Mearns Heritage Cycle Challenge

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On Friday (September 8), Dave Ramsay, Director of Mearns Heritage Services, will wave off three cyclists as they begin their 160 mile journey from Johnshaven to Oban, cycling to Comrie on day one, and Comrie to Oban on day two.

This will be the second time in a month, where Ronan Littlejohn, and Gary Thomson of the Anchor Hotel, both from Johnshaven, will be undertaking the journey to raise funds for the Cutty Sark Museum Project, which celebrates the Inverbervie birth - place of Hercules Linton, designer of the famous Cutty Sark.

In their previous sponsored cycle trip from Inverbervie to Dumbarton in August, they completed the 138 mile journey in one day, to celebrate the links between Inverbervie and Dumbarton, where the Cutty Sark was built and launched in 1869.

For this journey they will be joined by cyclist Graham Farr, and support driver Steven Paton, both from Johnshaven. Steven will drive the support vehicle, ensuring supplies, water, maintenance and spares are all available for a gruelling journey.

The Cutty Sark Museum Project is managed by Mearns Heritage Services, and Project Director Dave Ramsay said, “We were fortunate to have a great start to the project through generous funding from Fotheringham Property Developments in Gourdon, and what Ronan and Gary have done is to take this sponsorship forward to help us complete and launch the project by November 2017.”

Ronan and his Johnshaven friends, have raised four figure sums of money through these cycle runs over the last four years, to support a variety of local families and charities, and Dave Ramsay said: “Their training preparations and enthusiasm for this challenge is really appreciated, and through the efforts of Ronan, Gary, Graham and Steven, will enable further funds to be raised, to complete the final stages of the Cutty Sark Virtual Museum.”

This will then form the basis of a search for suitable premises in the local area, to house and establish a Scottish and Mearns, Cutty Sark Museum.

In 2015, Mearns Heritage Services was awarded a bronze plaque by Historic Scotland. The Scottish dimension of the Cutty Sark story, and particularly the Mearns dimension will be maximised through the links with Robert Burns and his father William Burnes, and the life and times of Hercules Linton, who was born and died in Inverbervie.

There will also be links to James Taylor of Auchenblae, who was known as the Father of Tea, for his pioneering work in Ceylon, in the days of the tea clippers.

Inverbervie, Auchenblae and Glenbervie schools had been involved for one year on these separate elements for this project, and contributed to the research and production of text and graphics for the website, in the Curriculum for Excellence. All three schools were acknowledged in a formal letter from John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills for their contribution to education and heritage.

Dave Ramsay said, “These are all elements which do not fully appear in the main Cutty Sark Museum in Greenwich, and this project will capture the Scottish dimension and complement the Greenwich information, whose support and advice I have really welcomed

Provost Howatson, who has supported many Aberdeenshire community heritage projects, said “This imaginative and home grown initiative to establish a Scottish and Mearns Cutty Sark Museum represents not only strong local interest and commitment but taps in to a rich reservoir of history, tradition and culture.

“The active involvement of three primary schools in the Mearns in the project, which has been publicly acknowledged by the Scottish Government, is a further recognition that heritage and education can combine to highlight the importance of our local history in exploring the Scottish dimension on the Cutty Sark story. History has long been a dialogue between the past and the present and the museum project illustrates that observation brilliantly.”

Fund raising has already taken place, with £500 already committed, and sponsorship forms are available in the Ship Inn and the Anchor Hotel in Johnshaven, as well as the crowdfunding page link for donations and sponsorship: