Time to put the clocks back at Auchenblae

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Storm winds caused the northern clock face to fall from its position in the tower of Fordoun Parish Church, in Auchenblae, this month.

The heavy wooden structure, with painted tin facing, takes two men to lift but thankfully landed on the wet ground on Monday, January 12, without causing great damage, or injuring any person.

The decision was quickly taken to take down the remaining clock faces for safety reasons, and a cherry-picker arrived on Wednesday the 14th to enable removal of the south-facing and west-facing dials.

The clock faces, currently leaning against the walls of the main building, have a solid wood back and were held in place by cast-iron rods into the stone.

Two were taken down in 1966 for repair, and re-fitted, but the west-facing clock had been solidly in place for over 100 years, using this method. Plans to return the clock faces to their rightful places, in the 30-metre high west tower, are at an early stage.

Interim moderator of West Mearns, Ronnie Gall, said: “An engineer has already been out to take a look at things and she is going to advise us on what to do next.

“Certainly, there will have to be refurbishment of the wood and the tin faces will have to be repainted. Taking it all into account, the total could be quite expensive.”

Once the engineer has concluded her report, and a figure has been arrived at, the Observer will let parishioners, and all other interested parties know the timetable for replacing the familiar landmarks.