Bute Shinty Club’s renewed fears over playing surface

Bute Shinty Club's home ground at the Meadows is notoriously prone to flooding - this picture was taken in June 2015. (Pic - Vera McCabe)
Bute Shinty Club's home ground at the Meadows is notoriously prone to flooding - this picture was taken in June 2015. (Pic - Vera McCabe)

Bute Shinty Club has expressed renewed concerns over the condition of the playing fields in the Meadows.

Following a recent meeting with local Argyll and Bute councillor Robert Macintyre, club secretary Alan Liddell has contacted the authority voicing the serious concerns theclub has over further deterioration of the pitches.

The poor state of the surface is due to flooding caused by the overflow from the adjacent burn above Lovers’ Walk, and to a lesser extent, by the overgrown and silted condition of the Lade.

Mr Liddell, in a letter to Joe McCabe at the council’s amenity services department, said: “We have spent a considerable amount of time and money attempting to improve our pitch including jetting of the drains, however the effects are limited due to factors outwith our control.

“We have previously received a considerable amount of help from Argyll and Bute Council, in particular from you and your staff, and have always appreciated this.

“The rules of the Camanachd Association, state that in the event of our ground being unplayable we should attempt to play at Strachur, at a hire cost of £100, or transfer the game to our opponents’ ground.

“We realise that all the surrounding playing fields also suffer from drainage problems and feel that cleaning out the Lade Burn, which has been a source of discussion for many years, would in part alleviate these problems and allow us to carry out work to the playing surface and drainage.

“We would still have a problem with the burn at Lovers’ walk, however this is the responsibility of the Bute Estate and is a separate issue.

“We have been informed that work to the Lade may now not take place until 2017; we would strongly request that the work be carried out this summer to help prevent further deterioration of our playing field and ask that this receives your serious consideration.”

Councillor Macintyre told us: “About four weeks ago Councillor Isobel Strong and I met with a Mr Ben Tuftin of SEPA and impressed upon him the importance of the Lade being cleared of mud and sediment, Mr Tuftin did not seem to have a difficulty with this and suggested that the month of June was the best time to do the work during a hope for dry spell.

“Obviously the contents, that is the mud, would need to be taken away or perhaps it could be levelled on the High Street side of the Lade at Lovers Walk.

“There has been various prices quoted for this job but the fact remains that an allocation of money was set aside in 2015 to do this work. Initially overhanging trees and branches would need to be cut away, perhaps the Shinty Club being a resilient bunch could do this task themselves?

“I understand the council have asked their design team to look at this job, the sooner the inspection takes place the better.”

Speaking to The Buteman, Mr Liddell added: “We have received a considerable amount of assistance from Argyll and Bute Council and the Bute Estate over the years and have a very good relationship with them both; at all times they have been receptive to our requests.

“Since our meeting with Robert [Macintyre] we understand the council have, or are sending, an expert to the Lade to determine the extent of work required and we are hopeful this will result in the work being carried out this year.

“The park is now starting to dry out and we hope to have the grass cut, slit the surface and spread sand which will improve the quality of the surface and hopefully allow our home games on Saturday to go ahead.”