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):

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.