Ardentinny Champion

com_awardArdentinny Community Trust is delighted to report that Dennis Gower is the recipient of a Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Community Partnership ‘Long Standing Champion Award’.

The award was presented at the Partnership’s Annual Gathering which this year was entitled “Food for Thought’ to reflect the role that food and drink can play in community life. Very apt, considering that Dennis was the driving force which took Ardentinny’s Glenfinart Walled Garden project from initial approach on the community’s first right to buy; through a village-wide consultation process; subsequent purchase; and development of the garden to what it is today. Namely, a community space which includes a welcoming and contemplative sensory garden; an orchard; a children’s garden; and a productive organic vegetable garden, all made possible by the dedicated hard work of a number of volunteer organisations and individuals. The project benefits the local and wider community in a variety of ways, offering support and development while catering for special needs.

However Dennis’ contribution to community is not confined to the garden. He has served as a community councillor for the past 9 years and, on the Council’s behalf, was instigatory in negotiations with Forestry Commission Scotland on a local hydro scheme. Therefore, this ‘Long Standing’ award is both fitting and deserved.


Glenfinart Walled Garden hosts first wedding

Ardentinny’s historic Glenfinart Walled Garden last week marked a milestone as a wedding venue.

Clair Tierney and Derek Nelson chose to exchange their vows within the grade 2 listed walls of the century-old garden which was bought by the community of Ardentinny in 2012.

Set beside the only beach in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park with its Argyll forest backdrop, the garlanded entrance and flower-lined avenue surrounded by the orchard, sensory and children’s gardens provided the perfect setting for this special occasion with family and friends.

Click image to enlarge




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.


Sculptured fish and toadstools afloat

With garden art afloat and ‘Elfin Cottage’ under a foot of water, parts of Glenfinart Walled Garden remain flooded from the River Finart overflow on Saturday.

The waters rose sufficiently to penetrate the office floor, however there does not appear to be any damage to the main infrastructure of the garden. Parts of the area are still under around 18 inches of water, so it will take several days to drain off and for the clear-up to begin.





It’s official – Chocolate is good for you!


Glenfinart Walled Garden supporters Ali and Friederike Gower, who over the years have generously donated many of their excellent Chocolate Tree products to Walled Garden fundraising, were featured in a recent news item on STV. Researchers at Queen Margaret University have found that high levels of polyphenols in certain premium chocolate, if eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, can offer significant health benefits. So those of you with a sweet tooth can now indulge a little this Christmas in the knowledge that at least some of those chocs could be good for you!

– Read more and view the video: Chocolate research discovers sweet treats can boost your health
– The Chocolate Tree


Midgies stay away for young volunteers!

Last Thursday, 26th July, there was a pleasant surprise at the Walled Garden for young volunteers from Exp12 Scripture Union who came from their summer camp at Benmore with leader Scott Reynolds from Islay.  The sun shone and there was not one midge to chase them away!

The youngsters were  invited to explore soil health and drainage, search for invasive species  (knotweed, ragwort and fireweed (rosebay willowherb), and pile up goatwillow for chipping.   They did this with enthusiasm, cheerfulness and fun on one of the few truly sunny days of this summer so far.. Through this website we are sending them many thanks and good luck for your futures.

Did anyone know that that you can eat the young leaves of fireweed and young shoots can be cooked like asparagus?

Merle Ferguson.


Ardentinny Community Trust Annual General Meeting

Ardentinny Community Trust Ltd. held its AGM on Friday 22 July, 2011. It appears to have been a packed year for the Trust’s Walled Garden sub-committee which stacked up various meetings with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS), of which it is now a member; Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO); and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and its independent panel of advisers. There were also seminar and conference attendances in Campbeltown, Blantyre, and Ardfern and knowledge and skills exchange visits in Rothesay and Haddington.

Glenfinart Walled Garden Business Plan.

In the interim it prepared a successful application, which included its first draft business plan, to FCS for the community purchase of Glenfinart Walled Garden, in accordance with the expressed wishes of Ardentinny residents. It also prepared and submitted grant funding applications to the Co-op Community Fund; Trusthouse Charitable Foundation; Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE); Awards for All; and LEADER.

It has already received initial grants from HIE and Firstport which, having to be spent before the end of the last financial year, secured the cost of conveyancing and other legal services and the purchase of a poly tunnel, in preparation for the garden’s first cash crop. There has also been local fund raising with a regular stall at Ardentinny’s weekly open mornings at the village hall and at Kilmun Flea market. Local artists have been very supportive of the project, donating their work in aid of the charity and Pauline Gordon, the Trust’s Treasurer, reported a current walled garden bank balance of £4,038.22.

There are further fund raising plans for a garden party in September; a raffle; guided historic walks from next spring; a bag packing day at Morrisons on Nov. 26th; a cello concert in December and a Variety Concert in Dunoon in January 2012. The committee also has plans to sell its own line of EWE products which will be well designed, locally produced, arts and crafts which can be taken to markets locally and further afield and the Trust also plans to publish a History of Ardentinny and Glenfinart which should go on sale next spring with all profits going to the walled garden charity.

During the meeting a proposal was made that the Trust hold open meetings every two months in order to raise awareness of the work being done, further advertise the project, and hopefully attract more donations and/or loans. This was agreed. In accordance with the Trust Constitution, all the Directors stood down and the following were elected to the Board: Dennis Gower, Pauline Gordon, James Gordon, Merle Ferguson, and Anna Williamson. Officers will be elected at the next Directors’ meeting.

It is also the intention of the Board to appoint three more directors with specific skills necessary for the project. In addition to the Board, there are plans to appoint a part-time, self-employed project development manager supported by grant funding. The Trust’s updated Glenfinart Walled Garden Business Plan will soon be available on its website This 22 page document grew out of the Trust’s initial village survey and continuing consultations. It is also intended to reflect its subsequent research and work in trying to deliver, not only the purchase of this community asset but to incorporate as many as possible of the community’s requested uses and functions of the garden in a viable and sustainable way. Plans, being what they are, are adaptable to changing needs and circumstances and it is hoped that the immediate and wider community will engage in taking this exciting project forward.

Ardentinny Community Trust AGM Minutes.

Glenfinart Walled Garden Business Plan.

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