What a great success the 12th Annual Beach Clean was! And to cap it all, we were invited to send a load of plastic rubbish to London for the BBC One show.
Over 800 bags of rubbish were collected by volunteers organised by Girvan, Alloway, Ayr, Prestwick, and Troon Rotary Clubs between Ballantrae and Troon – with 636 bags collected by Ayr Rotary Club from 7 beaches.
Thanks to around 30 willing volunteers, 330 bags were removed from 2km of Dowhill to Turnberry Beach which had never been cleaned before, and a further 75 bags from the adjacent 1km long Dunnymuck beach.
This staggering combined total of 405 bags was loaded into 40 large bulk bags, which are now heading for London by lorry, to to be dumped outside the BBC as the main exhibit in The One Show special on Ocean Plastic Pollution on Monday 16 April. NB. Plastic rubbish formed 93% of the total stuff gathered on these 3km of beach.
In contrast to these wild beaches, after 12 years of Rotary Beach Cleans, much less litter is now being collected from the town beaches of Girvan/Ballantrae (92), Doonfoot (34), Ayr (90), Prestwick, and Troon (14), thanks to an increased public awareness – and the sterling work of local resident groups, who now patrol and clean these beaches on a regular basis.
Our grateful thanks to both them – and all the volunteers who ventured south to the remote beaches – for making our beaches beautiful again.
With some heavy lifting required, a team of strong Pathminders were assembled on 29 March 2018 to move sleepers down the very steep gully at Fisherton. These timbers will be used for bridges and support.
Over 100 steps are now installed, and we are almost at the bottom. There will be a celebration when the last whin chips are laid!
Our annual Beach Clean will take place on Saturday 7 April 2018. Ayr Rotary Club organise this event and are helped by other South Ayrshire Rotary clubs,. We are indebted to the huge support from the community. It is not hard work and is an extremely effective way to improve the look of miles of coastline.
If you would like to take part – just 3 hours pleasant work on a (hopefully!) fine Saturday in April – please contact your local Rotary club.
You will be allocated to a beach, given basic training and the equipment required. Please help your own community.
All persons wishing to assist should wear warm clothing, stout boots and gloves, and report to their nearest Assembly Point.
BEACHES AND ASSEMBLY POINTS – AYR ROTARY CLUB
(Please go direct to Assembly Pt – or contact named Team Leader for advice)
NEWTON SHORE/BENTFIELD POINT Alex Thomson (07753 838805)
Assemble/Start: 07 Apr at 0915 Maryborough Rd turning point at beach
DOONFOOT BRIDGE TO BLACKBURN CAR PARK John Ewing (07803 034983)
Assemble/Start: 07 Apr at 0900 Blackburn Car Park, Seafield
BRACKEN BAY Craig Wilson (07747 606964)
Assemble/Start: 07 Apr at 0930 Heads of Ayr Holiday Park’s Car Park
DUNURE Neil Beattie (07752 623550)
Assemble/Start: 07 Apr at 0915 Dunure Harbour car park
DRUMSHANG/NORTH CROY Gus Iannotti (07769 635572)
Assemble/Start : 07 Apr at 0930 Croy Beach car park (NOT on verges near caravan park entrance that might obstruct access)
DOWHILL-TURNBERRY: Bob Gibson (07582 151901)
Assemble/Start: 07 Apr at 0930 Old Turnberry PO Car Park on A719 nr junction with A77T. (Some cars may then move down to Dowhill)
DUNNYMUCK/Dipple J. Begg (07796 570645)
Other Rotary Clubs Assembly Points are:
- Troon Rotary assembling at the toilets on North Beach at 9.00am
- Prestwick Rotary assembling at the old Swimming Pool at 9.00am
- Ayr Rotary assembling at Blackburn Car Park at 9.00am
- Alloway Rotary assembling at Beach Car Park at Longhill Point at 9.00am
- Girvan Rotary assembling at Ainsley Car Park at 10.00am
After 10 years, the wooden steps have begun to rot and the gravel dressing has been largely washed away, making this part of the Path difficult and even unsafe in wet conditions. We decided to make this the major task over the winter.
We started the project at the end of October 2017, and although progress has been good, we still have a considerable amount of work to do to complete it. The work involves:
- Diverting field run off water into new ditches
- Installing French drains to keep water off the path
- Removing all old risers and steps and installing new ones
- Laying membrane, topping with one inch whin chips
This is a steep gully, and the materials have to be man-handled down to where they are required. Various methods and contraptions have been devised to achieve this. The whin chips arrive in one tonne bulk bags, and are hand-filled into manageable 15kg plastic sacks. Up to ten of these are then put back into a large bag and a “gravity drop” system using ropes and pulleys is used to lower to the site. Also a huge thanks to Alan and Maureen Currie of Fisherton Farm for helping deliver the chips to the top of the gulley by tractor.
The job should be completed by early spring but in the meantime please be careful if you are walking. The route is still passable, but is extremely slippy when wet.
For several years, many walkers have endured (and complained about) the dangers and unpleasantness of walking the narrow northbound downhill verge of the A77T at Bennane – with no barrier protection and huge articulated lorries thundering past just feet away.
After two years of correspondence, lobbying, meetings, and firm support from South Ayrshire Council, local councillors, MPs and MSPs, Transport Scotland have addressed their responsibility to ensure the safety and passage of NMUs (non-motorised users) and agreed to re-implement their original agreement with the ACP to maintain a clear path for walkers behind the crash barriers all the way down the northbound side of the road.
This past week, a Transerv maintenance team – aided by a wood-chipper – have done a tremendous job, lopping overhanging branches and scrub, and strimming a good path all the way down the hill. From now on, they will keep this path open and maintained several times a year from spring to autumn.
Walkers should now feel very much safer – and happier – able to walk unimpeded behind the safety barrier. We are very pleased with this result.
Work has started on our major winter project – upgrading the path at Fisherton Gully, just north of Dunure. With the steps being over 10 years old, some remedial work has kept it serviceable. However with the recent heavy rain, most of the pea gravel has been washed away, and many of the wooden risers have rotted. Time for a complete revamp….
So please be careful if you are walking. The route is still passable, but is extremely slippy when wet.
The steps will be levelled, new risers installed, a membrane laid topped with whin chips. Already the Pathminders have cut new ditches to divert the rainwater off the path and installed a French drain along the path side. The first chips were laid on 2 November 2017, and with some 300 metres of path all the way down to the beach, this is a massive undertaking, but one that is necessary to maintain the route in suitable condition for walkers at any time of the year. Given reasonable weather, we hope to be finished by Christmas. Thanks to local farmer Allan and Maureen Currie for helping us transport some of the materials to the site.
On the Glenapp section at the top of Turf Hill, walkers may find a couple of 20m long dubs (mega-puddles!) filling the full width of the estate track. After heavy rain (and it’s now Autumn), these might be well over boot height and require a detour either side to get past.
Until the Estate can free up machinery from other more pressing jobs, to backfill the track, we would suggest perhaps traversing along the fence side, as there is always something to hold on to – and there is a deep area on the west side that might swallow the unwary up to their thighs!
On 22 August, an impromptu, small party of two (Jimmy and Ron) did some tidying work along the shore between Fisherton and Drumbain Gullies. Main tasks were spraying the weeds on the Fisherton steps down the gully, repainting and clearing the sea radish and marram grass around the nearly invisible waymarker cairn, plastic litter picking (two bagfuls), and stockpiling old fishboxes for later soft path bottoming purposes. Carrying on to Drumbain burn, Jimmy collected plant-head and seed specimens from near the new bridge to allow him to carry out some botanical experiments known only to himself! Victorian plant hunters – eat your hearts out!
On 16 August 2017, we were honoured to welcome Denis Spiller, the National President of Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) along with the 1230 District Governor, Gary Louttit, to see and experience for themselves the delights of the Ayrshire Coastal Path. There to welcome them, at Dunure harbour, were Ayr Rotary President Craig Wilson, Jimmy Begg, Gus Iannotti and Ron Ireland.
Despite the looming rain clouds, the party of six set off on an amiable stroll with Jimmy, as ever, leading the way and elaborating on various features of interest such as the castle and its doocot.
From there they were guided up our newly-constructed Smugglers’ Brae steps, stopping at the new bench to enjoy the (imagined) views. After continuing through the Millenium Wood to the kissing-gate above the lookout-field, with storm clouds approaching from the distant west, the wise decision to return was unanimously reached. In the comfort of the Dunure Inn, the group enjoyed an excellent light lunch during which the erudite chat ranged from things entomological to classic cars (both involving beetles!).
Denis and Gary were full of praise for the efforts of Ayr Rotary Club in creating and maintaining the Path and for the benefits this brought to Rotary through greater public awareness.
She had her baptism of fire hacking through a jungle of 5ft high Monks’ Rhubarb and Cow Parsley beside the new bridge over the Ladywell Burn. But her enthusiasm for the job kept the two lads going, and she didn’t let us stop till we had cleared away enough vegetation to let her see the wee waterfall that we could hear tinkling somewhere in the jungle.
So ladies, let’s have more of you out to join us. It’s great fun, you are helping the local community and you are out in the fresh air. What could be better?
Gillian is a very keen walker and has an excellent website, Gillian’s Walks, listing many walks in Scotland and beyond.