the first meeting of the year was held on Tuesday, January 10, at the home of president, Mrs Pat Wardell. Five were present and we had received apologies from the sixth member.
As usual, the first meeting of the year is largely a social occasion but we took the opportunity to finish our syllabus. We also agreed to try an experiment by inviting other rural members as our numbers have dropped.
We then had a break when we enjoyed a delicious supper, and reminisced about other times. We remembered our member Una Bromelow, who passed away just before Christmas.
After holding our raffle, the meeting ended with our president reminding us that the meeting on Tuesday, February 7, will have an American theme.
MEMORIAL HALL SWEEP
The January sweep winner was Sheena Clegg who receives £100. Anyone interested in joining should contact Thomas on 821211 or see any committee member.
At the Dalry WRI Christmas party on Tuesday, December 20, Mrs Brinkman, honorary member, presented Mrs Isabel Cuthburtson with the McTurk Silver Salver for obtaining the most points in the competitions during 2011. She also presented 40-year loyalty certificates to Mrs Elizabeth McFegan, Mrs Georgie Bell and Mrs Ruby McQueen.
President Anne Alderson welcomed members to the first meeting of 2012 in Glenluce Bowling Club on Tuesday, January 17. After the Rural Song, apologies for absence were received from Christina Meldrum and Pat McKnight. Secretary Vivienne Gardiner read the minutes for the November and December meetings. Institute and federation business was then discussed.
Anne welcomed our speaker for the evening, Mrs Helen Hodgson, who gave an excellent demonstration of floral art with a table decoration and a buttonhole. Members then made their own buttonholes.
A lovely supper was then served by the hostesses for the evening, the raffle was drawn and the competition results announced. Favourite mug: 1, Margaret Benson, 2, Joan Meldrum 3, Doreen Baille. Three pieces of shortbread: 1, Doreen Baille, 2, Janet Peers, 3, Joan Meldrum. Anne thanked hostesses Mary and Morag for supper, members who had brought raffle prizes and Linda for making the tea.
Results from January 24 were: North-South – 1, +150, Val Marshall & Lynn Allan, 2, +90, Tommy Wright & Betty Marshall, 3, -220, Barbara Gaw & Lynn Drummond. East-West – 1, +3060, Chris Laraway & Russell McClymont, 2, +2320, Betty & Jim Watson, 3, +1170, Gillian Campbell & Elaine Routledge.
On Wednesday, January 18, members were treated to the second half of David Sorrill’s talk, “Doing it by Numbers”. He described how a succession of computers were applied to the enormous task of producing weather forecasts from the data supplied by weather stations. The first computer was not sufficiently powerful to carry out complete calculations but still produced better forecasts.
As computers improved, so the amount of data increased which caused the occasional glitch. During the Cod War, two fishing vessels, which contributed data, were relocated to the Persian Gulf with interesting results. Some satellite data was added at this time, not without a struggle. Southern hemisphere data was very limited, and forecasting was hampered by the extremes of the Antarctic. The Falklands War, however, made it essential to develop global coverage. Over a weekend the model was developed and the glitches were resolved within three weeks.
The October storm of 1987 allowed the Met Office to persuade the government that a further upgrade was needed. Each time this is done, a considerable amount of work is needed to ensure the computer runs efficiently. The end result is a continuing improvement in the accuracy of the forecasts produced. Graham Neilson gave the vote of thanks.
ST JOHN’S GUILD
THE January meeting was held in the newly refurbished church hall, and had a good attendance.
President Anne McClymont welcomed everyone to the start of a new year, and after prayer and a reading, business was dealt with. This included making plans for several Guild events in our area over the next couple of months, including fundraising.
Members were then able to see the DVD of the 2011 annual Guild meeting in Dundee in the summer. This is extremely well produced and gives a real flavour of the day.
The main speakers at this event were the Rev David Arnott, Moderator of the General Assembly; Joel Edwards, director of The Micah Challenge; and a member of the Street Pastors organisation in Perth. All were inspirational and challenging. We also heard for the first time the new general secretary to the Guild, Mr Iain Whyte.
Marlane Cash proposed a vote of thanks to Mike Binks, who had very kindly set up and run the DVD for us.
Over tea, we were delighted to see a DVD of the Shoebox Appeal, which showed examples of how shoeboxes are packed, checked, transported, and, most importantly, received in such countries as Ukraine and Liberia.
The date of the next meeting is February 20 in the church hall at 2pm, when our speaker will be Mr Robert McQuistan, the Presbyterial Council Education Representative.
Results: North-South – 1, 1340 Hugh Paterson, John McCourtney, 2, 590 Lynn Drummond, Barbara Gaw, 3, 40 Lillian McMiken, Jimmy Walker. East-West – 1, 3850 Betty, Jim Watson, 2, 2150 Jim Wallace, Sandy Campbell, 3, 2130 Maureen Morton, Elsie McKillop
Mrs Sheila Topping, president, gave a warm welcome to members and friends who attended the Scottish evening held on January 19 in the Supper Room of the Maxwell Hall.
Following a delicious meal of traditional fare served by members of the committee we were entertained with fantastic traditional music by the Old Scores. This group of local musicians, who obviously enjoy making music together, played a delightful array of predominantly Scottish and Northumberland tunes. It was a pleasure to listen to them. Vice-president Mrs Jennifer Brodie gave a deserved vote of thanks.
After the raffle had been drawn, the competition results were given: dressed potato: 1, S Topping, 2, J Kinnear, 3, S Charlesworth. Favourite Christmas card: 1, J Kinnear, 2, C McBryde, 3, S Charlesworth. Flower of the month: 1, E Wallace, C Makepeace, S Topping.
Mrs Topping thanked the committee and all who had helped make the evening so pleasurable and, of course, everyone who had attended. The meeting closed the all joining in to sing Auld Land Syne.
Next meeting is on Thursday, February 16, when we look forward to a craft demonstration from Mrs Susan Grimes. Come along and see what we get up to at the SWRI. New members and visitors very welcome.
STRONORD Rural held its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, January 17, in the McMillan Hall. Vice-president Joan McKie welcomed everyone and busi-ness was discussed.
Our speaker for the evening was Jennifer Brodie, whose subject was recycling. She showed us how to knit with plastic carrier bags and old pieces of material and how to make toys from socks. She also showed us how to make a pouffé from a wine box. It was lovely when finished, and also gave us all a pair of baby socks and we made cup cakes out of them.
Joan thanked Jennifer for coming as we all had a lovely evening and asked her to judge our competition. Our hostesses were Janet and Rose, who provided us with a lovely supper and we had our raffle. Competition results: prettiest Christmas card – 1, Rose Marr; 2, Margaret Locket; 3, Margaret Copeland. Recycled item – 1, Jan Smythe; 2, Rose Marr.
Our next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21 and our speaker will be Pauline Plunkett.
Whithorn & District Business Association
A distinguished panel of guests were welcomed to a well-attended 2012 annual general meeting of the Whithorn and District Business Association on Monday, January 23.
After ordinary agm business, members and guests were invited to put questions to five speakers who were Alex Fergusson MSP; Dr Aileen McLeod MSP; the Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway, Mr Patrick Shearer; the procurator fiscal, Mr Willie Mackay; and the youth justice manager, Mr Brian McClafferty. The questions were ably fielded by Councillor Graham Nicol and included a variety of thought-provoking topics, such as the use of alcohol as a mitigating plea in criminal cases, the improvements to the Children’s Panel system, the challenges of youth employment, the plans to unify Scottish police forces, and the benefits or otherwise of independence for rural Dumfries and Galloway. Challenged to name their favourite verses from Burns, the panel quoted variously A Man’s a Man, To see oursels as Ithers see us and The best laid plans o’ Mice and Men. Both panel and audience felt it was a stimulating evening and a chance for live debate which should be repeated.
Gill Bailey, chairman, thanked the members and audience for their lively contributions.
Prior to the questions session, secretary Janet Butterworth noted the year’s achievements. She noted that:
1, The association published its first ever Machars Guide, receiving support from the LEADER programme for printing costs. 75,000 guides were published, of which 60,000 were distributed via Direct Distribution in Glasgow, to outlets in the south of Scotland, central Scotland, NW and NE England and Northern Ireland. Thanks to all those advertisers who supported us in the initial publication, which was hard work, and thanks to committee members who distributed them. This publication involved forming links with the Isle of Whithorn and Wigtown and we thank those in those communities who were supportive of our efforts, including Isle Futures and Cinema, and the District of Wigtown Chamber of Commerce, both represented at the AGM.
Next year, we are combining forces with the Rhins business community, who applied to us to join our publication, and our thanks to Fred, Steve and Sandi, also present, for all their hard work in recruiting Rhins advertisers. Remarkably, the publication will be fully self-sustaining in its second year. Thanks were offered to treasurer Margerie Clark for making sense of all the incoming cheques for two publications.
2, As usual, we supported local business and published our Directory of Local Businesses and distributed 4000 copies door-to-door throughout the south Machars. We’re pleased to see that some new businesses are coming forward to join us.
3, We nominated four of our advertisers to the Dumfries and Galloway Life Magazine, all of whom were short-listed: Forsyth Galloway in the retailers section, Wanda Campbell in the food ambassador category, Ewe to You in the food producers category and the Whithorn Trust in the tourism ambassador section. Wanda was joint winner in her section and we’d like to thank her for offering us a free hamper for our Machars Guide publication – the eventual winner lived in Nottingham and had been coming to Galloway for years on holiday, but had never won a competition.
4, One of our committee, George Pattison, continued as chairman of the Whithorn Trust in an important year for the Trust, in which a new Machars Archaeology Project run by the Trust and AOC was launched, involving local volunteers in surveying and digging, and still running during the winter.
5, We have witnessed the successful completion and the positive impact on the main street of the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, which the association was instrumental in obtaining six years ago.
6, We have commented on the Conservation Area Assessment, arguing to keep a wider definition of the conservation area.
7, After some years of disappointment, there are some hopeful signs that a footpath from Whithorn may be achievable.
8, The association continues to be represented on the Multi-Agency Group by Janet.
9, We continue to carry out a beach clean every spring to make St Ninian’s cave beach attractive for visitors and local walkers; some members cleaned verges in Sorbie forest.
10, We have tried to maintain banners at the foot of the town, against some strong winds and damage to the original banners, which we feel will need replacing this year.
11, We note with pleasure that Whithorn Pharmacy was declared winner of the Alphega Pharmacy Team of the Year award.
12, We have welcomed one of our newest retailers as one of our committee : Bhupendra, alias Bob, who has proved a great asset to our community; also welcome to Tom Smillie who joined the committee during the year.
13, Sadly, we note the closure of some retail businesses, in line with a national trend, including the ironmonger’s shop, the Ravenstone Deli and Essentials. But we are pleased to find some new businesses, including a new ceramics business and accommodation businesses. It’s important that we recognise that our retail members form an important part of community life and that, without shops, the town centre would effectively die.
14, A challenging year all round for tourism, given the volatility of the global economy, but the “staycation” effect may have had some positive impact on visitor attractions, such as the Whithorn Trust, as well as keeping some of our accommodation members busy. We welcome some new members in the accommodation sector, as well as saying goodbye to some who are retiring.
15, We would like to give special thanks to our local councillor, Graham Nicol, who faithfully attends meetings, provides information and investigates problems, and rarely, though sometimes, complains of their length.
The chairman, Gill Bailey, invited anyone who might wish to serve on the committee to let us know so that we can arrange for them to attend our first meeting. Also, she asked that anyone who wishes to propose any new idea or project which they would like to see carried out, or more importantly, which they would like to help carry out, would be most welcome to make a suggestion either now or during the year, by email or to committee members. One idea being proposed was a members’ celebration for Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee in June.
WIGTOWN and District Bridge results for Wednesday, January 18: N/S – 1, Margaret Baird and Mary Sharp -200; 2, Betty Marshall and Lesley McNaught -770; 3, Lilian McMiken and Joyce Maitland -1160. E/W – 1, Katie Forsyth and Madge McNeillie +3710; 2, Joyce Kinnear and Ann Gerrish +3100; 3, Pat McGettigan and Ian Young +2770.
After passing through the intimidating gates at Boreland Lodge last Saturday, 21 ramblers assembled in the Forestry Commission car park at Knockman Wood. The weather was mixed, with fierce showers scudding through on the brisk north-westerly breeze.
They set off up the new forest road which is now settling into the landscape, partly due to the work of the Cree Valley Community Woodlands Trust volunteers who have spread wild flower seeds along the banks.
The group soon reached the deer dyke around Knockman Wood and took the stoned path heading up the hill. After a short climb, the group paused to examine the ancient burial cairn beside the path. This is recorded as a cairn of the Clyde series and probably about 3000 years old. There was little structure visible in the large pile of stones apart from two portal stones and a possible indication of the location of two stone horns adjacent to the portal.
From there the group climbed the rough path to the summit of Knockman Hill adjacent to the lonesome pine which has provided a waymarker for several walks. Several information boards describing the wood pasture habitats provided an interesting excuse to pause for breath. The wind was fierce on the exposed summit and after a brief pause for jelly babies they set off, through the blueberry, heather and bracken, down to the Knockman Wood circular path.
On gaining the path they continued eastwards towards the fenced deer exclosure. On reaching the lower end of the exclosure they turned off the path and followed a deer track which meandered eastwards until they reached the deer dyke again. They negotiated a rough gateway and traversed the first significant burn. With a little assistance the group all crossed dry shod and made their way across the moorland to the old farm toun above Garlies wood. This was recorded as a ruin on the 1841 maps but the outline of the walls of several buildings could be made out on each side of the track. As they progressed towards the wood the track marked on the map disappeared and they made their way across the soggy ground to the wood dyke which they followed to the gate.
Within the wood the track was again visible and they followed it down to Garlies Castle where they paused for lunch. The ruins stood tall among the trees, though ivy and sycamores growing out of the walls pose a long-term problem. However, fallen stones provided excellent seats.
After lunch the ramblers set off down the hill towards the Peat Rig Strand. They first crossed an old paddock with a fine view of a waterfall on the Castle Burn and passed beneath two evergreen oaks on their way down to the burn. Recent rains had raised the level of the water and the Peat Rig Strand was crossed with some difficulty. Fortunately, nobody fell in.
After crossing the burn, the group climbed through the attractive oak woods and exited onto the open hill through a small gate. Here they were greeted by a group of young cattle who retreated and watched them pass from a safe distance. The route then followed the green hills down to the muddy valley track which they followed towards Cumloden and soon reached the old schoolhouse. Until recently this had been semi-derelict but has recently been sensitively restored and improved by the Landmark Trust and is let out for holidaymakers. The school had originally been built by the then Countess of Galloway in the 1850s as an industrial school for girls. It was difficult to imagine that the tiny building had provided an education for 25 girls and a home for their teacher.
Beyond the school, the track improved somewhat and it was followed along the Cumloden garden wall almost as far as the Clauchrie Lodge. The group took the track uphill back towards the car park. Most of the group made a small diversion to the top of the small Torbain Hill, where a small cairn had been erected to celebrate the millennium. A large stone near its base had a large “MM” carved in it.
There is a suggestion that this hill was not natural and is associated with a ditch and bank enclosure to the north.
The group then reformed on the track and followed it through the woods back to the car park. The afternoon was completed with a visit to Cinnamon in Newton Stewart to enjoy their renowned scones and tea.
The next event will be a C+ grade walk from Portpatrick to Knockinaam. The leader promises a new variation to this popular six-mile walk. Meet at 9am at the Riverside car park in Newton Stewart, or 9.30 at the Breastworks car park in Stranraer to share transport. The walk will start from the south car park in Portpatrick (grid ref: NW 999 539) at 10am. New members are always welcome. If you intend to meet at the start or have other queries, please contact the walk leader on 01776 870441.