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THE SOUTH DEESIDE VIEW March 2008 Welcome to the Spring issue CONTENTS 1

Plant Sale


Youth activities


Scouts Corbie Hall




Cookney Hall Home deliveries


Clubs and societies


Leisure activities Blairs Museum

8 9 10

Tollohill Wood “

Maryculter-Cookney Church K and D Befriending


St Ternan’s Church

Thanks to the many folk who have let us know what is going on in their club, sport, primary school, local hall, church etc. There are so many leisure activities in our rural area, but are there others we have not included? If so, please let the editors know. We now produce 800 copies of each issue in Spring and Autumn. These are delivered by Community Council members and their families, to households throughout Banchory-Devenick, Blairs, Maryculter, Cookney and Netherley. We liaise with, but are independent from the Community Council (NKRCC). All phone numbers are Aberdeen listed (01224) unless otherwise indicated. The back page, with its Events Diary and list of useful contacts is arranged for handy reference. Other contact information is at the end of each section. Funds for printing (our only costs) come partly from local advertisers, which we greatly appreciate. The annual Plant Sale is our other source of income, and this year will be on a Saturday, with a Coffee Morning at the same time (see advert below). We hope to see you there.

St Mary’s Chapel SSPCA 12

Grampian Police


Driving for the disabled


Red squirrels


Local councillors


Sir Robert Smith MP


Community Council

18 19

Road Sense

PLANT SALE and COFFEE MORNING Saturday May 17 from 10.30 till noon Corbie Hall, Maryculter We are holding a sale of garden plants: herbaceous, rockery, herbs, salad vegetables, annuals, bushes etc. all grown by local amateur gardeners.

Hall booking contacts 20

Handy contacts

Coffee and tasty bites will be available at the same time.

Events calendar

Please let us know if you can offer any plants, biscuits or baking, or if you are able to assist in any way. All contributions will be welcome, as will help at the sale, and of course lots of buyers! Contact Rob Winmill about plants Tel: 01569 730308 Contact Sylvia Pike about coffee morning Tel: 733821

YOUTH ACTIVITIES Maryculter Babies and Toddlers We meet in Maryculter Church Hall, Kirkton of Maryculter on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11:30 during term time. It’s a great chance for mums, grandmas, dads or any other carers to meet for a coffee and a chat. The children benefit by getting to know others with whom they will start school later on. We welcome anyone with children from birth to 2 1/2 from Maryculter, Netherley, Banchory-Devenick and the surrounding areas. Emma Twite-Davis Tel: 868242

Maryculter Playgroup This runs on weekday mornings from 9:30 to 12 during term time in Corbie Hall next to the Old Mill Inn. Children are welcome from ages 2 1/2 to 5 years and funded places are available from age 3. The Playgroup is run in accordance with the pre-school 3-5 curriculum. There are a few vacancies for children who will be 2 1/2 after the summer holidays. We hope to run a ceilidh in June, time and date to be confirmed soon. For any other information please contact the Playgroup direct on Tel: 07765 525317

Girls between 10 and 14 from Netherley, Cookney, Banchory-Devenick or anywhere within reach of Maryculter, are welcome to come any week. Dianne Brown, Guider Tel: 734687 or 0780 154 2154 or E-mail:

Maryculter Rangers Last term saw the launch of the New Senior Section Programme and the introduction of the CD ROM that accompanies it. The CD has all the information a girl could need including the updated Look Wider programme, the new Young Leader Qualification and a host of other challenges to participate in. Each Ranger has her own copy of the CD so there should be no stopping them! With some of our group heading off to university come the summer, we would love to recruit some new members and to this end we are holding an Open Evening on Monday 14th April at the Scout/Guide Hut in Kirkton of Maryculter from 7.30 – 9.30pm. If you are approaching 14yrs, are under 26, and would like to find out what Rangers can do for you on alternate Monday evenings, come along for a fun- filled night with lots of chocolate, chat, games and more chocolate – we look forward to meeting you. Tel: Jackie on 01224 869668, Elaine on 01569 730374 or E-mail:

Maryculter Brownies Maryculter Rainbows We continue to meet at the Scout Hut on Thursday evenings from 6.30 to 8pm. We have recently participated in a postcard swap in which we have heard from other Brownies in all sorts of exotic places around the world. In the coming weeks we have a variety of escapades planned, including two themed sleepovers and an Easter Egg Hunt. In September we will have vacancies so if you are interested and aged 7 – 10 years please contact one of us. Elaine Davies: Tel: 01569 730374 or Lynn Murphy: Tel: 01330 825936

Maryculter Guides The 1st Maryculter Guides are a thriving and friendly group, with two Guiders, one helper and now three young leaders. Five new Guides are about to enrol, joining in the fun of weekly meetings during school terms on Tuesdays between 7.30 and 9pm. Each patrol recently produced an impressive powerpoint display featuring different countries, demonstrating their mastery of computing. They produced meals from each country as well, to round off a memorable evening. Once the evenings are lighter, they look forward to outdoor cookouts, tracking in the woods as well as competitions and games in the Glebe field. A long weekend at camp is keenly anticipated.

We would really like to re-start this group for 5-7 year old girls, but need some volunteers. If a few mums, aunties or grannies came forward, we could work out a rota as the Cubs have done. Please contact Lynn Murphy, District Commissioner Tel:01330 811500 , E-mail:

Beavers Now that Spring is here, the Beavers are getting active outdoors again after a winter indoors! We are looking forward to the light evenings and better weather. A trip to Altens Fire Station in March should be fun! Let’s hope they don't all get hosed down! Peter Cowan, a Scout doing his Duke of Edinburgh service, is helping meantime with other leaders Sally McAllan, Linda Hoyle and Kathleen Paterson. We try to provide the Beavers with a mixed programme of crafts, fun and games. Beavers are for boys between 6 and 8 years old and meet in Maryculter Scout Hall on Tuesdays from 5.30 to 7 pm. Anyone wishing to join should contact Kathleen Paterson , Beaver Leader Tel: 868676 2



1st Maryculter Cub Scouts Plans to relaunch the Maryculter Cubs after it lay dormant for more than a decade were made over the summer and the Pack held its first meeting after the October break. Fifteen cubs have enrolled and were invested collectively by the Group Scout Leader on 17 December. They have already enjoyed a mixed programme of activities, including map and compass work, knotting, fitness, and basic science, as well as the traditional Cub Scout games and ceremonies. A particular highlight was a tour of Stonehaven Police Station in December. Future plans include a first night away for the pack at Muir Hut in Inverey during the Easter break. The Pack is led on a rota basis by a team of four parents, and we are keen to recruit more leaders to ensure it remains sustainable, and to help us to balance the organisation of Cubs with our work commitments. For more information contact Dave Burslem Tel: 732819, Bill Caffyn Tel: 734080, Dave Kirk Tel: 869006 or Chris Grinyer Tel: 732324.

1st Maryculter Scouts Like the Beavers, the Scouts are looking forward to the Spring, with a trip to Orkney being planned for Summer camp this year. Some of our hardier Scouts are undertaking the Zodiac award which requires them to sleep out each month of the year - whatever the weather. February saw us up at Ballater Bothy for a weekend. It was minus 8 degrees - no electricity - no running water no problem for our guys!! Maryculter Scouts seem to come from a wide area these days - from Aberdeen to Stonehaven. We look forward to welcoming our own Cubs into the Troop soon. If any guys in the neighbourhood between 10 and 13 want to join our Friday evening meetings, they should contact Les Paterson, Scout Leader Tel: 868676 or E-mail:

Corbie Park and Community Hall, Maryculter Hooray! The Changing Rooms are built! The committee is delighted to announce the completion of the new changing rooms at Corbie Park. This will release the hall for other activities when the field is in use. It will also allow a wider range of sports and participants to use the field, and provide them with secure changing facilities and showers. The changing rooms will be opened officially on 26th April, when we hope you will come along - see below. Over the winter we had an infestation of moles. They have now been eradicated - we hope - but they continue to be in neighbouring fields and may return. However they have created considerable damage to the surface of the playing field which may mean a partial re-levelling and re-seeding after the football season. There will be a 'volunteer' morning on 5th April to 'spruce up' and 'spring clean' before our Open Day. Anyone with a bit of DIY skill and willing to help inside and out should contact Les. Tel: 868676 The Hall continues to be well used but there is still plenty of scope for evening and weekend bookings for children's parties, games nights, beetle drives, whists etc. We have access to table-tennis tables, pool tables and table football if any group wished to organise a games night. Carol Masson, booking secretary Tel: 733583

GRAND OPENING of the NEW CHANGING ROOMS CORBIE PARK, MARYCULTER Saturday April 26 At 2 pm Robert Smith MP will officially open the new changing rooms and there will be a range of activities on the park throughout the afternoon including a schools football match, ladies football match, lacrosse and a Junior Brazilians football skills demonstration.

Friends of Guiding - Daffodil Tea

The WRI will be serving tea, coffee and home bakes in the hall and the Scouts will have a stall outside with juice and crisps.

Saturday May 24 from 2 - 4pm Corbie Hall, Maryculter

So please come along and join the fun.

Join us for home baking, teas, raffle and a variety of stalls Maryculter Community (Corbie) Hall Cleaner required for two hours each fortnight, timing flexible when the hall is not in use. Please contact Jill. Tel: 739235 3

PRIMARY Banchory-Devenick Banchory-Devenick School has given me a very warm welcome as their new Head Teacher. I took up my post on the 3rd March having previously worked as a Head Teacher for Scottish Border Council. I would like to congratulate all the children for taking part in the Burns Competition. It was obvious that a lot of hard work had gone into learning the poems. Our winners this year were Anna Stephen P1, Joshua Wood P2, Ewan Robertson P3, Samantha Fraser P4, Finlay Van Der Vossen P5, Will Britten P6 and Kristofer Milne P7. Rachel Ellis, Craig Grant and Sarah Garden received a commended certificate for good effort. March is proving to be a busy month at BanchoryDevenick with Parent Consultations being held on the 12th and 13th March. Children and Staff will celebrate World Book Day in style by dressing up as their favourite character from a book on Thursday 6th March. Children from Primary 6 and 7 have now completed their Positive Playtimes training. On a Thursday at lunchtime they organise games and activities for the other children in the playground for example skipping rhymes. They will be giving out stickers and handing out awards at assembly. Mrs Jones and Mrs Rothnie have regular meetings to help the pupils plan and support them. Our Primary 6 and Primary 7 pupils are looking forward to their trip to PGL Dalguise in May where they will get the opportunity to try various activities including fencing, kayaking etc. This is a combined trip with the pupils from Lairhillock School. The weather so far has been considerably mild and pupils and staff are hoping the sunshine will hold for the Easter Holiday, which begins on the 20th March. Joyce Hill, Head Teacher

Lairhillock Our official opening ceremony was on 12 March 2008 when a small group of invited guests were shown around the school before a plaque was unveiled by Provost William Howatson. Following Mrs Anstock’s retirement, we are delighted that Mrs Lorna Walker has been appointed as School Administrator. The post of Clerical Assistant / Receptionist is currently being advertised. Ms Rachel

SCHOOLS May has joined Mrs Gray, Mrs Duguid and Mrs McLaren in the school kitchen as Catering Assistant. We said goodbye to Mrs Foubister, our French specialist recently. Congratulations to the winners of our Scots Poetry Competition. All pupils from P1-7 recited poems and Mrs Joyce Murison and Ms Carol Anderson had the hard task of selecting 3 winners from each class. We were so impressed by all the children as well as those who recited their poems to the whole school as part of our Robert Burns Day celebrations. Our P6-7 winners now have the opportunity to compete in the North of Scotland Primary Schools Festival in Aberdeen in March. Continuing our Scottish theme, pupils in P6-7 recently completed a homework task on Robert Burns, which involved carrying out research on his life and then presenting their work. Three projects have been selected to go forward to the Robert Burns World Federation Competition, which aims at encouraging individual research, by pupils. Mrs Braidwood and the Pupil Council are to be congratulated on organising a most successful ‘Suitcases on Sale’ afternoon which created great excitement! The children not only raised lots of money to buy equipment for the school’s adopted crew member from the Maritime Institute in Stonehaven, they also practised their maths skills by using money in a real life context. Just over £230 was raised on the day. The children on the Eco School Committee are busy organising competitions for the whole school in an effort to raise awareness of their action plan. Pupils in Mrs Kirk’s class have been learning all about what it was like to be a child in the 1930s and 1940s. They thoroughly enjoyed finding out about the various items brought into class by Mrs Dreelan, especially the warming pan! The children also had fun listening to Mr Bruce talking about wash day and he also brought household items such as a mangle for them to look at. Children in Mrs Henderson and Mrs Youngson’s class have visited Blairs Museum and Chapel to find out more about the Catholic religion. They were also able to see the original ‘Mary Queen of Scots Memorial Painting’ and other priceless exhibits. Various activities have been planned as part of National Science and Engineering Week. Primary 4-7 are undergoing first aid training from a tutor from Banff and Buchan College. Cycle Training led by Sandra McKechnie is planned for the summer term. Marian Youngson, Head Teacher


Primary Schools Football Corbie Park is still the venue for the most furious and fashionable footballing activity in the area. The new grass sown at Lairhillock School is a special bonzai variety which is taking a long time to grow, which means that we have still been using Corbie Park as our home pitch. The highlights of the season so far for the Lairhillock team have been winning the indoor 5-aside competition in December, and then getting presented with a new kit in February. Many thanks to Donald Law and the Lairhillock Inn for providing that. If there was a trophy for the smartest team in South Deeside, we would surely win it. Stephen Davies

Friends of Cookney Hall The Friends of Cookney Hall continue to be kept busy with trying to raise funds to upgrade the Hall and the facilities it can offer to the local community. In November 2007, we held a ceilidh, which was well attended and raised in excess of £750. On Saturday 19 January we had a Burns night, to celebrate one of Scotland's most famous and talented sons, which raised in excess of £1600. However, the total cost of renovating and upgrading the Hall will be very substantial and dwarfs the figures raised so far. However, the next planned event is another ceilidh on Saturday 26 April 2008. Tickets are £7 and £5, so book now to avoid disappointment by phoning: Joyce Murison, Tel: 01569 731236 We are also looking at organising a Race Night in October and a St Andrew's Night ceilidh in late November 2008, both to be held at the Hall. Watch this space... We are currently pursuing a number of grants from a variety of companies including the National Lottery, but if you are aware of any organisation that we might be able to apply to for grants, we'd be only too pleased to hear from you. No matter that it may be an organisation we're already dealing with or have dealt with in the past, it's better that we hear about a company from several people rather than miss a potential godsend. Likewise, if you feel you have a little time to spare to get involved in our project, please feel free to get in touch with me for further details. Bob McKinney, Correspondence Secretary, Tel: 01569 730706 E-mail:

HOME DELIVERIES Milk and local papers orange juice, eggs, potatoes and more….. Alan Masson

Tel: 07770 332969

Fruit and Vegetables The organic farm shop at Lorienen, Bridge of Muchalls is open on Wednesdays from 12.30 to 6pm and on Saturdays from 9.30 to 5pm Paul van Midden Tel /Fax: 01569 731746 / 739137 Neil Gammie, Fernieflatt Farm, Kinneff delivers vegetables, eggs (and fruit in season) on Tuesdays and Fridays. Orders must be in the day before delivery. Tel: 01569 750374 or 07790 558880 E-mail:

Fish George Fairweather delivers west of the B979 road on Thursday mornings and east of the road on Friday mornings. Tel: 07974 311326

Coal J.H. Roberts from Auchenblae can deliver orders in our area on Monday mornings. Tel: 01561 320335

NEPTUNE ROSS DEEPTECH SUBSEA AND ENERGY ENGINEERING Stonehaven, Fordoun and Orkney From our extensive workshop and office facilities at Stonehaven and Fordoun, we manufacture to client specification and provide support for Subsea and Offshore Production, Drilling, Diving, Construction, Intervention,





Environmental Projects. We also support traditional industries and offer Design and Manufacture, Fabrication, Welding and Machining, Assembly and Test, Field Work, Onshore, Offshore, UK and Overseas.

We can provide

assistance with all manufacturing, welding, quality and project management requirements.

Congratulations Geordie Murison from Netherley was crowned Bothy Ballad Champion of Champions in Elgin recently. His rendering of the ballad ‘Auld Jock Bruce O’ The Fornet’ was judged ahead of strong opposition and he was presented with the Macallan brose bowl.

Tel : 01569 767888

Fax : 01569 766990

Web : E-mail:


CLUBS AND SOCIETIES Maryculter WRI Meetings are at 7.30pm on the second Wednesday of each month in the Corbie Hall, Maryculter between August and May. We look forward to monthly competitions, a variety of speakers and a Bring and Buy sale. New members will be very welcome. Secretary, Sheila Bissett Tel: 01569 731708

Dog Clubs Ardoe Hall is up for sale, but until then two clubs continue to meet there at 7.30pm. Tuesday The Bon Accord Kennel Club Tel: Susan Stewart, 01330 860569 Thursday Training for Showing Group Tel: Betty Munro, 632856

Netherley WRI We meet in the Lairhillock School on the third Monday of each month at 7.30pm. New members welcome. Secretary, Margaret Carmichael Tel: 01569 764330

There is also a Dog Training School in Cookney Hall on Wednesday evenings Tel: Yvonne Reid, 865249

Friendship Club

Scottish Accordion and Fiddle Evenings

We’ve had a most successful winter session with several interesting speakers and safety advice from the police. Our last indoor meeting of the season will be a fundraising whist drive on April 18 in the Corbie Hall. The summer programme of bus outings is taking shape with plans to visit several new venues, on the first Thursday of each month between May and September. Anyone of pensionable age who wishes to join this happy bunch will be most welcome. Contacts: Anne, Tel: 732071 and Peggy, Tel: 734888

Up to 40 musicians meet in Durris Hall at 7.15pm on the second Sunday evening of the month, and the 160 seat hall is usually full. If you play the box or fiddle, bring along your own instrument and they will supply music for the sets chosen for the evening. Those who play other instruments should phone ahead to check whether they can be fitted in. Visitors are made very welcome, but should arrive in good time to ensure a seat at these popular sessions. Jim Smith Tel: 01330 824831

Cookney Bowling Club The club meets in Cookney Hall twice a week at 7.30pm to enjoy games of carpet bowls. Monday is competition evening while Thursday is a ‘hat night’. The season finishes at the end of April, starting again in mid September. New members are always welcome President: Arthur Durward Tel: 01569 730164

Kupso Martial Arts Classes for primary-age children are held from 4.305.30pm on Wednesdays in Lairhillock School. £3.75 per session but one trial lesson free. Emma Lester-Smith, Tel: 0776 125 7965

Glendale Football Club The team is doing well in Division 1 East of the Amateur League, and we are in the latter stages of a number of cup competitions (at the time of reporting March 7). We play at the Corbie Park on Saturdays with training evenings on Tuesdays at Blairs. Any lads aged seventeen or over hoping to join us, just phone: Jim Grant Tel: 867512

Brig O’Dee Football Club The team play at Corbie Park on alternate Sundays. Colin Smith Tel: 878076

Lethen Archers This archery club holds sessions in Portlethen Academy every Wednesday between 8 – 9.30pm and on Saturdays from 2 – 5pm. All equipment is provided and at least one National Archery Association coach is in attendance. Children aged 8 and over can join, but must be accompanied by an adult. Secretary, Bill Gilchrist Tel: 782144

Aberdeen Aeromodellers Club The club owns a 6.5 acre grass flying field at Hare Moss, Banchory-Devenick and is permitted to fly from 9am to 7pm on weekdays, and 10am to 7pm at weekends. The midweek fliers get together on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Visitors are always welcome, but please contact a member on arrival and ask for an explanation of site safety procedures. Secretary, Stuart Bale plus comprehensive website: 6

LEISURE ACTIVITIES Drum Castle Our nearest National Trust castle and garden re-open daily (except Tuesdays and Fridays) on Friday March 22 from 12.30-5pm, lengthening to 11am –5pm daily in July and August. The grounds and woodland walks are open all year from 9.30am until sunset. There are special events most weekends, including:March 23 Easter Funday April 6 Falconry April 27 Plant sales and advice May 4 May Day celebrations May 11 Scotland’s Garden Scheme Day June 14/15 Medieval Moments June 17 Outdoor performance of ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’, when you can come along with your picnic hamper for 6.30pm July 8 Romantic Rose Day. August 3 Country Skills Tel: 10330 811204

Storybook Glen With over 100 nursery rhyme and fairytale characters in 28 acres of rolling parkland, self-service restaurant, garden centre and gift shop, this is an interesting and attractive venue for a family outing. Opening times are from 10am to 6pm daily with season tickets available. Tel: 732941

BLAIRS MUSEUM A GEM ON OUR DOORSTEP Blairs College is in the news at the moment, with proposed re-development plans signalling a potential transformation of the former Catholic seminary. However, while it’s largely business as usual at Blairs Museum, there’s plenty to be excited about there too. Changes are afoot; all of them concerned with making its many treasures more accessible to the general public. Since opening its doors in May 2000, the museum has proudly displayed an internationally renowned array of fine and decorative art, including embroidered vestments dating from 15th century and fabulous gold and silver sacred vessels. Manager, Mandy Murray, who came to Blairs from the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, is busy compiling an exciting programme of events for the new season. It all kicks off with an early season opening on Easter Sunday. Add to that plans for onsite art workshops, a summer concert and the commissioning of replica costumes for a hands-on historical experience; these are exciting times indeed. The museum is open at weekends from April to October, from 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and holiday Mondays, and from noon to 5pm on Sundays. Visitors are always welcome throughout the year by booking ahead. Tel: 863767 or E-mail: St Mary’s Chapel, as well as the ante-room and cloister, which form part of the museum, are not affected by redevelopment plans for the Blairs estate.

Stonehaven Swimming Pool Building work is ongoing, thanks mainly to a couple of very generous donations, to incorporate a new paddling pool into the main area. This should be complete before the Olympic-sized, heated, salt water pool re-opens on Saturday May 31, a week earlier than usual. Opening times during school holidays will be between 10am and 7pm, otherwise just in the afternoons. Sheila Stuart Tel: 734222

Do You Enjoy Reading? We are a small reading circle looking for new members. We meet every six to eight weeks in each other’s homes. Books are chosen from a list provided by Aberdeenshire Council’s Library service. If you are interested please contact Muriel Tel: 01569 730302 or Sheila Tel: 01569 731608

Easter Eggstravaganza at

BLAIRS MUSEUM on Sunday 23 March 2008 12noon - 4pm Join us for an afternoon of family fun, including an Easter Egg trail, drawing activities and decorated egg competition!

Bring your own decorated egg! Prize draw for winning entries! Free entry to museum and £1 to enter the Easter Egg trail Refreshments available


Tollohill Wood If you haven’t been down to Tollohill Wood lately, you’re guaranteed a big surprise. Major investment by the local estate owner, in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and Aberdeen City and Shire Councils, has seen the creation of a somewhat unique public facility.

Part of the upgrading work required the design of an allpurpose path, suitable for wheelchair users. Rupert explains: “This was very much one of the aims of the WIAT Scheme; to make it multi-user. Certain provision had to be made for the disabled and gradients had to be worked out to cater for wheelchairs.”

Situated just to the south of the city, Tollohill Wood was laid out in the mid-nineteenth century with an extensive network of Victorian paths and featuring a granite obelisk commemorating the visit of Prince Albert in 1859. The paths have been restored, a new car park provided and access improved for disabled visitors. The provision of picnic areas alongside spectacular views over Aberdeen and Deeside makes it’s no surprise that it’s increasing in popularity.

The grant assistance enabled new trees to be planted and old stock removed. Some thinning and small scale tree felling allowed more light into the woodland floor to encourage young trees and ground plants, and to open up strategic viewpoints.

It is hoped that the paths within the Tollohill Wood will form part of Aberdeenshire’s “Core Path Plan”, as defined in The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, requiring local authorities to give the public reasonable access throughout their area. As a result, the Council has been working closely with landowners and communities to improve the rural paths network. Aberdeenshire Local Outdoor Access Forum was formed in 2004, comprising members independent of the Council and representing a broad range of experience. Tollohill Wood forms part of the Banchory and Leggart Estate. Owner – Mr Rupert Lumsden – is a member of the Aberdeen Outdoor Access Forum and has overall responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the Wood. Since inheriting the Estate from his father in the early 1990s, he has worked in partnership with Aberdeen City and Shire Councils. The upgrading of Tollohill Wood is just the first phase of his overall plan to allow greater access to the countryside. He says: “We took the proactive view that by managing it, we would hopefully make it more enjoyable for all.” The Wood has benefited from funding under the WIAT (Woods in and Around Towns) Challenge Fund, which is managed by Forestry Commission Scotland. As Rupert explains, this was really the trigger for the upgrading work. He says: “Tollohill Wood had always been well used by locals and people from further afield but there was an element of vandalism and drug taking that was creeping in. We really took the attitude that if we could encourage more access by the general public, it would be selfpolicing in a way. If the bad element saw the good element in there, it would generally keep them away, which it has proved to do to a certain extent. People are certainly taking pride in the wood and are helping to look after it.”

Although the Forestry Commission checks that the new trees have taken and weeding has been done properly, Rupert says: “One of the problems we see with a scheme like this is that there will be a lot of ongoing maintenance of the paths and the trees but there’s no funding currently available to do that. So it really falls on the landowner to carry out all that work at his own expense. The Forestry Commission are looking, in consultation with a number of landowners and councils, to provide a funding package which does go on over the years so that these schemes can be kept up. Had we realised quite how large the costs of ongoing maintenance would be at the start, we’d have thought about it twice!” Support has also come from Aberdeen City and Shire Councils. Aberdeenshire Council donated a small sum of money to the project and collect litter from the bin they provided in the car park. Rupert hasn’t stopped to hazard a guess as to how many visitors there are but it’s certainly very well used. So much so that, he jokes: “The car park is in danger of having to increase in size due to its popularity!” He goes on to say: “Even though we’re in the Shire, the City Council very rightly took the view that the Wood would be used mostly by city residents. They very generously funded the restoration of the monument to Prince Albert and have been otherwise very helpful.” The views from the monument are stunning with panoramic vistas over the City and, on a clear day, you can see all the way up the Dee valley to Lochnagar. The story of the monument begins in 1859 when Prince Albert, was invited to stay at Banchory House (now the main house in Beannachar) while attending the meeting of the British Association in Aberdeen. To commemorate his visit, Sir David Stewart, the then owner of the estate, built a granite memorial on nearby Cotcraig Hill. He also planted an avenue of beech trees from the house to the obelisk and called it “The Prince’s Walk”.


Tollohill Wood cont. The beech trees have all come down over the years but Rupert says: “We’ve since replanted a new avenue of trees. Part of the real bonus to the estate here was being able to involve Beannachar in the project. Previously, the people of Beannachar had to wander down the dangerous South Deeside Road to get into town. The newly upgraded path network not only provides them with access into the Wood for recreation but also a safer route into town. Camphill have been great and have organised regular litter picks around the Wood which both involves them in the wider community and allows them to get out and about more safely.” The Local Access Forums are working towards publishing their respective Core Path Plans later this year. Copies of the draft plans will be available on the Council’s websites and in public libraries, for public comment during the spring/summer. The Estate continues to work closely with both Councils to provide signs for Tollohill Wood which Rupert hopes will go up later this year or early next. This will form part of a unified signage system for the overall core path plans with the City and Shire working towards one cohesive route. Tollohill Wood is open to the public for walkers and cyclists although the existing path networks are not suitable for horses. It’s well used by local walkers but its spectacular views also make it popular with artists. Rupert says: “Some of the most famous, recent views of Aberdeen have been painted by Eric Auld and one of his favourite spots was on the bottom path of Tollohill Wood looking over the Bridge of Dee.” The Estate relies on visitors using common sense although guidance is provided in the published Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Rupert concedes: “It’s down to education at the end of the day. Council and Forestry Commission rangers have been running education programmes in the Wood. They bring local schools out to learn about woodland ecology and to point out what damage can be done by careless use of fires and the like. Local schools and clubs are using it now as a resource, carrying out local projects in there. The Council rangers very kindly pop out to check that things are going alright although it’s not part of their remit.” The next phase of the project will see the creation of a new path linking Tollohill Wood to the city via the scenic Den of Leggart. Work is due to start later this year and will be completed by February 2009. There are also plans to bring the path down past Beannachar and into the policies of the estate. Rupert says: “There’s a pinetum and a network of ponds within the policies which are really very attractive and it is hoped that the public will be able to enjoy that part of the estate as

well. Part of the next stage if we push out to the west is to provide a dedicated bridleway so that horse riders could get through the wood and away from the roads entirely.” The Estate is also in discussions with the City and Shire Councils and the Robert Gordon University to Waterside Farm, linking the existing City Path Network to Tollohill Wood and South Deeside. It would also provide safe and convenient access for cyclists to the National Cycle Network, avoiding the Bridge of Dee. If successful, Rupert is hopeful that the bridge will be in place within the next 5 years. He says: “It’s obviously crossing a very sensitive stretch of water, the Dee being a Special Area of Conservation and all the various different bodies requiring liaison with. But it’s potentially a very exciting project if it comes off.” Scottish Ministers approved the Scottish Outdoor Access Code in 2005. It provides basic guidelines for responsible behaviour in the countryside and can be seen at or on the Scottish National Heritage website at

Maryculter House Hotel South Deeside Road, Aberdeen Tel: 01224 732124

E-mail: Gourmet evening Friday April 11 5 course gourmet menu £32.95 Meal and stay over with breakfast from £59.95

Murder Mystery dinner Fridays April 4 and November 14 4 course dinner and entertainment Meal and entertainment only £32.95 Meal, entertainment and stay over with breakfast from £62.95 We are taking bookings for festive events well ahead, such as St Andrew’s and Burns nights as well as parties over the Christmas season.


Banchory-Devenick & Maryculter-Cookney Parish Church Minister: Rev. Bruce Gardner, Tel. 735776 E-mail: Morning services (until April 19) Banchory Devenick Church at 10am and Maryculter-Cookney Church at 11.30am Please note that from April 27 , services will alternate in both churches at the new time of 10.30am. (first, third and last Sundays of the month at Maryculter-Cookney Church and second and fourth Sundays at BanchoryDevenick Church). This is for a trial period of six months. The evening service will remain unchanged. Informal Evening Service in Upper Room Extension at Maryculter-Cookney Church at 5.00pm Informal Communion Service in Upper room on the first Sunday of the month at 5pm

Sunday School welcomes children aged 3 and over. They attend the church service for around 20 minutes then go out to Sunday School for the rest of the hour. B-D contact, Jane Ah-See Tel: 863301 M-C contact Helen Anderson Tel: 780352 Easter services March 21, Good Friday 7.30pm Banchory-Devenick Church March 23 Easter Sunday 10.00 am Banchory-Devenick Church 11.30am and 5pm Maryculter-Cookney Church Communion services (Please note new times) April 27 at 10.30am Banchory Devenick Church May 4 at 10.30am Maryculter - Cookney Church May 4 at 5.00pm Informal Communion Service in Upper Room, M-C The following Groups meet regularly in MaryculterCookney Church Hall, and more information can be obtained from the Minister or any of the office bearers: Men’s Breakfast Fellowship Saturday from 8.00-9.30am in the Happy Lounge Bible Study and Prayer Group Wednesday from 7.30-9.30pm in the Happy Lounge Youth Café for Pr.7 to S.6 Thursday 7.00pm-9.00pm House Groups meet on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from 7.30pm-9.30pm in congregational houses in a spirit of fellowship to look at the Gospel of Mark together. More information from Leaders, Joan Thorne, Tel: 783834 and Joyce Mackintosh, Tel:733495

Alpha Group Contact the minister for details. The Guild meets on the first Monday of the month at 7.30pm from September to November and February to May. New members always welcome to come along and hear interesting speakers, enjoy fellowship and a cup of tea. Further details from Sheila Bissett, Tel: 01569 731708 Maryculter Kirk Hall and its extensions are available for hire to local groups for only £5 an hour. The Church and Community Office with internet and copying facilities is due to open soon, and further information will be intimated The Stated Annual Meeting takes place on Wednesday March 26 at 7.30pm. It is intended to make a presentation at the meeting to George Abernethy, who has been a loyal elder at Maryculter-Cookney church for the past fifty years. The half acre Glebe Field is being used by the church community and uniformed organisations. If anyone wishes to hire the field, please contact the minister or Anne Massie, Tel: 732071 Projects The car park, paths and new cemetery at BanchoryDevenick Church are still at the planning stage. After the closure of Ardoe Hall, it is intended to alter Banchory-Devenick Church to provide new hall facilities, and plans have been drawn up. Renewal of some of the pews in Maryculter-Cookney Church is still planned, and it is hoped that all these projects will make progress this year. Keep up to date with church news on our website and by reading Church Corner in the Deeside Piper and Mearns Leader.

Kincardine and Deeside Befriending Do you have some time to spare for others? Our volunteer befrienders are paired with older people who live independently or with little support. You could visit socially or perhaps take them out shopping or for a car run. This may be just an hour or two each week or whatever suits you. We provide training, expenses and support and welcome folk who would like to discuss the possibility of assisting. Catherine King, 42 Barclay Street, Stonehaven Tel: 01569 765714 E-mail: 10

Further details on any of the above events can be obtained from Mrs. Sue Selway on 01569 730972 or any member of the Ministry Team. Please contact any of the above Ministry team for help or information on marriages, baptisms, funerals, pastoral visiting etc. Keep up to date with church news by reading Church Corner in the Mearns Leader. ST TERNAN’S SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH MUCHALLS St. Ternan’s is the northern-most Scottish Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Brechin. We are part of the world-wide Anglican Communion. The church is located in the North Kincardine Community Council area and is to be found to the west of the A90 approx. a mile from Muchalls village on the Causey Mounth, where the road branches off to Cookney and Netherley. St. Ternan’s congregation has worshipped in this area of North Kincardine for over 300 years as Episcopalians, first at Muchalls Castle then moving down to the present site where building started in 1830. St. Ternan’s continues to operate with a Ministry Team under the direction of Rev. Michael Sabell as Priest in Charge. The Ministry Team are as follows; Rev. Michael Sabell 01569 730625 Prof. John Usher 01569 731608 Eric Hargreaves 01569 730302 George Masson 01224 733583 The church is open every day from 10am until 3pm. You are welcome to join us in worship at the 10.30am Family Eucharist on Sundays. Weekly services are held on major Saint Days and are advertised on the church Notice boards and in the magazine. Our social committee have been busy putting together a social programme for 2008. Our first social took place in Muchalls Village Hall on 1st February in the form of a Burns Supper. Our guest speakers were Arma Iles from Stonehaven who replied to the Toast to the Lassies and Rev. Bruce Gardner of Maryculter who gave a wonderful rendering of Tam O’Shanter. Our ‘home grown’ speakers were our local Councillor, Carl Nelson who gave the Address to the Haggis, Eric Hargreaves who gave the Immortal Memory and George Masson who gave the Toast to the Lassies. Pipe music was provided by Neil Hewitt of Cookney and fiddle music provided by our organist Morag and several of her friends. All in all an excellent evening. Future events – 5th April Country/Western Night in Muchalls Hall 25th May Soup/Sweet Lunch after morning service 14th June Garden Fete in Rectory Gardens at Church 14th Sept. Soup/Sweet Lunch after morning service October Harvest supper 6th Dec. Christmas Party in Muchalls Village Hall Dec. Community Carol Singing in Muchalls Hall

St Mary’s Chapel, Blairs Saturday March 22, Easter vigil at 7pm Mass is held every Sunday morning at 9am to which all are invited. Father George Hutcheon Deacon Peter Macdonald

Tel: 876704 Tel: 780351


SSPCA The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is Scotland's leading animal welfare organisation. Established in 1839, it is a charity entirely supported by voluntary donations. The Deeside Branch of the Society will be holding the following fund raising events this summer. SATURDAY 3RD MAY Coffee Morning & Table Top Sale plus other stalls to be held in the Guide Lodge, Banchory from 10am-1pm. To book a table or a stall, please contact Mrs Sue Thomson. Tel. 01330 820420 SUNDAY 1ST JUNE The annual & very popular CANINE CARNIVAL. A fun day out for all the family & their canine friends at Drum Castle. Entries taken from 11.30am judging commences 1pm. All dogs over 6 months welcome. SUNDAY 15TH JUNE COMPANION DOG SHOW held in conjunction with St. Ternan's Fair in Bellfield Park, Banchory. Pedigree & Novelty classes. Entries taken from 11.30am judging commences 1pm. Open to all dogs aged over 6 months. SATURDAY 26TH JULY COMPANION DOG SHOW held within BANCHORY SHOW. Pedigree & Novelty classes. Entries taken from 1pm, judging commences 2pm. Open to all dogs over 6 months of age. For further information contact: Mickey Ramsay Tel: 733832, Sue Hawkins Tel: 868984, Rosemary Pirie Tel: 01330 811348 11

Grampian Police As ever, Road Safety remains a high priority for Grampian Police. Over the winter months, the Road Policing Department has run a number of initiatives in and around the North Kincardine area, for the purpose of promoting road safety and detecting crimes and offences. In particular, speeders, taxi and private hire cabs, drivers using mobile telephones, and antisocial drivers have been targeted. Offences detected have ranged from vehicles being driven at excessive speed and in a dangerous or careless manner, to drivers failing to have the correct documentation and vehicles being used with defective or dangerous parts. Encouragingly, there have been no fatal or serious road accidents in the area in recent months. Motorists are encouraged to drive in accordance with the prevailing road and traffic conditions and regularly check their vehicle lights, tyres and coolant / screenwash levels. Over the coming spring and summer months, initiatives will be run in the area targeting speeding, the nonwearing of seatbelts, the use of mobile telephones, and drink / drugs driving. Grampian Police remains committed to improving road safety, reducing casualties and detecting offenders. The North Kincardine area has seen one report of vandalism to a domestic property in recent months, and there have been two notable instances of damage caused to commercial and industrial premises.

Storybook Glen was once more the victim of this mindless and apparently pointless offence in October 2007, with several of its models having been damaged, and one even having been stolen. In two separate incidents, damage was caused to an industrial premises in Marywell, and to an estate sign in Maryculter. Grampian Police treats vandalism as a Priority Crime and are committed to reducing such acts as part of a Force-wide initiative. Other crimes in recent months which remain undetected are two instances of wilful fire-raising – one of haybales in Maryculter, the other within the staff quarters at the Ardoe House Hotel –, the theft of a trailer and a small quantity of scrap metal in Maryculter, a housebreaking in Banchory-Devenick, and the theft from a motor vehicle in Maryculter. Worthy of note are the detection of offences in relation to an incident of sheep-worrying in Findon, and one of a male in possession of cannabis near Duffshill. Reports have been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in respect of both of these offences. The staff at Portlethen Police Office would like to thank you for your continuing assistance and help in keeping our communities safe. Grampian Police are committed to working hard to ensure that the quality of life of the residents in this beat area is not reduced by anti-social behaviour and crime. Kirsty Lawie, Constable G0396 Portlethen Police Office


donate home baking, plants etc to support our funding, please contact one of the two persons listed below or any member of the committee.

Maryculter Driving for the Disabled Though I aspire occasionally to drive my horse Corbie as shown in the sketch at the top, Driving for the Disabled has to be a bit more circumspect. Maryculter Driving for the Disabled Group is an independent charity registered in Scotland and a member of the Federation of RDA (Riding for Disabled including Driving). Our aim is to give the opportunity of driving a pony or horse to any disabled person who might benefit in general health and happiness. The Group normally meets from the end of April through to the end of September on a Wednesday afternoon at Maryculter Home Farm courtesy of Jane MacInnes. Our first aim is enjoyment, but in a safe manner that takes account of the disabled, helpers and horses. The second is to help the disabled and interested helpers how to manage the horse and cart and to drive the horse. The disabled among other things, are taught within their capabilities to whoa (stop the horse), walk, and trot while driving through fields, tracks, or obstacles. Our rules forbid cantering. On a Wednesday afternoon there are on average 25-30 people consisting of the disabled, tea ladies, helpers, carers, and able bodied drivers (instructors) having an enjoyable afternoon. As well as driving, we enjoy picnics on the banks of the Dee, a drive through Maryculter Woods and finish off the season with a barbecue. If any of the above has whetted your appetite as a disabled person or helper, please get in touch. There are two training days for helpers: Wednesday afternoon 23rd April at Maryculter Community Hall and at Maryculter Home Farm on the 30th April at 1pm. New helpers will be very welcome. The season for the disabled starts on Wednesday the 7th May, at 1pm, Maryculter Home Farm. Christmas seems a long time ago but thanks to all who attended the Christmas meal and AGM held in Maryculter Community Hall. The hall was packed with well over 60 people enjoying a superb meal and the 10disabled present enjoyed their presents from Santa. Thanks to all who organised the evening and prepared the meal To help our fundraising, a tabletop sale is to be held at the Plainstones in Stonehaven on the 6th Sept 2008 Any community minded person out there who would like to

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Maureen Watson passed away on Wednesday 27th Feb 2008 Maureen was a long time member of the Group and has been an AB Whip since 1997. She was treasurer from 2002 to 2007 and was a great fundraiser for the group, cajoling me into activities that I didn’t think I could do. She will be sorely missed not only by the group but all her family and friends. We now have a website giving further information. George Masson (Chairman) Tel: 733583 Caroline McTaggart (Secretary) Tel: 734093

Tea ladies required There is a wonderful team of local ladies who come to Driving for the Disabled at Home Farm, Maryculter on Wednesday afternoons from May until September. Unfortunately two of our regulars have had to give up, so if there are any ladies out there who enjoy baking and would like to join our team they would be very welcome. You would be asked to do only two duties during the season and you would be at Home Farm no more than two hours. In return you would enjoy good company, a fine blether and be much appreciated by our disabled friends, their carers and all who help with this worthwhile cause. For more information please call Carol Masson on Tel:733583.

MARYCULTER CARRIAGE DRIVING CENTRE Learn the art and tradition of carriage driving Arrive in a horse-drawn carriage for your wedding Enjoy a farm tour and riverside drive Visit our unique carriage collection Bring disabled friends for a drive Let us take you for a drive to mark a special occasion We can do all this and much more with our experienced horses and ponies. We also have a self-contained flat overlooking the River Dee - ideal for business visits or short breaks. Jane and Ewan MacInnes, Home Farm, Maryculter Tel: 01224 732710 and 07889 340362 Email:


Red squirrels Attempting to study the Environmental Statement on the proposed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) is not for the fainthearted. There are thirteen huge spring clip folders, one weighing 7 kilos! However, given access to a ready supply of strong coffee and a sturdy table, there is much to be learned from the surveys done on the flora, fauna, archaeology, landforms etc. of our area. Red squirrels have a section of their own since they have legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) as amended, and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. It is an offence to “intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place used by a red squirrel for shelter or breeding.” Now this presents a problem, since there have been many sightings of these creatures over the years, on or near the proposed route.

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Environmentalists were employed by roads consultants Baptie to survey 500m either side of the proposed route, which they did between April and September 2006. Visual sightings are unreliable since red squirrels move quickly through the tree canopy, often too far away to be distinguished from the larger greys. The researchers used hair-tubes made from 30cm lengths of PVC downpipe, each with doublesided sticky tape held inside on wood blocks, and baited with nuts and seeds. Each was attached to a horizontal branch of a tree at a height of 2m, and intervals of between 100 and 200m with the sticky tape retrieved within 7-14 days. Cross-sections of the hairs found adhering to the tape were analysed, as those from red squirrels have dumb-bell shapes which distinguishes them from the round grey ones. So what did they find? The incidence of finding any hairs at all was low. Small birds found the bait first in many traps, while several showed no signs of visitation at all. This came as no surprise to those who know the locations well, since many traps were situated inappropriately. Once sightings reported by people living locally were taken into account, they concluded that there were populations within Durris Wood (behind Kirkton of Maryculter), Kincausie and Cleanhill Woods. All are contiguous and so together provide a large and varied habitat of coniferous and broadleaved woodland. The proposed route cuts through this! Hill of Blairs and Whitestone Wood were noted to have good habitat value as they are dominated by Scots Pine, which should provide good foraging and breeding opportunities. We hope to use information from the Environmental Statement as the basis of future articles. 14

REPRESENTATION Councillor Carl Nelson

Councillor Ian Mollison

It is almost ten months since the Aberdeenshire Council elections in May 2007. Since then I and my fellow councillors have had to come to terms with a new way of working in a multi-member ward. We all have to work together for the benefit of our constituents. With this in mind I have been thinking about the issues affecting the three community councils;- North Kincardine Rural (NKR), Newtonhill, Muchalls,and Cammachmore (NMC), and Portlethen and District (PD).

Planning matters have dominated the past few months. In North Kincardine, the Blairs application for houses, golf course, equestrian centre and hotel came before the area committee. It was approved, to move to the next stage, the infrastructure services committee, on 13 March. A new procedure, brought in after the Trump furore, means the plan will go in front of the full Aberdeenshire Council. Even then, Scottish Ministers will decide.

NKR has to contend with the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and the Stonehaven Maryculter link road and the large-scale housing development (280) at Blairs College. PD has different problems. Major road works on the A90 with two underpasses being constructed and 840 houses for development at Hillside are but two. Some of these issues are of equal concern to NMC as is road safety and unwelcome planning applications The really big issue that will affect all three councils is the Portlethen Corridor Capacity Study which covers the area from Marywell to Muchalls. All the land to the east of the A90 and 5 km to the west is classed as the corridor. The Study looks to accommodate a hypothetical growth of 100% in terms of residential development. This is 5000 houses, and other related development, over the next 20-25 years. Dare I say it; ‘New Town’ has been mentioned. All the community councils I visit work in isolation, each dealing with their own particular problems. The Capacity Study will be a big issue, common to all three community councils. They should work together to face the inevitable problems that will arise. What better way to start than having an informal gathering of all community councillors to discuss issues of mutual interest. This suggestion has met with favourable responses from NMC so will be put to the other two. If NKR and PD agree, this could become an annual event with each taking turn to act as hosts. I sincerely hope that all three community councils support this proposal, as it can only benefit the residents of North Kincardine.

It is worth noting it was recommended for approval by planning officials. Councillors can over-rule recommendations. However, this can be a minefield. If a councillor successfully moves that a plan be turned down, he has to come up with the technical reasons personally. If the applicant subsequently appeals, then that councillor appears at the inquiry to defend the decision. In the case of Blairs, councillors were told at the start of the area committee that the application would move to the next stage irrespective of their views. One of my concerns is that we do not end up with an urban community in a country setting. Transport Scotland is also against it because of the impact on the Bridge of Dee. When will that problem ever be solved? Meanwhile, a Portlethen Corridor Capacity Study is under way for the council. This is one of a number of planning studies to find out what barriers and opportunities there are to meet the demand for homes. A public workshop was held in Portlethen Academy. Several suggested major housing to the west of the A90 and south of the new Charleston-Cleanhill road. Others felt that Portlethen, Newtonhill and Muchalls could be expanded to the west of the A90. + + + + + + +

Each of the four councillors for our area were invited to contribute up to 250 words—a tricky task when so much is going on!


REPRESENTATION cont. Sir Robert Smith MP The relentless round of price increases from the energy suppliers will be of concern to all users, but is a particular challenge for those on low incomes. Our winters may not be so extreme at the moment, but we still see a considerable increase in deaths during the winter months compared with the summer months. This is something that does not happen with our Scandinavian neighbours. Being able to keep our homes warm in winter is an important factor in ensuring good health especially for the elderly or disabled who are at home a lot. There are three public policy levers that can help. Low energy prices, higher incomes and easier to heat houses all have a role to play. The regulator, OFGEM, is investigating the latest price rises, but the reality is there are considerable world pressures pushing prices up. So even if they have some impact we still look like having to cope with higher prices. Of course for many of us in rural areas we rely on oil for heating which has risen dramatically around the world. It is important that pensioners and others check they are getting all the benefits they are entitled too. Often when energy companies do a benefit check in an area they find many customers are missing out. Of course the long term permanent solution is to improve the quality of insulation of our houses and the efficiency of our heating systems. Local advice can be obtained from SCARF Tel: 213005 We do need to see greater investment in these schemes as the easy houses have been done. Building regulations will improve the quality of future housing, but we need to tackle traditional housing with more imagination if we are not going to see a growing problem of fuel poverty. You can write to me at 6, Dee Street, Banchory, AB31 5ST , via E- mail at or Tel: 01330 820330.

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I am pleased to report that the North Kincardine Rural Community Council continues to serve the local community with the same level of enthusiasm as it has done for many years – all of the wards are represented by councillors who actively participate in Community Council meetings and other local groups. We also have an excellent relationship with the Aberdeenshire Councillors for this area, who regularly attend our meetings and provide us with a very useful link into the workings of the local council! Planning, as you will see from the article provided by Rob Winmill, continues to dominate our business. The recent decision by Aberdeenshire Council local area committee to approve outline planning permission for an extensive housing development at Blairs, without any guarantee that all of the historic buildings on this site will be preserved, has raised significant disquiet among many local residents and your Community Council. We are told that this proposed development has been identified as being of “regional and national importance” and that it will therefore inevitably be sent to Edinburgh for review by the Scottish government – in the same way as the application by Donald Trump for a hotel, residential housing and golf course complex at Balmedie. The planning process must be transparent, and when decisions are taken that are contrary to local planning guidance without proper debate, it inevitably raises concerns about whether the planning process is fair and equitable. We are writing to our local MSPs on this issue which we consider raises important concerns about the use or misuse of the planning system. After a gap we have eventually been able to restore our links to the NKRCC website that provides a useful source of information, not only on Community Council business but also other local groups and events. If you wish to publicise such events on this website please contact the ‘Webmaster’ as shown on the website. Lastly, a date for your diary – Monday, 16 June 2008 – this is the date of our Annual General Meeting at 7.00 pm at Corbie Hall, Maryculter, next to the Old Mill Inn. We are keen to have new people join the Community Council and it is likely that there will be some vacancies on the council at that time as some of the existing councillors reach the end of their tenure. I know many people are put off the idea of being on any committee, but we have worked hard to make our meetings open and informal to encourage participation from everyone attending. It is also a great way of not only finding out about the place where we live but also influencing how it changes, and is a very rewarding experience (speaking personally). Please do consider getting involved as a community councillor or as a co-opted member YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU!!

Mike Birch, Chair - NKRCC Community Council meetings are held in Maryculter Community Hall at 7.30pm on the third Monday of each month, except July. All residents are welcome to attend and participate in discussion.

Planning matters In 1999 the Muir Group applied for planning permission for 281 houses etc. at Blairs. This was turned down by the Area Committee in 2006 as it would be a huge, new settlement. Only three weeks later the developer submitted virtually the same plan, though including 60 affordable homes and a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Dee to Cults. This was recently approved! The specially pertinent point in all of this is that the developer has, throughout, used as his justification the concept of enabling development to persuade the Council to grant permission. In other words, the profit from 280 houses would enable the restoration of 4 deteriorating Listed Buildings. Naturally, most reasonable people believed that would include the main College building itself. However, as was pointed out to the elected members, the College building will not in fact benefit from this money. The hope is that the College can be sold to a hotel operator who will then have to finance the restoration and conversion of the College at his own expense. Curiouser and curiouser....... So, if the main College building is not to benefit from the 280 houses, who or what does? Then there is the new roundabout which this Blairs development would need at the junction of the South Deeside Road and Milltimber Brae. It would carve a lump off the football pitch at Corbie Park, rendering it unsuitable for league matches, just when the Hall Committee has just spent £80,000 on an extension with showers and changing rooms. Did this cause a major rumpus when the Area Committee discussed it? Not a bit of it - glossed over. Now, however, another consideration comes into play. Since l’affaire Trump a few months back, Aberdeenshire Council has decreed that any development of “regional or national importance” should be considered by the whole Council, not merely the Area Committee. Blairs has been deemed to be just such a case. So this application will now be considered in turn by Infrastructure Services, the full Council and then the Scottish Executive. Exactly what constitutes a development of “regional etc.” is not at all clear; what are the criteria, who decides, how big, how small? Feeling puzzled or confused? So are most of us. Elsewhere in the View you will have seen a reference to the Portlethen Corridor, which is the next opportunity or threat (depending on your point of view), that this area faces. There are 5,000 houses in the Portlethen area now and the Aberdeenshire Council is studying the idea of adding another 5,000 houses to that, over 20 years or so. Join Portlethen and Newtonhill out from PL to the coast maybe..... enlarge PL across the A a completely separate town on a greenfield site......who knows? The debate has just begun and the public will be invited to have its say in due course. For the application for wind turbines on Meikle Carewe (12 of them, 220 ft in height), we still await the response of Air Traffic Control. They have objected to the proposal as 17

Planning matters cont. potentially interfering with radar and are (still) carrying out experiments to decide whether that objection can be withdrawn Finally, and not strictly a planning matter, there is the AWPR with its potentially enormous impact on the N. Kincardine area. The Public Inquiry appears to be imminent and Mr Salmond has said that he will abide by the Reporter’s decision. Surely only a cynic would think that the terms of the Inquiry might be so severely restricted as to ensure a ‘yes’ answer............. wouldn’t he?


Rob Winmill, vice-chair, NKRCC

The 200+ Club Congratulations to community councillors who have sold a record 327 tickets costing £5 each for our 2008 community lottery. Opportunities to win cash prizes at each monthly draw have been increased as follows:£5, £10 and £15 each month, £25 in February, May and August, £50 in March, June and October plus £100 in December and account for around 41% of income. Draws take place in public during Community Council meetings and cheques are sent to winners immediately.

“where part of your family becomes part of ours” Tel 01224 733474 Netherley Road, Burnside, Maryculter

Here are those who have been successful since last July: M. Bailley, Cookney; B Broomfield, Blairs; J. Bruce, Stonehaven; L.Campbell, Maryculter; E. Chang, Maryculter; J Ewen, Banchory; D. Forman, Portlethen; N. Fotheringham, Aberdeen; E. Garrett, Banchory-Devenick; D King, Netherley; L King, Netherley; S. King, Netherley; M. Marr, Newtonhill; C. Masson, Maryculter; A. Milne, Cookney; K. Moir, Netherley; L. Nicol, Netherley; C. Nelson, Muchalls; B. Park, Aberdeen; D Ritchie, Aberdeen; C. Smart, Netherley; R.. Smart, Netherley: A. Story, Maryculter; G. Thomson, Maryculter; W. Thomson, Banchory-Devenick; A. Unwin, Banchory-Devenick. Thus over £900 is available for local good causes so clubs, societies and groups are invited to apply for grants, giving good reasons. Chances of success are always improved if applicants can outline their case at a meeting of the Community Council. Grants have been given recently to the Friends of Cookney Hall for new kitchen equipment, towards the Maryculter Senior Citizens Christmas party and to the Portlethen and District Community Ambulance Association. Secretary: Robert Keeler, Howieshill, Netherley, Stonehaven AB39 3SN Tel: 01569 764436 E.mail: Website:


The AWPR bandwagon continues to roll. At the time of writing we are awaiting an announcement on the Public Local Inquiry which is due to take place this summer. At the Inquiry evidence will be presented both for and against the route. The merits for the road will be considered objectively. A Reporter from the Scottish Inquiry Reporter’s Unit, part of the Scottish Government, will then make a judgement on whether the AWPR will go ahead in its present form. It is becoming increasingly evident that the route will not serve its main purpose of alleviating congestion within Aberdeen. Papers recently released under the Freedom of Information Act have shown that Transport Scotland told the Transport Minister as early as November 2005 that “none of the route options fully address....congestion and transport problems in the region”. They also acknowledged that it was too far out from the city to help resolve city centre traffic. It is now certain from Transport Scotland’s own traffic models that the AWPR will actually increase traffic levels on the main radial routes into the city – at Wellington Road, Kingswells, Balmedie and especially through Peterculter - as traffic is funnelled on to the AWPR. Other, new, expensive solutions are now being put forward to alleviate the existing and new traffic problems which will be with us after the AWPR has been built. The Haudagain roundabout will have to be completely revamped, and a new bridge will be required at the Bridge of Dee. Hang on! Wasn’t the main purpose of the AWPR supposed to be to solve all those problems? Some of the papers recently released by Transport Scotland show that Jack McConnell, the First Minister at the time had queried the high cost of the new route. Transport Scotland officials assured the First Minister and Tavish Scott that they expected to bring the costs of the new route down. Far from that, the costs are now rising inexorably as the Stonehaven link has been turned into a dual carriageway and as construction costs rise. If the costs of borrowing the money to build it are taken into account the new road will cost in total somewhere in the region of one billion pounds! And 19% of that will have to be borne by the local Councils. Can we really afford that? We really need the Scottish Government and local Councils to acknowledge why they are pushing for the AWPR to be built. It is a corridor for development. The intention is to open up new areas for housing and for shopping malls. The John Lewis Partnership, one of the most successful retailers in Aberdeen, has expressed

its concern that the new road will be followed by retail ‘sheds’ around the City, and that these will hasten the decline of Aberdeen as a shopping centre. Is this what we want? Do we really need to sacrifice our attractive open-field landscape; our badgers, bats and red squirrels; our ancient woodland, our salmon and rare freshwater pearl mussels; and our clean and quiet environment for this noisy, smelly, polluting road and all the development which will follow it? What can we do to halt the AWPR? The answer is to fight the Public Inquiry with all the resources at our disposal. We cannot allow Transport Scotland to get away with this ill conceived and poorly designed development. Road Sense has been talking to prospective expert witnesses and to advocates who can help us to present a strong case against the route. But, we need money to fight our case. Please get in touch with Road Sense at if you feel able to help. Secretary - Our next meeting will be on Saturday April 19 at the International School, Milltimber. Time to be confirmed.

10am to 6pm Garden equipment Good quality hardy plants Childrens’ toys and gifts Pet food Large selection of cards and candles Large free car park No entry charge for visiting the Garden Centre or restaurant Tel: 01224 732941

BOOKING OF HALLS AND GROUNDS Corbie Hall and field Carol Masson,Tel: 733583 M-C Church Hall and Glebe field Rev. Bruce Gardner , Tel: 735776 Scout and Guide Hut Les Paterson, Tel: 868676 Cookney Hall Willie Angus Tel: 01569 730123 Blairs College Hall John Evans-Freke Tel: 867626 Lairhillock School Marian Youngson, Tel: 01569 732520 19

REPRESENTATION MP Sir Robert Smith Tel: 01330 820330

Fax: 01330 820338

MSP Mike Rumbles Tel: 01330 820268 Fax: 01330 820106 COUNCILLORS Alastair Bews Tel: 01224 784594 33 Bruntland Court, Portlethen E-mail: Paul Melling Tel: 01224 784534 51 Broomfield Road, Portlethen E-mail: Ian Mollison Tel: 01569 739087 11 Greystone Place, Newtonhill, Stonehaven AB39 3UL Carl Nelson Tel: 01569 730733 21 Dunnyfell Road, Muchalls, Stonehaven AB39 3RP E-mail: Aberdeenshire Council Viewmount, Arduthie Road, Stonehaven. AB39 2DQ

POLICE Emergencies All non-emergencies Crimestoppers Drugs Information Line

Tel: 999 Tel: 0845 600 5700 Tel: 0800 555 111 Tel: 0800 371553

SERVICES Bluebird buses No. 103 Aberdeen to Laurencekirk via BanchoryDevenick and Netherley No. 204, Aberdeen to Strachan via Maryculter and Blairs Tel: 212266 or 591381

EVENTS CALENDAR April Saturday 5 Corbie Hall spring clean Monday 7 School term begins Wed 9 Maryculter WRI ‘Scottish Night’ Monday 14 Rangers Open Evening Friday 18 Friendship Club whist Saturday19 Road Sense meeting Sunday 20 Blairs Museum Easter Eggstravaganza Monday 21 Community Council Netherley WRI—Making handbags Saturday 26 Corbie Park Grand Opening Event Friends of Cookney Hall ceilidh May Wed

14 Maryculter WRI, Business meeting, Bring and Buy sale Saturday17 Plant Sale + Coffee Morning, Corbie Hall Monday 19 Community Council Netherley WRI, Food tasting Saturday24 Friends of Guiding Daffodil Tea June Monday 16 Community Council AGM July Friday

August Wed. 13 Maryculter WRI Monday 18 Community Council Netherley WRI Tuesday 19 School term begins September Saturday 6 Riding for the Disabled sale from 10-noon at the Plainstones, Stonehaven Wed. 10 Maryculter WRI Monday 15 Community Council Netherley WRI

Editors: Dial a Trip Bus service with tail lift for concession card and taxi card holders. Tel: 01569 765765 Library The mobile van visits Netherley, Maryculter and Banchory-Devenick fortnightly on Wednesday or Thursday. Jaqueline Geekie Tel: 01651 872707

4 School holidays begin

Hazel Witte Tel: 732738 Monearn, Maryculter AB12 5GT Pam Robertson Tel: 863887 2 Little Banchory Mews, Banchory-Devenick AB12 5XS

Please send copy for the Autumn issue of YOUR NEWSLETTER by August 22

Window cleaning Martin Pilley Tel: 01261 815411 20

South Deeside View - Spring 2008  

Biannual newsletter for the North Kincardine area