The main job on the Coastal Path this week was on the path down to Bracken Bay from the caravan park, where there had been a small landslide, which needed to be repaired.
The good-sized party of nine scraped off the re-usable whin chips from the path, we barrowed stones up from the beach, we built a small retaining wall, we then cut and filled from the high side of the path to the low side and finally spread the re-usable whin chips to form a level walking surface. As if that wasn’t enough, we erected 2 new direction signs, pruned and trimmed the overgrowing vegetation and repaired a couple of kissing gates – and of course we managed to grab a “piece” and have a “cuppa” looking out towards Arran on one of these blue-sky days.
It’s that time again! The Big Beach Clean is now an established and hugely successful annual event and we all want to build on its success as a great annual community effort.
The Thirteenth Ayrshire Rotary Beach Clean is to take place on Saturday 30 March 2019 and all local organisations businesses and individuals are invited to help.
For the past 13 years, South Ayrshire Rotary Clubs (Ayr, Prestwick, Alloway, Troon and Girvan) have been well ahead of the environmental curve, and it is good to see the UK and Scottish Governments, as well as members of the public, now beginning to take positive action. Our 2019 Beach Clean is an ideal opportunity for everyone interested in the marine and coastal environment to make their own contributions to this amazing exercise – only 3 hours light work and it is fun too !
More information to follow soon.
The ACP feature on the BBC Scotland, Out-of-Doors programme was broadcast on Saturday 19 January.
Catch up on Radio iPlayer or BBC Sounds and listen to the interviews with the pathminders and a super selling of the delights of the path. Well done all.
(Link to https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00022c8 and the feature starts 01h:01m:39s into programme).
The Ayrshire Coastal Path was targeted by BBC Radio Scotland’s “Out-of-Doors” programme makers for a feature to be broadcast shortly. Mark Stephen, the show’s presenter, was accompanied by six of the regular “pathminders” who, every week, work hard to maintain and improve the path to make it an even more enjoyable experience.
This is not the first time the ACP has been the subject of an Out-of-Doors broadcast. Four years ago, Mark Stephen walked the path from Dunure to Culzean with Rotary members Jimmy Begg, Gus Iannotti and Harry Peters. This time Jimmy and Gus were back again along with Ron Ireland, Paul Williams, and two non-Rotarian pathminders, Bob Gibson and Chris Swaine. This time they proudly showed Mark the fruits of their recent labours by walking the Smugglers Brae and the Fisherton Gully where a combined total of around 200 helpful steps had been built, some with timber sleepers and some with local rocks, to facilitate the arduous climbs and descents. These were completed only recently, after three winters of hard graft by the pathminders.
After many months of negotiation and re-negotiation, a recent meeting with Transport Scotland and their agents TranServe has obtained their commitment to improving routine vegetation clearance measures where the path runs alongside the A77 trunk road at Bennane. It is hoped that this year will see passage along the path between Bennane Lea, over Bennane Hill, and down to Bennane Shore Holiday Park substantially improved and significantly safer.
Here is the Report from Trail Manager, Jimmy Begg
Hi all, This is my end of year message to thank everyone for the fantastic amount of work done in 2018 and to sign you all up again for 2019 – which hopefully will not be so strenuous, but just as interesting and enjoyable.
2018 was the busiest and most successful and productive year we’ve had since the Ayrshire Coastal Path opened in 2008, thanks totally to the magnificent efforts of a hugely increased volunteer workforce. In 2009, with a dozen Rotarian volunteers and little or no equipment apart from a scythe and loppers, we managed 160 man-hours (123 hours Maintenance and 27 hours of Improvements). In 2018, ten years on, with a workforce of 51 (comprising 17 Rotarians and 34 non-Rotarian volunteers), we managed a total of 1021 man-hours (351 hours Maintenance and 670 hours on Improvements).
The great engineering and logistical feat of Fisherton Gully now stands as testament to all your skills and hard work, and is hugely appreciated by the walkers who use the path. Be proud of what you’ve done here. Also be proud of the routine maintenance work we continue to do, from strimming and lopping to replacement of signage and minor repairs – all of which keep the ACP in good trim and fettle for the thousands who use it each year.
In 2019, we hope to finish off the last few steps at the Gully, and then proceed to some Path restoration and signage at Bracken Bay. Following this we hope to construct a new bridge down at Balkenna Hut (the Black Hut south of Turnberry). Then there will be the Beach Clean at end of March/beginning of April – the date for which will be announced shortly.
From May onwards we will be concentrating on maintenance, grass and scrub cutting, and painting of markers and posts, plus whatever small improvement projects come to light.
Retention and Recruitment for 2019:
We hope that the vast majority of our Pathminders will be eager and willing to carry on where they left off – and work their butts off for the same rates of zero pay as last year – compensated by the great fun, banter, and camaraderie enjoyed while sitting on a log for their tea break and gazing across the Firth to Arran and Ailsa Craig. While many have been extremely enthusiastic and regular attenders, we have also appreciated the input of casual attenders – whose presence is equally valuable as it can build a squad up from a useful four to a powerful five or six, able to get a lot more done in a morning.
However, we recognise that a few Pathminders have been unable to participate at all during the last year due family, health, or work commitments, and that some may feel that the time has come to step back and retire from their commitment.
New H&S and Data/Volunteer Safety Statement and Data Protection Regulations:
To comply with modern practices, an ACP sub-committee has prepared a new Volunteer Registration and Information Form, which we will put out at the start of each year.
Best Wishes for a Guid New Year tae yin an aa.
This week saw great progress made by a team of 7 on the lower steps at Fisherton Gully. The heavy squad of John, Chris and Tim laboured manfully to carry big rocks up from the beach, while Bob, Jimmy, David and Ron worked almost as hard to form stable steps and revetments.
The newly-installed tree-trunk seat provided a welcome resting place to enjoy the coffee and admire the wonderful views across to Arran
Great morning’s work at Fisherton Gully last week – helped by a bonus from Nature’s Bounty.- Storm Diana had floated a huge log that had been uselessly stranded for years 100m south, and washed it up on the tideline just below the Gully steps.
While having our tea break after carting loads of big beach stones up the path to build stone steps, we thought we’d try and shift the trunk clear of high water mark.
But with skilled use of crowbars, brains, and brute strength, six of us managed to roll it ten metres up the shore right to the Path, where it now makes a fab seat for walkers.
Then we went on to complete the bottom half of the stone-step path.
CALVING FIELD ON TIDAL DIVERSION PATH AT CURRAGH
We are pleased to report that the cows with calves previously in the calving field north of Curragh Cottages, have now been moved to a large enclosed field further south that should not affect walkers on the ACP. Therefore the tidal diversion path at Curragh cottages can now be used by walkers if cattle-free.
Walkers should note that the footbridge across the River Irvine at Low Green is currently closed. This was to re-open in September 2018, but we have been informed it will be closed for the foreseeable future. A short diversion is in place. Please follow the red ‘pedestrian’ signage which is in place, using the Marress Road bridge instead.