The weather finally cleared last weekend, not only for the finale of the Cowal Highland Gathering, but also for Ardentinny’s chance of getting in the record books!
Simon Penfold and Phil Dye from Gloucestershire were on a mission to climb and measure the tallest trees in Scotland, England and Wales over three consecutive days in aid of Cancer Research. Starting last Friday, and with the climbs at Dunster Estate, Somerset and Powys, Wales successfully completed, the lads headed north for Ardentinny.
The Douglas Fir at the Lairds Grave had already been measured using laser by Forestry Commission Scotland. However, for the height to be validated, the conifer would need to be measured by analogue means, i.e. a measuring tape.
Under surprisingly ideal conditions early on Sunday morning, the two tree surgeons, who operate a recreational tree climbing centre in Gloucestershire, started their ascent. With the aid of the measure, a 3 metre pole and a quadcopter, Simon and Phil completed the flawless climb in exactly two hours.
Simon said afterwards “there was quite a bit of deadwood up there, but also a good amount alive. It was a phenomenal view of the loch. It’s now the tallest tree I’ve ever climbed. The only struggle we had was getting the whisky off the tree!” He was referring to a mystery package left by previous climbers some 60 meters up! It contained three miniature bottles of Campbeltown Loch whisky with the message “Great what you are doing. Here’s some Scottish hospitality”.
Charitable donations in support of Simon and Phil’s weekend climbs have already exceeded their £2000 target for Cancer Research. If you would also like to contribute, click here for their Just Giving page.
So, can Ardentinny claim to have the tallest tree in Scotland, UK or Europe? Watch the video and find out!
Ardentinny may be home to the UK’s tallest tree and Europe’s tallest conifer, something which could be officially confirmed later this month by arboriculturalists and charity tree climbers Phyl Dye and Simon Penfold, when they scale and measure the suspect Douglas fir near the Laird’s grave in Ardentinny.
On the last weekend of August, Phyl from Wotton-under-edge and Simon from Malmesbury plan to climb the tallest trees in England, Wales and Scotland over a challenging three day period in aid of Cancer Research UK.
The first climb on Friday the 25th will be a Douglas fir in Dunster Estate, England which measured 60.05 metres in 2009; the second will be in Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, thought to be around 60.62 metres; and their final challenge will be in Ardentinny on the Sunday, hoping to confirm the laser measurement of 68 metres when they will accurately measure it by tape during their climb.
Through this taxing endeavour, they hope to raise £2,000 for Cancer Research. If you would like to help them achieve or indeed supersede that goal, you can chip in on their Just Giving page.
With a commitment ‘to persuade the UK government to uphold the now very clear international demand to dismantle Trident’ (Jane Tallents), participants at the Ardpeaton Camp across Loch Long, will be taking part in workshops; vigils; and actions calling on the UK to sign the new treaty.
In a peaceful demonstration today (Tuesday), five people were arrested including 79-year-old Brian Quail, a retired teacher, after blocking the road to the Coulport facility.
As part of Amnesty International’s Refugees Welcome campaign, ardentinny.org created a popup ‘#SolidarityStudio’ at Saturday’s Glenfinart Walled Garden Harvest Fair.
In support of the #RefugeesWelcome message, a steady stream of visitors were photographed with a background of refugee images kindly provided by photographers @BartVanEijden and @Xandra_Photo. Each was presented with a complimentary souvenir print. The images were also shared to social media via Twitter and Facebook.
Visitors also generously donated to Amnesty International (£41.65) and Scottish charity Glasgow Asylum Destitution Action Network (GLADAN) (£41.81).
The following is a selection of the images. Click photo to enlarge.
Despite heavy rain and a midge-infested Ardentinny beach, stalwart supporters of Argyll Against Trident (AAT) turned out for a 4th July Peace Picnic. AAT Convenor, Rob Bray explained the group’s rationale and young and older alike enjoyed a fabulous picnic, the centre piece of which was a ‘Bairns not Bombs’ chocolate cake donated by The Chocolate Tree.
Work began today on fencing off one of Ardentinny’s favourite dog-walking areas. As announced by Forestry Commission Scotland at the last Community Council meeting, the ‘Nursery Field’ between Glenfinart Caravan Park and the beach path is to be leased for grazing.