Old Town Memories

by Madge Mackie m.s. Watt

(Parents John & Jessie Watt m.s. Wood)

The Backies

All the rubble from knocking down the old houses in the 30s 40s 50s and 60s to build the Council houses was dumped down the Backies which now accommodates the car park, the fishermens huts, the sewage works and the lifeboat portacabin.  Prior to this the sea came right up to the sea wall protecting the town from the sea.

Water Yett

The Water Yett which is half way up High Street was open with no door on it and led down to the Carron River which ran along the wall past the Water Yett and right out to sea.  At high tide when we were young in the 50s you could not get round the rocks from the Water Yett to the backies because the sea water came right up to the wall.  

In the past the fisherman used to go down the Water Yett to use as a toilet before they went to sea.

The Council bought this property in the 60s and converted it into flats for let and covered the entrance with a door.

High Street (formerly known as Market Street)

Ross’s Building stood at the junction on High Street and Keith Place and was a very tall building with rickety wooden stairs.   James Michie The Director of Education for Kincardineshire in the 60s 70s,  was brought up in this house and his mother still lived there when we were children. This is where there is a garden now with the Alison rowing boat in it next to the granite house.

Madge strolls past one of the scenes of her childhood memories

New Council Housing

The houses opposite Keith Place were knocked down in the 50s and new Council houses built.  This was where the green lady was said to roam.  I got my picture taken in the hole where the excavations were as this had become famous as the area where the Green Lady roamed. This photo was published in the P & J.  These houses which were knocked down were part of the houses which wrapped round the Old Town Clock, down High Street and onto the shorehead.  The new ones on the Shorehead were built on a piece of waste ground opposite number 96 where we used to play bools (glass bools, steelies and stone bools)  At this time the drains on High Street were gullies and we used to play our bools there as well.  After the new houses were built we used to play games in the street just outside the lifeboat shed (which at that time was a coal store owned by the Taylor family who live in Arbuthnott Street) (Games we played were hide and seek, cricket, kick the cannie and rounders and would stop playing to watch any car which came down but they were few and far between  We had a dog called Scottie who loved to sit in the middle of the road here so he could hear my dads boat come round the breakwater and went to meet him.  Scottie was reluctant to move and any  car driver would have to get out and shift him.

Mr Burnett who owned the granary and a lorry haulage business which was based along the shorehead (where the yatch club building is and opposite the jetty) used to drive down in a grand old car with a St Bernards dog in the back seat which used to amaze us as children.

Further up High Street

Opposite the Water Yett is an old house with carving of a baby round the door.  This house was preserved and  turned into houses let by the Council.

Next to it beside the post box was Marshalls bike repairs shop and next to that was a small house with rooms for let, Then there was a building which sold gas fittings and gas mantles. I was asked by an old lady down the pier to run a message for her and to go and buy a gas mantle for her for her gas light and when I was taking it back I accidentally touched it and it disappeared   I was quite upset and didn’t understand where it had gone.  These buildings were knocked down in the 50s to build more Council housing.

Next to this building was a lane and then there was a very tall building which stood on its own.  It had rooms for let and on the ground floor there  was a room which housed the Shepherds Club where a lot of the fishermen saved money every week  for a rainy day. There was a free standing well like the Duthie Well standing against it. This house was knocked down and this is where the garden is now at the bottom of King Street.

Further up High Street opposite the Canon (this is the point used by locals as the boundary of the old town) there was an electrical shop where the first TVs were displayed in the window and you could watch the programmes from the street.  We used  to watch The Wooden Tops when we were coming home from school.  Next to that was the old Bank House which was empty and where we went to the Girls Club  which was held on the ground floor.  We made crafts, played table tennis, listened to pop music on a record player and entered quizes with other clubs as far away as Aberdeen.  These buildings were knocked down to build more council housing leaving the lane which separated them from Dunnottar School.  

When we went to Dunnottar School initially they just had outside toilets with no roof on them.  From Primary 3 – 7 the floors of the classrooms were either on a slope or steps.  When I reached P 3 the floor was steps and when we went back the next year that floor had been flattened.  In primary 4 the floor had a slope and the next year they were also flattened.   Then in P 5 we had steps which were flattened the next year.   By the time we reached P 6, which was upstairs, P6 and P 7 had flat floors. This had been an ongoing improvement of the school.

The Stonehaven library was based in the school upstairs and the public were allowed in to  change their books on a Wednesday afternoon and we were all told to be very quiet.  It moved to Allardice Street in the late 50s.  Toilets were installed inside the school in the mid 50s and from then we had to go across the road to the drill hall for our gym classes and  had to carry the bean bags and equipment across the road.  Our school parties were also held in the Drill Hall  The council eventually bought this ground and built more Council Houses.

On the same side of the road where the hole is for the overflow of flood water used to be public gardens and next to these gardens was Stewart the scrappy building where we used to take rags up round the back of the building and get money for them.  This building is still standing   In the 50s there was an ice cream shop called  Poppy Mary Anns there which sold delicious ice cream  The man who served you was very severe but his wife was nice   They lived in one room at the back of the shop.

Further down High Street opposite Cool Gourmet was Knowles the Grocery shop.  They sold biscuits from boxes and put in a bag to be weighed.  When these boxes were nearly finished they were decanted into a large box and sold by the box as broken biscuits.  My mum always bought  these and would turn the box upside down onto a clean dishtowel and picked out all the whole biscuits and put into a separate tin to give to visitors when they came.  The rest was put back in the box and we were allowed to help ourselves when we felt like it.

Next to Knowles was Katie Cormacks sweetie shop (now the dog grooming shop) which was our favourite place.  In the 50s we got a shilling on a Saturday and we went to Katie Cormacks  for sweeties (smacherie) and would get penny dainties, lucky bags, rubarb rock, sherbet fiz, liquorice (which we made into a drink which had to be under the bed for a week and then we shook the bottle and drank the fiz) and gobstoppers –  the list goes on. We then went to the picture house in Allardice Street to watch the matinee which cost 9d for the cheap seats.  The shilling did not last long.

A hard day’s work lay ahead for these young tattle pickers

Further down the street you come to the cross where Donalds the baker was (later taken over by The Cross Bakery).  When we went to the tatties picking we would go there before we were picked up at 7 o’clock in the float lorry and go through to the bake house and  bought butteries straight from the oven to take to the tatties with us. Yum.

Further down the Street you come to Keith Place where at the entrance was an old house with steps outside and an Archway  underneath the building gaining access to the backyard where Knowles the grocer kept some vans.   This house was also demolished and new Council houses built.

Further down Keith Place there was a row of buildings which in the 50s was used as a store.  In the middle of the square these buildings made, Maimie Pirie who lived in High Street put up a wooden garage.  These buildings were also bought by the Council who built more Council Houses.

Shorehead and Harbour area

Where the lifeboat shed is now was a coal shed owned by Mr Taylor the coal merchant.  Next to this shed (now the Old Pier Cafe) was a garage which repaired cars.

Further down the pier the  women used to sit on the steps or bring their own stools outside Mrs Leslies house in the old pier (the house with the steps outside) to have a bleather.  As children we had to go away and play so we would not hear what they were talking about. One summer day they were sitting bleathering when a couple of visitors passed by and commented “look at those  poor children they have no shoes”  My mother was incensed so she commented “excuse me but they do have shoes they just don’t have them on.”  We had good shoes for school and church and gym shoes for playing in the harbour which were often wet as we played near the water so we would remove them and run around in our bare feet.

youngsters playing in the sand

As children we played in the Tolbooth (which we called the Old Jail).  In the courtyard at the back which is going to be improved, the older children had swung ropes over the rafters so we could  use them as a swing.  At that time the area was partly covered with a roof.  One time we were playing jumping the rafters when one of us jumped onto a wooden part and fell through the floor.  Luckily he was unhurt but it made us all a little more careful.

During the 50s the light house which was at the end of the pier was damaged in a storm and there was a gap between the pier and the ligthouse. It was a good place to cast your fishing lines.   The older children would go down on to the upturned pier and cross the gap at low tide to the lighthouse.  Very dangerous!

In the winter we would come home from school on a cold night and pour water down the slipway outside 96 and go in and do our homework and have tea.  Everyone would come out after tea and the slippy had frozen over so we could slide down to the water’s edge.  I don’t remember anyone actually falling in.  

In the 30s there was not a boom to the entrance of the inner harbour.  In a storm our dad had to put long ropes on his boat and float it in the middle of the harbour so it would not get bashed against the walls or sunk.  They had to sit on their boats all night.  When the boom was first put on it was placed on the far away pier so the fishermen had to run the gauntlet of the weather to put it across the gap in the pier during a storm.

In the 50s the boats landed their fish on the outer pier in boxes to be sold and bought by buyers from Abertdeen.  They used to shout out how much they were prepared to pay for a box.  At that time there were boxes of all different sort of fish – cod, skate, haddock, flat fish and monk fish.  Mr Rankin from Stonehaven held the sales and gathered the money for the fish to pay the fishermen.  He also had a shed on the south pier and sold diesel for the boats and he was an agent for insurance for the fishing boats.  I see that that shed has been knocked down and the area cleared recently.

We were well fed as children (4 of us).  We had fish everyday disguised one way or another as this was free (fishcakes, eggfish pie, fish and white sauce, fried fish and fish soup (not my favourite)). We also bartered with the farmers so had lots of vegetables and eggs.

My dad had a shed round the backies where he would mend creels and nets.  He sold this shed to Mr Taylor who lived in Old Pier and had claimed the ground at the back of his house (which had been filled in by all the rubble from the knocked down houses) as his deeds said his property went to the sea and he wanted the land my dads shed was on. He wanted to make a caravan park there and when he succeded with his claim he leveled the ground and also built a toilet block for the caravaners.  He paid a good price so my dad sold.  However this had a detrimental affect on us as he used to take his line ropes basket into the living room and scrape the hooks of rust at the beginning of the winter season.  The scraping noise used to make you shiver. 

In the 50s the braes at the far side of the harbour came down and sunk boats.  After this the piling at the top of the braes was put in to stop the Braes moving again. The Braes were repaired the following summer and we heard the thumping all summer long.

My father and uncle were instrumental in getting payment from the government for fishermen when they were unable to go to sea due to bad weather.  They wrote to members of parliament to assist them in their appeal and the members took it up on their behalf in parliament and got an act passed so they could apply in bad weather for payment when they could not get out to sea in bad weather.

waves crashing over breakwater creating a frame around downie point

When summer visitors came for their holidays to Stonehaven the Council employed an Entertainments Manager to organise events for them like Sand Castle competitions and  Poddlie fishing competitions (you got a prize for the smallest fish caught, the largest caught and the most fish caught).  These were held once a week all through the summer. During the summer there were dances held on the pier beside the backies with the music being provided by a band comprising of a pianist, drummer and fiddle who played on the back of a open top lorry. 

At this time there were lots of rowing boats for hire in the harbour.  The owner Mr Yeoman also bought a few banana shaped boats which were popular with the visitors.  You had to pay for these boats by the hour which we could not afford but we always managed to chum up a visitor and showed them how to row.  

In the 50s the harbour was lit with gas lighting and the learie came every night to light them in the winter.

There used to be public toilets at the top of the slippy.  These were knocked down in the 80s and new ones built down beside the Backies.

As teenagers the Marine Hotel was the place to be and they were one of the first hotels to provide stovie suppers and  were so busy that people were sitting on the stairs eating them.

Paths

There used to be a path which took you from the Shorehead to Botany Bay along the bottom of the cliffs  On the way you passed an area where they used to remove sandstone for building some of the houses in the Old Town.  This area often smelt of gas.

Just past Botany Bay you could go up the path called the Tartan Roadie to the top of the cliffs.  You could then come back along the cliffs to the top of the harbour and come down the path called The Inspector which ran all the way down to the back of Dawson Buildings next to the gas works.  We  used to sledge down this path in the winter.  Because girls did not wear trousers my mum would cut the sleeves off old jumpers so we could use them as leg warmers when sledging.   There was a gully at the edge of this path which you had to be careful and not steer into and there was a well half way down where water ran continually. 

The path that cut off from The Inspector to take you back down to the harbour was called The Sandy Roadie.  This came out at the bottom of the Braes next to the last house on the Shorehead.

There was also a path that went from the Shorehead up to The Inspector from the house along a bit from the last house where Drew Lawson now stays.

The other way to get up the Braes was up Castle Street.  When we were small these were old houses which were again knocked down by the Council and new council houses built.

Our Uncle Bob had a room in a derilect house in Love Lane where he used to make toys for us as children.  This building is now gone and is an open space.  It was a very rickety building.

As a child our mum lived in Cowgate where a lot of the fisherfolk stayed and they used to sort and bait their lines in the courtyard   They only had two rooms so a lot of families stayed there,  

It was a tradition to burn the braes in the spring every year, which we children did and the firebrigade used to come and put the fires out!

We had lots of freedom as children but we had our boundaries which we were not allowed to go beyond.  We always did what we were told.  One day the older children decided to go to Downie Point (which we called Spongie Brae because the grass was spongie) and by this time we were old enough to join them.  However one of the younger children decided to follow us and I kept turning round and telling them that they were not allowed and to go back.  They would not take a telling so I took their hand and took them back to the Shorehead.  I had not been aware that we were being watched (which was usually most of the time) by people who lived on the Shorehead and as I passed their houses I got a telling off for taking the young ones to Spongie Brae.  I was most indignant as I was the one who turned around and took them back.  Most unjust.

Other properties

The gas tank was still there when we were children.  There was also a gas showroom at the top of King Street adjacent to the gas works yard.  Shepherds Hall was owned by the gas company and they used to put on cooking demonstrations which we liked to go to as you got to eat what they cooked.  The Council now own this building.

At the top of New Street was a building where they made wooden toys (now the  private housing development of Kingsgate).  Our mother worked there when she was a young girl.  She also worked in the net factory which was based where Carron Gardens is now.  She then worked as a clippie on the buses.  During the war she was asked if she would come back as they were short of staff.  She had a baby  my older brother Jim by then.  Her mother looked after him for her.  As part of her outfit on the buses (which had very little heating) was a pair of trousers which she loved as they kept her warm but her mother did not approve.

In New Street just at the back of Dunnottar School was Mathiesons Sweetie Shop.  They made sweeties and the family had built a sweetie factory halfway up New Street where they made their sweeties.  There son was involved in the process of making sweeties but sadly he was killed in a motor bike accident.  After this they closed the shop and turned the factory into their house.  The shop was knocked down together with a couple of other houses next to it and new private housing was built there.

Another building and business the fishermen used was Findlay Main who had a shop just before the main bridge over the Carron (this building was knocked down when the bridge was widened in the 70s)  It sold lots of items for boats so was like a ship chandlers.

Good News From KDP

By bellmannews / February 25, 2024
a riot of spring colour
This week we’re kicking off with our first Good News Story.  We want to brighten up everyone’s day, so don’t forget to share your funny, inspiring, and uplifting stories with us at margo@kdp.scot.

Community groups across Aberdeenshire planted pollinator-friendly and site-suitable bulbs, funded by the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund.
Initially, the target was to plant 75,000 bulbs in time for spring, but there was such demand that 317,454 bulbs were finally planted.
The flowers will bloom in stages, adding colour to the area and helping pollinators like bees and butterflies survive throughout the flowering season.
The first flowers will appear this month and into March, when snowdrops, winter aconite, and crocus bloom. Then more blossom from…April to May: wild garlic, wood anemone, and scillaMay to June: wild daffodil, grape hyacinth, bluebell, wild tulip, hardy cyclamen, and snake’s head fritillaryJune to July: allium and camassiaSeptember to October: autumn crocusTo know where to visit the flowers as they bloom across the year—as well as see the various community groups that planted them—head to the Big Bulb Plant map.



The GoFurther Fund is committed to transforming local lives alongside GoFibre’s mission of improving rural connectivity and addressing the digital divide head-on. The Fund provides grants to local projects and activities under the following four categories:Creation of new jobs or opportunitiesDeveloping skills and the local economyPromotion of good health and wellbeingContribution to Net Zero targetsGo Fibre are delighted to open the second round of funding from the 15th February to March 31st to community projects and charities based in Aberdeenshire and Angus.
To find out more and apply visit the website.



An exciting Volunteer opportunity has arisen for a member of the public to be appointed as a ‘Lay’ Chair of the NHS Grampian Organ Donation Committee.  This is a voluntary position to empower a public voice to lead on this important committee.  
The Committee meets 4 times per year in person, at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and pre-meetings are held before each Committee to brief the Chair on the business that will be discussed and to offer any support or information that will be helpful to the Chair.  Any training or additional support will be provided by the Public Involvement Team. 
Please click here to see the role description.  To read about the 10 year vision for organ donation in the UK please click here.
For more information or to express your interest please contact gram.involve@nhs.scot 

Closing date to express your interest is 29 February 2024. The St John’s Hill Windfarm Community Fund is open and accepting applications from groups and projects which benefit the communities living in the community council areas of:ArbuthnottCatterline, Kinneff & DunnottarThis year the Fund is £23,161.86, which is split equally between both Community Council areas.  Arbuthnott’s Fund is £11,580.93 and Catterline, Kinneff & Dunnottar has a Fund of £11,580.93 plus an underspend from previous year’s of £6,015.13, giving a total of £17,956.06.
Guidance Notes and Application Forms are available on the KDP website.  
Closing date – 31st March 2024.



The Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership has launched its budget engagement programme and would like to ensure wide representation from across our communities.
They have developed a public engagement page with a short survey which people can access here.
The consultation is open until 26th February.



The British Heart Foundation has opened applications for a Free BHF-Funded Defibrillator, closing on 28 February 2024. 
All eligible UK-based community groups can apply for one package.
A limited number of funded defibrillators are available in each annual funding cycle. Applications will be reviewed monthly against a set of criteria so awards can be made to communities that need them most. Areas prioritised include those with fewer registered defibrillators and communities where local health needs indicate a higher risk of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. 
To learn more and apply, visit the website.

 

OSCR has made some improvements to the online annual return to give more support to complete it accurately.
The main updates are:Pop-up guidance and more information as you are completing the online annual return.New questions to gather more information about charities in Scotland.If any of your answers suggest there may be governance issues which need addressed, you will receive a feedback email with more guidance after you submit your online annual return.You can find more help and guidance on how to complete your online annual return on the OSCR website
A short video on the improvements can be found here.
 


The Tesco Stronger Starts Programme is inviting applications from schools and other not for profit organisation for projects and activities that give children a stronger start in life.  The grants will help provide nutritious food and healthy activities that support young people’s physical health and mental wellbeing, such as breakfast clubs or snacks, and equipment for healthy activities.
Every three months, three local good causes/ projects are selected to be in the blue token customer vote in Tesco stores throughout the UK.  Grants will be awarded depending on the number of votes their project receives. The programme will give priority to projects that provide food security and support to young people.
Find more information here



Every year Aberdeenshire Council must prepare and publish a document called a Development Plan Scheme.
This sets out the anticipated programme for the production of the Local Development Plan and how people can get involved in its production.  Recent changes in the law mean that they must publish a draft of the document and consider the views of people who wish to comment.
The Council has now started that process by publishing the draft Development Plan Scheme 2024 and are inviting residents and more than 700 community groups and businesses within the area to give their views.  The consultation runs until March 15.
To find out more and complete the short survey click here.

  
Grants of up to £15,000 are available through Community Connect, a funding initiative run by Scotmid. Through the programme, financial support is available to local groups and charities for projects benefiting communities near Scotmid or Semichem stores. Projects should be completed within 24 months of receiving the award.
To determine funding distribution, Scotmid members play a crucial role by collecting Community Connect votes every time they shop in-store. The three Good Cause Groups from the North, East, and West regions with the highest votes will receive financial grants. The group with the most votes will receive £15,000, while the two runners-up will receive £5,000 each.
Applications are currently being accepted and the closing date is 5 pm on the 7th March 2024.
Visit the website for more information.

 
The Happy Days Children’s Charity is inviting applications for funding towards trips, respite breaks and group activity holidays for disadvantaged children and young people with additional needs.
The charity awards funding for different types of activities to support families with children aged 3-17 who have a disability, a special need or have been abused.
Grants are available for the following activities:Family Day TripsFamily Holiday BreaksGroup Day Trips and Visiting TheatreGroup Activity HolidaysApplications for family activities are accepted from parents, guardians, grandparents or siblings, as well as GPs, consultants, nurses or social workers.
Applications for group activities are accepted from organisations such as SEN schools and groups, young carers and women’s refuges.
Applications can be made at any time.

More information here. KDP is here to help in any way we can.  Please get in touch if we can assist you or your Community group.
Mairi & MargoKincardineshire
Development
Partnershipwww.kdp.scot
07903 156864 Should you wish to get in touch, our contact details are as follows:

Mairi Eddie              Development Officer              mairi@kdp.scot
Margo Titmuss        Funding & Windfarm Officer   margo@kdp.scot
 

Stonehaven table tennis nets Nexus sponsorship

By bellmannews / February 22, 2024
Group round table tennis table which is strong foreground

By Joanna Fraser, Hoolet

Local business Nexus is serving up some smashing sponsorship with their support of Stonehaven Table Tennis Club.

The community sports club has expressed its thanks to the North-east surface treatment specialists for the financial boost.

Club coach Dave Lomax said: “We’re very grateful for this generous investment that will let our club grow by funding our running costs as well as allowing us to buy more equipment and coach volunteers.

“We’re led by volunteers and this will help us extend our offering and grow the sport for the enjoyment of all ages and abilities in and around Stonehaven

“We’re particularly grateful to managing director Ronnie Watt for his time and keen interest in supporting our club.”

Stonehaven Table Tennis Club runs weekly sessions in Fetteresso Church Hall throughout the winter between September and May, which are open to adult players regardless of age or ability. They also have three teams in the Aberdeen and District Table Tennis Association (ADTTA) – the Stonehaven Fireballs.

In addition, they run specialist classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease and similar conditions, as well as building links with young players through Active Schools and Mackie Academy.

Nexus managing director Ronnie Watt said: “We are delighted to be able to make a difference by supporting such a worthwhile local organisation.

“It’s a fun sport and the club goes a long way in making it widely accessible throughout the community.”

Invercarron – Still on the Agenda

By bellmannews / February 21, 2024
David stands by the signposted entry to the Centre

CONTINUING unhappiness with the decision to repurpose the Invercarron Resource Centre as a vaccination centre found its voice at the latest meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council, SDCC.

The centre which aimed to provide a amenity for older people, first opened in 1995, as, ‘a purpose-built edifice, tastefully furnished, warm and comfortable, with friendly, helpful and caring staff and volunteers, always ready to help.’ Before Covid struck, over 30 groups were active there, including the Stroke Club, a lunch and social club and Alzheimer’s Scotland Day Care.

The decision to close the Invercarron was taken by Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, AHSCP, who said the building was their only option to provide a vaccination clinic to serve the area’s population.

Despite fierce local opposition, the fate of the Invercarron was finally decided in March 2022, when the Communities Committee agreed the procurement required to alter the building to make it a vaccination centre. This followed an earlier refusal to approve the procurement plan by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.

Stonehaven’s dissatisfaction continued to be expressed in a petition with over 1,200 signatures and a well-attended public meeting – but all to no avail.

And the anger continues

At last week’s community council meeting, Chairman David Lawman said the topic was kept on each meeting’s agenda to reflect ongoing public interest.

”It has not gone away,” he said.

”On social media today a lady was talking about it, saying that was another year gone.”

Mr Lawman said he wanted SDCC to ensure they were encouraging as much support for our older people as they feel they needed.

And Jim Stephen congratulated Mavis Coull, who had made the post, for keeping the topic in the public arena – saying without campaigners like Mrs Coull, the amenity provided by the Invercarron would, over time, become forgotten about.

He said, ”Without people like her, it will just go under the radar.”

Cllr Agnew rails against the closure

Ian Hunter condemned the ‘outrageous’ lack of public consultation over the closure. And he questioned how the building was being used

”One thing they said they needed was storage,” he said.

Cllr Agnew meanwhile questioned the suitability of the Invercarron for its new purpose, saying it was too big for a vaccination centre. She said there were empty rooms at Forest View which could be used – and she vowed to carry on fighting for the Invercarron.

“I am not going to give up,” she said.

”We have to make them listen.”

And in her inimitable style, Mrs Agnew suggested she might even tie herself to the centre railings to draw attention to the cause.

MSP also looking for answers

Tess White MSP attended last week’s meeting and told members the answers she had from AHSCP was that there was nowhere else to do the vaccinations.

”I will write to the chief officer for Aberdeenshire, Pamela Milliken.” she said.

”I think this is absolutely disgraceful.”

Feature image – SDCC chair David Lawman who wants to keep the fate of the Invercarron on the committee’s agenda

Previously in The Bellman

C’mon the Stoney Quines!

Bayview Apartments Sponsors Stonehaven Youth FC Girls’ Training Tops

By Claire Jessiman

Bayview Apartments Stonehaven are proud and delighted to announce our sponsorship of training tops for the Stonehaven Youth FC Girls U10’s and U8’s teams.

A total of 43 talented young players, along with their dedicated coaches and managers, will be sporting these new tops during the upcoming season. As owners of www.bayviewstonehaven.com since December 2019, Iain and Claire Jessiman are getting in on the action too proudly wearing theirs alongside the team.

Iain Jessiman, owner of Bayview Apartments Stonehaven, emphasised the importance of community engagement, stating, “We believe in the power of community collaboration and the positive impact it can have on the well-being of individuals and the town as a whole. Supporting local initiatives, whether it’s through sponsorship such as this, participating in the monthly beach clean, our advert in the Fireballs programme or volunteering with The Community Collective, is fundamental to our values at Bayview.”

The girls from the Stonehaven Youth FC teams have eagerly embraced the practicality and comfort of their new tops, praising their warmth and functionality during the sometimes chilly training sessions. Designed in sleek black with a fleecy-lined snood neck for added cosiness, the tops feature the SYFC Logo and player initials on the front, with the Bayview Apartments logo on the back perfectly blending functionality and team spirit.

Claire Jessiman expressed her delight in seeing the girls proudly sporting the sponsored tops around town, stating, “It’s incredibly rewarding to hear that the girls appreciate the comfort and suitability of the tops for their training needs. Our hope is that this sponsorship positively impacts their football experience and inspires them to chase their dreams. C’mon the Stoney Quines!”

rear view  - looking out to sea

About Bayview Apartments Stonehaven:
Two modern and stylish dog friendly holiday apartments on Stonehaven beachfront each sleeping 4 in a twin and double room. Both with a full length balcony and stunning sea views from a wall of glass overlooking the bay of Stonehaven. Ideally positioned for everything Stonehaven has to offer.  www.bayviewstonehaven.com

Church Life

By Alex Russon / February 20, 2024

Before any church sermon is preached, a prayer is first lifted to God, asking him to make known his will for our lives through the preaching of his word. When listening to a sermon we’re not looking to be entertained, necessarily, although that’s a happy bonus, we’re in truth seeking God’s message for us, discerning his will for our lives. This week our sermon was based on a section from the Old Testament, a scripture from the first of two books named ‘Samuel’ (1 Samuel 2 : 12-26).

The theme was; pressing on in our relationship with God, getting to know him not getting to know about him. It was a message challenging those of us with faith in God to deepen our relationship with him and not let it grow cold. To move closer to him not further away.

It’s perhaps the assumption of many that ‘once a Christian always a Christian’ and that the moment you declare yourself as such, a Ready Brek advert style ring of warm insulation encircles you and you’re set for life. In some ways that’s true, you are indeed protected by God and faith in him ensures his eternal safe keeping, but if all we do is rest in this perceived insurance policy we’re hardly going to grow as people.

Today’s scripture taught us about two different types of believers; the ones who value their relationship with God enough to devote themselves fully to the pursuance of his will and the ones who claim faith but in truth carry on regardless, not really ‘walking the walk’.

Some look to God for guidance, keeping short accounts with him despite the hard times endured and bitter experiences suffered, remaining resolute and steadfast in their trust in him. Others become weary, arrogant and selfish, diminishing God and turning from him when it all gets too much, living out their lives with little or no regard for any opinion but their own. Big fat know its alls! There’s nothing you can tell them, it’s their way or the highway, never mind God and his grand plan.

To ignore God is one thing but to oppose him quite another, that’s when the wheels can well and truly come off. Many of us don’t so much oppose him as behave in lukewarm fashion towards him, kinda believing he’s there in some fashion but not bothering to engage with him in any meaningful manner. Where would you or I place ourselves in that regard? On nodding terms with our creator or enjoying a full-on bear hug?!

You might be surprised to learn that many church goers aren’t really that close to God in their spiritual journeys, not that they’d feel comfortable conceding it. They may attend church on a Sunday but it’s something of a charade really, it’s a comfy social gathering, a chance to rub shoulders with folk in a social setting over tea and tiffin, a cosy wee set up.  Others listen studiously to sermons and liturgy, drinking in the content from the bible and enjoying the academic nature of it, and, like the societal bonding, this too is good. But in terms of getting to know God, truly listening to him and engaging with him that’s not what church represents.

What God wants though is a genuine relationship with us. He doesn’t want us to possess mere head knowledge about him or experience warm, fuzzy feelings when attending various church groups. He yearns for us to get to know him, to fully embrace and enjoy him.

Some of the characters in the story (1 Samuel 2 : 12-26) were caught up in themselves so much that they had no regard for God’s law, they simply made up their own rules rather than diligently seeking God’s will. And the question we’re posed is; are we living that way too? Or do we ask God for guidance? Do we bowl on in a self serving fashion, as De-La-Soul put it, focussing purely on ‘Me, Myself & I’, with no recourse to God, or do we seek to be faithful servants?

Being a servant of God is, in part, to cherish others, but often times, perhaps most of the time, we just don’t feel like serving him through selfless action. Particularly when we’re being oppressed or resented, taken advantage of or insulted. At times like that we don’t want to turn the other cheek or go back for more, but sometimes that’s precisely when our deportment, behaviour and attitude can truly resound. What an example we might be if, despite hostile opposition, we stay faithful, sound and true, exhibiting an integrity and reliability that others may not have. In these moments of challenge God’s strength can come through as he helps us becalm those who’re full of bitterness and anger. To turn the other cheek doesn’t mean to show weakness, it shows strength, demonstrating to those who hurt us that nothing will conquer us that’s not of God. We don’t run for the hills, we stand firm and resolute, facing the music, putting our shoulders back and responding in love. For what’s the alternative? The old ‘if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em’ approach? Falling into line with those who know only bitterness and getting pulled down into the mire alongside them?

No, better to stick with God and his will for our lives. There are consequences when we drift from him; our behaviours change, our habits worsen and when they go unchecked we’re on a downward spiral until the really bad stuff happens. Discipline doesn’t have to be a dirty word, it can be life changing when it’s of God, when he chides and encourages us to live the life he intended for us, the one that’s pleasing to him. If it’s His way or the highway I’m quite happy to leave my motor in an A90 layby and head in his direction instead. Maybe you and I will meet on the way!

1 Samuel 2:12-26 NIV – Eli’s Wicked Sons – Eli’s sons were – Bible Gateway

Stonehaven RNLI to Commemorate 150th Anniversary of Tragedy

By bellmannews / February 18, 2024
graphic showing detail of gravestone and 150 year crest - all with dramatic sea backdrop

By Anna Carlton, Lifeboat Press Officer, Stonehaven RNLI

On Sunday 25 February Stonehaven RNLI will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of what was a devastating tragedy for the town of Stonehaven.

In February 1874 four crew members of the Stonehaven lifeboat the St George, Coxswain James Leiper, 2nd Coxswain John Brown, Alexander Main and James Lees, lost their lives and the boat herself was smashed beyond repair.

The St George had been launched to the aid of the Grace Darling of Blyth, which was flying signals of distress and heading north of Stonehaven. When the lifeboat reached her the signals of distress were taken down and the Grace Darling continued northward.

Unable to return to Stonehaven through the heavy sea swell, due to the previous day’s storm, the St George made for Aberdeen Harbour. However, crossing the Bar at Aberdeen, disaster struck and she capsized throwing the crew into the water. When she righted some of the crew were able to scramble aboard, however four of the crew tragically lost their lives that day.

‘It is important that we remember those brave volunteers that came before us,’ said Andy Martin, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Stonehaven RNLI.

‘In this year that sees the 200th Anniversary of the establishment of the RNLI, it is more important than ever that we commemorate those that have lost their lives in an effort to save others in peril on the sea.’

Stonehaven RNLI will be holding a commemoration service, commencing at 11am on Sunday 25 February, in the station’s current boat shed at Stonehaven harbour. 

Is There Someone You Know Making Stonehaven Life a Little Better?

By bellmannews / February 18, 2024
image of award just presented cropped to just the award

EACH year, Stonehaven and District Community Council, SDCC, along with our Business Association and churches recognise a local who has made a difference – by giving them the Community Award.

There are many ways to earn the gratitude of Stonehaven’s townsfolk. Stevie Smith who won it in 2021 is tireless in his litter picking.

in 2022, Jim Stephen and George Reid were joint recipients of the Community Award – George for his role in the town’s successful entry in Beautiful Scotland and as organiser of the Fireballs, and Jim for his relentless work via the STP, the Fireballs and countless local tasks like erecting the town’s Christmas tree.

Meanwhile last year’s winner, Dr David Smail, helps keeps the streets looking their best and with his shopping trolley and tidy up tools is a familiar sight to everyone frequenting the town centre. 

Who should be our next winner

It’s now down to you, to nominate someone you feel should receive a well-earned pat on the back.

The Award is orchestrated by SDCC, who issued the following guidance:

The award will be given to a person who is over 18 years of age and who has achieved outstanding achievement, excellence or merit in one of the following areas:

voluntary work in the community

academic or sporting success

an act of bravery

outstanding caring or community service

special achievement despite limitations imposed by hardship, disability or long term illness

enhancing the perceived image of our community

or any other appropriate kind of excellence.

The candidate must have a strong association with Stonehaven.

The nomination must be in writing or by e mail and must include a supporting statement explaining the reasons for nomination; it should be submitted by a person not related to the candidate. Submissions must be received by the secretary (including complete name, address and telephone number/e mail) by February 26.

The candidate must agree to being nominated and to the presentation and publicity that will be given to the award prior to nomination

Please send any nominations by February 26 to the above postal address or to the e mail address

stevenmcqueen2@hotmail.com

The final decision will be made by representatives of the partner groups above. Presentation of the Award will be made thereafter. This will consist of a parchment scroll/certificate and an inscribed plaque.

Den O’Logie Road Closure

By bellmannews / February 18, 2024
view through railway bridge to Den O'Logie road

THE Den O’Logie Road will close tomorrow for 81 days to allow Network Railway to refurbish the railway bridge.

The closure will apply to the slip road from the A92 to Stonehaven Golf Course Road

Site notices will be erected in due course indicating the temporary restriction to
traffic and the alternative routes where applicable. Those wishing to use the Skatie Shore access path should park at the lay-by overlooking the bay.

Should you have any queries please contact info@atms.co.com

Join the Guide Dogs community!

By bellmannews / February 15, 2024
Banner appealing for volunteers

from Allison Wines volunteering coordinator

Joining the Guide Dogs community means that you will be helping more people with sight loss to live actively, independently, and well.

There are a variety of roles that you can get involved with. Whether you can give a minute, an hour, or a lifetime we have something for you. You can work directly with our dogs or with people who are visually impaired. You can support raising awareness of our services, organise events for us and so much more.

Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to reach and support as many visually impaired people as we do. We’re thankful for every one of our volunteers and would love for more people to join the Guide Dogs family. 

Why volunteer with us

We are extremely grateful to be supported by 14,000 generous volunteers! Amazingly, our volunteers donate approximately 13 million hours of their time each year.

With their constant dedication and support, we can continue providing life-changing services to those who need us. In return, we want to make sure that when you join us as a volunteer, we are there for you, every step of the way.

How We will support you 

At Guide Dogs, we want you to feel well supported throughout your time volunteering with us. When you join our community of volunteers, and during your volunteer journey with us, we will:

  • Cover all reasonable expenses for our volunteers for any volunteering activities. This can be vet bills for our volunteers who care for our dogs or travel costs to a fundraising event.
  • Our expert team who look at volunteer learning and training will develop modules that will prepare and equip you for your volunteer role.
  • You’ll have a dedicated volunteer manager for each volunteer role you do. They will be there to offer you advice and support during your time volunteering with us.
  • Keep you in the loop and inform you of all important updates through our monthly volunteer newsletter and other volunteer communication channels.
  • Connect you with other members of the family, so you can meet volunteers in your local area or fellow volunteers in your role. There is always a smiling face to meet at Guide Dogs!
  • Support you in developing new skills if you wish to.

To find opportunities in your area please visit Volunteering Opportunities | Guide Dogs UK  and pop in your postcode, alternatively please email VolunteerScotNI@guidedogs.org.ukwhere one of the team will be happy to answer any questions you may have before applying for a role.

Together we are a Guide Dogs Community

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