Calendar‎ > ‎E-Bulletin‎ > ‎

Issue 35 March 2015

posted 16 Mar 2015, 17:08 by Ian Holmes-Lewis   [ updated 10 Sep 2017, 12:17 ]

The first phase of Saline and Steelend Friends and Neighbours project, which consists of making and decorating ceramic tiles, has now begun. Materials have been bought, rolling pins have been wielded on kitchen tables and the first tiles have been created.

Marylla Ferguson and Liz Harvey will be working with all classes at Saline Primary school during March, so that every pupil will have the chance to make and decorate tiles. The decoration will be based around the theme of Friends and Neighbours, to include local flora and fauna as well as humans! The tiles will be glazed and fired in the kilns at Queen Anne High School, and then they will be assembled into mosaics which will be sited prominently in both Saline and Steelend – the design of these will depend on ideas from the pupils.

The first batch of completed tiles will be on display at the village art exhibition in May, which will also be the springboard for community participation in the project.

The Friends and Neighbours project, which is being funded by the Colton & Comrie Colliery Trusts, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, and Fife Council, will also involve re-establishing and creating pathways through and around our villages, providing information and interpretation boards and seating. There will also be artworks and objects, and points of interest and discovery created from natural and reclaimed materials to be sited throughout the community. It is intended that all stages of these projects will involve ideas and practical input by the people who live here – you! 

 All ages, no skill required! Anyone who would like to be part of the team organising these activities, please contact Liz on 851493 or Marylla on 851868. 


Saline Brownies have continued to be very busy. Before Christmas they were very creative as they designed and painted their own tops. At Christmas we once again set forth and had a fantastic trip to Edinburgh, with the help of our parents. The girls quickly became experts at the ice skating and explored the other delights in Princes Street Gardens before taking tea and returning home in the train. Since then the Brownies have had fun this year finding out about other cultures with Japanese, Hawaiian and American nights recently. They tasted a variety of foods, learnt some new games and have enjoyed learning to line dance. We are looking forward to our next pack holiday weekend in May and the girls have decided it will be along the theme of 'Land of Oz'. 


At a recent meeting Mrs Jackie Miller, Beaver Scout Leader, of Oakley was presented with her Chief Scout's Award for Merit. This Award is presented in recognition of outstanding service to Scouting after a minimum of 12 years’ service and having completed her adult training. In front of a large gathering of members of the Group, parents and friends she was presented with her Certificate by District Commissioner (Designate) Mr Joe Rosiejak and her Award by the Outgoing District Commissioner Mr Danny Barr. Afterwards the assembled company enjoyed some light refreshment.

The Beavers have been busy planting peas, beans and flowers in jars and pots and they have to observe their growth over the next few weeks.

The Cubs have now embarked on completing some of their Challenge Awards, starting with the Fitness Challenge.

The Scouts are now busy practising for The Gibb Bugle which is the District Camping Competition held in the early part of summer.

The Explorers have had an outing to a golf driving range as part of their award to try out a new sport. 


Any couch potatoes needing a laugh/a little exercise are needed for ALL badminton groups. Just come along or Contact Betty Thomson for details on

The Editor reserves the right to refuse, edit or factually correct all items submitted for publication. All views expressed in this Bulletin are purely those of the author of the item concerned and are not necessarily those of the Editor or of the Communications Group as a whole. 


As we enter March, the project to restore the bog is now reaching its climax. Some wood still remains to be cut, but the focus now is on clearing the cut material off the site - and allowing the bog to 'breathe' once more.

Lots of timber has been stacked and hopefully, if there is sufficient participation, we can, in the autumn, arrange for this wood to be taken to a central point for distribution amongst the local community. First rights however, go to those of you who have given time and effort to help clear the trees off the area! We had a very successful day on Saturday 28 February (see images), clearing brash and making dead hedges. Only one of us got completely wet! The next date for work is Saturday March 21, meeting at 1030 in the old football ground car park. All are welcome.

I'd also like to thank Jim Cousar at this point for his continuing help in letting us work along his field and store the timber there.

Come the summer, I'd like to arrange a walk over the site for those of you who are interested, to look at some of the plant and animal life that of the bog. The date is flexible and I'll confirm this later.

For now, however, it's a case of cracking on with clearance work and then putting in a couple of dams to regulate the amount of water on the site.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Duncan Priddle, Project Manager, The Farm Environment Limited 


Housing development continues to be a major topic of discussion at Community Council meetings, particularly Gladman Developments’ proposals for the West Road site. Around 80 people attended their consultation event at the beginning of February. A feedback survey conducted by the Community Council showed that although there was some support for new housing the majority of people who attended were either wholly opposed or had serious concerns. Most people felt that the infrastructure, services and amenities in Saline were wholly inadequate for the number of homes now under consideration and these issues needed to addressed before any further development takes place. These views will be communicated to Fife Council.

It is also rumoured that Allanwater may have withdrawn from the proposed development on the LRD site further along Oakley Road. Whilst this might be welcomed by some it is disappointing for those local families who were hoping for the chance of a new home in the village. All of the homes in Kingdom Housing Association's development on the other side of Oakley Road are designated 'social rent', but the development on the LRD site is intended to include 20 affordable homes for which local people could be eligible.

Don’t forget – if you have things you want to promote on the community website, contact Ian Holmes-Lewis on 


The Community Council is maintaining its pressure on Fife Council and Stagecoach to attend an open public meeting to discuss what alterations could be made to the bus timetable to ensure that those without cars are able to get to work and college in Dunfermline and to medical appointments in Oakley in the mornings. The Community Council has learned that Fife Council has appointed someone to work part-time to look at problems in the West Fife villages including public transport issues. 


The Community Council has received information about a new initiative to re-establish the Fife Pilgrim Way, the historic path from Culross Abbey through Dunfermline and on to St Andrews. More details can be found at 


Following discussion at its February meeting, the Community Council has reiterated its objection to the proposed turbine at West Craighouse Farm. The intention had been for it to be located where the monitoring mast was erected but in consultation with Fife Council it was moved closer to Saline. Apart from the technical and environmental concerns that are well documented on the planning website, the visual intrusion into the open vista from Saline towards Stirling and the Ochils is even greater.

There is concern too about the location of a second wind turbine on Killernie Farm land close to Steelend. At a well-attended public meeting in the Miners' Welfare Club on 15 February the developers explained their ideas and answered people's questions. They had intended the turbine to be located away from the village towards Upper Steelend but following discussion with Fife Council and consideration of technical issues their preferred position is just to the north of the village where it will be very visible. There was support for the turbine in the original location, particularly if it brought financial rewards to the community, but a feedback questionnaire completed at the end of the meeting showed that 100% of people attending the meeting were opposed to it in the new position. The developers have gone away to review their plans and have agreed to meet again with residents to consider alternative locations. 


The problem of the smoking/stinking heap of compost at West Craighouse Farm remains unresolved. SEPA served a notice to have it removed it back in January but the operators identified an error in the wording of the notice and they now have a further 21 days to comply.

All contributions for inclusion in the Bulletin are welcome and should be submitted to Jacquie Clapperton on 
or by telephoning 852367. 


The issue of vehicles speeding and overtaking on the B914 between Steelend and the Redcraigs crossroads has been raised over a number of years at Community Council meetings but the case for lowering the speed limit has always been rejected by Fife Council. It appears that they are prepared to wait for someone to be killed or seriously injured before considering it. Now the small number of residents at Upper Steelend and those that live up farm tracks that exit on to the road, supported by the Community Council, have come together to petition for action to be taken. The group has the support of Police Scotland who as an interim measure will deploy the speed van from time to time. Their records show that the last time the van was used every vehicle was travelling at more than 60mph!

Driving along this section of road is dangerous enough but cyclists and walkers take their lives in their hands. In implementing the objective contained in the Community Action Plan to encourage greater access to the countryside the Development Trust is seeking to establish a safe route for walkers and cyclists between Steelend and Upper Steelend, which in time might extend towards Kelty. If you would like to join the recently-established Paths User Group that is reviewing the paths network please email 


The Community Council has received details of a conference being organised by Planning Democracy entitled 'Planning: The People's Perspective' to be held in at the Trades Hall in central Glasgow on Saturday 25 April. Many people living in Saline and Steelend will feel that the planning system has not served them well, and this event is an opportunity to share your frustrations and learn from other communities. The conference flyer says:

At the conference you will hear how well the planning system works for the public, meet other people and exchange experiences of planning. Join forces with others to create a louder voice for communities in planning. Work with us to campaign for better planning including an Equal Right of Appeal. Have an opportunity to have a dialogue with sympathetic professionals. Attend workshops with experts on a variety of planning topics.

The cost of a place at the conference is only £10 but the Community Council will pay for three local people to attend. Please ring David Chisholm on 853168 if you would like to attend.


Would any Saline/Steelend group like a table/area at an open day so they could raise money or awareness for their group? The Saline Heritage Society will be holding an open day on Sat 27 June for the Old Graveyard that the Society has been restoring. The Church has kindly allowed us to use their grounds for the event and the Heritage Society would like to invite other local groups to help make the day special. There will be no cost and all the proceeds you make go back to your group. The only condition is that the event you hold must be old-fashioned such as wellie throwing or a coconut shy! If you are interested, please contact Jackie Kerr on 851162 for more information.


Show dates - Saturday/Sunday 5/6 September 

The committee had their usual winter meeting. The judges have accepted our invitations and the opening of the Show is being made by a lady who has had her garden featured on The Beechgrove Garden programme.

We hope to expand the interests at the Show including a produce stall, children's entertainment and possibly a Scalectrix track in operation, so there is something for everyone in the family in addition to all the usual sections of Fruit, Flowers, Vegetables, Home Crafts, Home Baking, Photography, Art and the Children's categories.

Please put the dates in your diary.

The schedules will be coming out as part of the Saline & Steelend Bulletin in May. If you need more information, do feel free to contact the Secretary Sheila Travers on 01383 852249.


There is still space at the Highland Dancing beginners’ class on Tuesdays 4 - 5 pm, as well as the Thursday class 6.30 - 8 pm for anyone and advanced pupils. Contact Betty Thomson for details on


The plans for the above exhibition, to be held over the weekend of 9 and 10 May, are progressing well. The latest well-attended meeting of the Exhibition Committee was held on 24 February in Saline Community Centre.

Any local artists or photographers who would like to exhibit their work at the exhibition would be very welcome - just give our Exhibition Manager a call on 851868. There are no forms to fill in or hanging charges. Just bring your work along to the Saline Community Council between 2 pm and 8 pm on Friday 7 May. So why not bring along that photograph that you are rather proud of or that painting or drawing that you have kept hidden in the back bedroom?

We would also welcome any help from local folk. The tasks include preparing the Community Centre for the exhibition, assembling the display boards, and helping to prepare and display the hundreds of exhibits from the pupils of all the primary schools in the West Fife villages. Any additional help to assist this community event would be much appreciated. Please contact Marylla as above.

This will be the ninth time that Saline has hosted this somewhat unique event which has previously attracted more than 400 visitors over this weekend event. Even if you don't enter anything, please come along on the Saturday or Sunday between 10 am and 4.30 pm to support this local community event. Entry is free, though we may elicit a small donation from you on the way out.

Apologies for the late-posting of this E-Bulletin, Rose & I were in Cuba. This is an account of the trip:

CUBA 2015.

In between Immigration and Customs the big guy in a buff uniform smiles and asks where we're from. His follow-up question is about the referendum. As we chat I see his eye flick towards the serious woman at the customs desk who then waves us through with a tiny smile. Every gap in traffic has its own exhaust-fume wraith, blue or black, that dances around the next car. We contrive to arrive in central Havana with nothing smaller than a CUC$50 (£35) and the taxi-driver has no change, so it's a good day for him.

Wandering separately around the Museum of the Revolution, R & I are both moved by the exhibits from the time just after Batista was deposed, about the training of teachers and doctors, and the opening of schools and clinics. Among the WWII Russian fighters and the T34 tank outside the Museum are a couple of home-made armoured cars that seem like toys – with bullet holes through the half-inch plate.

Footsteps across the perimeter of the old town always echo to the sound of 'taxi?', occasionally re-echoing, '...cigar? ...Cohiba, very cheap?' The touting for business is never threatening or even persistent (a polite refusal works every time, but the next guy always thinks you might say yes). Cubans in general are smart, open, friendly, happy to help and interested in exchanging perspectives. Charm is Cuba's lingua franca and I often found it hard to remember how the conversation I was enjoying had started. Tourists are Cubans' principle economic opportunity and the conversation would, at some point, touch on whether we wanted cigars, or a CD. Sometimes the 'economic opportunity' arises very soon, often in the form of a restaurant, bar or fiesta nearby - always featuring one or more of the Buena Vista Social Club.

One day, in the space of ten minutes, two strangers told me the same joke: ‘Havana has two-million people... One-million are policemen. It certainly felt like the safest city in the world. A music teacher corrected me one day; '...there are three million people in Havana'. Eventually I realised that the extra million were all in the Buena Vista.

A mojito in any of the skooshy tourist places where Hemmingway drank or passed out or farted costs a couple of extra dollars, but sometimes they have the best bands in the old town. Meandering homeward from Havana Cathedral one night, the band in the Bodeguita de Media had filled the bar and collected a huge crowd outside which had, in turn, collected satellite hustlers, hawkers, beggars and professional photo-opportunities. We came for the flautist, who trilled light and jazzy and could be heard around the corner, we stayed for the band.

Perched on a stool in a corner by the percussionist, surrounded by enormous Americans pretending to be Canadians and vertiginous Germans, I learned many things. The barman shot smiles and winks across the crowd while he cranked out mojitos by the dozen. He pulled down a picture of Hemmingway or a tin tray bearing the name of the bar and its Hemmingway credentials with one hand (to insert into the background of a tourist's selfie), while using the other to pour rum or mash spearmint with a tiny baseball bat. Clearly mojitos are like snowflakes; no two are alike and the perfect mojito is now gone forever.

We quickly found that our favourite places to eat were away from the tourist areas where the food was no better or worse, just cheaper and without the hustle. Once we'd discovered, one kiln-hot afternoon at the end of a long queue, the Helado de Coco (a half-coconut shell full of coconut ice-cream with a drizzle of chocolate), it became a daily ritual. The next day, looking for a music place we'd been told about, Rose, who's vegetarian, found relief from the ubiquitous black beans and rice, or Moors and Christians, in the form of garbanzos fritos: chick-peas 'fried' with tomato sauce. This dish usually includes chorizo, but by now my toddler-level Spanish could stretch to:

Pointing earnestly at the photo: 'Without. Meat.'

Pointing extravagantly at Rose: 'Only. Vegetable.'

This may have represented my Spanish zenith: I definitely asked for directions to the CADECA (money exchange) by saying, 'Please, where is the head?' No wonder he looked bemused. The locals never laughed unless they were sure I was trying to be funny, and, apart from my head exchange, we usually understood each other (or guessed well) eventually.

When we found the venue we were looking for, we were hailed as long-lost friends from a table of three locals, one of whom turned out to be the big guy from the airport. Later that night the Rumba band really blew me away, by the second number there were tears in my eyes. Rumba is a lot easier to follow live (as opposed to YouTube), and the energy from the dancers is a vital component, as you might expect. The most charismatic dancer was an older guy with an elaborately carved walking-stick, who seemed to do very little, but easily commanded the room. By the end of the first half, we were the only obvious tourists left, I imagine it was the sheer intensity that drove the others away; but we loved it. As the voltage between two dancers sparked across meters of dance-floor, and the voices and the drums spun tighter and faster around each other, time slowed and a kind of tunnel-vision closed in until suddenly we found ourselves cheering and the song was over.

Not all the music was entirely awesome. To say that I heard one version of ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’ that I didn’t hate would be to downplay the nauseating awfulness of the rest; and many of Cuba’s finest were brought low by the Demis Roussos plague that is ‘Forever and Ever’. The former seemed to stalk me. Lured into one bar by a beguiling Son version of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Chameleon’, the band launched into ‘Perhaps…’ while the first sip of Rum was halfway up the straw. Let us never mention these songs again.

In Trinidad de Cuba we would, we were told, find the real Caribbean. At the bus station, in the pre-dawn, we found our taxi-collectivo in the form of an immaculate-looking ’54 Oldsmobile in deepest Caribbean Blue. The other element of our collective was a nervous Chinese student. The driver had, fixed to his face, the reassuring smile of one who knows he will have to improvise in order to complete his journey. We were barely on the motorway before he’d flagged down another car, apparently to get a phone-number from the other driver. There were stops for coffee, for phone-calls, for radiator-water and an increasingly edgy search for fuel. Meanwhile the Cuban countryside emerged from the morning fog on either side, patrolled by gyring Turkey Vultures.

By late morning, the sun had burned away all trace of fog. We pulled into a short lane with a few wooden houses on each side; blue and white, behind dense cactus topiaried into a chest-high hedge. Rose stroked a chestnut mare while the man leading it stood patiently by. The driver hurried off, then reappeared from a different direction with two big plastic containers of gravy, which he poured into the back of the Oldsmobile. Just as we were leaving, a hand appeared through the half-open car window with a guava for each of us from the tree by the road.
The centre of Trinidad is like the 16th century made of marzipan with fairy-lights, but the rest is less Disney, more Sergio Leone (without the menace and with more pizza). One night in the garden of our B&B, we were introduced to the Chanchanchara, a traditional Trinidadian drink of rum, honey and lemon-juice. Must be a tropical thing: the waxing crescent moon lies on its back, and everybody is very relaxed, as if nothing could go wrong. In the square we chat to a local artist, who speaks good English with a U.S. accent, about the social safety-net (which seems to work) and the guys we’d seen sleeping rough in Havana, and fears for Cuba now that the U.S. is their ‘friend’.

We share the taxi back to Havana with a Danish dentist and her husband. Half an hour outside Trinidad there’s no traffic, but we slow to a crawl. There is red stuff along the edge of the road. Some of it is moving. Once a year the so-called ‘land’ crabs climb out of the sea to lay their eggs among the trees, and this was the morning after.


Forthcoming Meetings & Events: 

Steelend Miners’ Club

Zumba: Mondays, 7.00pm-8.00pm
Zumba Toning: Wednesdays, 7.00pm-7.45pm
Sambangra Drumming Group : Tuesdays, 7.00pm-8.30pm, £2

Saline Golf Club

First Saturday of each month: Family Night, 5-7pm
Tuesdays: Bingo Night, 7.30pm
Thursdays: Quiz Night, 8.30pm, entry £1/person
Sky TV and free wi-fi. Associate membership £10 per annum, £4 concessions
Q’zine Catering: also available for all functions. Catering opening hours are Wednesday 4.30-9pm, Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday 11am-5pm.

Every Thursday 6.00pm-7.30pm
Saline Church Hall

116th Fife Scout Group
Beaver Colony
Every Friday, 6.00pm-7.30pm
Cub Pack
Every Thursday, 6.30pm-8.00pm
Scout Troop
Every Thursday, 7.30pm-9.00pm
Explorer Unit
Every Thursday, 7.30pm-9.00pm

The Group meets in Carnock Community Centre, Camps Road, Carnock. Open to both boys & girls

Highland Dancing Classes
Tuesdays 4.00pm-5.00pm
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-12.00noon
Last Friday of month 7.00pm-9.00pm
Shieldbank Coffee Shop

Sambangra Drumming Group
Tuesdays, 7.00pm-8.30pm, £2
Steelend Club

Line Dance Classes
Monday 10.00am - 11.00am
Friday 10.00am - 11.00am
Saline Community Centre

Afternoon Craft Group
Every second Tuesday from 17 February
2pm-4pm, Saline Church Hall

Scottish Country Dancing
Every second Monday from 16 February
7.30pm-9pm Saline Community Centre

Saline & District Heritage Society
Dunfermline – Canmore to Carnegie: Jack Pryde
Wednesday 25 March
7.00 for 7.30pm, Saline Church Hall

Saline, Steelend & District SWRI
Presentation on kilts from Capercaillie Kilts, Thornton
1 April at 7:15, Saline Community Centre
Everyone is most welcome to come along
New members always welcome.

This Community Bulletin is produced by Saline and Steelend Communications Group