Johnshaven Jottings - Decade of Beach Cleans


On Sunday, 16 volunteers took part in the 30th clean-up of the beach an activity which, over the course of any year, covers the coastline to the north and south of Johnshaven.

For two years these were organised informally until the environmental group SHARK (Safe Habitat for Rural Kincardineshire) was established in 2006.

Its objectives are to promote and protect the wildlife and habitats of the local area and to try to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle for the residents of Johnshaven. More particularly it aims to carry out and promote activities which reduce the village’s contribution to global warming.

Since its formation SHARK, a fully constituted registered charity, has introduced a much appreciated bi-weekly green waste collection scheme which is supported by around 100 residents.

Initially the collections were carried out with the assistance of Aberdeen Forward but in 2011 the group were able to buy their own tractor and trailer to do the lifts. Improvements continue to be made to the composting site at Wairds Park where “Polly”, the tractor, is used to turn the compost regularly and once it is mature it is sieved and offered back to members for use in their gardens. More recently, too, SHARK was instrumental in having a section of the old coast road adjacent to the compost site resurfaced.

SHARK’s activities, however, are not confined to Johnshaven. They take part in other clean-up and environmental projects in and around south Kincardineshire, including pruning of vegetation such as gorse from the disused railway line and helping St Cyrus Nature Reserve clear bracken and their members have even appeared on TV as part of the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden!

Finance is important to any voluntary organisation and SHARK has benefited from a number of grants to help support their activities and they are very grateful for those and to their many other supporters. They do, of course, organise their own fund-raising efforts and have taken stalls at annual events such as the Christmas Fayre and Fish Festival and their drop- in cafes during the North East Open Studios week are always popular.

Never an organisation to rest on its laurels, SHARK’s next initiative is to issue a questionnaire to residents seeking their views on the possibility of banning the use of plastic bags.

This is motivated by the amount of plastic generally collected during a beach clean-up. For example, of the fourteen bags of rubbish filled by Sunday’s’ 16 volunteers, 64% was plastic. Interestingly, though, at the first beach clean-up 75 took part. Nevertheless, SHARK has done remarkably well to have sustained three beach cleans a year over 10 years and the section from the harbour to the Narrows is much tidier now as a result of Sunday’s effort which ended in the Village Hall and Rebecca wishes to thank all who took part and Joyce, Wilma and Joan for providing the refreshments.

SHARK are always interested in recruiting more volunteers and may be found at or by phoning organiser Rebecca Chambers on 01561 362120.

Mearns Coastal Parish Church

The minister, the Rev Colin Dempster, conducted the Guild’s Dedication Service in Johnshaven Church on Sunday morning and introduced former President of the Guild, Mrs Jean Cook, who gave a comprehensive account of her attendance at the Annual General Meeting of the Church of Scotland Guild held recently in the Caird Hall, Dundee.

In particular, she described how the main speaker, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend John Chalmers, had stressed how individuals could fulfil the Guild’s theme of “Go, serve” by helping people in the smallest of ways .

The members of Mearns Coastal Parish Church Guild having then delivered their Prayer of Dedication the minister focused in his sermon on the need for reconciliation and harmony following the referendum on Scottish independence and the continuing violence throughout many parts of the world.

Earlier, Mr Dempster intimated that the Manse Fellowship resumes on Monday, October 20, at 7.15 pm to which all are welcome and that the next Vestry Hour will be on Monday, November 3: Johnshaven Church between 6 and 6.25 pm and St Cyrus Church between 6.35 and 7 pm. He also asked the congregation to keep in mind the Blythswood Shoe Box Appeal which will be coming up soon. The people to contact for further information are Heather Jenkins 01674 850 533and Kirsteen Hourston 01674 850 313.

This Sunday, there will be only one service in Mearns Coastal Parish and that will be a United Service of Worship in St Cyrus Church at 11 am followed by a time of fellowship and refreshment.

Bowling Club

On an unusually warm and calm September Saturday morning defending champion Donald Dundas and Ernie Auld met in the final of the Green Championship, an event much anticipated by club members.

Whatever Ernie had for his breakfast he was certainly charged up: six ends into the match and he had romped ahead 11-1. Donald rallied, though, and hung on but after fourteen ends Ernie was still in the driving seat, 15-8. Donald’s count of four was a morale booster, only three behind. Very close now and two ends later it was Ernie 16, Donald 14 but Ernie’s full house at the nineteenth changed the situation dramatically.

Still, that last shot is so often the most difficult to get and Donald was determined not to let his opponent have it without a fight. A run of 3,1,2 and he was level 20-20 and so after an hour and a half’s play it would all be settled at the twenty second end. Ernie’s second bowl lay the shot, no more than six inches short of the jack and to the right. Donsld’s second was nine inches to the left and long and that’s the way it stayed until Donald stood on the mat to deliver his last bowl.

Played with weight, it needed to get a touch but as has often been said, if there is a gap then the bowl will invariably find it and so it was on Saturday as the jack and both shot and second bowl remained undisturbed. Ernie was able to put his last bowl “in his pocket”, walking off the green worthy winner of the Charles B. Reid Championship Trophy for the first time by 21 shots to 20.

Apart from only a couple of wayward ends , this was a terrific final, exciting, tense and riveting. Ernie and Donald together gave a fine demonstration of the skill of drawing bowls and the generous applause which they received at the end was thoroughly deserved.

The 14 –ends’ final of the Men’s Pairs was played on Friday morning between Alan Robbie/Donald Dundas and Alan Black/Fred Innes and it was Alan and Fred who got off to the better start, a count of five at the fourth putting them in front 8-4 but three ends later Alan and Donald were one ahead, 9-8 when came the killer blow.

At the eighth Alan and Fred were lying six shots and good ones they were too, only for Donald with his last bowl to draw beautifully to the jack and steal the shot, a psychologically devastating blow from which their opponents never really recovered, Alan and Donald moving on to win, narrowly but convincingly by 15 shots to 11.

Not only have the hat nights been exceptionally well supported this season, they have also been blessed with fine weather. It was no different on Friday when the winners of the last Mars Bars were Fiona Anderson and Isabell Inglis by 10 shots.

However, the Club has decided to introduce “hat afternoons” on Sundays at 2pm which will continue, weather permitting, until further notice and all are welcome to come along.

The Bowling Club have now completed all their competitions and members are looking forward to the trophies being presented on Saturday, October 18.

Bridge Club

A real sign of the approach of winter is when the Bridge Club start shuffling the pack again and they start the season in the Village Hall (small) on Monday, October 6, at 7 pm. Last year was one of their most successful ever often with five tables in play. New members are always made very welcome. Just come along at seven o’clock.

Prize Bingo

The Bowling Club extends an open invitation to come along to the last prize bingo session of the summer which will be held in the Community Clubroom at Wairds Park this Saturday, September 27. Doors open 6.30pm, eyes down 7.30. Admission £2 which includes two bingo books and refreshments. Extra books 25p each. Raffle. There was a virtual full house at the last prize bingo session in 2013 and the bowlers will be hoping that history repeats itself tomorrow night.

Table Top Sale

Mearns Coastal Church Guild invites you to go along to enjoy a free cuppa and “bag yourself a bargain” at a table top sale being held in the Church Hall on Saturday, October 4, between 10 am and 12.30 pm Items will be priced at 50p and upwards.

Christmas Fayre

Just two months to the Christmas Fayre in the Village Hall on Saturday, November 22, at 2 pm. Letters inviting organisations to book a table should be out soon but for further information the person to contact is Bowling Club secretary Donald Dundas on 01561 360452.


Twenty five years ago the Community Council received news that they thought would never come their way. For years and years the village and surrounding rural area had been plagued by frequent and frustrating electricity power cuts particularly during the winter months.

However, at their monthly meeting in September information came from the North of Scotland Hydro Electricity Board that the overhead cables bringing the electricity power supply to the village would soon be taken down and laid underground.

Some minimal disruption was expected to households and traffic as the work progressed but it was anticipated that within two months the transformation would be complete –which it was.