During the lockdown, we have all been accustomed to life being on hold whilst this virus is dealt with. Not for Paul, who has turned into a one-man army and decided that he will proceed with his plans to bring kayaking to the Stanley reservoir and let people get close to Stanely Castle.
Paul has started by clearing the woodlands around the perimeter, lifting literally thousands of empty cans, bags and bags (11 on the day I visited) with the help of locals who used their allocated exercise time to lend a hand. Scottish Water had said they had done a clean a couple of years back but I have seen with my own eyes rubbish that had been lying for years.
Images of what the paths and land looked like before Paul started:
Now I know that Paul isn’t getting an easy time of it from some residents and his plans to put kayaks on the water have not gone down well with some, but they think it’s going to be a permanent watersports place. The reality is, if Paul gets a booking he will bring his car and trailer with kayaks taking four people out with two instructors for safety. He has insurance in place, approval from Scottish Water and the appropriate licenses in place, there really is nothing stopping him just going ahead and doing it right now (apart from lockdown).
However, he wants to make a real difference to the surrounding land and is working tirelessly every day to clear up all the mess, glass, cans you name it, he is going more than the extra mile to ensure the place is clean and safe. I spoke to a couple who actually had come by for the first time and had seen the bluebells, deer and sound of singing birds and serenity. This is what Paul is aiming to enhance, improving the area for those who will appreciate it. If the community comes together, and slowly but surely it’s happening (social distancing and safety first) please help, please visit, speak to Paul.
Images after Paul and volunteers got stuck in to clean up the mess, so many bags it’s hard to count now:
Now the whole aim is just to take people in a safe manner onto the water and enjoy what we have locally in between two housing schemes. Its a beautiful place and is well used by fishermen, Paul has spoken to loads of them and they are being very supportive and taking their rubbish away with them. It’s refreshing to see such passion and enthusiasm from someone and the rubbish coming out of the woodlands is shocking.
So the facts are simply this:
- All paperwork and insurance and safety certificates in place.
- The Reservoir can be used under land access code.
- Kayaking will be small in numbers and will be properly managed by qualified instructors.
- The surrounding areas are being safely tidied up by Paul and other willing volunteers.
- No compound or fixed structures will be in place spoiling the landscape
- Anything built like seating areas is done by using broken trees, no trees are cut down.
- Bird boxes, feeders, wildlife encouragement will be in place hence the cleanup.
- Future upkeep of the site is part of the plan.
One of the things that is required at the moment, and again this is not an encouragement to break lockdown rules, but put your exercise hours to good use by going and helping, enter by the Glenburn side (across from Jet Garage) turn left and follow the trail, Paul will be around and will be extremely thankful of your support and help.