress of the garden.

Tamara Hedderwick from the Groundworks’ grant team visited the garden to take promotional photographs.

Volunteer and Community support:
National Park Rangers regularly visited and NP Volunteers attended our Action Days on the last Saturday of the month which was extended, in July, to include the second Sunday of the month.

Tullochan Futures Group visited the garden with Steven Kenny from the National Park

The Forestry Commission provided us with marquees for our events. The village hall lent us tables and chairs.

The EXP, Youth Group spent a MAD (Make A Difference) day during the summer holidays.

ISS Facility Services Landscaping, Cowal and Bute Team, led by Andy continued to support the garden by professionally strimming the’ tump’ round the sensory garden and cutting the grassy areas to ensure maximum growth.

Two young men from the HELP Project began working in the garden on Thursdays.

The Community Payback Teams continue to be a great asset to the garden.

Development:
The storage yard was completed by attaching a large net to telegraph poles to hide our store of resources. Climbing plants were be grown up the net to further hide them. The compost bins were extended.

The shed roof was covered by box profile to make it water tight and to help preserve it for the years to come. The gutters were renewed and we are, again able to gather and store rain water in the bowsers behind the shed. This has made the watering of the polytunnel much less labour intensive.

The improvement to the water supply was completed. Water butts situated in the polytunnel and at the ends of each planting area were fitted with individual taps connected to pipe from the main bowser.

A diesel generator was installed behind the main shed. There is now power in the shed and outdoor electric sockets for events.

Sam Campbell felled several trees to make way for the parking spaces outside the wall. The Road Upgrade and 2 Disabled Parking spaces as well as parking for a minibus and 1 car were completed by Ross Macarthur Contractors ltd with a grant from Tesco, Groundworks ‘Bags of Help and Argyll and Bute Council.

Our grateful thanks go to the many supporters of the garden project who give of their time and resources and of course to the visitors who come from far and wide.

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