A Royal Spring Clean

a line of men sweeping sand at the top of the harbour slipway

STONEHAVEN’S second grand spring clean takes place on Thursday, evening, with groups of volunteers helping spruce up the harbour area and High Street and sweep away the winter sands – making the area look its best for locals and summer visitors.

This year’s initiative is well-timed as we will shortly have a visit by the Princess Royal to the town. On Monday, Her Royal Highness will visit the Open Air Swimming Pool, which is celebrating its 90th year this year. And, as Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, will open Stonehaven and District Unit’s new Headquarters, TS Carron.

Anyone wishing to join a work party to help with litter picking, weeding and sweeping would be very welcome and should head to the slipway for 6.30pm.

Thursday no parking

To enable the clean up and preparations for the Sea Cadets’ event, and in the interests of public safety there is a prohibition of waiting on both sides of the High Street, from the Cross to Shorehead; and along both sides of Shorehead (for approximately 140m) – for nine hours commencing noon on Thursday May 9.

Should you have any queries please contact kincardineandmearns.roads@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Feature image – it will be all hands on deck on Thursday. This shot was taken in 2021 in the run up to Stonehaven’s entry in Beautiful Scotland.


poster using lovely shot across the bay

Stonehaven Chorus are holding their annual Spring Concert on Sunday 19th May 2024 at 7.30pm in Stonehaven Town Hall.

This year is the 150th  anniversary of the birth of Gustav Holst and it is also 100 years since the death of Giacomo Puccini and the chorus is performing works by both of these composers in their forthcoming concert.

We will performing Holst’s 1st Choral Symphony in a world premiere of a special arrangement by our own musical director, Ralph Jamieson, who will also conduct the concert.

The arrangement is for a soprano soloist and chorus and will be accompanied by 2 pianos, a marimba, vibraphone, percussion and an organ/ pedal synthesiser. Ralph has also produced an updated vocal score of this work for the chorus to sing in the concert.

For the text in this piece Holst used the poems of John Keats which though contrasting have a clear thread of thought running through them linking together the Prelude and subsequent movements.
We will also be performing Puccini’s Messa di Gloria which consists of choruses with tenor and baritone soloists. This piece has 6 parts, namely, a Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnes Dei and was first performed in its entirety in 1880.

However the piece lay forgotten for many years until it was rediscovered and subsequently performed again in America in 1952. Since then it has been forming part of the programme for many concerts around the world.

Tickets price £15 ( under 16 free) can be obtained through the chorus website from Giulianotti’s, Evan Street, from members – and at the door where payment can be made by cash or card.

Art Club’s Half Century

From Stonehaven Art Club

This year is Stonehaven Art Club’s 50th Annual Exhibition.

To mark the occasion, we plan to set up an Exhibition in Stonehaven Library during the month of August 2024 which would outline the history of the Club.

If you have any information, paperwork or artwork from the past which would be of interest and would enhance the display, please PM us on Stonehaven ART CLUB Facebook page, contact us on www.stonehavenartclub.org.uk or contact any club member and we will provide  you with more information.

Please contact us by the 30th May 2024 to allow us time to prepare the Exhibition.

Church Matters

Psalm 104

The bible contains 66 books in total, 39 of them in the Old Testament and 27 in the New. I mention this since some may believe it’s one continuous opus, but by splitting the story into separate books we’re able to better focus on specific themes, individuals and messages. For example, there are 4 ‘gospel books’; Matthew, Mark, Luke & John and whilst each addresses the story of Christ, they come from the perspectives of four very different individuals.

One of the books of the Old Testament is the Psalms, 150 songs and poems written in the main by David (he wrote almost half). They were essentially tributes to and conversations with God, some of them very challenging as hearts are opened containing lament, complaint and weariness. Other psalms offer unqualified thanks and praise. The one we looked at in church this week was one of the latter, Psalm 104, a meditation of thanks for God’s creation, provision and splendour.

Psalm 104 speaks about how God reveals himself to us through creation. He is almighty immeasurably powerful, separating water from dry ground, creating land and sea, establishing boundaries and installing order. He feeds us, animals and birds too, with food from the ground (grass, plants, vegetables) and refreshes us with water. There is an abundance of provision from him, the world yielding plenty of produce as he ceaselessly provides. It’s just a shame how man decides to ‘share’ these spoils.

He created night and day, the sun rising and falling according to the rhythms he ordains, the four seasons. He’s creative, how many are his works? Look at the multitudes of creatures, plants and living things, the differences and nuances between each of them. He creates so much then invites us to join him in their cultivation and development, sowing seeds then tilling, giving us a part to play. He gives and we gather, picking up and carrying what he provides, taking responsibility for our side of the deal.

He has a plan for the world and for us as individuals, however we’ve very much a part to play in achieving these plans. He created us, he didn’t programme us, he asks then for his creation to seek and partner with him, to learn his good and perfect will. It’s a relationship. He didn’t create robots, he created people, with choices and free will. He longs for us to return to him, offering ourselves to him as a living sacrifice  (Romans 12:1-2).

If we choose wisely we’ll invite him into our lives, to be involved in the big things and the small, in our everything. Psalm 104 beseeches us to seek him in nature and in creation but also to find him in our heart and soul. He is there for each and every one of us, we only need invite him in.

‘It’s Just a Shed’

A LOCAL smallholder was given planning permission this week for a potato store and chicken coop – despite planners’ fears the structure was more suitable for a domestic garden.

At their meeting on Tuesday morning the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee considered an application (retrospective) by Mr Alan and Mrs Paula Donald. Planners had recommended refusal, citing fears for the impact on the Kirtown of Fetteresso conservation area – and that the building’s design was inappropriate for the stated purpose.

During the meeting Councillors heard the Donald family have a heritage of potato growing stretching back decades. They now also keep sheep, hens and ducks.

And they learned the Donald’s previous store was no longer protecting its contents from frost and had become prone to flooding by the Carron River – hence the need for a replacement in a new location to facilitate the running of their 20 acre smallholding.

Mr Donald, who is a joiner, built the new store and coop himself using sarking boards and upcycled windows that would otherwise have gone to landfill. And the committee heard the single-pitched roof was designed to capture rainwater to be used for the livestock.

The full rigour of the planning process was applied to this application. Statutory consultees were approached – Built Heritage; Natural Environment; Roads Department; the North East of Scotland Biological Records Centre, NESBREC; and Flood Risk and Coastal Protection. Each considered the application and made a response – all either replied with no comment or no objection (NESBRC gave a mapped list of local wildlife).

Meanwhile, the application was included in a public notice in the Mearns Leader. And apparently a planning officer would have made a site visit to ensure a notice was appropriately displayed there. No objections were received.

Lengthy discussion

It took an hour for the Area Committee to consider the application – the usual presentation of the application and all matters pertaining to it was delivered by a planning officer, who then answered any questions. Then Mr MacGillivray, a representative of the applicants, was given five minutes to speak – detailing the history of the smallholding, the manner of construction of the store and its importance to the smallholding – much of what he said being echoed by Cllr Wendy Agnew who lived nearby for many years and has a good understanding of farming.

The number of windows had been raised in the discussions along with the colour of the door. Mr MacGillivray said his clients would be delighted to act on any feedback and make changes as required.

”The applicants would do anything to get permission,” he said.

”It’s just a shed.”

And following their own input and debate all but one of the Councillors agreed – full planning permission was granted, with no requirement to make any changes.

You can view the full consideration on YouTube

Dementia Awareness/Education Event

By Helga Macfarlane PPG Chairperson

Popular Dementia Awareness/Education Evening set to run again in Stonehaven.

A Dementia Awareness/Education session that has proved extremely popular in the past is being repeated by Stonehaven Medical Group next week.

The event on Monday 13th May at 6.30pm in the Medical Centre, is free for anyone with a family member or close friend who is affected by Dementia. 

In conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland, there will be a host of information on how Dementia can affect people, ways in which to support a person with Dementia, and even some activities to try to help understand the condition. Dr Kris McLaughlin, GP Partner at Stonehaven Medical Practice and Mags Corbett, a Dementia Advisor from the charity will be on hand to answer questions.

An estimated 90,000 people in Scotland have Dementia, 3000 of these under the age of 65. It causes progressive loss of brain function with memory loss one of the most common symptoms.

The event is being organised by Stonehaven Patient Participation Group. Anyone interested in attending is asked, if possible, to let the PPG know by emailing: ppg.stonehaven@gmail.com, clicking ‘interested/going’ on the Stonehaven Patient Participation Group’s Facebook page event, or mentioning it to the reception at the surgery. 

KDP Bulletin

Welcome to the KDP Bulletin.

KDP was delighted to host a successful Volunteer Recruitment Event in Stonehaven last week.  With 20 community groups and voluntary organisations attending, the prospective volunteers were offered a wide range of opportunities.
Over 40 people came along, looking to find out where they could help.  We were thrilled that a number of potential matches were made on the day.
Thanks to all the groups and potential volunteers who came along.
We look forward to hosting another event in Laurencekirk in the coming months, so watch this space.
If you are looking for a volunteering opportunity now, take a look at the recent post on the KDP Facebook page which lists all the organisations that took part, who are all on the look out for volunteers.

The Grampian Wellbeing Festival starts today. A month-long calendar packed with a wide range of community activites and events which promote and support mental health and wellbeing.
Find out more about it here and for all the local events follow their Facebook page

The Poundland Foundation supports organisations working to transform communities and change lives across the UK.
If you’re a local sports club or organisation looking for support, then you are eligible to apply for a grant of up to provide kit or equipment for your team.
Grant of £750 are available to grassroots sports clubs supporting children under 18.
Organisations must have an income of under £10,000 and hold reserves under £5,000.
The next grant window will open for applications between 7 – 24 May 2024.
Find out more here

Nestrans, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council are leading the development of a Regional Active Travel Network (RATN) study which, when complete, will identify aspirations for a high-quality, cohesive network for walking, wheeling and cycling across the North East of Scotland.
A draft regional network has been developed, formed of important routes in built-up areas, and of regional connectors which link the region’s communities, providing solutions that are appropriate to the different geographies and different types of people across the region.
A consultation exercise launched on Wednesday 17th April, and they are now asking for feedback on the draft network from key stakeholders and members of the public. To view the proposals and provide your views, please visit Regional Active Travel Network StoryMap.
The consultation will be available until Sunday 2nd June.

The Aldi Scottish Sports Fund offers grants of up to £2,500 to organisations including sports clubs, schools, religious organisations and Scout and Guides groups in the North East and Highlands & Islands, to run sporting activities for the benefit of people in the local community.
Eligible projects must be located where there is currently an Aldi store, and for this current funding window the Portlethen store is included.
The closing date for applications is the 19th May 2024.
For more information and to apply click here.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is consulting on a review of Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) to protect communities from future impacts of flooding, as the number of homes, businesses, and services at risk across Scotland is projected to increase by around 40% by the 2080s.
PVAs are areas where significant flood risk exists now or is likely to occur in the future and are used to identify locations where a partnership approach may be required to resolve widespread and often complex flooding issues.
Since PVAs were first identified in 2011, SEPA have worked together with partners including local authorities and Scottish Water to plan and deliver actions to manage flood risk in the places where it is needed most.
SEPA are now consulting on proposed updates to PVAs for 2024. The review will focus on smaller, community-based target areas set within wider zones of influence to provide clearer information on how flood risk is tackled in Scotland.
While the designation of PVAs is a science and evidence-led process, feedback from public partners and local communities is key to making sure all relevant impacts are taken into consideration.
You can respond to the consultation on PVAs via Consultation Hub until 24 June 2024.

The Corra Foundation Boost Fund is for local community organisations across Scotland supporting children and families affected by poverty.
Boost Small Grants will provide grants of £500-£3,000 to constituted groups and charities with an annual income of £50,000 or less. Unconstituted groups can apply for grants of between £250-£1,500.
There is no closing date. When all funding has been distributed, the programme will close for this year.
This fund aims to:
Provide an accessible funding opportunity for small community led organisations.
Ensure supportive community led activities are available to children and families.

Do you or someone you know/support experience problems with vision, hearing loss or deafness? A Sight and Hearing Loss Information Day will be held at the Stonehaven Library, between 2.30pm – 4pm on 7th May. Pop in to find out what help is available, and for a demonstration of equipment.
For more information call 01467 536700.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is an online match funding campaign that can help your charity to raise more money this Christmas. It offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donations doubled when the campaign goes live from late November – early December.
Key benefits include: access to funding from Champion organisations; a powerful incentive to donors to have their donations doubled; attracting new supporters; raising your charity profile and joining others to raise awareness of the issue.
Applications open on 13 May and close on 5 June 2024. The campaign will run from 3 – 10 December 2024.
Visit the Big Give website to learn more.

CFINE & One Seed Forward Grow Food Indoors is a 5-session programme designed to be budget-friendly and for all levels, teaching participants the fundamentals of growing food over a series of different methods for indoor growing, as well as how to use new food growing technologies.
It is held in the open and welcoming community space located at the Vaccination & Wellbeing Hub, Bon Accord Centre.

The Wolfson Foundation’s main grants programme provide Funding for Places. These grants are for capital initiatives, i.e. buildings (new build or refurbishment) and equipment.
They fund a broad range of organisations working across the fields of education, science and medicine, health and disability, places of worship, heritage, and arts and humanities. Each category has its own specific funding criteria, more detail on which can be found on the Foundation’s website.
The next round opens on 14 May until 1 July, with decisions in December.

Are you looking for:
help with your community climate action group or project?
help with funding for your climate action project?
information about how to take action on climate change?
inspiration about the range of ways that you can help your community incorporate positive steps for the climate into their everyday activities.
NESCAN Hub is here to help.
Find out about becoming a member here or get in touch: info@nescan.org
KDP is here to help in any way we can. Please get in touch if we can assist you or your Community group.


Hen Coop Ruffles Planners’ Feathers

By bellmannews / April 29, 2024

A RETROSPECTIVE planning application for a hen coop and potato store will be considered at tomorrow’s meeting of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee – but has been recommended for refusal by planners who say the building appears more suitable for a residential garden building.

Mr Alan and Mrs Paula Donald are seeking full planning permission for the erection of a potato store and chicken coop (Retrospective) at alnd to the South West of Carronlea, Kirktown of Fetteresso.

The timber structure features a single pitch roof, and a total of eight windows – and it is these windows that leads planners to conclude it is not the perfect design for the use stated.

In their report to councillors it is stated: ”Although the application refers to the erection of a potato shed and chicken coop, it is evident that the design is very domestic having the distinct appearance of a residential garden building normally found within domestic curtilages.

”Furthermore, it is understood that potatoes must be stored in a dark, cool and well-ventilated space, which the building does not appear to provide.”

And as the Kirkton of Fetteresson is a conservation area, they also cite the impact the appearance of the building would have, saying they fear it would ‘contribute to the incremental erosion of its setting and character’.

The Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee meets tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 9.30am in the Viewmount Chamber – members of the public are welcome to attend.

Stonehaven Golf Club

week # 4

Stonehaven Golf Club’s tee-sheet spoke volumes on Monday, littered as it was with individuals looking to play their golf alone. This is often the way after a Saturday Medal, chastened members taking action to fix humbling horror shows. It’s an exorcism attempt really, 9 holes of solitary golf to deal with swing malfunctions which brought them to their knees 48 hours prior.

I for one placed my name on Monday’s tee-sheet following a lamentable performance on the Saturday, pitching up with my tail between my legs, hoping to find that ‘something’ to give me hope and comfort for the next competition to come. The course replete with one-balls, it cut rather a sorry look, akin to the Sunday morning walk of shame where late night revellers skulk home from their mate’s sofa, still resplendent in their going out gear, but looking like death warmed up.

Well I’m pleased to announce my exorcism appeared to work because in the midweek Stroke I compiled a splendid round of 72, two shots beneath my handicap. I announce this not simply as an ego trip, though there’s no denying I’m really rather pleased with myself, but to encourage other golfers who feel the world is falling apart after a Saturday collapse. I’m not prepared to share the specifics of my game changing techniques, a magician doesn’t give away his tricks, but suffice to say my game was transformed and I played splendidly. Not splendidly enough to win the competition however, Gary Taylor pipping me to the post with an excellent round of 70. Ironically we’d been bemoaning our form when in the clubhouse together registering for the competition before heading out. He too had needed a lie down in a darkened room after a shambles of a round the previous Saturday, yet knocked ten shots off his score to win the event. Well done Gary, and to top it off his beloved Everton turned Liverpool over that evening in the Merseyside derby. A memorable day indeed for the Taylor clan.

Last Saturday’s results proved pretty remarkable, testament perhaps to the decent weather we’ve been waiting for all these months. The top 3 players all notched sub 60 scores with the winner beating his handicap by a clear nine strokes. It can be a bitter pill for low handicap players to swallow when they beat their pans in to get beaten by higher handicappers who make a mockery of their own. Spare a thought for example for Ian Taylor who this week scored a gross, yes gross, six under par round of 60 …which didn’t even qualify him for a place on the podium! The course record remains unbeaten since the course is being played with winter placing rules and the 13th hole is currently just 80 yards long whilst the new hole is being rebuilt, but nevertheless, a round of 60 is quite sensational. Well done Ian, but no cigar!


Cowie Cup Rd 2 & JM Low Qualifier

Scott Reid 57 (17)

Richard Gove 59 (18)

Malcolm Ritchie 59 (19)

Midweek Stroke

Div 1

Gary Taylor 63 (7)

Alex Russon 64 (8)

James Duguid 65 (10)

Div 2

Neil Fowler 62 (13)

Michael Watson 63 (17)

Kevin Duguid 64 (14)

Div 3

Ross Walker 63 (19)

Gordon Wood 64 (24)

Barry McLean 64 (29)

Stonehaven & District Men’s Shed Alternative Energy Project

In September 2022, in view of an unprecedented increase in energy costs, Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed (SDMS) decided to investigate installing its own means of generating power and heat. It was felt that this would go some way towards addressing our carbon footprint and contributing towards Net Zero. 

Vice Chairman, Duncan Cursiter, volunteered his services as Project Lead, and the following is his much abridged summary of the project. The full summary has been shared with other sheds as well as the Scottish Men’s Shed and the UK Men’s Shed Associations. Both umbrella organisations have intimated the value of the summary in guiding other sheds towards carbon neutrality.

Stonehaven & District Men’s Shed (SDMS), under Duncan’s leadership, visited and corresponded with Alford and Aboyne Men’s Sheds and other community organisations to enquire how they were addressing their particular energy needs.

SDMS then contacted several suppliers to obtain proposals based on their assessments of equipment requirements and costs. The valuable feedback received enabled SDMS to arrive at a “ball park” budget figure. The resulting package comprised of a 36-solar panel array of 14.58kW total output, battery storage of 13.8kWh and six Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) units of total capacity 30kWh.

An experienced agent was appointed and planning applications and building warrants were submitted to Aberdeenshire Council, in December 2022.

To finance the project, applications for grants were made to Community and Renewable Energy Scotland, (CARES) and Local Energy Scotland and Coastal Communities Challenge Fund (CCCF). An 80% grant was offered by CARES and 20% was offered by CCCF.

SDMS commissioned a Noise Impact Assessment to check if the external units of our ASHP equipment could disturb our neighbours. This indicated a requirement to reduce noise which was accomplished by Shed members making and fitting timber screens.

SDMS also commissioned an Electrical Installation Condition Report, an Environmental Performance Certificate, a Fire Risk Assessment, an Asbestos Report and Legionnaires disease survey. Existing electrical consumer units were upgraded to current standards.

 A structural survey showed that the roof structure needed to be upgraded to support the wind/weight loading of the solar array, and so the Shed had to reconfigure the array and strengthen the roof purlins.

Installation began in November 2023 and was completed in February 2024.

The project budget was £85,803. Grants of £62,711 at 80% was claimed from CARES and £13,138 at 20% claimed from CCCF. We were unable to claim £4,676 of other costs out-with the approved grants.

Total project cost was £80,526.

The equipment is all working to specification and data is being collected to evaluate the cost benefit and early indications point towards significant power cost savings for the Shed. Investigations are now taking place in order to sell our surplus power to a suitable energy company so that income may be gained.

We look forward to the benefits of lowering our energy demand from the grid, making our premises more comfortable in winter, reducing our costs, reducing our carbon footprint and contributing towards Net Zero.

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