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, 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 – she can’t, only contact details can be found. You can find the offending article here.

After two requests to to swap the link for something sensible, like (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 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 It gets worse, a few other sites have copied the error.

In my third email to the 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):

At approximately 01:35 this morning, the broadband service in Leadhills and Wanlockhead failed, affecting apparently, most if not all of both villages. By 10:15, this outage had been extended to include Sanquhar and surrounding areas, affecting five or six local exchanges. Service was restored at approximately 12:45.

As with previous outages, getting the concession that there was a wide area issue, was not straight forward, with a number of users being told by BT Customer Support that they were unaware of a major outage, despite the BT status line (0800 169 0199) indicating the opposite. My own ISP (Newnet/Timico) was not updated with information until 13:09, having been told a few hours earlier that no major outage had been identified. Conflicting information.

In response to this latest outage, villagers have set up a Facebook group to publicise previous and future events affecting our broadband service – “Leadhills Broadband Action Group“. The purpose of the group is to keep villagers’, their friends and families apprised of developments and also to raise wider public awareness of the issues faced by small communities, when dealing with BT. The availability of reliable information and being listened to remain our major concerns and it is our hope that local people will support this group by posting their experiences there – we intend to take the PR war to BT.

Until cable is installed in our villages, we will remain at the mercy of BT, so there is no room for complacency. This latest outage was fixed quickly, but one wonders if this only happened because several thousand other households were affected. Please support our group by posting your thoughts and experiences and sharing them widely.

The letter of complaint sent to BT Customer Services Manager on 22nd April, has not attracted a formal response other than a brief call from BT Business; the caller was interested only in business customers. This represents still more reason to get involved as BT seems to ignore complaints from home users; we need to make our complaints where they will be seen by thousands.

It has taken some time to put this together, but better late than never. This morning, a joint letter of complaint, with ten signatories, was dispatched to the Director of Customer Services, at BT. It would have been desirable to have had more sign this letter, but as around half of those affected by the outage are unknown to me and a small number of those known were unavailable to sign, the letter has gone as-is.

There is no point bemoaning the atrocious service we “get” (if that’s the right word) from BT, unless we are willing to complain and do so with determination and persistence. And so it is, the letter will be circulated to our local MP and MSPs and other interested parties, including chamber’s of commerce; the outage affected at least three businesses. We will not stop there. If BT fail to acknowledge within fourteen days and fail to deliver improvements thereafter, we will pursue the matter further and in the public domain. To this end, our letter of complaint is available here: BT Letter of Complaint – April 2013. Start as we mean to go on.

As and when developments arise, they will appear on this site – watch this space!

After losing usable broadband at approximately 8pm on the 6th April, users in Leadhills and Wanlockhead should now have a working service; repaired at approximately 2.30am on the morning of 11th April. According to BT engineers who have been in attendance at various times during the week, this was caused by a line card fault and will have affected 31 users.  It would seem that other smaller scale failings have also occurred during this time affecting users not connected through that particular line card. This type of failing occurred at the end of May last year , affecting largely the same group of users.

The experiences of customers, especially those whose Internet is provided by BT, has been similar: denial, more denial, new Home Hubs that are not needed, all with a spectacular lack of coordination. On this occasion as before, BT were repeatedly told by many of us, that several customers were without service, yet still they insist the fault is with users’ equipment; even as two engineers are in attendance and have already logged the fault as a line card failure (Monday). These denials were still apparent as late as Wednesday afternoon, two full days after the fault was diagnosed.

And to extend the realms of the already surreal, BT’s legendary demarcation came into play. The replacement of the offending line card was scheduled for Wednesday and the card was at the exchange awaiting installation, but could not be fitted because the engineer appointed to fit it that morning did not arrive. Other engineers in attendance could not complete this task. Why not?

A number of customers have spoken in passing with engineers attending our exchange and have recounted their experiences. The response of those engineers is telling: “we hear that all the time.” It is also apparent that several customers have not complained and one wonders why? Well, with the promise of perhaps hours of testing and jumping through hoops, only to be told it’s not BT’s problem, despite knowing that others nearby are affected in exactly the same way – which BT customer support routinely denies; who wants to voluntarily go through that?

As a community, we need to get behind B4Gal (our local community cable broadband project) in order to end BT’s stranglehold on local communications infrastructure. BT owns and operates all land based phone and broadband lines here, renting services to other phone and Internet providers. Being with another company does not protect you from BT’s incompetence as your lines all go through BT’s exchange and BT holds the keys and is solely responsible for maintenance.

But while we remain stuck with BT, we should not just relax and wait for the next fiasco. Many of those affected feel strongly that we should complain en-mass, to which end, I ask that anyone affected by this latest outage get in touch through the contact page.

As of approximately 8pm, Saturday 6th April 2013, a block of Leadhills residents have been without broadband; the same block that went without for a time last year.

The last block outage was eventually traced to a line card at the Leadhills exchange. It seems likely that a similar fault has occurred, the symptoms being very similar. But are we able  to convince BT that there is a problem, are they going to fix it without still further jumping through hoops? It seems not.

As a group, we are keen to take this matter further. We currently number twelve confirmed users affected by the same outage (affecting four ISPs); there are no doubt more.

We are keen to hear from anyone else affected, particularly as there is now the possibility that some users affected by the last outage, were charged by BT for the repair of BT equipment – in breach of contract and fraudulently (this serious allegation has yet to be fully supported with documentary evidence).

Please contact Mike on 74428. I’ll need your name, phone number and the name of your ISP.

Not specifically “Leadhills”, but Andrew Sumpster, a student at Biggar High School, has local connections and well, it’s a good cause. Andrew plans to undertake four marathons in two days to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, early in April this year.

Andrew is aiming to raise £1000 and is well on his way to reaching his target; though exceeding that would be a welcome bonus.

If you’d like to support Andrew’s effort and the Alzheimer’s Society, you can sponsor Andrew at his Just Giving web page.

Don’t forget. The surgery opening times change with effect from Monday 7th. New times here.

Colin and Colin wish to thank everyone for their
support since they took over the shop in September;
and wish everyone a very Happy Christmas
and us all, a prosperous New Year!

Christmas & New Year Opening Times

Monday 24th:
Christmas Day:
Boxing Day:
Thursday 27th:
Friday 28th:
Saturday 29th:
Sunday 30th:
New Year’s Day:
Wednesday 2nd:

7:30 am to 7:00 pm
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
10:30 am to 5:00 pm
7:30 am to 7:00 pm
7:30 am to 7:00 pm
9:00 am to 7:00 pm
9:00 am to 6:00 pm
7:30 am to 7:00 pm
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
10:30 am to 5:00 pm

Groceries, Wines, Spirits, Beers, Cigarettes, Barrs,
Cards, Wrapping paper, Gifts and Chocolates
Newspapers & Magazines
Coal, Logs, Kindling, Fire lighters
Nappies, Baby wipes & Calpol
Hot pies (steak and gravy), Bridies & Sausage Rolls
Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate & Bovril to take-away

Debit Cards, Visa, Mastercard accepted – and Cash
Cash Back Available

Rachel and Rab invite you to entertainment and relaxation over the holidays

Events and opening times:

Christmas Eve, 5pm to 11pm:

Christmas Day, 11am to 3pm
Boxing Day, 3pm to Midnight
Thursday 27th, 3pm to 11pm
Friday 28th, 3pm to Midnight
Saturday 29th, Midday to Midnight
Sunday 30th, 12.30pm to Midnight

New Year’s Eve, 4pm to 3am:
Karaoke, Fireworks and free Midnight Buffet

New Years Day, 4pm to 11.30pm
Wednesday 2nd, 5pm to 11.30pm

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to all our customers