By now, most folks in the Lowther villages will know of the proposed changes to surgery provision in our locality. These proposals will certainly be disappointing to many, not least of all, because there has been no apparent consultation with the people who depend on these surgeries; despite there being assurances from Dr Sharkey that consultation would happen.

To raise but a few issues. Patients dependent on long-term medication, diabetics, hypertensives, for example, are to be faced with a narrow window in which to collect regular medication, that happens to fall within common working times; do we have to take time of work every couple of months to collect medication? What happens if our medication runs low or is lost or damaged; is a wait of up to four days to replenish supplies a viable option?

Add to that the extended travel demands, say from Crawford, should a patient have to return to collect medication that may be out of or low in stock; around twenty six miles, in two trips, within a narrow time window that clashes with common working hours.

Do the proposed arrangements meet the service level requirements agreed between Dumfries and Galloway NHS and Lanarkshire NHS? Do the proposed changes meet minimum prescribed service levels?

These and many more are questions we need to press during what appears to be a seriously belated and insincere “consultation”. If you are not familiar with the proposed changes, here are the details along with the date and times of information sessions.

information-sheet

Click to Enlarge

If you are unable to make any of the information sessions, you might want to ask a friend to convey your concerns or you can contact the Practice Manager, Jill Glendinning on 01683 220062.

Leadhills Community Company (the Buyout Group) meets tomorrow (17th Jan) for its annual general meeting. All welcome.

Details…

Leadhills Community Council Annual General Meeting will take place Tuesday 19th, at the village hall. Details here

As I understand it, this will be an opportunity to see the new Community Council line-up. See yer there.

I know I don’t do as much on this site as I should, it’s often hard to find the time or to disregard other distractions; but that’s me. We manage, tidy up every now and then, find and sort out dead links and such like. Maybe even write some new stuff. Main thing is, this site provides information for locals and visitors alike – more would be good, but as things stand, it’s doing what we set out to do. All is cool(ish).

So what’s with these folks from web developers to copy writers to search engine optimizers, who keep dropping messages in my Inbox, saying how they’re going to make this site into some kind of marketing super-highway?

To these people I say, “Forget it. This is a community site, not a commercial web presence, please stop wasting my time and yours; my bandwidth and yours.”

Thank you and goodnight.

Abington Road closure 12th May for up to 7 days:

Closed from Crawfordjohn road to Lettershaw’s farm, so if you’re heading North of Abington, going via Crawfordjohn may be shortest option.

According the the workman I spoke to, Crawfordjohn road should remain accessible for the duration…..

A wee extract from the scheduled works of South Lanarkshire Council has come to light under Road Closures.

Leadhills

Ramsay Road (full length) will be closed from 8.00 am on Monday 20 January 2014 for up to 6 weeks for footway and carriageway road improvements.

Anyone with further info, feel free to let the rest of us know.

Leadhills General Store’s Festive Season Opening Hours

Monday 23rd December                7.30am – 7.00pm
Tuesday 24th (Christmas Eve)       7.30am – 7.00pm
Wednesday 25th (Christmas Day)  9.30am – 11.30am (No Newspapers)
Thursday 26th (Boxing Day)          9.30am – Noon
Friday 27th December                  7.30am – 7.00pm
Monday 30th December                7.30am – 7.00pm
Tuesday 31st (Hogmanay)            7.30am – 7.00pm
Wednesday 1st (New Year’s Day)  9.30am – 11.30am
Thursday 2nd January                  9.30am – Noon
Friday 3rd January                       7.30am – 7.00pm

Thanks Colins!

Having been told by phone that a warning regarding poisons on the Leadhills grouse moors was circulating, I posted a copy on Leadhills Notice Board (Facebook).

This drew some intriguing responses, the inevitable outrage, but also the suggestion that the find (back in March 2013) might actually have been maliciously planted to incriminate the local gamekeepers. This is sadly, not beyond the realms of reality.

There is a long history of raptor persecution in and around Leadhills, with a number of prosecutions already undertaken. But a few years back, there was a major change in the game keeping team. Since then, there has been a visible resurgence of raptors and other species, around Leadhills; raptors are now to be seen over the village, something unheard of a few years back.

So what of this poisoned bait find?

Well, it happened in March 2013 and was made public in June. The Police investigation ended inconclusively in November. That is, inconclusive as to who actually planted the baits. Where that leaves the Game Keepers is an entirely different matter, as conveyed to me by the Head Gamekeeper and the Estate Manager.

At the commencement of the investigation, the entire game keeper team voluntarily provided finger prints and DNA samples and thereafter, cooperated fully with the investigation; the outcome of which was that there was no evidence that the team had been in anyway connected with said poison baits. But is that enough?

Well the appearance of a somewhat belated “alert” would suggest otherwise, at least as far as Project Raptor is concerned. But the leaflet makes no mention of the fact that the poisons were found eight months previously, nor does it indicate that the Police investigation found no evidence suggesting the involvement of any gamekeeper. It does however, [seem to] imply [perhaps unintentionally,] that the Leadhills estate is “something to do with it.”  Guilt by association[?]

So, the fledgling peace enjoyed in Leadhills has been downgraded to “uneasy”. Whilst speaking with the Head Gamekeeper and the Estate Manager, the upset both are feeling is palpable – my gut reaction is that they are indeed the victims of malice; either through a rogue individual, not of their association, bent on the destruction of Leadhills’ now thriving raptors; or by an individual bent on tarnishing the reputation of the new game keeping team and with them, the Leadhills Estate.

Thus, it seems to me that as a community, we must not only look out for the well-being of our raptors, our pets and most certainly, our children; but also the reputations and well-being of our game keepers. And this because some idiot has seen fit to leave vast amounts of carbofuran lying about and may decide to do so again in the future.

I am no fan of shooting, but I can see no good reason for sullying the good names of innocent people, for the purpose of damaging the Leadhills Estate, or to satisfy some personal hatred of raptors; not to mention the fact that such actions risk human lives.

So I suggest that we all keep our eyes and ears open and report any suspicious activity or finds. Whoever is doing this (and right now, the evidence suggests it is NOT a Leadhills gamekeeper), will make a mistake eventually that will tie them to the crime – whatever that crime actually is.

 

Update:

I have been in discussion with a person in the raptor protection community (I don’t know whether or not he is associated with Project Raptor), who has raised the following:

  • That the leaflet does not name Leadhills or the Estate and therefore does not accuse them.
  • That there has been a further incident, the shooting of a Red Kite in August this year.

I have made the following reply (and have made some small amendments [] above):

I concede that the leaflet does not specifically accuse anyone by name or association, but given the context in which it was issued, the timing and specifically, this paragraph:

“In an area where there is persistent evidence of wildlife crime occurring, such as the unlawful targeting and killing of birds of prey, then this may have a significant and damaging impact on tourism and therefore the local economy. The reputation of a community can also be harmed by the actions of a criminal minority operating in your area.”

– it is hardly surprising that many Leadhills residents have interpreted it as being accusatory, as evidenced by the upset caused. It is conceded that this may not have been the intention and one must give the benefit of the doubt; I have also suggested a more diplomatic approach in future, given that interpretation is not on the words alone – we read between the lines. The fact is that the leaflet has been divisive, which in no way furthers the cause of eliminating raptor persecution in and around our village. It is the view of many in this village, that the current game keepers deserve the benefit of the doubt and that so given, this can further the cause of eliminating raptor persecution – we need to be on the same side.

With respect to the shooting of the red kite, I have observed that according to the SSPCA report, the find was in the village (i.e. not on the Estate proper). We are also not privy to the type of fire arm used, which increases the likelihood that this incident is entirely unrelated to the estate and/or it’s employees – it might have been perpetrated by an ignorant teen with a powerful air rifle.

I have indicated that as a community, we need to be fully and sensitively informed as to what precisely has happened along with where, when and if possible, how. If we are to respond effectively and maybe, finally get at the “who”, we need to be in the know, not flailing about in the dark. We need to be united. The head keeper and the estate manager have told me that they and their staff have nothing to do with these crimes or any other illegal activity; so it seems to me that this is the time for all those whose stated wish is to see the law upheld, to unite in making every effort of vigilance and cooperation, to discourage and prevent further incidents – that is all of Leadhills – including its game keepers.

Finally, I have asked Marco (the person who posed the observations), if he is able to flesh out details of recent incidents, such that they may be better understood and sensible reaction formulated. I am also in touch with others with interests in this matter and possibly salient information. We’ll see what turns up. In the mean time, we keep eyes and ears open as a community.

For a few days now, I have been receiving emails intended for Aileen Campbell MSP. They have arrived through the LeadhillsOnline contact form and all are concerning the proposal to assign “guardians” to all Scottish children – The Children and Young Persons Bill (Scotland).

Beloved Son (our Chris) discovered that our hits on Aileen’s page on LeadhillsOnline, had quadrupled with most arriving from davidicke.com, via an article there about the above bill. Our site has been given as a point of contact for Ms Campbell and visitors have been erroneously using the leadhillsonline contact form, assuming it would send to her as the article says she can be contacted at leadhillsonline.org.uk – she can’t, only contact details can be found. You can find the offending article here.

After two requests to davidicke.com to swap the link for something sensible, like www.aileencampbell.com (I have not asked for the removal of the article, only the link); nothing has been done, so we have altered our site such that our Aileen Campbell page now redirects to Aileen’s own site, if the originating link is at davidicke.com. We have also temporarily removed the contact page from our site. This is a pain as it has messed up the flow and form of our site, for no other reason than a few poorly chosen words and an inappropriate link on davidicke.com. It gets worse, a few other sites have copied the error.

In my third email to the davidicke.com webmaster, I have indicated that I would post a news item here, to inform our visitors of the reason for the changes in our site. It remains to be seen whether or not that will get any attention. If this article disappears, it has.

Falck Renewables have submitted their planning application to South Lanarkshire Council. Details and implications of the application can be seen at Leadhills Village Hall over the next few weeks at various times, as detailed in Falck’s letter to the Community Council (reproduced below):