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


Gardening Plans

At the April Community Council meeting representatives of the Ardentinny Conservation and Heritage Group outlined some of their future plans. One is to provide planters which will offer edible flowers and vegetables along with recipes, with a view to encouraging people to walk through the village, collect recipes and pick and eat. Another is to help older residents with certain garden maintenance tasks which they find difficult to manage, such as, hedge trimming, strimming etc.

There is also Glenfinart Walled Garden, run by Ardentinny Community Trust,  which has reopened for its spring/summer/autumn season. It is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays 12.00 – 16.00 hrs and on the first Friday of the month 11.00 – 14.00 hrs. Visitors are also welcome any day the gate is open or, by appointment. All enquiries, requests to visit the Garden and offers of help can be made to Jean on 01369  810075 or Anna on 01369 810238. 2016-04-11_19-02-51Resident gardener, Franziska, will hold the garden’s latest Masterclass on Herbal First Aid and Healing Plants on 17 April, 12.00 – 15.00 hrs.


Superfast broadband coming to Ardentinny!


The superfast cabinet has landed!

It looks like fibre broadband is finally on its way to Ardentinny. This week, BT Openreach posted the following information on the village notice board:

KN Networks Services on behalf of Openreach will be carrying out works to facilitate the installation of superfast fibre broadband. These works will involve excavating for the installation of a street cabinet and associated underground ducts. We will endeavour to keep walkways and pavements accessible at all times and to ensure the area is safe. The expected duration of works will be approximately ten working days. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. Work will commence week beginning 14/9/15 to 28/9/15 in telephone exchange.

The street cabinet at the Ardentinny exchange has already been installed (see photo). To check when fibre broadband will be available, see


Community Council notice board ban on 38 Degrees refugee poster

The following has been posted on Ardentinny’s Community Notice Board:

“The notices about refugees produced by a political activist group “38 degrees” have been removed by members of the Ardentinny Community Council. This noticeboard belongs to and is administered by the community council, which, by the definition of Argyll and Bute Council, has to remain non-political in order to  serve the interests of the whole community. Ardentinny Community Council would, of course, welcome any refugees who choose to come and live in this beautiful village.

Ardentinny Community Council”

ref1The notice from Ardentinny notice board.

ref2The offending 38degrees poster.


Refugees: A shot in the arm for Argyll

Saturday's 'Glasgow Sees Syria' event in George Square.

Saturday’s ‘Glasgow Sees Syria’ event in George Square.

Yesterday’s moving ‘Glasgow Sees Syria’ candlelight vigil was one of many similar events held throughout Europe this weekend and attended by thousands to show solidarity for the plight of Syria’s refugees.

Despite reluctance by David Cameron’s government to welcome those desperately fleeing war-torn Syria and other conflicts, the people of Scotland and the Scottish Government have been vocal in their support of helping these refugees. Argyll & Bute Council leader Dick Walsh this week also expressed the Council’s support by agreeing to take in at least 20 refugees.

In a powerful speech at the Glasgow event, Scottish Government Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf, countered the vitriol and disinformation coming from the right wing mainstream media, that the refugees were coming to our shores simply to take advantage of the UK’s benefits system.

“If anyone thinks that people would travel across the Mediterranean and risk their children’s lives for 35 quid and a foodbank voucher, forget living on another planet, you live in another universe and should be ashamed of yourselves”.

So how does the refugee crisis affect Argyll? Interestingly we could look at Germany. The country is welcoming some 800,000 refugees this year. Indeed, like Scotland and Argyll in particular, Germany has an ageing population and sees the refugees as a potential boon to its industry, commerce and public sector.

For example, a 2013 report states that there was a shortage of 2,600 general practitioners in Germany and rural areas were particularly affected. We have a similar situation in Argyll where we have seen surgeries amalgamating and, due to the shortage of full-time GP’s, an increased use of locums. The Royal College of GP’s recently reported that 500+ doctors would be needed in Scotland by 2020. 20% of the current GP workforce is over 55 and likely to retire in the next 5 years.

Refugees could indeed be the shot in the arm that Argyll needs while we could end their current suffering and provide hope for all our futures.

Recorded live coverage of the full event is available here.

Information on ways you can help can be found at…

Argyll Relief for Refugees (Facebook)

Argyll Relief JustGiving page to raise £500 for Calais refugees

Syria Refugee Help from Helensburgh, Dumbarton & Lomond Area (Facebook)

Scottish Refugee Council – How you can help

Positive Housing in Action – Host a refugee

Refugees welcome in Dalavich & Argyll and Bute – Petition

If you know of any additional refugee groups in Cowal and Argyll, please let us know.



Glenfinart revisited


Glenfinart House from Nursery Field.


A recent visitor to Glenfinart Walled Garden had a fascinating story to tell. It was only Don Ward’s second visit to the village since 1960. On that occasion he was accompanying his mother Helen Bonnieman who had lived in Ardentinny as a child.

Helen was born in 1908 and moved to Ardentinny at an early age when her father, who had previously been a footman at Drummond Castle near Crieff, was appointed butler at Glenfinart House, Ardentinny. The family lived in a cottage at Stronvochlan (see photo below) until after the First World War.

Helen’s father was subsequently called up for service in the war and served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Helen and her three brothers all went to the village school and thoroughly enjoyed their time there.

On Don’s last visit with his mother in 1960, they visited the (then) Ardentinny Post Office which was located at Rock Cottage (see photo). His mother said that the Post Office was exactly the same as she remembered it all those years ago, and with the same owners. Indeed, her family had attended the wedding of the postmaster/mistress (most likely the Gardners) some 40 years earlier. At the time of Don and his mother’s 1960 visit, the 80+ year old Postmaster was out on his bike delivering the village mail!

We are indebted to Don for allowing us to publish his excellent colour photographs from 1960.


Glenfinart House from shoreline with metal shed at nursery field.


Gardner's Post Office and store.

Gardner’s Post Office and store.



Ardentinny Church and cottages from beach road.






Ardentinny Hotel.



Ferry Cottages.



The (then) School.






Ardentinny Church.



Arched Bridge over River Finart.



“Ban the Bomb” demonstration at Ardnadam Point.



Possibly “Maid of Ashton” off Hunters Quay.


Steering Group drafts constitution for Ardentinny Renewables Trust

On 5 May, there was a second meeting of the Hydro Steering Group with the purpose of drafting the constitution of the proposed Ardentinny Renewables Trust (ART). The group worked on assessing relevant content of another project’s constitution with a view to its inclusion in their proposed draft. There is to be a further meeting to discuss ‘criteria’, the date of which is to be decided.

It was asked if the final draft would be made available to residents on a consultation basis. There was some opposition to the need for this, the suggestion being made that everyone in the village could have joined the Steering Group if they so wished. It was decided that it would be made available to the public on an information basis, with the possibility of commenting should a community member wish to do so.


Defibrillator installed in Ardentinny

2015-05-04 15.36.28-1Thanks to contributions from the community and various fundraising activities, Ardentinny now has an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) attached to the wall of the ‘Ferry House’ at the slipway (opposite Ardentinny Outdoor Centre).

The AED is for public use and has full instructions on its use via a screen and audio. The user simply follows the operating instructions. Training will be provided by a qualified paramedic to interested members of the community. Training times and dates will be confirmed shortly. If you would like to participate in the training, please contact Roy on 0776 929 1411.

The AED cabinet is locked, however all residents have been provided with the numerical code.

A database of automated external defibrillator locations in the UK is available here.


Hydro Steering Group – Appeal for Additional Members

24 residents attended a public meeting in the Village Hall on Tuesday,  31 March to discuss the formation of a Hydro Steering Group for the proposed Hydro schemes in Ardentinny.

Chairperson, Dougie Menzies explained that the purpose of the meeting was to set up a Steering Group which would be tasked with drawing up the Constitution of a future Hydro Trust and the appointment of its Trustees which would then manage the income from renewable energy projects on behalf of the community.

He said that a pre steering group had been formed after the developer Co Hydrover approached the Community Council. This group of 8 included Ian McInnes MBE; Councillor Bruce Marshall; and National Park representative, David Mackenzie. However, they were keen to recruit a wider group of people in order to tap into the wealth of ideas and skills across the community to establish a formal Steering Group.

It was stressed that it was not the intention to discuss the project in detail, as it was in the very early stages and it was suggested that the developer was already experiencing delays liaising with Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS).

Mr. Malcolm Crosby, FCS Project Manager for Onshore Renewables informed us that, while he had been unaware of Tuesday night’s meeting, the developer had met with representatives of Ardentinny Community Council in January and that normal procedures for progressing the project were underway. He explained that FCS’ solicitors must first check the Titles of the land in question and that that process had begun. In the meantime, the developer can conduct walk-over surveys, something the Chair affirmed had begun, but any investigative drilling work etc. must wait for their solicitors’ report and its acceptance by the developer.

There will be an opportunity to discuss the project with the developer at a future public meeting later in the year but the current focus is to open up membership of the Steering Group to everyone in the village.

Ian McInnes suggested that it would be useful to have the publication of the Community Action Plan coincide with the developer’s public meeting. An example of a project that they have already been involved in is that of Kilfinnan Community Forest.

It was pointed out that the future Hydro Trust would manage income from all Hydro Schemes. For example, Ross MacArthur’s private scheme, which is a  little further on, would be included. Indeed other renewables projects could be included which are not necessarily limited to hydro. David Mackenzie referred to other Trusts which handle not only income but outgoings where communities have decided to invest in certain schemes in order to obtain a greater return.This could be another item for consideration by the Steering Group.

A question was raised as to how open Trust membership would be and the response was that that would be a decision for the Steering Group. FCS have published regulations on “Defining an appropriate community organisation” for communities to receive community benefit from developer-led renewable energy projects on the National Forest Estate   Also Argyll and Bute Council’s Onshore Renewables Community Benefits Consultation results, which are currently being collated, could be another useful information source for the future Steering Group.

The Chair then asked for volunteers to join the Steering Group and a further 8 came forward. The group comprised:

Dougie Menzies

Ian McInnes

David Mackenzie

Bruce Marshall

Neil Robinson

Val Kennedy

Marian Norris

Eileen Connell

Rob Bray

Malcolm Bartley

Linda Naismith

Jeanette Riley

Catriona McPhail

Guy Elder

Lynn Kerr

Bill Williamson

Anyone else in the village who would like to join is welcome to do so. If you are interested in participating, contact Dougie Menzies on 01369 810307. 


Four potential hydro schemes proposed for Ardentinny

According to information obtained at Ardentinny Community Day on 21 March, the consortium Co-Hydrover is proposing 4 commercial hydro schemes on the following sites with potential financial benefits for the community.

We understand that a group of selected residents with expertise in Green energy and/or the setting up of a Charitable Trust are meeting soon, with a public consultation to follow in May.

Click for zoomable map.

Note: locations are approximate & taken from the provided data below.  Click image for zoomable map.


Near Schoolhouse Burn/forest path


Near Baron Turner forest path (catchment 1).


Near Baron Turner forest path (catchment 2).


West of Fingal’s Well

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