The members of the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme steering group held their final meeting in Rothesay on Wednesday - bringing down the curtain on four years of major investment in the island’s rural landscape.
The Discover Bute project has seen £2.8 million spent since September 2008 on restoring 13 kilometres of hedgerow and 27km of woodlands, planting 25,000 hedging plants, repairing 33km of dry stone walls and 20km of protective fencing, repainting 31 milestones and replacing or repairing another six, carrying out more than 80 school visits and holding 66 training courses with 1,535 trainee and nine thousand volunteer participations.
The project also held several eye-catching public events, including the Big Man Walking in September 2009, the cremation of a pig at a Midsummer Celebration at Scalpsie in June 2011 and the construction, launch and (not always successful) maiden voyages of coracles on Loch Fad.
Steering group chair Donald Kinnear told Wednesday’s meeting: “The past four years have flown by - there have been so many things to prepare for and participate in that the time has passed in the blink of an eye.
“What has been achieved in the last four years has been an incredibly successful project.”
Discover Bute’s legacy will now be left in the hands of the scheme’s parent organisation, the Bute Conservation Trust, which hopes to raise the funds required to look after Discover Bute’s work by establishing a bunkhouse, science and heritage centre and observatory at Meikle Kilmory on the west coast of the island.
The project was funded by financial and in-kind contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council, Leader, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, the Mount Stuart Trust, the RSPB and Buteshire Natural History Society.