October ’15 #CGDT Update: Of paths, turbines, funding & drawings

The CGDT board met yesterday for its monthly meeting. We now have nine directors, with Cathy Grant and Sue Reid joining our number from the Community Council and Glendaruel Village Hall committee respectively. Also attending were all four of the CGDT staff.

Office bearers were elected. I remain chair, and Jim McLuckie as vice-chair. Colin Boyd continues with his sterling work as treasurer and Sandra Wilson will continue to be secretary for which the whole board is very grateful.

IMG_4542Our community forest development officer Eamon fed back on the way that UK government policy on renewables is making financing community wind turbine projects like ours more and more difficult. We are awaiting the outcome of the DECC consultations and whether indications that there might be help for communities bear fruit. On the ground, the met mast will be disassembled in the next couple of months. We are presently awaiting the outcome of the planning application the trust made in September.

IMG_4546More progress has been made on the paths in Stronafian by our second batch of volunteers. We’re delighted to say all seven of the first batch have gone on to build on their experience with us and found positions either in employment or apprenticeships. Eamon’s vision in this project is to be commended.

The forest also received a field visit from Kew Gardens who were adding to their collection of seeds for native flora.

Applications around improvement and extension of access are in hand, as is initial work on a larger Archaeology project.

The broadband project, now being led by Margaret, is moving forward, and we have a timetable to which we are now working. There’ll be a meeting of the steering group and Community Broadband Scotland at the beginning of November, when the trust will be able to report more. We’re hoping things will now move at pace and better broadband will be available to the community through this project in 2016.

With the granting of Development funding for the clachan project by the Big Lottery (great work from Margaret and Sara Maclean on this), the trust is moving forward with a consultation programme led by our consultants and facilitated by Sara  on the type of facility we need in the clachan. More on this is available here.

The trust received drawings of the proposed new configuration of the Colintraive Ferry slipway and parking this week, and the documents will now be available in Colintraive Village Hall. This is a great step forward. CMAL are also looking at designs for a pontoon as well.

The trust is also investigating the Old Shop premises and on the prompting of some Colintraive residents has formed a working group to help the board define what and how the ground floor area is used. The themes of health, activity and well-being are central to the discussion at this stage.

IMG_4183The Cowal Way project is progressing according to plan, and we’re increasingly confident that we will make our primary objective of becoming one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The work that Charlie and Stewart are putting in is paying great dividends. New markers will be put out in the next few weeks, and the counters are all in situ and functioning. The revamped website is close to launch and the facebook page is going well.

The trust will shortly be recruiting for a new post which will be part-time and self-employed. The position will be as general development manager and carry responsibilities for the proper administration of the trust as well as early project development. We’re really excited to receive this funding which comes in part from HIE and the Cruach Mhor Windfarm Trust. Watch out for adverts in the local papers.

We’re also going to be publishing a quarterly newsletter to be delivered to every household in the community. We are very aware that there is an appetite for more communication and this should provide everyone with at least an inkling of the progress that the trust is making on behalf of the community. This blog post is another, and will I hope provide an accessible summary of what the board has been discussing of on a monthly basis.

Lastly, the main pic, reproduced below was taken on the new paths in Stronafian, accessed above the Clachan. The woods are lovely and well worth a walk around:

IMG_4544

The minutes of the board meeting will be posted once approved next month here.

Midsummer Archaeology: surveying Colintraive & Glendaruel’s ancient monuments inc. Dunans!

Seems oddly appropriate that today volunteers from the Forest Archaeology Group spent several hours learning to and surveying artefacts in the landscape on the longest day of the year. We began with the war memorial to the twins McKirdy on Colintraive beach, taking innumerable photos of the tall, cruciform monument to their sacrifice during the first world war, and then with the ACCORD team producing a 3D model of the artefact using the PhotoScan software from AgriSoft. This process was extraordinary and we’ll post some pictures tomorrow of the result.

Continue reading Midsummer Archaeology: surveying Colintraive & Glendaruel’s ancient monuments inc. Dunans!

#CGDT is recruiting for a New Community Forest Project Officer: it’s a varied role at the heart of our community

This is an extraordinary opportunity to work with a highly successful Development Trust in a truly beautiful ‘neck of the woods’. For a year the successful candidate will work with the excellent CGDT team who have developed an exciting and varied roster of projects. From Archaeology to a Dark Skies park, from Woodfuel to Woodland Crofts, from Housing to renewables, this is a contract for only the most able and most ambitious community development officers.

You’ll be supported by an experienced and professional voluntary board toward each of the project outcomes while also having an eye on extending the contract beyond the funding that we have available to us.

If this is interesting to you, to read more, download the application or contact the trust, please visit the CGDT website here.

Panorama from Stronafian Community Forest to the blue afforested hills of Bute and Kilfinan

Today a group of directors with potential contractors visited the highest point in Stronafian Community Forest – of which a panorama above. We were nearly blown away by the ferocious April blast. But the views were terrific! The forests of Bute and Kilfinan in the blue distance to the south. Our forest closer at hand. Invigorating. A good reminder, as we sit at desk or in kitchen burrowing into the interweb,  of how we should get out more often into the heathery, blustery hills. Certainly there was lots of thigh strain, huff, puff and deep breathing – and that was getting out of the car.

By the way, this weekend we have the Bin Men in Colintraive Village Hall from 6pm onwards on Saturday, and there’s also the big archaeology weekend at the chambered cairn in the Forest. A great weekend to be in ColGlen. More accurate details here. And more photos soon!