Hogmanay 2016

It was a quiet Hogmanay in the Ha'en but we did enjoy tapas and a small get together with a few fireworks at the bells. The photo opposite does not do justice to the elaborate display which rivaled Arbroath and St Andrews which could be seen across the water. A fitting end to another succesful year in the Ha'en and time to reflect on what the new year will bring.

Our 2017 blog can be found on a new main page

Stranded seal pups

Within the space of one week, three young seal pups have become stranded here on the beach in East Haven. It's always difficult to know when they are stranded and when the mothers might be returning with food. However, it is important that we contact the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) immediately on  01825 765546 (office hours) and 07787 433412 (out of hours) to help acertain whether they need rescuing. The pup in the photo opposite was only a week old and would have died had she spent another 12 hours on the beach. Luckily, observant dog walkers found the pups and phoned the correct number resulting in all three being moved to the SSPCA centre at Fishcross. One of the great risks to young seal pups is dogs, however, most of our dog walkers are very aware and careful to protect any young seal pups they come across. We are fortunate in having a number of local BDMLR volunteers so they can be in East Haven very quickly if a live stranding is reported. Why not have a look at our page on whales and dolphins where we have more information about live and dead marine animal strandings.

 

Delicious!

Since our BioBlitz in August we have developed an interest in marine life and in the various types of seaweed living out on the rocks. We haven't previously given this precious marine plant much thought, but seaweed is one of the most nutritious and natural products available to us. It is rich in concentrated minerals and is known to possess a range of health benefits. We therefore decided that we would learn how to cut small amounts of fresh seaweed for our own personal use. Having obtained some professional help we set off for the rocks at 7.30am, before first light, to catch the low tide. It was a great experience and we learned so much about this amazing resource on our own doorstep.  Having washed and dried a small amount earlier, we were able to fry it until it became crispy and then pop it on top of the bacon in our rolls. It was absolutely delicious and made a great healthy alternative to sauces and salt. In the meantime, we are considering the pro's and con's of an open air spa in East Haven! Dulce is a great muscle relaxant apparantly though some might say outdoor bathing might be a bit chilly in East Haven. You never know!

On display at last!

We have been out and about looking for an empty shop window in Carnoustie to display our awards so everybody can see and enjoy them. We have no facility at all to display them in East Haven and in previous years have borrowed a cabinet in Carnoustie Library. However, not many people venture upstairs so we decided we would try and do something a bit more creative this year. We are very fortunate to have been able to persuade the Golf Vetinary practice to allow us to use their empty window space in exchange for a small donation to an animal charity. To be honest, empty shop windows are such a lost opportunity for communities and businesses on many levels so we are delighted to have brought something of interest to this one. Do pop along and have a look if you have the time.

The 'eyes' have it!

Yes it's back to that time of year again when a small number of people refuse to clean up after their dogs. Whilst most dog walkers visiting East Haven are respectful, there is always an increase in dog fouling during the darker days of winter. This year, we have a new weapon in our armoury in the shape of 'glow in the dark' posters from Beautiful Scotland. Each poster contains photovoltaic cells which recharge during the day to enable the message to be seen at night. We hope people heed the message as we have an increased number of volunteers keeping a close eye out for the 1 in 10 dog owners that can be responsible for over 50 piles of poo a month!  Personally, I would forget the £80 fine and put them on long term poo cleaning duties. They would soon learn to pick up! Many thanks to Angus Environmental Trust for funding the posters.

Celebrating and Planning!

Today we held an event to celebrate another great year of working together and to give some thought to what we want to achieve next year. It seems a long time now since our last gardening session in early October so it was really good to see everybody again and enjoy a celebratory lunch. However, as the saying goes, 'there's no such thing as a free lunch' and people were asked to contribute their thoughts and ideas about what we want to achieve next year. In essence, we want to build on what we do well and make improvements in the areas where we do less well. We will undertake further consultation in the new year but it was good to make a start on  ideas relating to garden, heritage and conservation. This photo shows Anne obtaining feedback and ideas from people about biodiversity and conservation.

A trip to Burntisland

Today we were in Burntisland at a Beach Managers Forum hosted by Keep Scotland Beautiful. The forum meets a couple of times a year to discuss issues relating to the management of beach/marine areas.  As East Haven achieved a community led beach award in 2016 we were invited to participate, along with representatives from Local Authorities, SEPA and other marine orgnasiations. Today's agenda was interesting and varied with a focus on risk assessment, water sampling and stranded marine animals. All these issues are very relevant to East Haven and provides new and interesting ideas for consideration in 2017. I have to confess to never visiting Burntisland before, having only passed through it on the train so it was good to have a reason to stop off and take the time to look round. It really is a beautiful coastal town and it's award winning beach is well worth a visit! 

Mary's Meals

We are delighted to report that this year a toal of £1,163 has been raised for the charity Mary's Meals. Mary's Meals aims to provide a daily meal, in a place of education, for children in the world’s poorest communities. The money has been raised by public donations in exchange for refreshments, which one of our residents, Morag Tindal provides daily on the cycle path between April and October.

Smile

Mylo the Hunter!

Just love this photo of Mylo back out in the community gardens hunting for mice. He really has made the most remarkable recovery since he lost a leg and fractured ribs in a recent road accident. Many of you wrote to us providing reassurance that he would adapt but we could never have anticipated that he would recover so well. The community gardens are his favourite place and he doesn't really stray very far from them now as he feels safer around people. Prior to his accident he was a great hunter and would wander  quite a distance from East Haven. We are relieved that he is content to remain local and delighted that he still enjoys hunting for  mice. He is able to propel himself from his rear legs in a powerful pounce on his prey. A happy boy once more!

All things seaweed

As our last post also involved the subject of seaweed you could be forgiven for thinking that we have become a bit obsessed in recent weeks. You might be right but as it is the one thing we have a lot of in East Haven maybe it deserves a bit more of our attention. Consequently, we met with an expert on Wednesday to find out more about this natural resource which is sometimes known as 'the superfood of the sea'. We have learned that seaweed is packed full of nutrients absorbing them directly from sunlight and from the sea itself. Later, in December we have the opportunity to spend some time exploring more about the type and amount of seaweed  in the Ha'en. This will of course, involve a trip out on to the rocks at low tide in what might be freezing weather so we will definitely require a hard hat and some thermals.  More about this at a later date.

Corallina officinalis

On Sunday we were out rock pooling again in search of a very special kind of algae corallina officinalis sometimes known as coral weed. In East Haven we call it pink coral by way of it's lovely pink colour and white chalky tips. It is not difficult to find in our small rock pools close to the shore though it's harder to find in the larger pools as you move out towards the sea. The reason for our interest is that we have been asked to collect  samples from different sized rock pools for analysis by the Scottish Association for Marine Science. We therefore had to measure the width and depth of pools and scrape the algae off the rocks carefully before labelling and freezing samples. We look forward to hearing the outcome of this research as algae are early indicators of changes in our seas and can tell us a lot about the marine environment. 

80kg of Plastic!

Unbelievable  but yes, we picked up 80kg of plastic during our impromptu beach clean on Saturday. A mixture of high tides and winds over the last ten days littered the beach with hundreds of bottles, blue straws and other plastic pieces. We took advantage of the beautiful weather to collect it all and prevent it returning to the sea or remaining on the beach for the rest of the winter. A number of people commented on our efforts with one or two remarking that it is a 'thankless task' as the plastic bottles just roll in again with the next tide. However, we can't allow ourselves to think in that way as every item of plastic is one less piece that might end up in the mouth of a marine mammal or a coastal bird. More than that, we have to hope that human beings will stop polluting our seas and damaging wildlife. More legislation will help and initiatives such as 'money back on bottle recycling' would certainly be a step forward. 

Swifts

Last week, Anne attended a seminar on Swifts which are a protected species in the UK. However, there is great concern about the Swift population which is declining faster in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. They really are a fascinating bird and eat, mate and sleep on the wing only landing for breeding. The birds return to their birthplace at the beginning of May and stay for just 12 weeks during breeding. It is illegal to remove a swifts nest so it is really important that roofers and builders check for nests before they commence buidling works etc. We are fotunate to have Swifts, Swallows and House Martins in East Haven so we want to do what we can to protect the,m and submit our sightings.

Dog Share Stations

We have been overwhelmed by the response to our new dog stations which we established earlier this year. We had debated long and hard about what type of dog bag system we could install but all of them were expensive to maintain and not sustainable for the charity. We then hit on the idea of a dog share staton and although many said it wouldn't work we decided to give it a try. Far from not working, Dog Walkers have reponded really positively and the share stations have become self maintaining. We have been astonished to find that not only do people leave bags for others but they also leave additional busicuits. This box was left by Truffles of Killin so thankyou very much to Truffles and his/her owner. Thank you too to all the lovely dog owners who have left balls and frisbies in our dog play box. 

Always something going on in East Haven

It was so supposed to get a bit quieter after all the activity around Beautiful Scotland and the Beechgrove Garden filming. However, it seems that this week has been as busy as ever as we continue to deal with enquiries from various sources and respond to local issues of interest and concern. Wednesday was a particularly busy day when Sandie attended a pondlife workshop run by the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership, and Jack and Dareena attended a meeting with the Carnoustie Development Trust. Both these events feed in to our future planning and development work and we will be holding a workshop of our own in the middle of November to decide what the priorities are for 2017. 

 

Angus Pride in Place Awards

We were very proud to receive a gold award and the silver salver at the Angus Pride in Place awards this morning. The Pride in Place awards recognise the work communities across the county have undertaken to help make Angus an even better place to live and visit. After the Beautiful Scotland Awards last week we didn't think it could get any better so we are very humbled to be the first receipient of this prestigous award.  

 

 

Great British Beach Clean

What a beautiful day it was for our Great British Beach Clean. It was a real pleasure to be out today and 12 of us took part in this nationwide clean. In East Haven, the area of beach we clean and survey is approximately 500m x 50m. The photo opposite shows us just about to start on the surveying of all the beach litter collected. All the results go to Marine Conservation Scotland who collate all the results and produce a report which will be released early next year. They help to identify trends and guide policy development to try and improve the quality of our seas. Afterwards we enjoyed tea, cake and sunshine in celebration of our award winning week!

Beautiful Scotland Awards

Yesterday we attended the 50th Beautiful Scotland awards ceremony in Aberdeen. The event brought together people past and present involved in the organisation which was once known as Scotland in Bloom. Nowadays, Beautiful Scotland places equal emphasis on community participation and environmental responsibility as they do horticultural achievement. Volunteers from towns, villages and cities across Scotland have committed an estimated 500,000 hours over the last ten years to campaign which is worth 5 million pounds to the economy. This comes as no surprise to us in East Haven where 60 volunteers have committed over 3,500 hours during the last year alone. This work was recognised last night when East Haven was awarded Gold, the Best Coastal Village Trophy and the Garden for Life Biodiversity Award. We are very proud.

Recycling Week Scotland

As it is national recycling week in Scotland I thought I would show you our new state of the art water recycling unit which Ian Bancroft built earlier this year. We already had a water butt in place but the need to save even more water is imperative as we have no supply of our own. Ian therefore devised this very clever system linking 3 water butts together which enables all three to fill with rain water. Given that we have had a relatively dry summer the unit has proved invaluable and has enabled us to use recycled water for all our pots and small garden areas. 

Rockpooling!

Around 45 people turned out today for an afternooon of rockpooling with the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Armed with nets and trays whole families came out to see what they could find lurking under the rocks and in the pools on East Haven's rocky shoreline. The catch of the day was a Sea Stickleback but everything from crabs, prawns, scorpion and butter fish were found and recorded. Great fun and lots of learning was had by all 

Citizen Scientists

We were back at Woodlands Primary School on Tuesday where we attended the school assembly. Primary 5 perfomed some of their wonderful eco songs and told us how much they enjoyed participating in our Bioblitz. We certainly enjoyed the enthusiasm, knowledge and interest the children brought to our big event. They were absolutely phenomenal and we were pleased to present them with citizen science badges in recognition of all their work. 

Scottish Water Volunteers

We are so grateful to Janet, Lorraine, Maria and Gillian from Scottish Water who all volunteered to work in East Haven today. You might remember that a couple of weeks ago we made special cuts of the SSSI to help conserve the Greater Yellow Rattle (GYR). East Haven is the only known place in Scotland where this plant grows naturally and this work is key in aiding the survival of this protected species. The grass is cut, then approximately two weeks later it is raked up and removed from the site. This process allows the seeds of the GYR and other wild flowers to scatter and have space and light to germinate. These women worked their socks off and filled at least 20 builders bags with cuttings which were taken away to the Recycling Centre. The Recycling Centre was so overwhelmed with the volume that they had to ask us not to return with anymore today. One thing we learned is that this really is an eight person job but these four women would not leave until the whole job was done. We are enourmously grateful and hope that they will return to work with us next year. Thank you Scottish Water.

Big Beach Clean

East Haven is preparing for Britain's Great Beach Clean on 17th September at 10am. As many of you will be aware, we carry out several organised beach cleans a year and a number of mini cleans in-between. However, at our organised events we also survey all the litter we collect to help the Marine Conservation Society identify trends regaridng what sort of litter is being washed up on our Scottish beaches. Earlier in the year we were very proud to be awarded the first community led beach award on mainland Scotland so beach cleans are part of our life in East Haven. If you fancy joining us please meet at the Heritage point at 10am. We provide gloves, litter pickers, refreshments and good company so you only need strong shoes and a bit of free time. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-37261748

Mission Accomplished!

The fact that we haven't reported anything over the last few days does not mean that we have not had anything to report. To the contrary, it has been so busy and we have all been so shattered, that we haven't had either the time or the energy, to put pen to paper or should I say, finger to keyboard. We worked flat out for weeks in the run up to the Bioblitz and then it was full on from 8am on the Friday until we finished at 5pm on Saturday 27th. It was a phenomenal event which far exceeded our expectations and we will write a full report with photographs shortly. In the meantime, we are still busy uploading species details to irecord and interpreting data. We will be attending Woodlands Primary school on 6th September to feedback to the children who took part and also delivered a fantastic performance at the launch of the Tayside Biodiversity Action Plan launch. 

Countdown to BioBlitz

What a week it has been as we count down the days to our BioBlitz. Two more sleeps then not much sleep at all for 48 hours as we try to find as many species as possible over 2 days. The planning for our BioBlitz has been off the scale as far as event planning goes.  It began almost 18 months ago when we met Catherine Lloyd from the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership. This meeting led to us contacting widlife experts all over Scotland to ask if they would come and help. Then came the grant applications, school visits and training as we tried to find out more about various species. Now that everything is in place we are really quite excited as we wait to learn more about who and what has been living alongside us in our community. Watch this space!

Grant from Angus Environmental Trust

We are thrilled to have received a grant of £2,730 from the Angus Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities fund enabling us to purchase a walking scythe. You might remember that over the last couple of years we have undertaken cuts on the Site of Special Scientifc Interest. This is a partnership project with SNH who have responsibility for the site which is the only place in Scotland where the Greater Yellow Rattle grows naturally. Last year we almost burned out our domestic strimmers as we cut a mammoth 5m strip along the entire length. This year however, the job was made much easier by the walking scythe which  cut the dunes with great ease. It is some size of machine and we had to take great care to ensure that no wee animals were hiding in the long grasses before we cut through them. We now leave the cut grasses for a couple of weeks to allow the seeds to scatter before we rake up the dead grasses. 

Community Petanque Course

Residents are delighted to have their own community petanque course at last. For the uninitiated, community petanque is a game of french boules which is very popular in European countries such as France and Spain. It is a game which people of all ages and abilities can participate in and when we consulted with residents earlier in the year over 75% said that they had an interest in playing the game. We were therefore delighted when Landmarc Support Services at Barry Buddon said that they would build a community petanque course for us and along with DJ laing provided the gravel and resources. We are thrilled with the completed course and surounding amenity which would have been very difficult for the community to achieve without considerable support. We are now hoping to enjoy a friendly game with Landmarc and DJ Laing but need a few weeks to brush up our skills! 

Beautiful Scotland Judges

Wednesday saw Beautiful Scotland judges Terry Stott and Sandra McLennan visit East Haven. The village was a hive of activity prior to their arrival with people rushing round making sure that everywhere was looking as beautiful as possible. The judges were here for two hours and their tour culminated with a taste of Angus lunch in the Bothy. We have come along way since the first judges arrived from Beautiful Scotland in 2014. On that first occassion we were so nervous that we couldn't enjoy the occasion at all. However, we were quite relaxed on Wednesday and enjoyed their company and other insights they were able to offer as we took them round the village. We will find out what we have been awarded on 14 September at a ceremony in Aberdeen.

What a celebration!

What a celebration Sunday turned out to be. We could not believe the number of people who turned out for our Food Festival and celebration of 50 years of Beautiful Scotland. We were expecting between 1,000 and 1,500 people but somewhere nearer 4,500 - 5,000 people turned up. Never have so many people been in East Haven at the one time. Nearly everybody in the village did something to welcome all our visitors and ensure that the day went well. The food was wonderful though stocks ran low much earlier in the day than anticipated. However, we had a fantastic crowd, brilliant entertainment and everybody had great fun. We are still recovering today and have lots of people getting in touch asking when we are holding the next event but we will need time - lots of time!

Looking Beautiful

The village is looking beautiful after a week of exceptional hard work by all our volunteers. Although the week before judging is always busy there is a great sense of the Dunkirk Spirit as everybody redoubles their efforts to add the finishing touches to gardens and street furniture. I am always humbled too by the number of additional donations we receive at this time from grateful visitors and also residents who are unable to assist with the physical work but want to make a contribution. Of course this year, we have made life very difficult for ourselves by holding a large food festival on Sunday, just 3 days before judging takes place. Some people have said that we must be mad and perhaps we are a little. However, we wanted to celebrate 50 years of Beautiful Scotland in style and what better way than by bringing in hundreds of people to see the village just prior to judging. We hope that we don't live to regret it and that everybody will enjoy a brilliant day in great surroundings, eating fantastic local food. 

Our Food Festival

Counting down the days now until Sunday when we host the food festival in celebration of 50 years of Beautiful Scotland. Look what's on offer  - Gin & tonic ice lollies, Wood fired pizzas, Oysters, Chocolate Brownies, Freshly roasted coffee, Gin bar, Craft Beers, Dressed Crabs, Haggis wraps, Smoked Aberdeen Angus Brisket, Fish & Chips, Mocktails with local fruit juices, Fresh strawberries, Fresh fruit ice-lollies, Chocolate dripping cakes, Prawn cocktails, Angus vodka cocktails, Beach Yoga, Live Music all day, Fishwife Storyteller, Beach VolleyballRounders, Paws Patrol and now our very own Oor Wullie!! You really do NOT want to miss this!!

Recycled rainwater

Thank goodness for recycled rain water! We found ourselves in a terrible predicament this morning when East Haven woke to find that it had no water supply. We quickly learned that there was a burst mains and a 20m strip of road was lifting on the hill outside Tankervillle with the pressure of the water. After managing to organise ourselves we  suddenly realised that it would badly affect our public toilets. This on a day when we had a party of naturalists visiting in addition to the usual crowds the sun brings in. As luck would have it, Ian Bancroft was building a new water butt system at the Bothy. This gave us the idea of using rescued rain water from our single barrel to flush the loos. We must have amused the visitors as we hurried round to the toilets with watering cans and buckets of water. Hand sanitisers on the sink provided a handwashing system and unbeliebvably, we managed the whole day wihout having to close the toilets. As you can see from the photo opposite Ian has now installed a fantastic new system comprising three water butts and a tiered drainage system to increase the amount of recycled water available to us. At this rate we will have own recycled water supply for village emergencies!

Blackcurrant Cassis

Can you believe it? These lovely blackcurrants were on our bushes in the Bothy this morning and by mid-afternoon had become 'Cassis Frae the Ha'en' Jean Stewart has led the way and we look forward to sampling some of our own Cassis in a glass of Prosecco later in the year. 

An interesting week

It has been another busy week with meetings almost everyday as we take forward planning for the Food Festival, BioBlitz and organisation of the Coastal Village in Bloom judging. In the midst of all the planning and gardening we  have also met with a couple of very interesting people this week. The first was Derek Miller, the interim chair of the new Carnoustie Development Trust. Derek asked if he could come and see us to share information about the Trust and ideas about ways in which we might collaborate in the future. The Trust has been established to take forward some of the priorities arising out of the consultation which has taken place over the last few years in Carnoustie (the Charette). We are encouraged that the Trust is looking beyond the confines of the town centre and that the Trustee's have an inclusive approach.

The other fascinating person we met this week was Christopher Dingwall, Garden Historian who provided us with a knowledgeable insight into the designed garden and landscape within Panmure Estate. Following the work we began earlier in the year conserving and preserving our heritage at Panmure we are now undertaking further historical research and Christopher was able to assist greatly with this. We hope to be able to bring together more important information about the gardens at Panmure over the coming months and will be liaising with Historic Scotland to see what else can be done to preserve what remains at this ancient site.

Good day for swim in East Haven

Look who I spotted in the water at East Haven. Fiona and Richard (formerly of Craigallan East Haven) having a great time on our award winning beach  this morning. The weather wasn't great but it was ideal for a swim and these two were having a great time.  I did contemplate joining them but didn't come prepared! Lovely to see them both though and enjoy a coffee in the Bothy.

Wild about our BioBlitz!

Believe it or not our BioBlitz planning meeting lasted a full five hours today. It's not the first one either. We have undertaken hours of planning for this major event which takes place on 26 and 27 August. When we first considered hosting a BioBlitz we naively thought it would be low effort and relatively easy to organise. However, we have found ourselves in lengthy communications with participating experts, schools, environmental organisations, caterers, IT and audio-visual experts, photographers and a whole host of other personnel. We are not complaning though as the BioBlitz provides a unique opportunity to obtain an up-to-date species list of everything in the East Haven environment. Our findings will have far reaching consequences and inform future bio-diversity activity and land use in the area. We will be posting our first draft programme on our dedicated BioBlitz page sometime this week.

Off to the Royal Garden Party

We were very pleased that Morag and Tom Tindal were invited to the Queen's Garden Party at Holyrood this week. The invitation was in recognition of the work they have done to raise money for Mary's Meals by the provision of refreshments on the cycle path. Morag and Tom have worked away quietly providing this lovely service to all our visitors for a number of years now. Last year alone they raised over £700 for the charity which provides food for children who attend school. 

Adversity

We have been faced with a real dilemma this week as a new fence is to be installed by a resident who borders one side of the community garden. Although we are sure the fencers will be as careful as possible we have real concerns that our beautiful plants will be damaged as they squeeze the fence in behind them. We therefore took the decision that the option of 'least damage' was to remove all the plants in that bed and replant them as soon as possible. It was hot work yesterday as we began digging and carefully removing and storing the plants which we now need to keep watered. We hope to be able to replace them within the week so let's hope the fencers finish their work speedily. 

East Haven Moths

We are sharpening up our observational skills as we approach our first ever BioBlitz at the end of August. Anne recently attended a session with Paul Brooks at Montrose Basin where she learned a lot about how to identify various types of moths. Anne has an amazing item of equipment which traps moths (temporarily) to allow them to be identified prior to release. With the assistance of Paul Brooks, local moth expert Anne went on to trap and identify four common swift (a micro moth) four Silver Carpet Moths and two White Ermine (photo opposite). We will be using a number of moth traps at our BioBlitz to trap moths at various locations overnight prior to a big identification and recording session in the morning. 

Barry Buddon

We had a fantastic time at the Barry Buddon training day yesterday. The MOD open the site to the public once year to enable people interested in wildlife and nature to explore the area and make records of the species living in this wild coastal landscape.  There were lots of experts and knowledgable people around and at lunch time all the groups arrived back at base with an amazing array of moths in specimen jars. There were 48 different species in total, almost twice as many as were identified last year. In the afternoon we were taken out to an area with Kidney Vetch to learn how to identify the Small Blue butterfly which we hope to attract to East Haven. The Small Blue is certainly thriving in Barry Buddon and it was good to see so many close up at one time. As you can see from the photo opposite it doesn't immediately strike you as being blue in colour as the upper wing can be quite dark and it's the underwing which can be silvery or blue. However, once seen never forgotten and we will now be able to participate in collecting records about this important butterfly in Angus. 

Beach Award

We are so thrilled to have achieved the first community led Beach Award on mainland Scotland. Beach Awards have traditionally been the domain of Local Authorities but Keep Scotland Beautiful are keen for communities to take responsibility for their own beaches. In East Haven we were concerned that the prescence of seaweed on the beach would undermine our chances of achieving an award. However, it is now widely accepted that seaweed provides an important habitat for small invertebraes and also helps to protect against erosion. This makes it possible for many natural rural beaches such as ours to be recognised by a national beach award. The assessment criteria is very rigourous though and takes into account the whole visitor experience from parking, toilets, signage and the general amenity. It has been a big mountain to climb but we are delighted to get to the top!

Helping the Small Blue Butterfly

What a help these two little ones have been in watering our newly planted Kidney Vetch. As we have previously explained, Kidney Vetch is the sole food of the Small Blue which we are trying to conserve on the east coast of Angus. It grows best in poor soil on rocky outcrops often prone to a bit of erosion. We have therefore planted it in several locations on the seaward side of the railway in East Haven and will identify which areas the Vetch thrives the most. Watering has been a big committment in the early days of planting so, every little helps.

Declaration of Arbroath 2020 celebrations

Remember this wonderful carving which we uncovered in 2015 when we were clearing an area of unused ground at the Bothy? Although we could see that it depicted the Declaration of Arbroath we had no idea how old it was or how it came to be buried under an old fisherman's bothy in East Haven. Following media coverage, Tam Walker, an artist now living in Spain stepped forward to describe how and why he created the maquette in the winter of 1966/7. It is made of hard fired terracotta and was crafted as an idea for concealing the wall of the graveyard at Arbroath Abbey, revealed when the houses that stood by the West Gate of the Abbey were demolished. This beautiful art work is now to attract worldwide attention once again as an image of the panel is to be used as the official logo of the Arbroath 2020 group responsible for the 700th anniversary celebrations of the Declaration of Arbroath. Chairman of the group, Norman Atkinson said that they were "delighted that Tam Walker has agreed that the maquette can be used in this way and that investigations are also being made into whether special castings can be made of the maquette to enable reproductions to be created". In East Haven, we believe that it is "entirely appropriate that the maquette should play such an important role in promoting the 2020 celebrations as it was after all created for the Abbey. 

 

Beautiful Scotland

It's getting difficult to prioritise our time and activities these days. So much to do in the gardens with boats to paint and bridges to re-stain. Yesterday, we also had a committment in Aberdeen as we had agreed to provide a table presentation at a Beautiful Scotland event held in Hazlehead Park. For those of you haven't visited Hazlehead Park recently it is well worth a day out. We can highly recommend the Park cafe in the grounds which serves delicious, soups, coffee and cakes. Unbelievably, this beautiful park is largely managed by volunteers these days as are many areas across Aberdeen. The photo opposite shows a small section of our display and table top model of our boat in the community garden.  Meanwhile, back in the real garden, Ian was busy restoring and painting the boat ready for the new season of visitors. The boat gets a lot of wear and tear throughout the year as it is a magnet for children and if you visit East Haven you just have to have a photo taken with the boat as a back drop. However, everybody back in the village today and plenty of jobs to be done!

Panmure Estate

You might remember that East Haven Together made a request to Angus Council in February to consider designating Panmure Estate as a conseration area. We have now received the results of an initial desk top study into our enquiry which concludes that this would not be appropriate. Although we were initially disappointed with the decision we can now see from the report (download below) that conservation status in itself will not provide the kind of outcome we are looking for. There are 13  monuments listed with Historic Environment Scotland and a number of archeolgical areas of interest. Although this should ensure that they are managed effectively we remain unconvinced that current legislation and policy is robust enough to ensure that the historic environment will be maintained. For example, HES only have a remit for considering A listed monuments and therefore the majority of monuments and historic remains are left with little or no protection. Moreover, when a large festival was planned the outcome of a Screening Opinion by Angus Council deemed an Environmental Impact Assessment an unnecessary requirement.  We believe this to be worrying and we had hoped that conservation status would have granted greater protection for the whole estate including wild life and natural heritage in addition to the historic heritage. It seems that there is no overarching legislation that would provide greater protection to the estate at this time. This is something we may take up with HES and other bodies in the future. In the meantime, the residents of Panmure Estate are considering whether there would be value in having Panmure Estate included on the Gardens and Designed Landscape Inventory. A small survey might be a useful way of identifying which trees have important value for example and which elements of the designed landscape meet the criteria for inclusion in any such application. In the meantime, we are greaful to Angus Council for undertaking the study which is well worth a read as it contains some historical facts and details about Panmure

Conservation Area Review for Panmure Estate

Residents and Friends

Yesterday we were down in Edinburgh to celebrate the 80th birthday of Sheila Twine, fomerly Sheila Lawson. Sheila lived in East Haven as a young girl and now lives in Austrailia. Sheila contacted us with her childhood memories of East Haven during the octocentaenary celebrations in the village.  As many of you will remember, we went on to compile a book of memories as we realised that they formed an important part of the social history of Angus and shouldn't be lost. Sheila contributed signficantly to the book and yesterday we learned even more about her life and what she has gone on to achieve in Australia as an educationalist and writer. It was a lovely day and so good to see Sheila and her family again. We also met several other former residents of East Haven who lived here during the 1960s era. It seems that neighbours really do become good friends in East Haven and for many people- life long friends.

Clean up Europe

What a fantastic turn out we had for our 'Clean up Europe' event yesteday. We were really humbled to find that one man travelled all the way from Glasgow to participate in our beach clean and others travelled from Fife and Forfar. It's one thing to give up a couple of hours in your own community but quite another to travel such a distance.  However, what motivates us all is the critical need to clean up our seas. Our beautiful Scottish seas are so full of plastic and other debris that everything from small fish to sea birds, dolphins and whales are ingesting contaminants and dying as a result. In an effort to help Marine Conservation Scotland to monitor the type and source of litter we carry out surveys which we submit following our events. Its a rather difficult job to collect and count at the same time but we attempt to record everything including some of the more unusual items. We finished the morning off with refreshments and a blether at the Bothy. Tired but satisfied with a good mornings work. 

Launch of the Small Blue project in East Haven (6th May 2016)

In a joint venture with the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership and Butterfly Conservation Scotland, we planted Kidney Vetch across six designated sites within East Haven today. Kidney Vetch is the sole food plant of the Small Blue which is the smallest butterfly in the UK. In what is a true partnership project, local Angus business Scotia Seeds provided the locally-sourced seeds and new business Celtica Wildflowers from Perthshire has grown them on into robust plants. We will now carefully monitor the growth of the Kidney Vetch. Anne Bancroft from East Haven Together said that residents were really delighted to be involved in the Small Blue project – “We are very keen to conserve and protect our natural habitat and we are particularly keen to do what we can to help create a kidney vetch corridor for this rare butterfly to thrive along the Angus coast.”

Catherine Lloyd from the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership explained that the butterfly is easily overlooked because it is so small and, she admits, “a bit dull”.  It is often confined to patches of sheltered grassland where the yellow-flowered Kidney Vetch, grows. In Angus this tends to be along the coast and in a few sheltered areas inland.

We will keep you up-to-date with the progress of the Kidney Vetch which we hope will thrive and spread for next year when we will hopefully see the Small Blue. 

Beautiful Scotland - Flourishing at 50

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Keep Scotland Beautiful offices in Stirling for the first time. It was also an opportunity to meet some of the staff that we are regularly in communication with. For example, Nicola Turner and Jessie Henderson, both Community Projects Officers. Nicola leads on many of the Clean up Scotland initiatives and Jessie on Bio-diversity projects. My visit was informative and I came back to East Haven with lot's of new ideas. As you might appreciate, people become very nervous when I return from a day out with new ideas! However, it was other members of the gardening group that were full of creative ideas this morning. This year marks 50 years of Beautiful Scotland and native wild flowers were planted in gold and blue alongside the railway wall. More special planting will be done over the next month to ensure that we have special displays in the four saltire colours of Beautiful Scotland, gold, blue, purple and green. 

Bumblebee Walk

Rod with our bee box which is now home to a Queen!

I've never been too comfortable around bees but I certainly share concern about the decline in their numbers and the impact that this has on our eco-system. For this reason, East Haven has become involved in the Bee Diverse project with Keep Scotland Beautiful and we have been learning more about these fascinating creatures so we can identify them on our monthly bee walks. There are 24 different species of bumblebee in the UK but only 8 are commonly found in most places. We have learned that the colour of the tail and the bands around the body are key identifying features. Also, wing patterns and hair on the legs and face can help distinguish one species from another. I wouldn't recommend the studying of bee images as bedtime reading but  it has certainly improved our knowledge and ability to submit survey findings to the BumbleBee Conservation Trust. We are holding a bee walk every month this year between April and October taking the same 1.2km route during which we count and identify as many bees as possible. We hope that our findings support scientists and others in the monitoring and conservation of bumblebee populations. 

 

We've twinned our toilets!

Never mind the twinning of towns, East Haven has twinned their public toilets with a latrine in a village called Marriyam Nagar in Pakistan's Umerkot district. We have talked a lot in recent times about the importance of a public toilet network in the UK. The importance of good sanitation and clean drinking water is fundamental not just here but across the world. We hope that when people stop off to use the loo they will  think about the 1 in 3 people in the world who don't have access to somewhere safe, private or hygenic to go to the toilet. Also, that a child dies every minute from diarrhoeal diseases and 60% of all rural diseases are caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. It is a sobering thought that this very baisc fundamental human need is not available to all communities. 

www.toilettwinning.org

Good decision for Panmure Estate

Today we should have been in Forfar addressing the Civic Licensing Committee. We had hoped to help persuade Members to accept the recommendation by Angus Council Officers to refuse a public entertainment licence to hold a large house music festival in the grounds of Panmure Estate. We had serious concerns about safety to people, emergency services and historic monuments. In the end, it was not necessary for us to attend as the organisers pulled out themselves when they realised that they had no hope of obtaining a licence. The  quality of their event planning was so poor that the Police refused to support the event and Angus Council described their plans as incoherent and riddled with gaps. We hope that the decision by the Angus Steering Group will send shock waves through the event planning industry and help raise standards across the UK. In the week in which the outcome of the Hillsborough disaster has become known it is a salutary reminder of what can go wrong when planning large events. We now need to redouble our efforts in partnership with the residents of Panmure to obtain conservation status for the estate and protect it into the future.

Inaugural AGM

We held our inaugural AGM last night at the Station Hotel in Carnoustie. East Haven Together is not yet a year old but we have achieved many things across all areas of our charitable aims. We illustrated our activities and achievements by way of photographs on a power point presentation. The range of activities we have been involved in is diverse and extensive. To give you a flavour, during the past 9 months, we have won awards with Beautiful Scotland, delivered presentations, taken part in workshops, participated in the Angus Food Festival, got involved with Panmure Estate and embarked on a range of conservation projects. Of course all of this is above and beyond our normal gardening and beach cleaning activities. However, we couldn't do any of it without all our members who put in thousands of volunteer hours every year to help achieve our charitable aims. If you would like to join East Haven Together do let us know and we can send you out a form. 

Tay Estuary to Panmure Estate

Friday saw us at the Tay Estuary Forum AGM again hosting a table display of work carried out in East Haven as one of the Tay's coastal communities. The conference was incredibly interesting and covered everything from bio-diversity to modelling of tidal patterns. It was a great opportunity for us to meet with some of the people who will be participating in our BioBlitz at the end of August. Saturday morning saw us meeting again with Friends at Panmure to discuss our presentations to be delivered at the forthcoming Angus Council Licensing Committee on 29th August. We have been working in partnership with Friends of Panmure and Scottish Badgers to object to the proposed Festival of House event which we believe will be catastrophic to the future of the estate if it takes place. Let's hope Angus Council will agree with us as all our research and consultation has led us to believe that the festival will be unsafe and that the plans by Jigsaw Management, the organisers, are not competent. Importantly, we believe that the risks to our historic and natural heritage can not be mitigated against. We welcome festivals in Angus but only in the right locations where everybody can enjoy the occasion safely and without risk to wildlife and heritage.

The moth man

After a morning of gardening we met up with Paul Brooks better known locally as the moth man! In our quest to find out more about moths and how to identify them we came across Paul who works throughout Angus and further afield helping to identify the many hundreds of moths that visit Scotland every year. Believe it or not, one of our residents has an old but very sophisticated moth catcher which we will be able to use to trap moths during the night for identification the next morning. Before that, we will participate in some training on both the 5th June and the 9th June to sharpen up our identification skills and learn more about recording. Paul himself will visit again on Saturday 11th June at 9am to assist with some identification so if you are in East Haven for an early morning walk you could always join us at the Bothy.

BioBlitz

After many months of planning we are now able to reveal that we are holding a community BioBlitz from 26th to 27th August 2016. A BioBlitz brings together, scientists, experts and other interested bodies to work alongside the community to identify as many species of animals, insects, plants and marine life as possible over 24 hours. Although we know quite a lot about some of the plant and wildlife we have in East Haven we have never undertaken a study on such a scale before. Working alongside experts to gather information and identify species will provide us with a unique insight into what lives and grows in the village and coastal area.  We hope that by undertaking this BioBlitz we will be more knowledgable and better informed to enable us to conserve and protect the environment in the future. 

Beautiful Angus

I just love this time of year when the daffodils burst into flower along the bents, signalling that Spring has arrived at last. We have had some lovely sunshine over the last few weeks and the village has been busy as users of the coastal path stop off for a refreshment at our 'Mary's Meals cairn' before visiting the gardens and the 'wee gallery'. A number of us travelled up to Forfar last Wednesday to provide a table display at the Beautiful Angus event. The event brings together several communities across Angus who are involved in either the Beautiful Scotland competition or other ventures that improve their communities.  It is always inspiring to meet others and learn about what they are doing to make their own towns and villages great places to live and visit.  

The' wee gallery' is open again!

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/local/angus-the-mearns/loo-uvre-art-gallery-lavatory-is-flushed-with-success-1.931296

Friends of Keptie Pond

Easter morning saw a few of us up at Keptie Pond in Arbroath supporting the newly formed Friends of Keptie Pond group. East Haven has been supported by so many people from the surrounding area so it was our turn to offer a helping hand today at their monthly litter pick. This inspiring group of people have come together to clean up and conserve the area in and around the pond and old water tower. If you haven't visited this area of Arbroath it is a truely stunning location and an oasis for pond and wildlife. The group meet on the last Sunday morning of every month and have plans to do more to enhance the area and promote it's history and heritage. 

Meet the Chefs

Our fantastic chefs are from left to right, Derek, Fiona, Gordon, Gaellle, Jean, Sandie and Dareena. They have been amazing and worked under pressure on both days. Wednesday saw the unexpected arrival of STV and today saw the influx of more guests than expected. However, they all just got on with the task in hand and produced the most fantastic food, sourced from fresh local produce. We even managed to use some of the herbs from our own community garden. We have had great feedback from all those who have attended over the two days and learned so much about the food which is produced and sold on our own doorstep in Angus. On the menu today was, borscht, fresh Arbroath crab and lobster, salad and Vinaigrette dressing, Carnoustie honey and Hazelnut bread, Scottish oatcakes and Haven cheescake consisting of rhubarb and ginger.  If you would like to download some of our recipes they are available as a pdf on our Taste of Angus page.

Let's Cook

We held the first of our 'East Haven Let's Cook' events yesterday, celebrating our wonderful local food. It is so easy to do a one stop shop at the supermarket that we don't always appreciate everything that is grown and produced in Angus and sold by independant retailers. We want people to start thinking more about shopping locally and using local ingredients in their cooking. Last year, when we grew some of our own herbs and vegetables in the community garden  people said that they were not always sure what to do with them. Our chefs yesterday, Jean and Dareena demonstrated some wonderful tasty dishes which we can all now have a go at in our own kitchens. With another event planned for Saturday it looks set to be a great way to end the Angus Food Festival week. 

Managing our beach

As some of you are aware, we are working towards obtaining a beach award from Keep Scotland Beautiful. Normally, it is Local Authorities who apply for beach awards but we would like to become one of the first community groups in Scotland to apply for an award under the revised scheme. Today, we met with Jacqui Semple and Graeme Dailly from Angus Council to obtain advice and guidance to assist with our management plans. We are very fortunate in having a good working relationship with managers within the Council who are always happy to support us with our activities. By great coincidence, a photograph of the beach at East Haven was shown on BBC Scotland news tonight highlighting what a beautiful day it has been in Angus. Obviously we are not the only ones who think our beach deseves a bit of recognition. 

Spring Beach clean

What a beautiful day we had for our Spring beach clean this morning. Clear blue skies, not a breath of wind and a real warmth in the sun. Sixteen volunteers turned up for the event which is always a tough one as the winter tides bring in such a volume of marine debris. We were really pleased to welcome two new volunteers, Stephanie and Elaine. Stephanie has spent a lot of time in East Haven over the winter photographing our coastal birds and Elaine travelled over from Fife after seeing our beach clean posted on the Marine Conservation Society web-site. Richard and Fiona came through from Edinburgh and Jean Stewart brought us freshly made cheese and herb scones so we were very lucky to have such great support. Because Angus Council agreed to bring in a tractor to collect filled bags and heavy items, we were able to extend our beach clean right up the beach towards the railway bridge at Hatton which catches a  lot of the tidal beach litter. We collected an awful lot of plastic which is consistent with the findings of the beach surveys collected and analysed by the Marine Conservation Society in 2015. Surveys from all over the UK revealed that 7 out of every 10 items of beach litter were either plastic or polystyrene pieces. The other litter we found in exceptionally high amounts, related to fishing e.g  anglers fishing line, hooks, gloves and rope. In addition to the beach we also collected litter along the coastal path all the way from Carnoustie up to Hatton. It was a great effort by everybody and we have submitted our first beach survey of the year to the Maine Conservation Society - Thank you to all!

A learning Community

We often describe ourselves as  a learning community in East Haven. It doesn't matter what we do, whether it's about our marine environment, wildlife or our gardens, we want to ensure that all our work is based on best practice. Importantly, we don't want to do any harm.  At a time when climate change and declining bee and butterly populations are of such concern it would be easy for communities such as ours to get it wrong. This week we have been in discussion with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Royal Horitcultural Society (RHS) about an article written by Helen Bostock called 'Plants for Bugs'. Apparently scientists have shown that planting a mix of native and non native plants in the garden is actually better for pollinating insects. This came as somewhat of a surprise as we have been careful to plant native wild flowers and plants wherever possible in our gardens. We had a lot of questions which we sent to the RHS and SNH to seek clarification. We were delighted that Helen Bostock herself and Julia Quinn from SNH responded providing more information and clarification on the research. In East Haven, 90% of our garden areas could be considered wild and not well contained so it is imprtant that we continue to plant native species. Many people won't realise that it is an offence to allow non native species to seed or grow in wild areas. Clearly in East Haven this is of great concern because of our Site of Special Scientific Interest. However, in our wild life garden which is secluded and well contained we can grow a mix of plants which will attract more pollinating insects. It has been an interesting week therfore in which we have increased our knoweldge about 'plants for bugs' and feel more confident about going forward into our new gardening season. 

 

East Haven Let's Cook and Taste

We are holding 'Let's Cook and Taste' sessions during Angus Food Festival week 19th - 27th March 2016. Angus has an amazing food larder and the Festival celebrates all that is good about food and drink in Angus. Some of you will remember that we grew our own herbs and vegatables in the community garden last year and that some people said they didn't know how to use them. We decided then, that we would get together recipe ideas and hold food demos right here in one of our own kitchens. Better still, we will sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labour eating together at the end of the session. 

East Haven Drainage Contractors

It seems that there is no end to the talents of East Haven residents who are now turning their hand to drainage and flood management. During the last six months we have had a constant flow of water from the fields run down and under the railway line flooding the grounds of a property on the seaward side. The usual agencies have been unable to offer any help as the water emerges on a private area of ground. Not to be thwarted by a bit of flood water our skilled workforce have dug out what appears to be a formal culvert under the railway line. It is a brick built structure so clearly designed to bring water from the hills down to the sea. Our 'bit of flood' water turned out to be a 'steady torrent' which required a submersible pump and a full day of digging to allow it to drain it into a ditch yesterday. Despite being covered in silt and mud the guys remained cheery and in good spirits which is a good job as they will need to do more work next week to lay pipes and create a more permanent drainage solution. I think this is what is meant by community resilience! 

Small Blue

A couple of us attended a meeting of the Small Blue Interest Group in Dundee on Wednesday. The Small Blue is a rare butterfly and a priority species, which has suffered severe declines in recent decades. The interest group brings together a number of conservationists involved in a project to help understand the butterfly’s status in Angus. Although there have been no recent sightings in East Haven we believe we have new areas of kidney vetch growing and intend to plant more to try and attract the Small Blue.  We know that there are colonies of the Small Blue at Barry Buddon, so it would be great if we could bring the butterfly into East Haven. We have developed a new page about the Small Blue where you can find out more about the surveys which have been undertaken and also contribute any of your own sightings.

Charity Recognised

We are delighted that our charity East Haven Together has been recognised in the Women Ahead Community Business Awards. Wendy Murray (right) our lead trustee was awarded Community Woman of the year on Saturday at an event which brought together the business community across Dundee and Angus. 

A beach fit for the Queen

Some of us were out doing a bit of beach cleaning yesterday on what was officially 'Clean for the Queen' weekend. As the Queen and Princess Maragaret were brought down from Glamis to play on the beach in East Haven as children it only seemed right that we should acknowledge the initiative in this, the Queen's 90th year. However, we stopped short of using the strap line, 'Clean for the Queen' in our promotional material and diary of events. This was due to mixed feelings about the  appropriateness of cleaning for the Monarchy when in reality, we are cleaning out of respect for our marine and coastal environment and also for those who live and visit the coast. That said, it is really encouraging to hear that the Queen herself is a very keen litter picker and often picks up litter when out and about. I can only imagine that this must be when she has the freedom to roam on somewhere like the Balmoral estate. I just hope that Scotland can get it's act together before her next visit as our main access routes seem to be full of litter which reflects so badly on Scotland and it's people. We all need to do more to pick up litter whenever and wherever we see it and not for anybody else other than ourselves, wildlife and the environment.

Spring Clean!

It was all hands on deck this morning as we swept out the Bothy and hung the newly laundered curtains in readiness for the spring season. Mats were shaken, windows washed and surfaces wiped until the Bothy breathed new life again. The lovely sunshine over the last few days has been such a welcome boost and motivates one to start thinking about being outdoors and the lovely spring days to come. We have our first garden party on Friday 11th so we thought it would be helpful to make an early start. Whilst a couple of us worked in the Bothy, Anne and Ian were out in the gardens, weeding, hoeing and generally tiding up. In what has become an essential part of the work plan we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a blether though we were not organised enough to have any homebaking with it. However, with a week to go before our official restart we have time to do a bit of baking! 

The skills and talents of different indivduals

Somebody asked me the other day how we manage to organise ourselves so well as a small community. The answer is relatively easy in that much of it is down to communication and knowing your people. What is not so easy is the amount of effort and time it takes to actually get to know people and find out what matters to them. 

We have recently been consulting with residents again and have tried as far as possible to survey people face to face. Speaking to people directly improves the quality of the information collected and increases the likliehood of people feeling that their views really matter. Using this approach has also enabled us to learn more about the people living in our own community and the talents and skills they possess. In the past, people have made comments such as "I don't have anything to offer, I only make tablet or I'm only good with a sewing needle". We store all this valuable information and make sure that we go back to people to ask if they will make 'that tablet' or put their sewing skills to good use on one of our projects. We currently have a number of people working on different projects which draw on their skills, talents and interests. You will hear more about these in the coming weeks and they include; cooking, beach management, flower displays, lecturing, butterflies, the Panmure Estate, the SSSI and a BioBlitz. Watch this space!

Lovely photograph of the winches sent in by local photographer Bob Gray

Raking it in!

We are so grateful to Dave Wishart, CatchmentTay Ltd for donating 4 large hay rakes to assist our work on the SSSI. We work in partnership with SNH to promote and encourage the growth of the Greater Yellow Rattle by making special cuts along the dunes. This involves cutting down large swathes of the grasses and plants to differing heights at the end of August. The grasses are then left for two weeks to allow the seeds to spread before being lifted and removed. However, we have found that the job is almost impossible without the right equipment. These rakes will make the job much easier and enable four of us to work together and remove it with ease. East Haven is the only known place in Scotland where the Greater Yellow Rattle grows naturally so we are keen to do everything we can to conserve the plant and increase numbers. Thank you CatchmentTay Ltd.

The Mystery of the Anonymous Letters

There have been strange happenings in East Haven over recent weeks. Anonymous letters have been dropping on the doormats of various people in the village. The letters alert us to the fact that a planning application has been submitted for an Anaerobic Digester plant at Hatton. Whoever the letter writer is they don't live in the village and they must be hugely concerned about this proposed plant. To be honest, we were aware of the application but we have been  researching the implications and evaluating whether or not it is the right place for such a development. We would never object to a development just because of it's close proximity to the village. Change as you know is inevitable and development can be good be it for renewables or to promote the local economy. On this occasion, our evaluation has led us to agree with our anonymous letter writer that there is sufficient concern that we should object. If you are interested in learning more about Anaerobic digesters or our specific objections they can be accessed via the Angus Council portal. 

Beetroot Bread!

We had a working lunch yesterday when we met Alan McKeown, Strategic Director Communities from Angus Council. We provided the soup and Alan provided the homemade beetroot bread. I don't know that we had  ever heard of beetroot bread before never mind tasted it. However, it was absolutely lovely. It has a light pink hue and is very light, tasty and low in salt and sugar. Given that we now grow beetroot in our community garden we were keen to know how to make it so he was good enough to share the secret recipe with us. We only had an hour but in addition to cooking secrets he also answered questions on a range of issues including, planning, budgets, beaches and community safety. As we have said before, we are very fortunate in having such a positive relationship with Angus Council and see their approach as being the way forward for Councils and communities across Scotland. It's a 'can do' approach and if they can do it, they will. Maybe if we supply the beetroot they will make more bread?

Congratulations Rod

We've enjoyed a great day today with John Simpson, Community Projects Officer from Keep Scotland Beautiful. Although John was in East Haven to talk to us about a beach award application he was also here to make a very special presentation. Our charity, East Haven Together, nominated Carnoustie man, Rod McLeod for the Clean up Scotland Hero Award and they agreed with us that Rod is a very worthy recipient of this prestigious award. Rod has been an inspiration to us in East Haven and became involved in the early days when we required a lot of support and guidance. He provides significant ongoing support and can often be seen in East Haven and surrounding areas cleaning up as he walks and cycles. More about Rod's work will be available in the press and on social media in the coming days. We had a wonderful day and enjoyed a celebratory lunch together. We look forward to another visit from John in the near future.

East Haven Heritage Bunting

Today we were made a presentation to Angus Embroidery and Textile Artists at Guthire Village Hall.  For those of you not familiar with Guthrie it is a lovely wee village just outside Friockheim. The beautiful gated entrance to Guthrie castle is surrounded by small quaint cottages and a Parish Church. We were there to provide some background information about our Heritage Bunting project and to allow people the opportunity to view the 123 panels. The idea to create Heritage Bunting came from one of our residents, Dareena Scott and enabled people from all over the UK and Maule in France to contribute to a community art project in 2014. We were blown away by the creativity and enthusiasm of people who used their skills and talents to create a panel of bunting which described something of their love or connection with East Haven. Each panel told it's own story but together, the 123 panels told the whole story of East Haven. If you would like to see the heritage bunting we have created a gallery on this web-site highlighting each piece and the story behind it.

Flourishing Communities and Productive Seas

A couple of us have just returned from Glasgow after participating in a workshop entitled, 'Flourishing Communities and Productive Seas', at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII). We were approached by the SUII last year when they hosted a series of workshops bringing together a range of experts spanning, land, coastal and marine expertise to develop a shared understanding of managing Scotland's coast and seas. Scotland published it's first National Marine Plan in 2015 and we are so pleased to have been involved as it has increased our understanding of the strategy and how we relate to it. We have contributed to the development of 7 lay person's guides to the National Marine Plan written by PAS and also made a presentation about East Haven as a coastal community. There are lots of things about the plan which we are encouraged by and one thing which we focused on in particular yesterday was the topic of, 'Good Environmental Status'. The main aim of this aspect of the planning is that by 2020 we will have seas which are bio-diverse, healthy, clean, productive and used sustainably. In East Haven, we feel that we are partners in helping to achieve this goal. There is a lot of work still to be done and we all, as members of the public, require to think more carefully about how what we do impacts on our seas and waterways. It has been very thought provoking and I'm sure we will all become much more aware of and involved in Scotland's Marine Plan in the future.

A new enterprise in the Ha'en!

You may well be wondering what is going on in the Ha'en after seeing the kind of books we are interested in these days. It was gifted to us by our very own Jean Stewart after a call for tips and ideas about how to use the range of herbs in our new garden at the Bothy. As many of you will know, we encourage residents and friends to take what they need when they need it from the herb and veg beds. However, a number of people have said that they are not sure how to use them so we are going to do more to share ideas and develop our culinary skills in 2016. Growing our own drugs wasn't quite the idea we expected to share but this book is a revelation and reminds us that not that long ago, plants and herbs were widely used for a range of medicinal purposes. Maybe there is a new enterprise for us in East Haven by way of a minor ailments clinic. I think we can deal with everything from sore throats, to varicose veins and insomnia. Personally, I am more interested in the memory booster and if we can master that one we might be in with a winner! In the meantime, if you have any quick hints and tips about how you use fresh herbs from the garden do let us know.

Bell Rock Lighthouse

We received this photograph during our octocentenary celebrations in 2014. It adds to the information we hold about Bell Rock lighthouse and shows the lighthouse keepers around 1879. Maurice, John Bissett, Peter Bissett and W Simpson. Bell Rock is the most famous lighthouse in Scotland and one of the seven wonders of the industrial world. In 2011 when the lighthouse celebrated it's 200th anniversary residents chartered a boat, the Ultimate Predator to take the 11 mile trip out to our famous lighthouse. It also lays claim to being the oldest sea washed building in the world. A real feat of engineering to think that it has withstood extreme weather and stormy seas over more than two centuries. It was one of those once in a life time experiences to see the lighthouse so close up and realise what an isolated and touch existence it must have been for these lighthouse keepers who lived on the rock for 4 weeks at a time. The last lighthouse keeper, John Boath only left in 1988.

From Monuments to Prime Ministers

Many people think that January is a quiet month in East Haven and whilst it may be quiet along the beach there is much going on within the village. January is the time that we begin putting our plans for the current year into action. The last few weeks have been particulalry busy as we have been in communication with a number of different agencies and organisations. Amongst other things we have also been reviewing draft public information leafets for Planning Aid Scotland which has proved interesting and informative. In addition, we have continued our research into the historical environment on Panmure Estate. Yesterday, we were given a guided tour covering just some of the historical monuments in the estate. We are so passionate about protecting our local heritage that we have opened a new page on this web-site which explains more about the connection to East Haven. Whilst we were there we were astonished to come across beautiful trees with plaques showing when and who planted them. We were shown a beautiful old Sycamore (Acer Pseudo Platanus) which was planted by none other than William E Gladstone who went on to become Britain's oldest serving Prime Minister. There is so much history within the estate it is no wonder that it is often said to be one of the most important hisotrical estates in Scotland. 

After the storms and floods

It took eighteen man hours to clean up a 300 metre stretch of the beach over the weekend. Recent storms followed by flooding in Aberdeen and Perth sent a mass of debris floating into the rivers and sea where it was brought in to get tangled in the dunes and amongst the seaweed. I think it's fair to say that we have never seen so much debris at the one time and it certainly could not wait until our spring beach clean to be removed. Angus Council were very helpful and within a couple of hours of a phone call from us this morning they had been out with their small van to remove the bags of rubbish and other large items that we removed. We were very grateful for their assistance as we had no energy left on Sunday afternoon to uplift it and take to the recycling centre.  We now need to tackle the beach and dunes to the north towards Elliot but we will need to wait for another weekend of dry weather before attempting this difficult stretch. Many thanks to all those who assisted. 

Fish hook injuries and dogs

As you know East Haven is a magnet for all kinds of leisure activities. Whilst cycling, dog walking and exploring the beach are probably the most popular, winter sea angling has risen significantly over the past few years. Local enthusiasts have always enjoyed a bit of night time fishing but the location now regularly attracts fishermen from as far away as Newcastle. So lucrative is the area for cod that it is economically viable for one group to leave their van and equipment permenantly in Arbroath to make travelling up and down the A1 quicker at the weekend. However, the increase in angling has created new problems for us to manage and the most serious of these is related to discarded fish hooks. Scores of these lethal hooks can be found tangled amongst the seaweed with the bait still attached. Sadly, dogs are attracted by the bait and have suffered terrible injuries and even ingested the hooks. This barbed hook was removed under anaesthesia from the mouth of an East Haven dog in 2014. We have tried to engage with the anglers to understand more about how they use their equipment and why it is neccassry to discard hooks. It seems that the risk of the hook getting caught in seaweed as they cast their line is considerable and they have no choice but to cut the line or lose their rod. A real dilemma when one legitimate leisure activity conflicts with another. On the one hand we have dog lovers feeling that sea angling is being undertaken at the expense of our dogs placing the beach out of bounds during the winter. Conversley, the sea anglers take the view that they have equal rights to enjoy the facility and that dogs should wear muzzles if they are prone to picking up bait. It's not easy to reconcile the two activities and find a balance acceptable for both users of the beach. So.... if you are reading this and have any ideas  to reduce the risks of hooks being discarded we would be very pleased to hear from you. As always, you can contact us via our contact page. 

Casualties of the storms

Many of you will remember the Puffin wreck of 2013 when hundreds of dead Puffins were washed up along the coast here in Angus. Sadly, the recent storms have seen this beautuiful little bird called an Auk become the latest casualty of the weather. Auks breed in the Arctic but migrate to northern Europe during winter. This year they have been blown off course and we have seen a number of dead birds here on the beach in East Haven. According to the BBC, some of them have been found in places such as Perth, Stirling and the Cairngorms. Because they are not landbased birds they can't take off from the ground so have been rescued and taken to the Scottish Wildlife Centre at Fishcross. Here in East Haven we don't seem to be seeing any live Auks unfortunately, just birds battered by the gales and washed up on our foreshore and dunes. So sad to see wildlife succumb to the elements but nothing we can do to prevent these casualties unfortunately. 

Weathering the storms

This photo was taken by Joyce and Ian Noble, Carnoustie and captures an early morning view of the bay covered in white foam. We've had lots of foam in the past but we have never seen it covering the beach like a blanket of snow. It even found it's way into the village where it clung to windows like soap suds before leaving a smear of salty water. However, we are not complaining, as the impact of the storm was hardly noticable in East Haven compared with the rest of Angus and the UK which suffered all the terrible flooding. Thankfully, the Council undertook drainage work along the Carnoustie to East Haven section of the cycle path which seems to have prevented any problems in Station Row this year. Looking forward to some dry colder weather next week.

1st January 2016

It will probably not come as any surprise to you to learn that we were out and about litter picking this afternoon. High winds and high tides have brought in a lot of plastic and blown debris so we decided to start the new year as we intend to go on and get out litter picking. We will publishing a list of our more formal beach cleans shortly but will be out everyday picking up something from the beach and surrounding areas.

It has to be said, that we got more than we bargained for today as it was difficult to keep litter in our bags as the wind was so strong. Far from inspiring new year walkers with our efforts I think they thought we were completely mad as we battled against the elements. However, we won't let the weather put us off as it is so important to clear what we can from the beach at this time of year. Beautiful Scotland celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2016 so we have our work cut out as we try to go the extra mile to do our bit to make Angus and Scotland a better place to live and visit. We wish all our friends and supporters every good wish for 2016.