Successful funding for quarry buy-out postponed

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This year’s World Stone Skimming Championships on Easdale raised more than £7,000.

The grand total would have been more but islanders still had to pay £1,000 to landowner Jonathan Feigenbaum to use the quarry.

Funding for about £15,000 has been approved by the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) to purchase the quarry but its release has been temporarily postponed.

Six complaints against the funding award were received but, after investigation, the SLF found ‘there was nothing to answer for’, said Duncan Smallman, who is current chairman of Easdale Island Community Development Group.

‘The upshot is the Scottish Land Fund is still happy to release the money and is keen to see it through. However,  because there’s been a change of circumstance in some of our directors’ residency, the SLF has asked us to get more islanders onto the board first and that’s something we are trying to do,’ added Mr Smallman.

Once the funding comes through, it means skimming championship organisers will not have to pay a fee to use the quarry which will then free up more money to pay running bills of the community hall and folk museum and help towards refurbishing the harbour.

Originally, Mr Feigenbaum had wanted £1,200 this year for use of the quarry but dropped it to £1,000.

Hundreds of people turned out for September’s stone skimming championships, with around 350 taking part.

Overall world champion this year was Peter Szep from Hungary who managed to hit the back wall and then with his other two attempts threw a total of  122 metres. Lucy Wood was the best woman on the day, throwing 38 metres.

Funding from SLF would also include money to improve safety fencing around the slate quarries and put up new storyboard signs bringing the past back to life.

The next annual general meeting of Easdale Island Community Development Group is in December.

Potential funding to help refurbish Easdale’s Folk Museum has also been sourced. The museum has now shut for winter but anyone interested in volunteering for next year to keep it running should get in touch with Eilean Eisdale.

To find out more Eilean Eisdale and its projects and how to give support, go to easdale.org