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Issue 17 July 2013

posted 3 Jul 2013, 19:16 by Ian Holmes-Lewis   [ updated 6 Feb 2015, 11:26 ]
Brownies’ Big Adventure
Jane Coates, Brown Owl, Saline Brownies (853 080)

The Brownies of the Saline and Blairhall packs signed up to take part in the Giant Sleepover in aid of UNICEF where there are special sleepovers that you can win...
...WE WON the BIG ONE! 

Twenty-one girls and five adults flew courtesy of EasyJet to Luton from Edinburgh on 22nd June. Publicity photos were taken and the EasyJet UNICEF plane was there with the largest UNICEF logo in the world on its tail. All our meals and accommodation were provided by Top Trumps.

We arrived in Luton and were treated to a picnic in the EasyJet canteen, which has a plane theme. We travelled to London and stayed in the Winning Line offices at Top Trumps Tower (the game manufacturer). Lots of fun was had by the girls but their big surprise was celebrity Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), who came to join the fun! They had photos and tea shirts signed; some even had her sign their arms. She joined them in a sing-along and said that she would read them a bedtime story but the girls said "no thanks, it's too early!" An early start saw us on a coach to Southend-on-Sea with a short sightseeing tour of London on the way. We flew back and arrived home in Saline at 4.15pm with some very tired but happy girls.

This was a great opportunity for two small village Brownie Packs from Fife. Some girls had never flown before and most had never been to London. We raised £400 for the UNICEF charity.

Cathy Brown, née Gibson
John Crane, Chair, Saline & Steelend Community Council

We were sad to be informed that Cathy Brown had passed away in Victoria Hospital on the morning of 25 June. Cathy was the only British swimmer to win a medal at the 1948 London Olympics when she won bronze in the 400 metres free style. 
In an international swimming career spanning sixteen years, Cathy held a total of 28 Scottish and British swimming records when she represented Scotland and Great Britain in Europe and North America.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Cathy at the Senior Citizens Christmas dinner at Steelend Club. I asked her why she had not accepted an invitation to attend the 2012 Olympics in London as a VIP guest. She replied by saying that she had had her day in the spotlight and it was now the turn of others.  This sums up the attitude of this courageous yet modest and unassuming lady.

On behalf of the local community, we send our deepest sympathies to the members of Cathy’s family.

Horse Access Over Killernie Farm
A delegation from Fife Access Forum visited and walked the farm to assess the suitability for horse access.  A subsequent meeting at Fife House on 11 June unanimously agreed that it was not suitable. 

The specific reasons for the unsuitability are:
1)      The track from Tullohill is too narrow with no passing places to allow the use by further traffic of any kind including horses.  This is particularly relevant given the planning application presently under consideration

2)      The track toward Steelend is through open fields used by cattle who can charge without reason and is therefore considered dangerous.  Mr Squair advise that his own family member had been killed this summer in such an incident.  Again this is specifically relevant to walkers who use this track and should be made aware of the dangers.

Full details are published on the FAF site.

Blair House Trust
Village voluntary organisations are reminded that funds are still available from the Blair House Trust.  
For a copy of an application form, phone Marie Crane on 852698 or e-mail

Church News
 The end of the Sunday School session was marked during the Service on Sunday 23rd June with the presentation of books to all the children involved. 
This was followed by a family barbeque - most enjoyable despite the weather.  

The Primary School end of term service took place on Thursday 27th June with a special contribution from the P7 pupils who will be starting secondary school next term.  The Sacrament of Holy Communion was celebrated on Sunday 30th June.  

Sunday Services during the summer will continue as usual at 10.30am followed by refreshments in the hall at 11.30.   There will be provision made during the service for any children who are present. 

Registrations for the Holiday Club have been made but there is always room for more.  This takes place in the Church and hall from Monday 5th to Friday 9th August from 10.00am to 12.30 pm each morning.

The Wednesday Coffee Mornings continue as usual during the summer (10.00 - 12 noon)  except during the Holiday Club week.

The Church is also open for visitors on Wednesday Mornings from June till the beginning of September.

Fund Raising Events for Restoration Fund:
Lilac Tea on 8th June raised £760 - many thanks to all involved.

Saturday 27th July - 12noon till 2pm in the Church Hall - come and enjoy a SOUP AND SANDWICH LUNCH - meet your friends and find some bargains on the various stalls!

Thursday 22; Friday 23rd; Saturday 24th August (opening times to be confirmed): FLOWER FESTIVAL - OUR COMMUNITY. Come and appreciate all that goes on in our community depicted in flowers.  Admission by donation.  Cream Teas served in the hall.

 Queen Margaret Hospital Development Project
Queen Margaret Hospital has produced a Newsletter outlining its plan to improve access to a range of primary care, community and diagnostic facilities, all within a modern healthcare environment. As part of the development, Queen Margaret will have a state-of-the-art Diagnostic and Treatment Centre encompassing Day Surgery, Day Intervention, Urology and Endoscopy.  A copy of their newsletter will be added to this website as soon as it becomes available.

Back Pain?
KM Pilates’ first class starts on Tuesday 16th July at 7.30pm at Saline Community Centre. Contact Suzy on 07576 368231 if you would like to join us.

Our Community First Responders
A Community First Responder is a member of the public who volunteers to help their community by responding to medical emergencies while the ambulance is on its way.  All volunteers receive specialist training and equipment so that they can provide an early intervention before the arrival of the professional ambulance crew.

Anyone who wishes to help their community can volunteer and no previous medical experience is necessary, although you will need a caring attitude and the ability deal with potentially distressing situations. The Scottish Ambulance Service operates more than fifty Community First Responder schemes across Scotland.

To become a volunteer first responder you must be:

    at least 18 years old
    able to demonstrate and maintain a level of fitness to meet the role
    an effective communicator with good interpersonal skills
    able to demonstrate logical approach; work under pressure, yet stay calm
    have a desire to learn
    reside or work in the area in which the scheme is based
    complete a criminal records check (Enhanced Disclosure Scotland check)
    have some first aid knowledge (not essential).

Saline First Responders cover Blairhall, Comrie, Oakley, Carnock, Gowkhall, Steelend and outlying areas.   There are no set shifts, you chose when you can provide some cover.   We receive monthly training sessions from the Ambulance Service.   We are really struggling for volunteers - WE REALLY NEED YOU!

If you are interested in becoming a Community First Responder, you should contact Hilary Warnock at or on 01383 852 797.

Community Council Matters
A modestly attended community council meeting still managed to provoke considerable debate, some of which is covered in more detail elsewhere in this Bulletin.

The Saline (and Steelend) Stench!!!!
There can be few in our community who have missed the awful smell that has hung over the area for some time. Mark Baugh gave a comprehensive update on the situation and emphasised the need to avoid being too critical of farmers as it is our waste that has to be disposed of and we are all responsible

Mark explained that the problem, which started on 15th April, resulted in complaints over a wide area. He advised that sewage is treated with lime cake to reduce the smell and that this has a benefit of being organic and reducing farmers’ need for fertiliser. The material can then be used as a top dressing or ploughed, but there are strict regulations covering this. 

Three local farmers were involved and their representatives advised of the benefits to them but also highlighted the problems caused by this year’s awful weather. A specific problem is that there is confusion between Fife Council and SEPA as to who is responsible for dealing with complaints. This needs to be addressed. The Community Council itself was concerned that only councillors had been informed of operations when it is the Community Council that is the first port of call for complaints. It was felt that a better informed community would reduce the level of complaints. 

It was agreed that the Community Council should be informed next year and that more use should be made of the Bulletin and web site. Further information on the regulations can be found at: 

Outh Muir Wind Farm Steering Group
John Crane reported on the Outh Muir Wind Farm Steering Group where we are represented by John and Marie Crane, Till Kroeber and Gareth Turner. He stressed that participation did not imply support or otherwise for the proposals, rather it was to ensure that the community does not miss out on any benefits from the Community Fund. 

Two options are being considered; a single fund to cover all of the affected communities or allocations to individual communities based on percentages. The view of those present was that our representatives be authorised to argue for the option of payments to individual communities.

The need for improved communications to ensure that people are aware of specific topics at the community council, such as the recent Kingdom Housing Association presentation, provoked considerable debate. Various options for people without internet access were discussed and there was support for the Communications Group’s proposals for information boards. This is to be raised at the next Communications Group meeting.

Better News
A welcome report was that the issues of drainage and landownership at Kinneddar Park appear to be moving towards resolution following a letter to CISWO from the Community Council. 

Kingdom Housing Association Affordable Housing Development
At the last Community Council meeting, several people expressed concerns about the proposed affordable housing development on the site on Oakley Road adjacent to the park. It was explained that the recent consultation event arranged by Kingdom Housing Association was not intended to provide detailed information about the proposals but simply to give local people an opportunity to express their concerns and aspirations.  It is just the first stage in the consultation process and a further exercise will be carried out once a planning application is submitted.

The demand for affordable housing in Saline, the capacity of the village infrastructure to support it and the form and appearance that the development will take will all have to be addressed before planning permission is granted.

With regard to housing demand, Kingdom HA are required to assist the Scottish Government and Fife Council in implementing their housing strategies but the need locally for affordable housing was confirmed by the Housing Needs Survey undertaken as part of the Community Futures exercise in 2011 in which almost half the households in the parish took part.  It should be remembered that 'affordable housing' is not just about homes for those in greatest need but also for those who have difficulty in gaining a foothold in the property market.  The development could include market rent properties, shared ownership and low-cost home ownership.

The appearance of the development is also of critical importance and the Housing Sub-Group, originally established within the Community Futures Group, will be pressing for the very highest standards of design quality, as defined in the Scottish Government's Architecture and Place policy launched on the 24th June.  Most importantly the new policy requires local authorities to consider 'design quality' when assessing planning applications.  A copy of the policy statement can be found at 

Saline and Steelend Community Development Trust
Very soon after the last Bulletin was printed, we learned that the Scottish Charity Commissioners had accepted our application for charitable status and Saline and Steelend Community Development Trust was registered on 10th June. At a meeting of the founding trustees on 18 June, the Community Futures Steering Group, which has overseen the preparation of the Community Action Plan and the establishment of the Community Development Trust, was formally wound up and its work transferred to the Development Trust. 

The Trust will have twelve Trustees, two of whom will be nominated by the Community Council.
The purpose of the Trust is to support and assist other local organisations and groups in taking forward the themes and projects contained in the Action Plan, and to undertake the more ambitious projects requiring the acquisition of land and property and major expenditure. Already people are coming forward with projects they would like to see supported such as the acquisition of Steelend Community Centre and its adaptation to provide a range of facilities for local people run by the community.

A membership application form is available to be printed out from the home page of this site (at the bottom), and enclosed with the hard copy of this month's Bulletin. Completed forms can be left at the Post Office or in the Saline shop. Additional copies of the application forms can also be obtained there or by emailing .  If you would like to talk about the Trust or have an interest in becoming a Trustee, please contact David Chisholm on 853 168.

The next Development Trust meeting is on Thursday 18 July at 7.30pm in Steelend Club.  All are welcome to attend.

Blairadam Forest and Outh Muir Wind Farms 
Suzanne Turner
There are planning applications due to be submitted for two adjacent, but separate wind farms:
 Blairadam Forest 11 x 115m (377ft) turbines – Partnership for Renewables on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland, planning application expected mid-July.
 Outh Muir, by Knockhill Racing Circuit 5 x 110m (361ft) turbines – REG Windpower, planning application expected early July.

Fife Council guidance on wind energy clearly deems the sites at Blairadam and Outh as having no capacity for turbines and state the area should not be developed for wind energy.

Reasons the sites are unsuitable:
The Cleish Hills Upland area has no capacity for large turbines due to:
 The high quality of the landscape – it is a designated Local Landscape Area
 High visibility; due to the prominent upland position, the site is visible for over 30 miles
 Detrimental impact on the historic skyline of Dunfermline
 The area is widely enjoyed for recreation, with 40,000 visitors to Blairadam Forest each year
 There are many European protected species on the site including bats, birds and otters
 There are three SSSIs on the site, designated for the blanket bog, a natural CO2 store
 Impact on the community – the nearest homes are only 600m away and will be visually dominated by the turbines, as will many much further away.

What’s driving the demand for wind turbines?
With the site so clearly unsuitable and Fife Council policies stating this so clearly, there must be good reason why two developers are planning wind farms here, one of which would be the biggest wind farm in Fife, bigger in fact than Fife Council state could be accommodated anywhere in Fife.

Wind turbines have been around for years; the ones at Soutra in the Borders were built in 2002. The reason we are seeing so many applications now is because of the introduction in 2009 of FITs and ROCs, the subsidies paid to developers via our electricity bills for producing renewable energy.  A developer typically earns, for a single 2.5MW turbine such as the ones planned here, around £300,000 per year for 20 years in subsidies, a guaranteed payment paid for by us through our electricity bills.  The landowner is given around 5-10% of this for leasing their land; if the developer feels the application is controversial they usually offer a ‘community benefit’ payment of around 1%.  

Local authorities issue guidance on areas where turbines are and are not suitable, however, landowners want to benefit from subsidies and having only the land they own available to them, they submit applications whether the site is suitable or not.  

If large turbines are approved in the Cleish Hills it is likely that more will follow.  This has been seen across the UK including at Little Raith where consent was given for 9 x 100m turbines, the developer subsequently submitted a new application to increase the height to 126m.  Further applications in the area proliferated including 2 x 100m turbines at Mossmorran which again, after gaining consent, have submitted an application to increase the height to 125m, 1 x 100m turbine at Goathill Quarry and 3 x 100m turbines at Clentrie.  These turbines are approved but have not yet been erected.

 If you are concerned about the impact of these wind farms at Blairadam and Outh, would like further information or want to be kept up to date when the planning applications are submitted, contact SPOT Fife, a group of West Fife residents set up because of concerns about the number of inappropriate wind turbine applications in our area.  Phone: 07903 741240, email: Website: 

Young? Gifted? Rural?
The Scottish National Rural Network (SNRN) has announced that their next  Young, Gifted and Rural Networking Event will take place on Tuesday 23rd July at Centre 81 in Garelochhead, Argyll. 
Young, Gifted and Rural aims to increase the involvement of young people living in rural Scotland in the activities of their communities. The SNRN worked in partnership with the Carnegie UK Trust on previous events on this theme. 

The free event is aimed at young people who are involved in community activity, as well as organisations who work with young people. 

We are still finalising the agenda but attendees can expect an inspiring and fun day with lots of opportunities to meet other people working towards similar goals. There will be presentations from young people, practical case studies, a marketplace where you can find out about a range of organisations and funders - along with competitions and activities throughout the day. 

The event is free, including lunch, and some limited support may be available for travel expenses. You can register for a place online. Free exhibition space is also available. For more information call Norette Ferns on 01463 251 733 or email

Details of this and many other initiatives can be found at:

adapted from a  piece by John Robert Crane
On Wednesday, 5th May, in the year 1909, the miners from the small village of Steelend made their way to work at Lethans Pit Number One, located at an isolated spot to the north east of Knockhill, near Outh.
Three men had been put to work driving a mine when they suddenly struck water. A large torrent burst in upon them and the pit immediately started to flood. About 45 men were working in the pit at this time. All managed to escape apart from one of the three men, Richard Bennett, from Steelend. 

He was not familiar with the pit and as the lamps had been extinguished, he lost his way. He found himself in a dead end and was trapped by the rising water. John Clemenson, the colliery manager, arrived on the scene and immediately organised a rescue party consisting of himself and nine other men. They started to explore and at last located Bennett. Between him and Bennett, however, there had been a fall of rock that completely blocked the passage for a distance of about 20 feet. To add to the rescue team's problems, in the passage leading from the blockage to the only available shaft, there was a dip, and this had started to fill with water.

Clemenson stationed three of his men at the dip in the passage to monitor the water level. Two men he sent back to the surface to operate the pumps. He then took the remaining four men to the point where the passage was blocked and set to work opening a tunnel though the rock fall. This work had to be carried out with great care and the roof of the small, two-foot-square opening had to be supported to avoid further rock falls.

After about half an hour's work at the tunnel, one of the men, James White, who had a weak heart, was taken ill. Clemenson sent him back to the surface and sent another of his men, Patrick Kelly, to help him out. This left the manager and two remaining men to continue to dig the tunnel. They worked on for another three and a half hours, and Clemenson would frequently detail one of his two remaining men, William Taylor, junior, to return to the dip to check on the water level.

Taylor eventually reported that the water had almost reached the roof of the passage. The manager then asked his other man, James Scott, if he wanted to escape to the surface whilst the way was still open. Scott replied to the effect that he could not leave Richard Bennett to die a cold, lonely death.

The three men carried on tunnelling and after another half hour, broke through to find Bennett alive but in a semi-conscious state. The three rescuers quickly assisted Bennett back to the dip but found that the water had reached the roof of the passage on one side, and leaving barely two inches of clearance on the other.

The manager sent one of his men through to warn the party on the other side to be ready to grab hold of Bennett when he was in reach. Clemenson then guided Bennett, who was still only partially able to help himself, through the 15 feet of passage with their heads under water. The fourth man followed them out and they all regained the surface safely.

On the 24th June of the same year, a ceremony took place in the temporary church and school building at Steelend. This ceremony was held so that the Trustees of the Carnegie Hero Fund could recognize the acts of heroism that had recently been performed at Lethans Colliery. 
Most of the Steelend residents were present, together with the dignitaries of the area.

The Dunfermline Press commented, ‘Much praise is due to Mr Clemenson and his assistants for their manly and courageous efforts in bringing their comrades in safety to the pit bank. The men were much bruised and scratched, and each presented a pitiable appearance.’

Forthcoming Meetings and Events:
Steelend Club
Domino and pool competitions every Friday from 9.00pm
Pilates, every Monday 6.15pm-7.00pm
Zumba ,every Monday 7.00pm-8.00pm
Drumming Group, every Tuesday, for all ages, 7.00pm-8.30pm
Afternoon Cabaret: Sunday 25 August, 2.3 pm, entry £3, including food.

Steelend Gala Week 
Family Treasure Hunt: Monday 29th July, 7.00pm
Family Quiz: Wednesday 31st July 7.30pm
Kids’ Disco: Thursday 1st August, 6.30pm-8.00pm
Gala Parade: Saturday 3rd August, 11.30am then Miners Club for other events.

Every Thursday 6.00-7.30pm
Saline Church Hall

Every Thursday 7.30pm-9.00pm
Saline Church Hall

116th Fife Scout Group
Beaver Colony 
Every Friday, 6pm-7.30 pm 
Cub Pack 
 Every Thursday, 6.30pm-8pm
Scout Troop 
Every Thursday, 7.30pm-9pm
Explorer Unit 
Every Thursday, 7.30pm-9pm 
The Group meets in Carnock Community Centre, Camps Road, Carnock. Open to both boys and girls

Highland Dancing Classes
Tuesdays 4.00pm-5.00pm
Saline Church Hall
Thursdays 6.30pm-8.00pm
Saline Church Session Room

Adult Badminton
Mondays 7.45pm
Wednesday 1.30pm and 7.30pm
Saline Community Centre
Beginners welcome

Saline Smilers (Toddler Group) 
Tuesdays 9.30am-11.30am during school terms
Saline Community Centre

Craft and Chatter
Thursdays 10.00am-12.00 noon
Last Friday of month 7.00-9.00pm
Shieldbank Coffee Shop

Sambangra Drumming Group
Tuesdays, 7.00pm
Steelend Club

Community Development Trust Meeting 
Thursday 18 July, 7.30pm
Steelend Club

Community Council Meeting
Tuesday 30 July 
7.30 pm, Saline Community Centre