As noted, we have made contact with the local bat expert and hope to have more information on what activities are required to clear the way for the approved work. We are still very committed to the work. We just need to hear what additional Scottish Natural Heritage or other approvals will be needed. Thanks for your continued support! We continue to raise funds for Phase II!
We have two domains pointing to the same root web site. EllanVhow.org is the original and we added IslandIVow.org since it is easier to remember for many. Unfortunately, this blog page doesn't work from IslandIVow.org. Apparently, many who visited us through IslandIVow.org were getting 404 errors when trying to reach this Ellan Vhow Preservation tab. We have included links on the Home Page pointing to this Preservation page ... so that everyone can be redirected through the (working) EllanVhow.org blog. This blog page contains all the updates and it is important for all to have access.
We have also contacted the local bat expert and provided her with all available information on the project.
We hope to hear soon and to be able to reschedule the work!
Thank you for all your support!
Well, the park ranger confirmed that we will need to complete a proper bat survey before any work can proceed. (Thanks very much to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs park rangers for all their help!)Further, we have three active nests of Canadian geese on the island that need to be protected.
This means that we will not be able to start on Monday. We are still committed to the project, but we are expecting some significant delays We have contacted a bat expert and should know more about what the bat survey will involve within the next few weeks. Our initial investigation suggests that the bat survey will likely take months rather than weeks.
Again, we are still committed to the project! We will be able to complete this ... it will just be on "bat time" rather than our time.
Thanks for your patience and support!
Bruce and Katherine
The great news is that the approved Schedule Monument Consent letter from Historic Scotland arrived yesterday, so approvals from that perspective were completed in record time. (Thank you!)
As mentioned in earlier posts, the rangers from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park visited the island to help ensure that the project will not adverseley impact local wildlife. The simultaneously good and bad news is that we think we may have bats in our tower (castle). We hope to have more definitive information today, but we understand that the bats may embed themselves in the cracks in the masonry and, therefore, the trimming of the ivy would likely disturb them (or their habitat if not currently in residence). The same may be said for the trimming of the saplings coming out of the walls since scaffolding must be set up to do this carefully (but we are not sure if we might still trim saplings). If there is any evidence that bats do live in the tower, an expert will need to be brought in to determine if and when we might do those works. Some information has suggested that, with the proper additional permissions and permits, we might be able to proceed with the ivy trimming in the months of October/November ... when the bats are clearly not in residence. Unfortunately, this requires a costly bat survey and license from Scottish National Heritage and, given the natural cycle of the bat, could take many months. A bat survey will be needed to prove there are no bats if there is any evidence that they might roost in the tower.
So, Fiona will hopefully get additional information today and we will determine what portions of the project can go forward. As we have mentioned, certain works depend on the completion of preceding works, but we may still be able to proceed ... just less efficiently. We certainly want to do whatever we can while being good stewards of your donations and of the natural heritage. PLEASE feel free to comment here or send us your thoughts at Info@EllanVhow.org.
Bruce, Katherine, and Fiona
Thanks again to all who have donated. We still have a ways to go to fully fund Phase II. We are expecting confirmation from Historic Scotland tomorrow or Wednesday and the rangers from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Nation Park will visit the island on Wednesday to make sure our project won't disturb local wildlife. Everything seems to be lining up nicely for Phase II.
PayPal responded that donations can only be entered in US dollars but that donations given in other currencies will be converted to yield the US dollar amount shown. We will continue to see if we can make the donation process more convenient.
The second wave of generous donations is starting to come in and we are optimistic that the full project will be fully funded. Of course, we would love everyone to participate and no donation is too small. Our Australian friends pointed out that the PayPal site was not offering local currency options. We are checking that out with PayPal and apologize for any inconvenience. The site will still accept donations in the amounts shown in US dollars and will convert from local currency ... in the interim.
Our friends at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (LLATTNP) are working to ensure that the natural heritage of the island is protected. We need to ensure that otters, bats, water voles, and nesting birds are not disturbed, for example. We feel confident that the Historic Scotland approval will come through, but there is some question whether the approval from LLATTNP will be given in time. We are hopeful that there will be no delays. Of course, we do want to protect the natural hertiage as much as the historical heritage.
Thank you again for all your support!
Bruce and Katherine
Great News! The Clan MacFarlane Society Australia, Inc. has registered its support for the project with a very generous direct donation and with a call to members for their additional financial support! Thank you!
This is very exciting!
These donations will have impact well beyond their dollar amount. The fact that these MacFarlane societies are coming together with individual donors to fund this portion of the project will be significant to Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government. The community's commitment and investment will surely lead to future grants to fund more works on Ellan Vhow, Inveruglas and other important MacFarlane sites. Of course, the educational/historical value to the thousands of travelers who visit Ellan Vhow will be very significant. The project is also being staffed with local archaeologists and vendors and this is a permanent contribution to the local communty.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is working right along side of us to help protect the wildlife and preserve the natural environment and their archaeologists are part of the extended team.
We do still have a good distance to go to fully fund the project and the time is short, but the archaeologists have offered to defer some of their compensation based on pledges. Pledges can be submitted via email at Info@EllanVhow.org. The Ellan Vhow Preservation Fund Board will back any pledges received ... funding the coming works now based on pledges made to be paid over any convenient time period. We really want the full project to be executed and done well!
Bruce and Katherine
Clan MacFarlane Worldwide has rallied to support the project! The Board of Clan MacFarlane Worldwide has called on its members to support Phase II of the project through donations or pledges. Many thanks indeed!
We also have a Phase III sponsor lined up and hope to announce the details early next week.
The spring project starts April 14th!
Bruce and Katherine
Historic Scotland confirmed that they have all they need from us the Monday after submission of the Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) and we are awaiting the final SMC. A number of additional fundraising efforts started today and all is set for the April 14-18 preservation and archaeological work! More to follow ...