The Volunteer group has just successfully completed the Castle Hill project in Cullen where it transformed the hill from an overgrown eyesore into a place where family's can walk to, picnic or just enjoy the panoramic views. Check out the pictures on our Facebook page. I think the best part of it was seeing the pictures of disabled children getting to the top of the hill for the first time in their lives, the smiles on their faces paid for the hours the team has worked over two years to achieve this.
The group itself is mainly made up of volunteers who are mainly retired, jobless or single people who find the group allows them to get out of their houses, it is an activity they can talk to one another and do something good for the community at the same time. Over time the group has grown and so has the work it now does for the community. Apart from path building, they have cleaned the beaches, cleaned the harbour after storms, cut grass, fixed railings, held fairs etc. etc.
To follow the Castle Hill project the group are now going to improve one of the other local paths called the Salmon Bothy walk. This walk goes from the harbour and after a kilometre it arrives at Portlong bay. This is where the old salmon bothy stood and it is a very sheltered location in a peaceful surrounding ideal for picnics.
Along the walk you pass the Cullen pet cemetery where all the local pets are buried, many with headstones placed there by their owners. The sea shore along the route is rocky and has a wide variety of sea birds to look out for. If you are lucky you can see the dolphins playing in the sea and on the other side of the path you may see the occasional deer. There are not many walks where you have deer and dolphins on either side of you.
The route is also used by the Rotary club for its annual 6 Harbour Walk which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years for charity. The path is also part of the Moray Coastal Trail.
Now this walk may already sound nice, but the problem is it is only useable by the healthy. Many of the older generation will not walk the route because of the rough surface and families with pushchairs cannot cross the uneven surface and If you are disabled you have no chance of ever seeing any of these sights.
Our project is to improve the surface of this path to a standard that will allow any person of age or ability to be able to enjoy this fantastic walk. There are a few challenges along the way, such as one or two sections where we will have to improve the drainage to stop the path from flooding.
The original path we believe was constructed in 1866 to move a hill to make an embankment for the new railway which was being built. Newspaper articles from the time tells the story of how they moved a hill, all done with pick, shovel, horse and cart.
If we can get the path re-surfaced, with improved drainage then there is no reason that the new path will not last for another hundred years.
Having a new smooth surface will be a benefit to all but especially to the very young, the elderly and the disabled who cannot use it today.
Your pledge could make this happen.