A9 Dualling Updates

Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group - Constitution 

a9duelling2

We’ve hit the ground running in 2018 and are very glad that over 100 folk were able to attend the Community Council’s A9 Dualling meeting on the 8th January. Thanks to those who came to the Community Group’s meetings at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel in December and January, and to the CG’s representatives on the project Steering Group for their continued hard work with Transport Scotland, Jacobs and PAS to design the Co-Creative process.
At the December CG meeting we presented the Community Objectives, the results of the very well attended “Big Ask” day at the Duchess Anne on 11th November (thanks again to all who came!)  
Community Objectives
As a reminder, our final summary objectives for the dualling project are:
•    Health, Noise and Wellbeing: Reduce noise and pollution
•    Landscape and Environment: Protect and enhance the distinctive landscape and natural heritage of the area.
•    Safety: Provide safe access to and from the A9 and improve safety on village roads
•    Local Economy: Promote sustainable local economic growth
•    Active Travel and Recreation: Improve provision for cycling and walking
•    Public Transport: Bus services and train services are maintained and improved
•    Historic Environment: Preserve and enhance historical features, including the railway station.
These will be available at all community events, as they inform the whole process, alongside the Transport Scotland objectives. The detailed objectives were emailed to everyone on the CG list; please let us know if you’d like a copy sent.
Future Community Group Meetings
As there will be many co-creative events and activities going on in the coming months, we propose that we change to having CG meetings every second month, with planned dates being 22nd March and 31st May. We’ll keep everyone up to date by email of course as well as through our “Bridge” reports.
Community Engagement Facilitator
One condition of the appointment of PAS as facilitator for the Co-Creative process was that the Community Group would select a community engagement facilitator who would be included in the PAS team. Hazel Allen of Athena Solutions has being appointed to this role, working with her associates Fiona Chalmers and Richard Heggie.
Co-Creative Update
The “A9 Co-Creative” is a partnership process between our community and Transport Scotland to work together to create a preferred design for the dualling of the A9 between Pass of Birnam (where the present dual carriageway finishes at the bottom of the hill coming from Perth) and Tay Crossing (0.5 km beyond Jubilee Bridge).
The Co-Creative road design process started in January with drop in events (including creative workshops for children, facilitated by Children’s Parliament) and a workshop
The process has five stages, in all of which the community will be involved, which are broadly:
• January: Collect ideas
• February: Build list of options (keeping in all options for dualling that can meet safety standards and pulling together any duplicates)
• March/April: Create a 'long list' of options
• April/May: Select a 'short list' of options
• June 2018: Agree preferred option
Stage One - Community Ideas
Thanks to everyone who attended the January events and submitted ideas and/or came to ask questions about the process. (We’ve helped prepare a new version of “Frequently Asked Questions”, available on the new website (see below), “Bridge” online, and our own facebook page.)
Note: Don’t worry if you didn’t get to one of these. If you had previously given ideas for any part of the road design, for example at “Big Ask” day or earlier, all of these are being included and will be part of the process; and you can use the new website.
New Website
The “A9 Co-Creative” now has its own website. Check out www.A9Co-Creative.scot for lots of background information and details of planned events.  We shall continue to provide information by email as well, and on the A9 CG facebook page.
One of the most exciting features of the process is that if you have submitted a design idea, you will be able to track it through the process and find out whether or not it has been taken forward and the reasons for this. This will also be available on the website (this feature still under development as we write in mid January), so keep an eye on it.
Briefing of MSPs and Councillors
We have continued to have regular briefing meetings with John Swinney MSP and have done an updated written briefing for all MSPs and Councillors.
We are still very keen to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in any aspect of the Community Group’s work, and also to have any suggestions on how we can better communicate both with the community and at our meetings!
You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com  - also to have your details added to our mailing list if you wish also at Facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group. Please Like and Share it.
Or just phone me!    Best wishes for 2018!   Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator   01350 727361


 

The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 25th January at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel. 7:30 pm. All welcome!
Big Community Ask
Thanks to everyone who supported the Big Ask on Saturday 11th November. Over 230 of you came along to comment and vote on what matters most to you for the A9 dualling process, through a set of draft community objectives. The Duchess Anne was buzzing with discussions, chats and questions about the community objectives, all helped along by live music and tasty food. The final objectives from the Big Ask will be used to underpin the co-creative process, which will inform the design of the road.
Children's voices are at the heart of this process. The Children's Parliament facilitated a creative project with the Royal School of Dunkeld, so local children could be heard and involved in the process. Stunning artwork brought colour to the hall, and was much admired.
Alasdair Wylie, Co-ordinator of the Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community group said “It was fantastic to see so many people at the Big Ask – saying how they think a successful A9 dualling project could benefit the community, and how negative impacts could be avoided. This is a unique opportunity for the whole community to have its voice heard, and we hope this process will set an example for other major infrastructure developments elsewhere in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
Julie Menzies, Acting Head of The Royal School of Dunkeld said; “The community supported us greatly last session as we celebrated our 450th birthday. This term, we were asked to support the community. Invited by the Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group, our P7 pupils have had the opportunity to work with the Children’s Parliament this week on a creative project exploring the children’s ‘hopes and dreams for the future of their community’. The artwork they produced to be on display at ‘The Big Ask’ is absolutely stunning. Our project was a small part of a much bigger community project and we felt privileged that the children had the opportunity to have their voices heard in such a creative and unbiased way. “
John Swinney, the community’s constituency MSP said on the day of the event, “Today I’ve heard first-hand what the community wants to see from the A9 dualling project across a range of themes – from safety to health, natural heritage to the historic environment. I’ve been particularly impressed with the children of the Royal School of Dunkeld – whose vision for their community is an inspiration to us all. I’m sure what I’ve seen today heralds a positive start to community’s work with Transport Scotland to find a preferred solution for the A9 dualling in this area.”
Co-Creative Process
Since the finalization of the agreement with Transport Scotland (TS) for them to appoint PAS as facilitator of the Co-Creative process, with conditions from the A9 Community Group (CG), things have moved fast.
A Programme Board (CG and TS) and a Steering Group (CG,TS, Jacobs and PAS) have been established and the Steering Group has met weekly since October, working on the design of the Co-Creative process.
It is planned that this process will take place between January and May/June 2018
The Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council are holding a public meeting about the A9 on Monday 8th January (7.30pm) at Birnam Arts.
Finally, we want to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy new year. Thanks to everyone for all your help and support this year.
We are very keen to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in any aspect of the CG’s work, and also to have any suggestions on how we can better communicate both with the community and at our meetings!
You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com - and to have your details added to our mailing list, also at facebook page:
Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group. Please Like and Share it. or just phone me!
Alasdair Wylie,
Coordinator 01350 727361


Community Council Public Meeting about A9 Dualling
Birnam Institute, Monday, January 8th, 7:30pm
Two years since the February 2016 public meeting about dualling the A9, another public meeting organised by the Community Council will be held on Monday, January 8th at 7:30pm at the Birnam Institute. The purpose is to discuss developments over those two years as well as the immediate and unique opportunity everyone in the community will have to contribute to the design of a route for our stretch of the A9. The meeting is a chance to ask questions about what has happened or not happened, why, and what is planned for the first half of 2018—as well the next few years. Everyone is welcome and anyone who wishes to speak will be heard.
In some ways, little has happened in the last two years. We do not know where the road will go, how it will be built, and what the impact and implications are for all the communities in this Community Council area. One very important thing did happen. Transport Scotland did not decide for us where the road would go or how it would be built and what will happen to our train station. Instead, they have agreed to participate directly with anyone in the community who wishes to contribute directly to the design of the road, its route and its character. Those opportunities to contribute directly will occur here in Dunkeld and Birnam between January and May 2018. The opportunities will be facilitated by an independent organisation with a record of helping communities, Planning Aid Scotland. The opportunities will be part of a process for creating a road design that will be put to the Scottish Government for approval. We believe this is unique and has never happened in Scotland, nor probably in the UK. This is our best chance to get a road we can live with.
More detail will be available at the public meeting. In addition to opportunities later in January to submit ideas, there will be a box to receive your written comments or ideas about the A9. If you’re interested in the A9, please come on January 8th at 7:30pm to the Birnam Institute.


A9 Dualling Community Engagement Event, Mid Atholl Hall Ballinluig, on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th December 2017
A9 event


What's a Co-Creative Process? Put simply, the community will sit “round the table” with Transport Scotland over about five months in 2018 and will work through a process to identify, develop and evaluate preferred roads and junctions options for the A9 dualling project at Dunkeld and Birnam to Tay Crossing.
IMG 9641
The Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group and Transport Scotland are working together to agree roads and junctions options for the Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing section of the A9 dualling project. Download FAQ here.


Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group Update

Transport Scotland are working with our community to design and deliver a co-creative process to explore all options for the Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing section of the A9 Dualling Project. This means bringing the community and Transport Scotland together, to achieve a preferred option for the community.

Having your say

For the process to be co-creative, we need to decide what matters most to the community, and set this out in our community objectives. It is important that as a  community we develop our own set of objectives, as these will inform options, propose solutions and create a vision for what we want from the dualling. Our objectives, with those of Transport Scotland, for dualling the A9, will then form the basis for the co-creative process. We want as many people to have their say as possible, at the outset of this important opportunity for the community to have a genuine say on the A9 dualling outcome. We have organised a programme of workshops and a community event to help do this.

Workshop programme

Thanks to everyone who came along to the themed workshops held earlier. These workshops will help shape our community objectives, and will build on what you have already told us through the survey last year and the open sessions in June. There are still a few workshops in the programme on issues we have not yet covered. Dates for these are as follows:

·       Wednesday 1st November: Local Economy and Recreation (6pm-7.30pm, Royal Dunkeld Hotel)

·       Monday 6th November: Public Transport and Safety (8pm-9.30pm, Birnam Arts)

There is no need to book, just come along!

Big Community Event: Saturday 11th November (11am-2pm, Duchess Anne, Dunkeld)

Pop in to have your final say on the full set of draft community objectives. You'll be able to discuss the draft objectives, vote on your priorities and make any comments. There will be lots of music, food and children’s activities, so come along for a fun way to get your voice heard.

Next Community Group Meeting

Thursday 23rd November, 7.30-9.30pm, Royal Dunkeld Hotel.

Keeping in touch

We are very keen to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in any aspect of the CG’s work, and also to have any suggestions on how we can better communicate both with the community and at our meetings!

You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com  - and to have your details added to our mailing list, also at  facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.
Please Like and Share it. or just phone me!  

Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator   01350 727361


 

Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group Update
Transport Scotland are working with our community to design and deliver a co-creative process to explore all options for the Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing section of the A9 Dualling Project. This means bringing the community and Transport Scotland together, to achieve a preferred option for the community.
Having your say
For the process to be co-creative, we need to decide what matters most to the community, and set this out in our community objectives. It is important that as a  community we develop our own set of objectives, as these will inform options, propose solutions and create a vision for what we want from the dualling. Our objectives, with those of Transport Scotland, for dualling the A9, will then form the basis for the co-creative process. We want as many people to have their say as possible, at the outset of this important opportunity for the community to have a genuine say on the A9 dualling outcome. We have organised a programme of workshops and a community event to help do this.
Workshop programme
Thanks to everyone who came along to the themed workshops held earlier. These workshops will help shape our community objectives, and will build on what you have already told us through the survey last year and the open sessions in June. There are still a few workshops in the programme on issues we have not yet covered. Dates for these are as follows:
•    Wednesday 1st November: Local Economy and Recreation (6pm-7.30pm, Royal Dunkeld Hotel)
•    Monday 6th November: Public Transport and Safety (8pm-9.30pm, Birnam Arts)
There is no need to book, just come along!
Big Community Event: Saturday 11th November (11am-2pm, Duchess Anne, Dunkeld)
Pop in to have your final say on the full set of draft community objectives. You'll be able to discuss the draft objectives, vote on your priorities and make any comments. There will be lots of music, food and children’s activities, so come along for a fun way to get your voice heard.
Next Community Group Meeting
Thursday 23rd November, 7.30-9.30pm, Royal Dunkeld Hotel.
Keeping in touch
We are very keen to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in any aspect of the CG’s work, and also to have any suggestions on how we can better communicate both with the community and at our meetings!
You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com  - and to have your details added to our mailing list, also at Facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.  Please Like and Share it.
or just phone me! 
Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator   01350 727361


The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 26th October at the
Royal Dunkeld Hotel. 7:30 pm. All welcome!
After 2 years of hard work and ongoing discussion with Transport Scotland and Scottish Ministers, we are nearing the start of a Co-Creative process as the way to engage the community in developing joint options for the design of the A9 dualling between the Pass of Birnam and Tay Crossing. This new process reflects the expected improvements in public consultation, following recent changes to planning legislation. We anticipate the process will start its work with the community by January 2018 and conclude in the summer.
New community support staff: The A9 CG has appointed Elizabeth Leighton as project manager to support the community through the co-creative process. She will be joined by a Project Assistant, Helen Stockham, who will provide communications and administrative support. Elizabeth is an independent consultant based in Aberfeldy, experienced in facilitation, research, and community engagement. Helen lives in Birnam, and has worked on a variety of sustainability, community and digital engagement projects. You can reach either Elizabeth or Helen through the Community Group email - dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com.
Completing the Open Programme: We’ve had lots of people participate in the Open Programme sessions, which ran in early summer to discuss the key themes that emerged from our community survey in 2016. Everyone felt welcome to ask about and discuss issues, even if new to it all. Three events on active travel, local economy and safety are to come in October.
Setting our community objectives: The A9 CG is also about to initiate events to identify our community objectives for the A9 dualling. Work with the school and the Children’s Parliament will ensure local children also get their voices heard. Here are some of the questions we’ll consider:
• What’s important to us?
• What would we like to keep the same and what do we want to change?
• What would be a successful A9 Dualling project?
• What should our community look like in 10 years?
These objectives will be a key input to the Co-Creative Process and sit alongside Transport Scotland objectives to inform discussions on dualling options.
During October we will reach out to groups, businesses and individuals who want to have their say –contact Elizabeth or Helen if you would like a presentation, workshop or just a 1:1 meeting to talk about the community objectives. We’re keen to work with you to make it easy to contribute.
All contributions will be gathered together for a big community workshop – for everyone! – planned for early November to discuss, debate and approve a final set of community objectives.
Questions? Comments? Contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com - and have your details added to our mailing list, also at facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group. Please Like and Share it. Or just phone me!
Alasdair Wylie,
Coordinator 01350 727361


 The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Wednesday 27th September, Royal Dunkeld Hotel, 7.30pm.  All welcome!  

HELP!:  WE DO NEED MORE FOLK to help out with secretarial/admin tasks of various kinds; helping chair and take notes at meetings from time to time;  and publicity/communications tasks. If you think that what the A9 Community Group is doing is important and can spare even occasional time, do please get in touch!

•    The A9 Community Group core group met with Transport Scotland (TS) again on 18th July, together with PAS (Planning Aid Scotland), appointed by TS as facilitator for the Co-Creative Process.  Our concerns about the appointment have still not been resolved, various options for the role of PAS were discussed at the 24th August A9 Community Group meeting, and there was to be another meeting with TS after that.

•    Following the very positive visit of Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown in June, a detailed funding proposal has been submitted for Scottish Government support to pay for a project facilitator for (i) completion of the Community led Stage 1 of the Co-Creative Process and (ii)  Stage 2 through the rest of the Co-Creative Process; and (iii) to pay for a Community Group Assistant.

•    A first meeting of the “Solutions Group” took place in July, a forum for some Community Group members to share thinking about the A9 dualling design options.

•    Planning is underway for two more events in September which could not be included in the June  Open Programme of community-led events  on Active Travel/Walking and Cycling, and on Safety Issues;  a third on Local Economy is also planned.  Watch out for details by email, on posters/flyers and on facebook (see below)

•    The second part of the Community led Stage 1 of the Co-Creative Process is also planned, for end September; this will conclude the Community Objective Setting stage and vision for the community.

•    Work has continued with Children’s Parliament to bring together a stream of activity to inform the completion of Stage 1 and following parts of the Co-Creative Process, involving people from across the wider community.

We are very keen to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in any aspect of the CG’s work, and also to have any suggestions on how we can better communicate both with the community and at our meetings!

You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com  - and to have your details added to our mailing list, also at  facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.  Please Like and Share it.
or just phone me!  Hope you’ve all had a good summer.

Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator  01350 727361


 Transport Scotland has added a section to their website to load up information to support the co-creative process. At the first of the community open sessions (Cultural Heritage and Historic Environment, 12th June) they said they would load up the baseline environmental work done to date to provide supporting information. That work is now available at this location.

The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 24th August, Royal Dunkeld Hotel, 7.30pm. All welcome!
Apologies for the last minute cancellation of the 22nd June meeting.
• On 31st May the first AGM of the A9 Community Group (CG) was held. The office bearers elected were:
Coordinator: Alasdair Wylie; Deputy Coordinator: Mike Wolfe; Treasurer: Ken Davis; Secretary: Vacant.
The Open Programme of community-led events in June to inform & involve everyone (details as in the June “Bridge”) has gone very well, with good feedback from community members and public body representatives who attended; thanks to all of you and them.
• Two events which could not be included in the June programme, Active Travel/Walking and Cycling, and Safety Issues, will be held in late August/early September. Watch out for emails and posters and on facebook (see below)
• The purpose of these events is to provide people with a space to be together to find out more about and discuss the issues that the 2016 Community Survey results showed that people cared about in relation to the A9 Dualling.
If you or your local group would like to be involved in any of these events, please get in touch.
The A9 CG had sourced funding to get going on this community-led stage of the process. We are grateful to LUSH for this support and also to the Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council which has given microgrant support (from the Griffin
Windfarm fund) to cover basic costs for the last year.
A first meeting of the CG “Solutions Group” was planned, to act as a forum for those who have been thinking about the dualling design options to share their thinking.
Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown visited on 1st June and spent time on the ground in Kindallachan and Birnam learning about the situation and some of the local issues which concern folk. It was a very positive visit and we hope that there will be some direct support from the Scottish Government to help fund our Community Objectives related activities in September as well as a continuing constructive dialogue.
One thing of interest to the Cabinet Secretary was our recent discussions with Children’s Parliament, an organization which
works to give children the chance to voice ideas, thoughts and concerns so that they can be listened to when things are being
planned. See http://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/
• The A9 CG core group met with Transport Scotland (TS) and Jacobs on 19th June for the first time this year. Despite the
long delay by TS it was a generally positive meeting. Central to the discussions was our concerns about the appointment by
TS of PAS (Planning Aid Scotland) as facilitators for the Co-Creative Process, without consultation on the appointment brief.
There will be another meeting during the summer.
Briefings with John Swinney MSP have continued and the A9 Community Group remains very appreciative indeed of the
continued support he has provided.
Updates on the information provided and discussions held at A9 Community Group meetings, and the AGM minutes, are available on the “Bridge” website at: http://www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk/community-council/a9-dualling
We are very keen to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in any aspect of the CG’s work, and also to have any suggestions on how we can better communicate both with the community and at our meetings!
You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com - and to have your details added to our mailing list, also at facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group. Please Like and Share it.
Or just phone me! Wishing you all a good summer and holidays.
Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator 01350 727361


 Future events organised by the Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group:
You can download a copy of the events list by clicking here.
Flyer1flyer2

There is one change: Active Travel (Walking, Cycling) , Non-Motorised Users event was Monday 19th June,  new date to be confirmed.

Our Facebook page also shows all the dates and events so we are encouraging people to use this too: https://www.facebook.com/Birnam-to-Ballinluig-A9-Community-Group-278325772500670/


Open Programme: Your opportunity to find out more about issues you said you cared about in the Community Survey.
Each event will include short presentations about key issues, further information, Q&A and discussion.
• Cultural Heritage & Historic Environment – Monday 12th June, 8pm-9.30 pm, Birnam Arts
• Natural Heritage: Habitats and Landscape – Wednesday 14th June, 8pm-9.30pm Birnam Arts.
• Active Travel, Non-Motorised Users – Monday 19th June, 8pm-9.30 pm, Birnam Arts
• Community Health: Air, Noise, Vibration, Dust – Wednesday 21st June, 8pm-9.30 pm, Birnam Arts
• Public Transport, Dunkeld & Birnam Station – Monday 26th June, 8pm-9.30 pm, Birnam Arts
• Natural Heritage: Protected Species - Wednesday 28th June 8pm-9.30 pm, Birnam Arts
• Evening Walk: Birnam Station to Braan (Inver) – 29th June, 7.30-9.30pm, Depart from Birnam Arts
More events to be confirmed, see posters & facebook updates.
If you or your local group would like to be involved in any of these topics or events in the programme, then please get in touch.
Email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com
Alasdair Wylie,
Coordinator 01350 727361


The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 22nd June, Royal Dunkeld Hotel, 7.30pm.
All welcome!
• The A9 Community Group has sourced funding to get going on a community-led stage of the process, the purpose of which is to find out more about what you said you care about in the Community Survey done last year.
• An Open Programme of events to inform & involve everyone starts in June. Please see above for information on the different events.
• If you or your local group would like to be involved in any of these events, please get in touch.
A full update on the information provided and discussions held at recent meetings is available on the “Bridge” website at: http://www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk/community-council/a9-dualling
We are very keen to hear peoples’ suggestions on how we can better communicate with the community! You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com and at the facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group

Alasdair Wylie,
Coordinator 01350 727361


The next A9 Community Group meeting and AGM will be on Wednesday 31st May, Royal Dunkeld Hotel, 7.30pm
All welcome!
Please note: The Constitution of the Group provides for the election of four office bearers at the AGM: Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator, Secretary and Treasurer. Nominations for office bearers may be submitted to the Secretary before the meeting or at the meeting, to the email address below.
A full update on the information provided and discussions held at recent meetings is available on the ‘Bridge’ website at: http://www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk/community-council/a9-dualling
We are very keen to hear peoples’ suggestions on how we can better communicate with the community! You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com and at the facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group

Alasdair Wylie,
Coordinator 01350 727361


The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Wednesday 26th April, Royal Dunkeld Hotel, 7.30pm. All welcome! Thank you to all who managed to attend the March meeting and apologies for any inconvenience caused by the change in the previously advertised date.
A full update on the information provided and discussions held at the March meeting is available on this page.
We are very keen to hear peoples’ suggestions on how we can better communicate with the community!
You can contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com and at the facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group
Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator  
01350 727361


The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 23rd March, Royal Dunkeld Hotel, 7.30pm.
All welcome! It was great to see new folk coming along to recent meetings.
Thank you to all attending for your valued input.
Key events since December:
December 2016:
• Transport Scotland (TS) announced the decision that the A9 Dualling between the Tay Crossing and Ballinluig was to be ‘online’, rather than the ‘offline’ option investigated last year. You can see the proposed route options here. (but it takes a while to download and its not that easy to read for some)
http://www.transport.gov.scot/system/files/documents/projects/A9%20Dualling/A9-Tay-Crossing-to-Ballinluig-Preferred-Route-Preferred-Route-Option-Plan.pdf
• A second draft of the Co-creative Process plan (for the Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing section) was received from TS. It needed further work especially to simplify process. Significant efforts were made to do so but the Community Group’s next version was not accepted by them.
• At a meeting on 16th Dec with TS and Jacobs, the Community Group representatives continued to feed back two concerns – that the process plan was not yet complete and agreed, and that the present document was too unwieldy to be an accessible communication (such as a leaflet) - a concern expressed clearly at CG meetings. This was a difficult meeting, however, there were some points clearly agreed and some constructive suggestions made.
http://www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk/images/A9_CG_Core_Group_meeting_with_TS__161216_key_points.v0.2.pdf
• In particular, the need for a facilitator to be appointed as soon as possible was agreed, to assist the design, delivery and completion of the Co-creative Process. It was agreed that the Community Group propose possible candidates as soon as possible; those referred by TS by then did not demonstrate particular skills and experience in facilitation or design of participative decision making processes.
January/February 2017:
• Members of the Group worked up a list, did some desk based research and explored availability of two candidates recommended. A preferred candidate with facilitation as well as other key skills and experience emerged.
• A proposal paper for facilitation “next steps” for discussion with Transport Scotland went through due process and agreement with the Community Group at its January meeting. It has also been shared with “Planning Aid for Scotland”, with whom both CG representatives and TS are in touch, to see if they can play a role in the process.
• A request for a meeting between the Project Manager and the Co-ordinator of the Community Group was made in mid January to establish how we could urgently move forward more constructively and positively to the next steps. This took place on 7th Feb and it was hoped that a next meeting would be in the week beginning 20th Feb.
Tay Crossing to Ballinluig A9 Exhibitions
• A public exhibition on current proposals was to have been held on 15th and 16th Feb in the Mid-Atholl Hall, Ballinluig. If any residents did not receive notification of the exhibition, please contact the Secretary and also Jacobs/Transport Scotland. The web link for the event circulated by them first was not working, but was fixed and you will find details here: http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/a9-tay-crossing-ballinluig
For the latest news update please go the The Bridge website at http://www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk/community-council/a9-dualling or contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com, or at the facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.
Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator 01350 727361


A9 Dualling Programme: Perth to Inverness

Tay Crossing to Ballinluig Preferred Route Public Exhibitions

Following the announcement of the Preferred Corridor and Route Decision on 5 December 2016, public exhibitions are being held on 15 and 16 February 2017.  These exhibitions will give local communities and road users the opportunity to see and comment on the outcome of the route option assessment work and the preferred option for the Tay Crossing to

Ballinluig dualling project – part of the A9 Dualling Programme.

Transport Scotland officials and design consultants will be on hand to discuss the preferred option and answer any questions.

Details of the public exhibitions are as follows:

Date

Time

Venue

Wednesday 15 February 2017

12:00 – 19:00

Mid Atholl Hall, Ballinluig

Thursday 16 February 2017

11:00 – 15:00

Mid Atholl Hall, Ballinluig

For further information, please visit

http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/a9-dualling-perth-inverness

Sarah Morgan – Stakeholder Manager
Jacobs Infrastructure UK Ltd


Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group - Working constructively to get the best community outcomes from the A9 dualling proposals
The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 23rd February, venue tbc, 7.30pm. All welcome!
For the latest news update please check this page or contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com, or at the facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.
Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator, 01350 727361


 The Community Council has received a letter from Jacobs in response to the detailed submission to Transport Scotland compiled by the A9 Working Group on behalf of the council.

Click here to view the letter.


A9 Dualling Perth to Inverness, Tay Crossing to Ballinluig – Preferred Corridor and Route Decision

Following assessment work on the online and offline options for the Tay Crossing to Ballinluig dualling project, it has been confirmed that the preferred option for dualling that section will comprise online widening of the A9.

Supporting documents including a plan showing the route can be viewed on Transport Scotland’s website at http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/a9-tay-crossing-ballinluig

Sarah Morgan – Stakeholder Manager
Jacobs Infrastructure UK Ltd


 The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 15th December at Little Dunkeld Kirk, 7.30pm. There will be a discussion about the latest version of the plan for the new Co-creative Community Engagement process, which will be circulated before the meeting. All welcome!
The following Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 26th January 2017, same place and time.


 The Constitution of the Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group, adopted at the CG meeting of 25th August 2016, provides for the election of the following office bearers:

a)  Coordinator
b)  Deputy Coordinator
c)  Secretary
d)  Treasurer

The election will be conducted at the next A9 Community Group meeting on Thursday 24th November, 7:30pm at Little Dunkeld Kirk.

Nominations for the office bearer positions can be sent to the Secretary at this email address at any time up to the date of this meeting. Nominations will be accepted from the floor at the meeting if none have been submitted in advance.


Key activities since October:
Co-Creative Community Engagement plan : Transport Scotland gave a broad acceptance of our proposal and of the timescale envisaged (for the time being, regarding the section from Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing) at a meeting in Birnam on 6th October, a major step forward.
Their first draft engagement plan with timescale was circulated to all Community Group members and discussed at the 27th October CG meeting, returned to Transport Scotland with comments and suggested edits and discussed again with them at a small group meeting on 7th November.
TS will have responded with a further version by 18th November which was discussed at the 24th November Community Group meeting. Further comments and suggested edits were returned to TS and are being discussed at a small group meeting in Birnam in early December.
The results of that meeting and the next version of the community engagement paper will be reported back to the 15th December Community Group meeting for further discussion and, we hope, finalisation.
We will keep everyone informed of developments by email and in The Bridge online.
Tay Crossing to Ballinluig section : At the time of writing (mid Nov) Transport Scotland’s advice is that a decision on the offline/online options is targeted for late autumn, “in the next few weeks”.
A9 Community Survey: The full survey report as well as the summary slide presentation are also available on the A9 Dualling page of The Bridge online. If anyone would like a hard copy, please contact us, details below.
MSP Briefings:We have continued to brief MSPs on the progress of meetings with Transport Scotland/Jacobs as well as on the community survey results, and appreciate very much the close interest they have taken in following up with Transport Scotland.
If you want to make opinions/feedback known to your elected representatives at local or national level, you can find out who they are and their contact details at writetothem.com
If you want to get more involved or get more information please contact us at email:
dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com and/ or come to the next Community Group meeting. Facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.
Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator 01350 727361


The next A9 Community Group meeting will be on Thursday 24th November at Little Dunkeld Kirk, 7.30pm. There will be an update on further discussions with Transport Scotland on planning for the Co-creative Community Engagement process, to which they have in broad terms agreed.  All welcome!

Key activities since September:
A9 Community Survey:  A well attended meeting on 15th September was given a first presentation of the main results of the survey, which had a tremendous 452 responses by 31st August and which has yielded a rich amount of information and opinion.  A draft full report was shared at the Community Group meeting on 28th September and after further editing sent to Transport Scotland prior to meeting with them in Birnam on 6th October to discuss it.
The full survey report as well as the presentation are available on the A9 Dualling page of “The Bridge” online, link below. If anyone would like a hard copy, please contact us.
Thank you again to everyone who completed the Community Survey, helped at or stopped to talk at one of the pop up stalls, discussed with residents, and undertook data analysis and preparation of the presentation of results and of the full report.
Co-Creative Community Engagement proposal : 
The proposal, sent to Transport Scotland at the end of August, was discussed with them and Jacobs at a meeting in Birnam on 2nd September and again at the 6th October meeting. (Copy also available at The Bridge online).  At the latter one, Transport Scotland indicated broad acceptance of the proposal and of the timescale envisaged (for the time being, regarding the section from Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing); this is a major step forward. We expect to have a next meeting with them in early November to begin to plan the new engagement process and will meanwhile keep everyone informed of developments by email and in The Bridge online.
MSP Briefings:
We have continued to brief MSPs on the progress of meetings with Transport Scotland/Jacobs as well as on the community survey results, and appreciate very much the close interest they have taken in following up matters with Transport Scotland.  If you want to make opinions/feedback known to your elected representatives at local or national level, you can find out who they are and their contact details at writetothem.com
If you want to get more involved or get more information please contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com  and/ or come to the next Community Group meeting. You can also get information, documents and contact details for the Community Group at The Bridge website http://www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk/community-council/a9-dualling  or at the facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.

Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator   01350 727361


Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group update - Working constructively to get the best community outcomes from the A9 dualling

There will be a Community Meeting on Thursday 15th September at the Birnam Hotel, 7.30pm, at which the results of the A9 community survey will be presented and updates given on discussions with Transport Scotland and Jacobs. All welcome! (Note: date changed from 14th Sept advised before).
Key activities since June:
Briefings of MSPs; Response from Jacobs to April submission by A9 Working Group; Technical meeting with Transport Scotland/Jacobs to review response and press for more meaningful engagement with community; Discussions with advisors on an improved engagement process; Continuation of leafleting for community survey; Pop up stalls in Dunkeld and at Birnam Arts; Discussions with residents closest to A9; Monthly meetings of Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group; Drafting of Constitution for Community Group; Regular meetings of Communications and Strategy Sub-Group Councillor and MSP Communications: Following constructive meetings with John Swinney MSP, Murdo Fraser MSP and Mark Ruskell MSP reported on in the June update, there has been a short verbal update to each of the MSPs and letters prepared updating them on the 29th June meeting with Transport Scotland/Jacobs and next steps proposed.
Meeting Jacobs/Transport Scotland: As previously reported, despite requests Transport Scotland/Jacobs had confirmed that they would not attend a public meeting. There was agreement to a smaller ‘technical meeting’ with the Community Group, which was attended by the Co-ordinator, Chair of DBCC, a couple of Comms & Strategy Sub Group members and lead contributors on each section of the submission that had been made in April. In the course of the meeting on 29th June it was possible to give just an impression of major outstanding concerns, remaining gaps and questions in relation to each theme (for example any assessment of health impacts), the stress, lack of awareness of residents (even immediately adjacent to the route) of the proposals (e.g. that junction proposals had quadrupled in the new proposals set out this year), and lack of provision of accessible information for all were all outlined.
Transport Scotland asked what was requested and directed to the headline request in the April Community Council submission (a request to which there had been no response) to work together to design a meaningful process to achieve workable solution.
However, as so much trust in the process had now been lost it was recommended that a proper participative process to deliver benefits for the community should be designed. This has political support and it was agreed that the Community Group would come back to Transport Scotland with a proposal and accompanied with a request to extend the timeline, should that be required. This has been sent.
It was explained that the community survey would be underway until end August and that survey outcomes and trends would be shared with the community, Transport Scotland and Jacobs in September after the survey closes.
Thank you to everyone who completed the Community Survey and/or helped at or stopped to talk at one of the pop up stalls. The survey will help inform the Community Group, but please do write directly to Jacobs/Transport Scotland as well with opinions, questions, concerns, ideas.
Feedback from door to door chats is demonstrating that some people, even those immediately adjacent to the route or new junctions, still have no idea about the proposals that will affect them directly. If you want to communicate opinions/feedback to your elected representatives at local or national level, find out who they are and contact details at writetothem.com
Volunteers to help with continuing pop up stalls will be welcomed.
Next steps:
Jacobs was trying to push a ‘participative’ process to take place to a very short deadline with a small number of people.
Meanwhile there have been urgent and thorough explorations on designing an appropriate proposal for better engagement with the community including dialogue with Planning Aid Scotland and a senior planning adviser. The proposal will have been discussed at the 25th August Community Group meeting before going to Transport Scotland.
If you want to get more involved or get more information please contact us at email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com and/ or come to the Community Meeting on Thursday 15th September, Birnam Hotel, 7.30pm.
You can also get information and individual contact details for the Community Group on the Facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.
Alasdair Wylie, Coordinator,
01350 727361


The Community Group would like to express a huge thanks to those of you who were able to come to guided walks, meetings in June, or who have otherwise contributed so far. Huge apologies to anyone who has missed out on any updates due to technical problems with our mailing list – we are getting these sorted!
Following the Community Meeting on 18th May, and with support from Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council, the Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group (the Community Group) has now been set up to represent all those who may be affected by the upgrade of the A9 from the Pass of Birnam to Ballinluig within the community council area, and seek to get the best possible outcome for the community as a whole. Since the community meeting and ongoing through the summer, our big push is to get as many responses as possible to the community opinion survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/a9dualling as possible.
Please watch out for coffee mornings, street stalls and other activity happening throughout the summer promoting the survey, sharing information and hearing views. The Community Group has been gathering local knowledge and tapping into expertise to help interpret the maps and provide information that is useful and accessible. If you can help, with cups of tea or engineering experience, please let us know.
Jacobs and Transport Scotland have not yet fully provided the information requested at the Public Meeting in February or addressed the local issues they have been asked to consider in the submission from the Community Council. Members of the Community Group are due to meet with Jacobs, Transport Scotland, as well as some local MSPs, by the end of June.
Previously there was an expectation that Jacobs and Transport Scotland might return to do a follow up public meeting, but that request has been turned down. There will be now be no public meeting with Jacobs and Transport Scotland. The Group update from the smaller meeting at the end of June will be provided online, in the usual place: http://www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk/community-council/a9-dualling
In the meantime, you may be aware from posters and press, that a new offline option has been proposed on the east of the northern section (Tay Crossing to Ballinluig) which would affect the community particularly from Rotmell to Guay. Residents who would be adversely affected are campaigning against this new proposal, which would take both carriageways up the hill. The impact of the online proposals on the flood plain, residents and local business on the northern section also continue to cause concern. We can't emphasise enough how critical a time this is and how much your views count. Please share your opinions anonymously through the community survey; online or hard copies can be provided. This will enable the Community Group to best represent the views of the community.
Please do remember that if you have particular questions or concerns, it is helpful if you can share them in the community survey – but do not hesitate to also contact Jacobs on: A9dualling@jacobs.com directly so that your questions or concerns can be addressed as part of the formal process.
You may want to copy your thoughts to your MSPs and Councillors too. It is easy to find out who all your representatives are on writetothem.com Recommendations will have been made by the end of June and decisions on the proposals are imminent.
If you want to get more involved – please do! – email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com and/or come along to the Community Group meeting on Wednesday 27 July 7.30pm (venue tbc). We will hold a bigger meeting to update the community on Wednesday 14 September 7.30pm (venue tbc).
For further information, and to find individual contacts for the Group, please email: dunkeldA9workinggroup@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page: Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group.
Robert Kelman,
Community Group
walkinga9Walking the future A9
Two guided walks have followed the proposed routes and changes of the A9 dualling project and looked at the impact it would have on key areas around Dunkeld & Birnam. “I found both walks incredibly useful in translating what the plans will mean on the ground and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that the new Birnam junction will be taller than the current Ballinuig flyover!” said Lindsey Gibb one of the walkers.
For more information on the two walks and the additional one planned to specifically look at flooding issues on the northern section. contact: jesspepper@gmail.com or see www.dunkeldandbirnamnews.co.uk


On 18 May around 100 local people met in the Birnam Institute about the A9 dualling. The meeting, organised by members of a community working group, was to provide an update on progress since a public meeting with Transport Scotland in January. The working group are very grateful to everyone who came along and shared their views, donated and volunteered to help.
On behalf of the Community Council, the working group had put together a detailed submission to Transport Scotland outlining a range of concerns and requests. The A9 dualling will have a huge impact on many different aspects of the local communities, including noise, human health and air quality, flooding risk, ecology and the natural environment, public transport, non-motorised users, and culture and historic environment.
These local issues have not been considered properly in the process. Transport Scotland needs to agree a realistic process to work in partnership with the community to address these issues and then to revisit the options.
This is a critical time. According to Transport Scotland's timetable, the decision on a preferred option was to take place in June - this is not acceptable.
A9 dualling is going to have an impact on you and your community. Whatever you think you can offer, whether it's a donation, involvement in the working group, or your expertise as a structural engineer, you can make a difference!
•    Complete the community opinion survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/a9dualling
•    Go on a guided walk to look at various issues of concern on 30 May or 13 June at 7.30pm. Email: dunkelda9workinggroup@gmail.com
•    Come to a meeting with Transport Scotland (date and time tbc)
•    Join the working group, make a donation, join a mailing list, or contribute in some other way - Email: dunkelda9workinggroup@gmail.com
For more information, including the presentations from the 18th, visit the Community Council website or email: dunkelda9workinggroup@gmail.com

Robert Kelman, Member of the Community Working Group

facebook30pxJoin the Dunkeld A9 Dualling Group on Facebook for regular updates.


Community Council Submission

The A9 working group has spent the last couple of months pulling together the submission to Transport Scotland in relation to the Pass of Birnam-Tay Crossing and Tay Crossing-Ballinluig sections of the project. This follows on from the public meeting on 8th February and the Transport Scotland and Jacobs consultation sessions. The document, which was submitted on 21st April, relied on contributions (and a lot of time and effort) from a large number of people involved in the working group. The key conclusion of the submission is:

“On the basis of the limited information currently available, the Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council cannot indicate a favoured option for these sections of the A9 dualling project. This reflects the strong feeling that the current proposals do not adequately recognise the complexity of dualling these two sections.”

The key themes in the submission, where we are seeking further information, relate to the overall character of the local area, potential for varying road standards in this area, noise, public health and air quality, flooding risk, ecology and the environment, public transport, history and culture and non motorised users. We are also seeking a better understanding of the decision making process and how the local community can continue to be a vital, cooperative part of such process. A large amount of supporting information has also been presented.

The document was sent to Transport Scotland and local councilors, and will be sent to other stakeholders and to MSPs and ministers (following the Scottish parliament elections on 5th May).

If you want a copy of the document, or any further information, please contact Stuart Paton (dunkelda9workinggroup@gmail.com) on behalf of the Community Council. We have also set up a Facebook page - click here or search "Dunkeld A9 Dualling" on Facebook.

Dates of forthcoming meetings will be provided on this website, through Facebook, The Bridge and posters.

Background information is available through the Transport Scotland website: http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/a9-dualling-perth-inverness.

 

DOWNLOADS:

Final Objectives December 2017

Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group Update October 2017

A9 Community Group Update June to August 2017

Next_Steps_Facilitation.Jan17.v4.pdf - uploaded 20th February 2017

Next Steps Facilitation.Jan17.V4 - Uploaded 9th February 2017

Report on A9 CG Core Group meeting with Transport Scotland/Jacobs 16th Dec 2016. - Uploaded 6th February 2017

Dunkeld & Birnam CC Final Submission

A9 Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing Community Council Meeting Notes

A9 Pass of Birnam to Tay Crossing Technical Note 011 Rev01

Community Opinion Survey Findings - Full Report - October 2016
Community Opinion Survey Findings - Presentation Summary - September 2016
Birnam to Tay Crossing - Co-Creative Community Engagement Process
Birnam to Ballinluig A9 Community Group - Constitution 

 

 

Dunkeld and Birnam in Bloom

bloomAs we are now approaching Spring, we are starting our planning for the coming year. The snowdrops are beginning to flower in Torwood Park, where they seem to appear before anywhere else. Last year the bed in Torwood Park was becoming more established and had lots of colour right through the Summer. Most of the planting there has been made possible through donations of plants which were not needed by members of the community, and odds and ends, from splitting our own plants in other parts of the village, consequently keeping costs to a minimum. We hope this coming year to improve the other bed in the park, near the entrance, as it has become very bare over many years. We intend to remove old overgrown shrubs and replace them with more colourful planting and hopefully, funds permitting, lay new gravel.
The adjoining Old Hostel Walk, has also been planted with more daffodils, and some aconites, and fritillary. On a dry afternoon in Autumn, some of the children from the Royal School helped us to plant lots of different ferns, which were very kindly donated by Dobbies Garden Centre. Their enthusiasm was commendable and we are very much looking forward to seeing the results when the Spring hopefully arrives!
Any donations are very welcome, as we have to somehow raise funds to cover the cost of all our bulbs, compost, Summer planting and tools etc. As ever, we greatly appreciate any help, even for an hour or two now and again. You know what they say - "many hands make light work"!

King’s Seat Hillfort Archaeology

pkhtProject: Findings from the first season
“Hugely important” evidence of Pictish metal working found at King’s Seat, Dunkeld!
This September marked the first season of excavations in an exciting three year project investigating the hillfort of King’s Seat, above Dunkeld. Over 70 volunteers and local school pupils joined Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, Dunkeld and Birnam Historical Society and professional archaeologists from AOC Archaeology Ltd to unearth an impressive assemblage of early historic metalworking artefacts and possible slingshot ammunition.
The King’s Seat Hillfort Archaeology Project offers volunteers from the local and wider community, including local primary and secondary schools, the opportunity to help professional archaeologists uncover the history of this enigmatic hill top site whilst receiving training in archaeological skills. The project is a partnership between Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT) and the Dunkeld and Birnam Historical Society (DBHS) supported by professional archaeological contractors AOC Archaeology Ltd and funded by Heritage Lottery, the Gannochy Trust, and Scottish & Southern Electric’s Griffin and Calliacher Windfarm Community Fund.
King’s Seat hillfort is located to the north of Dunkeld on a major bend in the river Tay and has long been inaccessible due to rhododendron growth over the summit. However, thanks to a gargantuan effort from DBHS volunteers in 2016, the summit of King’s Seat is now free from vegetation, meaning that the fort can to be visited, appreciated and excavated.
The fort’s defences surround a central ‘citadel’ enclosure measuring about 35m x 25m, situated at the summit of the hill with a cascading series of ramparts below that enclose a flight of lower terraces.
The first season of excavations at King’s Seat took place in September with 39 volunteers and 35 primary and secondary school pupils climbing the steep slopes of the hill to help with the dig over the two week duration.
Four trenches were opened this year:
Trench 1 – located over a series of terrace steps down the west side of the summit;
Trench 2 – over a large mound situated at the highest point of the hill adjacent to a large glacial erratic boulder;
Trench 3 – positioned over what looked to be the end of the summit rampart next to a possible entranceway; and
Trench 4 – looking at the flat area enclosed by the rampart surrounding the summit of the hill.
The excavations revealed that the rhododendron growth on the summit of the hill and remodelling of some of the lower banks by the Atholl Estate in the Victorian period has had a significant impact on the condition of the shallow archaeological deposits. Despite these challenges there have been some very important and interesting discoveries:
The enclosing rampart walls and banks of the hillfort were found to have different constructions with the lower terrace walls being made of earth and large stone boulders whilst the summit enclosure forming a more coherent formal wall with inner and outer faces. This variation in construction suggests that the site has had different phases of activity in the past;
The bedrock of the upper area of the summit looks to have been clear of soil in the past with interesting slot features found cut into the rock. Archaeologist Cath MacIver of AOC Archaeology Ltd explained “Comparisons can be drawn between the holes drilled into the rock on King’s Seat and St Fillan’s Chair on Dundurn near Loch Earn, where a wide ledge was sculpted from an outcrop to form a sort of rock seat. The lead archaeologist working on Dundurn theorised that this ‘seat’ could have been an inauguration seat for the rulers of Strathearn. The features at King’s Seat could have served a similar purpose.” Finds of animal bones, claws and horns indicate animals were being processed on the site, which could have been for domestic purposes, feasting or related to craft activities taking place;
The big discoveries that have the archaeologists really excited are the metal working waste, crucible fragments and stone moulds which indicate that precious metal working was taking place on the site. Two of the moulds are mirror shaped and are similar to examples found at Portmahomack, Tarbat and Garranes, Ireland. PKHT Outreach Officer Gavin Lindsay explained “one of the reasons we’re so excited about these moulds is that their shape is characteristic of metalworking in the early historic, or Pictish period (c.600-900 AD). So whilst we wait for the radio carbon dates to come back from the lab, finds like these can help us work out when the activity at King’s Seat was taking place.”
A cache of small rounded stones was found near the large rocky outcrop on the summit which may have been collected for using as slingshots. The stones found at King’s Seat look similar to stones with similar form and dimensions that have been identified at a number of hillfort sites across the UK.
When asked about the importance of the findings at King’s Seat, archaeologist Andy Heald from AOC Archaeology Ltd responded “Considered together, the material culture recovered from King’s Seat is hugely important and clearly indicates in situ activity on the site. While it seems obvious to the modern archaeologist that some sort of elite would have controlled, if not occupied hillfort sites, it is still rare for such sites to produce such a wealth of evidence.” Andy continued – “The fact that evidence for metal working was identified in every trench certainly suggests that the site was hugely important in the production of prestige metalwork and, similarly to important high status early historic hillforts such as Dunadd and Dundurn, may have been a centre of production. Dundurn, Dunadd and King’s Seat all share similar characteristics including topographic location, working and utilisation of exposed bedrock outcrops.”
The team will be back digging at King’s Seat in September 2018 with a living history event in Dunkeld and guided walks to the site also being planned for Scottish Archaeology Month. If you would like to find out more about the project, the discoveries from this year’s dig, the placename survey that’s been completed or volunteering on next year’s dig then log on to: www.pkht.org/projects/kings-seat

Image: PKHT Outreach Officer Gavin Lindsay and AOC Archaeologist Katie Roper teaching P6 pupils from Royal School of Dunkeld how to dig and identify artefacts at the King’s Seat Hillfort. 

Dunkeld and Birnam Community Growing @the field

fieldAn Invitation to the Field
The Field will be getting busy in February, spreading dung filling boxes with compost to warm up and planting out in the polytunnel so lots of jobs for volunteers. Come along on Thursday or Saturday mornings and share the coffee banter and preparation for what we hope will be another successful growing season. We are still enjoying some of the 6000 leeks we planted this time last year, as well as lovely kale, sprouts, cabbage, onions, beetroot, parsnip, carrot, tatties and swedes. Our winter veg have survived the frosts and are all the sweeter for it. Hopefully the frost will have thinned out the pests, particularly slugs which deeved us last summer. Not that we are averse to biodiversity but…
We welcome new and old members and this is the time to renew your membership, forms are available on our website. Renewing members will be sent a form and we look forward to their continuing and valued support.

Connect … Linking Asheville, North Carolina, USA and Dunkeld & Birnam

ashvilleGreetings, my friends across the pond!  
My name is Kelly and I have been a college educator for the past 18 years. This article is going to offer some insight into our winter weather and our educational system. We just emerged from an extended winter “cold snap”, with temperatures at an unbearable -12 Celsius for weeks.
(feel free to laugh at that fact!) In fact, one morning schools were canceled due to these temperatures, in consideration for the students waiting at the bus stop, teeth chattering, having to endure such brutality of the elements. Yet school has resumed, with students energized from 2 weeks of winter/holiday break.
It’s as if the students know that their technology binges from holiday break MUST come to an end at some point.
We have all “four” seasons here in Asheville- mild winters, beautiful springs, steamy summers, and temperate autumns. When any amount of snow or sleet arrives, we don’t have the snow plows, snow removal infrastructure, or equipment to respond. Major interstates are the first priority, so those of us in the neighborhoods just wait for the sun to melt away the snow and ice. When we can’t drive, we end up chatting more with neighbors, making great stews at home, and catching up on a good book. Although we might complain about the cold weather, I think we revel in the rest and beauty of the cold weather. I have visited beautiful Scotland a few times and have experienced it raining, snowing, and a shining sun in one day (all four seasons in one day!).
Perhaps the weather contributes to the disposition of a people, but it sure turns the landscape a verdant green and inspires great music (and soup recipes!).
Our city has about 100,000 people in the metropolitan area, but it seems smaller to me. According to our Chamber of Commerce website Asheville is known by many names, such as the “Happiest City in America” and “Beer City USA”. I lost count of the number of breweries, but there are small and large tasting rooms, maybe that’s why we are so “happy”? The Chamber of Commerce also reports that Asheville has six elementary (primary) schools (Kindergarden to grade 5, about ages 5-11) and a middle school (grades 6-8, ages 12-14), and a high school (grades 9-12, ages 15-18). Each of our elementary schools focuses on a particular theme such as global learning, environmental stewardship, experiential education, arts and humanities, or Math/Science/& Technology. We call this a “magnet” school approach, where parents in the Asheville area can select a theme or focus from the school and their child may attend (or gravitate to the magnet) that school in the city, not necessarily the one in their neighborhood, but the best fit for their child’s educational needs. The idea is that the theme of the school is the “magnet” for the student. All local taxes are distributed evenly to each city school to ensure that funding is given equally and all resources are allocated the same to all students in the city limits. I understand that in your community, you have one elementary/primary school, so this may be confusing, but in the USA we value “choice” in larger areas. We are impressed with your Royal School of Dunkeld (happy 451st birthday on February 2nd!), which enjoys a rich history, an integration of environmental education, and an inspiring motto “Love to Learn”.
We have many colleges and universities, most notably the University of North Carolina at Asheville, Warren Wilson College, Western Carolina University, Mars Hill University, Lenoir-Rhyne, and a community college named Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (“A-B Tech”). Our secondary education system is set up to deliver a general education background (classes in English, Math, Science, Humanities, Foreign Language, among others) for the first two years, and then more focused coursework on the student’s major area of study to complete a Bachelor’s Degree. If a student were to study Math, they would still take mostly a general education course pathway until their third year in college. However, at A-B Tech, students may complete the first two years of the general education coursework (known as the Associates Degree) OR complete a career/technical degree. Basically, a two-year degree with a focused career skill- cooking, web design, nurse assistants, welders, auto mechanics, dental hygienists, veterinarian assistants, lower level social workers. The University of the Highlands and Islands combines our community college and university models into one package, including the “foundation year” courses (our General Education core), the undergraduate, and graduate course offerings. I visited Perth College and learned about the UHI model that delivers these programs throughout Scotland, delivering educational opportunities at multiple entry points and levels. I would venture to say that our community as well as yours values education and there are many opportunities to take courses for credit or as for “community enrichment”.ashville2
In 2014 and 2016 I brought students and community members to beautiful Scotland, always spending at least a few days in Dunkeld and Birnam as part of our trip.
Highlights from participants were leisurely strolls along the Tay, fishing for salmon, the fiddle jam at TayBank, soaking up the healing songs from Just Singin’, Irn-Bru tasting (Scotland’s own!), exploring the local shops, time at the Birnam Arts Centre, and meeting new friends. I hope to bring another contingent in June, fingers crossed.
I hope this article has been informative to share a bit about our weather and our educational system here in your “twin” city of Asheville, North Carolina. For more questions or comments, contact me, Kelly McEnany at kellyqmcenany@gmail.com.

 

Live All The Way From Our Sister City Of Asheville

Molly-1180x870Molly Rose Reed is traveling in Scotland to perform at Celtic Connections in Glasgow as well as The Weem Inn near Aberfeldy with her band, Underhill Rose.

The Weem Inn present

Underhill Rose

Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Tickets at door £10 / 8pm for 8:30pm

Heartfelt Country Soul

"One of the most promising rootsy women artists on the Americana scene." No Depression

“Dusty country soul with gorgeous vocal arrangements...filled with acoustic strings and pastoral melodies.” Asheville Citizen-Times

http://www.theweeminn.com/events.html

The Harvest is in!

orchard

2017 has been a bumper harvest year for the Community Orchard. And not just in quantity, but also the apples have looked better and on the whole have been a larger size. This is probably attributable to good growing conditions, but also thinning some of the fruit in the Spring seems to be worthwhile.
Over the eleven weeks from 24 August till 3 November a small group of people have picked 953 kilos! We had willing extra hands on Big Apple Day, when we picked 153 kilos. Corbenic came to help in early October, gathering 62 kilos of Greensleeves and 60 kilos of Red Falstaff for juicing. But there were three other weeks besides when over 100 kilos were harvested in a relatively short time.
Some of the varieties are still cropping better year on year, most notable being the very early George Cave, early cookers such as Rev. Wilkes and Scotch Dumpling, and fantastic improvements on the later Kidd’s Orange Reds and Coxes.
In 2017 the pears were not so good and most of the eagerly awaited plums were picked early on. Possibly some thinning would help as there is a tendency for the closely bunched fruit to rot on the tree.
Two other factors have helped greatly this year. Now we have a sign up saying that we are picking every Friday throughout the picking season, people are coming ready with their bags and are helping themselves to the apples as soon as the boxes are filled. Also the “Pick me” signs have been a big success, particularly on the trees nearest to the path through the orchard. By Big Apple day, for example, our healthy crop of Worcesters had mostly been picked by passersby, and likewise some of the later apples disappeared, saving us a lot of work!
We hope you like our new arrangement for the boxes, which apart from giving a better display, is more hygienic.
One last thing I would add - as well as helping yourselves to fruit, which is what we want you to do, we would welcome extra pairs of hands for the picking.
So, the orchard is “put to bed” and rabbit-proofed. The next big job will be weekly pruning sessions in March, probably sticking to our present Friday afternoon sessions. If you’d like to become more involved, our January planning meeting will take place in the Atholl Hotel lounge, 7.30pm on Monday 22 January.

Katharine Melville, 01350 727048

The Doors Of The Aran Bakery Are Open!

FionaSneddonCongratulations to Flora Shedden and her team.  
We wish them every success with their new venture at the shop in Atholl Street.

Girlguiding Dunkeld – Join Us

girlguides1Did you like the report of the Guides’ and Senior Section’s trip to Switzerland? Would you be prepared to support the existing leaders in their efforts – be it at weekly meetings, camps, or behind the scenes? Without more volunteers, Girlguiding in Dunkeld cannot offer all interested girls the chance to have such experiences. We already don’t have any Rainbows, and for now can’t have a Brownie pack bigger than 8 girls, because there is only 1 Brownie leader. Guides and Senior Section need more helpers too, to spread the load.

Our volunteers can work directly with Rainbows (aged 5-7), Brownies (4-10), Guides (10-14), The Senior Section (14-17), or in a variety of support roles.
Volunteering is flexible and can be arranged to fit around a busy lifestyle.
There is no upper age limit to becoming a Girlguiding volunteer, and men are welcome too as Unit Helpers or in other support roles. Volunteers under the age of 18 can become Young Leaders. Training will be given – mostly it’s on the job; there are also e-learning opportunities and local training sessions, depending on the role you choose to take on.

Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. If you’re looking to work with young people, gain voluntary experience or develop skills from first aid to fundraising (and all sorts in between), it’s time to get involved! If you are not convinced yet, look out for the National Recruitment Campaign by Girlguiding UK during October.

To register interest or to find out more, contact Trix Stephen, District Commissioner, on 07770324173 or trix@tayview.net.

Heritage Walks

heritagewalksYou will have seen blue plaques going up in Dunkeld and Birnam over the past few months and these are linked with two beautiful Heritage Walks leaflets produced by local people. These are available from a variety of outlets in Dunkeld and Birnam and if you want to find out more about our local history, it is well worth following the walks around the village. It is hoped that this project will also encourage visitors to stay longer in the area and explore the village.
The launch of the walks was on Saturday 2nd September and featured many of the historical characters featured on the plaques. We would like to thank everyone who dressed up to play the part of famous people who are part of our history, from Beatrix Potter to Queen Victoria, from Robert Burns to Niel Gow and all those who researched and produced the maps and plaques.   

Image: Queen Victoria and Maharajah launch the Dunkeld and Birnam Heritage Walks. The blue plaques that have gone up on buildings Dunkeld and Birnam are linked with two new Heritage Walks.

Exciting Plans for Dunkeld Guide Hall

guidehutTucked away behind the school the Guide Hall in Dunkeld has been home to the Girlguiding movement since the 1930s. The photo shows two guides dressed up for the Girlguiding Centenary in 2010. Over the decades it has been a huge asset to Guides and Brownies, and for the last few years Playgroup has also operated out of the Hall.
However just like the Guide Uniform has changed over the years, the Guide Hall needs to move with the times.
Modern buildings need to be accessible to all and have all the facilities expected in the 21st Century. So, the volunteers in the Friends of Guiding group have been working on a project to build an extension to the rear of the Guide Hall. The extension will have new toilets and a disabled toilet with shower, a new larger kitchen and two big store rooms for the Guides and Playgroup equipment.
A new entrance foyer will form a new entrance at the side of the hall and a suite of audio visual equipment will bring the hall bang up to date.
All this needs money – a total of £175,000! The good news is that Friends of Guiding have been successful in securing grant support of £160,000, leaving just £15,000 left to find.
To help fill the funding gap Friends of Guiding are setting up a JustGiving page to allow people who would like to support our vision for a Guide Hall for the 21st Century to contribute by donating online. The page should be ready shortly - just try searching Just giving Dunkeld Girlguiding.
Or if you prefer cheques can be sent to Trix Stephen, District Commissioner, Tayview House, Oak Road, Birnam – made payable to Dunkeld + Birnam Girl Guides District.
We thank you in advance for your support and hope to be able to start on the project next spring. Watch this space!

Well-deserved Awards for Guiders
3 Guiders received Long Service Awards from Girl Guiding UK during the month of May. Trix Stephen & Kate Wright received their awards during the annual weekend camp. Karen High presented Trix with her 20- year brooch and certificate while Kate received her 10-year brooch and certificate.
Evelyn Menzies was presented with her 40-year brooch & certificate from Wilma Hutchison (County Commissioner). Evelyn also received gifts and flowers as a leaving gift as she is retiring from Girl Guiding at the end of June.