You could be forgiven for thinking that we have been taking a long rest since the Britiain in Bloom awards ceremony in October. However, life in the fast lane has continued at a pace and we have been really busy with many different projects over recent weeks. This week has been particulalry hectic with presentations, meetings and report writing. On Tuesday we were in Cumbernauld presenting at the National LEAMS conference and yesterday we were presenting at Tayside Biodiversity's 20th anniversary conference. The event was held at the lovely headquaters of Scottish Natural Heritage at Battleby, near Perth. We were able to tell delegates that our biodiversity and environmental work contributed significantly to East Haven being awarded Gold and best coastal village in 2018. The picture shows Anne and Wendy with East Haven's table display.
It is hard to put into words the feelings of all those involved in East Haven at their achievement in the RHS Britain in Bloom finals. Thrilled, amazed, stunned and proud are all words which have been used to describe the realisation that East Haven has won Gold and the best coastal village award. On Friday evening when five representatives travelled to a ceremony in Belfast, residents waited anxiously to hear the results as they were announced. In addition to Gold and Best Coastal Village, Wendy, one of the East Haven volunteers was also awarded an RHS community champion discretionary award. A party was held in the village on Saturday night to celebrate the enormous achievement and hard work which has led to this historic moment in the life of East Haven.
East Haven’s achievement should give all communities hope that it is possible to make a difference to the place you live if there is sufficient willingness and community spirit amongst neighbours and friends. East Haven was the smallest coastal village in the category which included populations of up to 12,000. They were therefore judged alongside Filey, Lytham St Annes, Fishguard & Goodwick, Hunstanton and St Clement on Jersey. With a population of only 79 adults and a handful of children, East Haven was competing against places with many more resources and volunteers. However, East Haven has a strong record of working with organisations and supporters across Angus and it really was an Angus wide effort which saw East Haven achieve such success
Of course this was not an overnight success. Many people have worked hard over a number of years to not only improve the environment but also to develop a sense of community. At the party last night, residents took time to remember people such as, Heather Gist, Hugh Scott, Steve and Eric Duncan, Moira Scott, and Dave Ramsay. Along with many others, these individuals all contributed to the life of the village and helped to make a difference. As we all agreed last night, every action, however small, counts and demonstrates that people make places.
People in East Haven have been reflecting on the life of Eric Duncan who died a few days ago after a long illness. The Duncans were fishermen in East Haven and this photograph (circa 1932) shows Eric sitting with his grandfather, John Duncan, who lived in the original cottage at No.1 Shore Row. Over his lifetime, Eric lived in several properties in East Haven including No.10 Long Row. He was a time served joiner and also built No.7 Tankerville where he lived for a while before eventually moving back to No.1 Shore Row where he could be close to his boats. The white clinker built boat currently sited on the croft was also built by Eric. He held the Tay Fisheries Salmon Licence in the mid 1980s which meant he had the sole fishing rights between Carnoustie and Elliot. Despite being pre-deceased by his beloved wife Cathy and two sons Alan and Steve, Eric remained heavily involved in everything that was happening in the community. In the 1990s he built a bridge to enable people to cross the ‘Coos burn’ when walking north along the beach. Following it’s accidental removal in 2012 during the construction of the coastal path, a new bridge was built by residents to replace the much loved landmark. It was named after Eric who declared it officially open during a ceremony in October 2013. Eric was able to participate in many of the East Haven 800 celebrations and was a well-kent face in and around the village. We are sad it his loss but are very grateful for his many contributions to East Haven.
A few weeks ago we became aware that a large part of the dunes near the winches is eroding due to an increase in visitor numbers. Due to the severity of the problem we asked Angus Council Coastal Management team for an urgent on-site meeting to explore what action should be taken to prevent the problem getting any worse and to help the dune system recover. As a result, we have agreed a number of immediate and longer term actions to help recovery and prevent further damage in the future. Firstly, we have fenced off the area of greatest concern and started to plant coastal grasses. Luckily, Stan Beattie had grown hundreds of Marram and Lyme grasses from seed earlier this year. Marram and Lyme grasses are the best coastal defence as they provide a strong structure to bind the dunes. We have already planted around 300 grasses but intend planting a further 800 across two key areas of dune this autumn. Further plans and protection work will be cariied out over the next year as we raise funds to assist us in this important area of dune conservation.
On Sunday 16th September 17 volunteers attended the Great British Beach Clean in East Haven. It was only a week since the same 1km stretch had been cleaned when littoral artist, Julia Barton visited. Despite this, a further 16 bags of marine litter was removed which is jaw dropping and of enormous concern. All items were painstakingly recorded and uploaded to the Marine Conservation Society to inform research and knowledge about what is happening on our Scottish coasts. As you can see from the chart opposite, 86.5% of the material comprised plastic or polystyrene. Residents in East Haven are trying to eliminate the use of single use plastic items in an attempt to raise awareness of the environmental damage this waste is inflicting on our seas and wildlife. Many thanks to all those who volunteered and gave their precious time to this great effort.