September evaporated, but David progessed the survey work ... delivering an early draft ... and Tom continued to work on the Standing Buildings Survey.   Katherine is safely at the University of Chicago ... including Hittite amongst her courses ... and loving the campus and, particularly, the Oriental Institute.

The "office work" continues and we hope to complete that so that Schedule Monument Consent can be submitted for the next phase of work.

We have recieved some very generous donations recently and we are exceedingly grateful for these.  These unconditional gifts reflect so positively on those genuinely interested in supporting preservation of this site for all to share and enjoy. Thank you!
PictureMiraculous weather
The loch was finally down in late June but the first time we could get the team together was August 4.  As I was preparing for the trip, I got word that it was raining and we were all hoping it would clear for our Monday session on the island... and not bring the loch level up to cover the ring walls we have been waiting to survey.  Well, the forecast gave me some hope .. seeing nothing but rain across the whole week except for a miraculous clearing on Monday!  That's pretty much what happened.  The rain continued to Monday morning.  We left the dock at Inveruglas in a light mist on the LLTTNP Brigadier with a two man crew. After landing and settling onto the island ... and facing the initial wave of midges ... the sun broke through and the day was glorious.  Fiona and David(Rat) surveyed the outer ring walls and jetty, while Tom completed the standing buildings field sketches.  Historic Scotland extended our second Scheduled Monument Consent to allow coppicing of three smaller trees at the base of the south wall of the tower and this was perfectly completed as well.  All in all it was a great day!

From this visit, it was evident that the Phase II preservation work will be on-going.  Even though the tower was still in great shape nine months after our October works, the coppiced saplings were pushing up suckers and regenerating.  We will need to plan some regular visits to keep the foliage growth in check.   We believe the Phase III survey field work is now complete and there is a good bit of office work to bed done on maps, surveys, and reports.   More speciic plans and estimates for future work will spring from all this work in the next few months.

Katherine wasn't able to make this trip, but will be driving updates to extend the project pages with some additional photos from the trip in her remaining days before starting at the University of Chicago.

I'll close with a photo of the team ... a group I thoroughly enjoyed working with once again!

Thanks for your on-going support!

The August 2014 EVPF Team: David, Matt, Fiona, David (Rat), and Tom.
The Internal Revenue Service has been under a heavy load and, after almost two years after application for 501(c)3 status, we received our formal notice today that we are officially recognized as a public charity retroactively to August 29, 2012.  All previous donations were deductible under the Gross Receipts exception in any case, but it is nice to have this formalized with the IRS.

Thank you all again for all your support!
Katherine and Bruce
Recent visitors report that the loch levels are down far enough that the outer ring walls of the island can be surveyed.  Fiona Baker, David Connolly, and Tom Addyman are scheduled to visit the island for one final day of field work on August 4.  EVPF Board members have advanced the funds (1050 GBP) to cover the day's work ... pending donations and/or sponsorship for reimbursement.   This should allow the Phase II and Phase III field work to be completed.   There is still a week or more of "office" work to do to complete drawings, maps, survey documents and reports.   Thank you for all your support!

Bruce and Katherine

Welcome to Ellan Vhow visitors.  We understand we had a group visit today and hope all had a wonderful, safe time.    We are still waiting for the loch levels to recede before completing the survey work.

See the Catch & Release Artifacts page for tips of where to find artifacts on the island ... to be returned where they were found after enjoyed.

Here's a hint for one of the Catch & Release artifacts.  Can you spot it?  Don't forget to return it to its original spot!

Thank you for your support!

We are still waiting for the loch level to get low enough for the outer ring walls of the island to be exposed so that they can be properly surveyed and recorded.  Rains continue to be relatively heavy but we hope that the team will be able to visit later in the summer.

We have used donations to date to cover the work so far and do need donations and sponsorships to complete the Phase II and III work and progress on toward masonry consolidation and excavation.  Thank you again for all your support!

PLEASE NOTE that we have updated the What's In A Name page with information from Scottish place name experts.  We feel very confident that the island is not named for a cow and is most likely referring to a (malicious) water sprite associated with dangerous submerged rocks ... consistent with those at the south end of the island.  See What's In A Name for opinions from the experts and our interpretation.

Thank You!




Time passes so quickly and there is so little of it.

If you haven't seen the October report, please do.  This is the report prepared for Historic Scotland to summarize the work done in October 2013.  Lots of pictures of the careful, skilled removal of trees, saplings and ivy.

We are looking forward to a significant number of summer guests to the island ... and will be preparing a flyer for some key group visits.  Katherine has committed to the University of Chicago and will finish her last high-school exam (AP Calculus) tomorrow.  The summer flyer will be her next creative endeavor.

We are confirming funding for the remaining two day visit to the island for completion of the Phase II and III field work.   As you may recall, the trip was originally scheduled for April, but we need (hope) to let the loch level get low enough to allow surveying the ring walls observed in June 2012.  Our archaeologists, Fiona, Tom and David, have been very patient and flexible.  We need to fund the remaining visit and the actual "office work" of preparing drawings and reports.  Even though CMSI indicated earlier that it will sponsor the Phase III work, your donations (including those of Clan MacFarlane Worldwide and The Clan MacFarlane Australia, Inc.) have funded most of Phase II and there is still more to do.  We do appreciate all your generous donations and we do need to continue to raise Phase II funds to support our archaeologists in completing the final visits and reports. 

Do see the previous submission ..which was held in in the Drafts folder for some reason.  It reminds us of the sequence of activities and approvals necessary for preservation and excavation.   We have come a very long way.    Thank you!
(The following entry was stuck in the ether somehow for the last month or so ... now released.)
As mentioned in earlier correspondence, the path to preservation passes through several requisite steps.  In order to bolster the masonry to stabilize the castle tower,  the site has to be properly "recorded" by surveying the location, having an expert examine and creating proper drawngs of the standings structures, and combining these with map and narrative to describe the archaeologically signficant features of the site.   The site has to be stable enough that works can be performed without damage to the structures or site and removal of damaging foliage is a first step toward stabilization.  When this work is completed via Phases II and III, the resulst will inform a plan for consolidating masonry and proposals can be made for exploratory excavations.   We are moving quickly to complete Phase III ... yielding composite maps, drawings, and archaeological reports.

The October work revealed that the castle walls were in better shape than expected.  Repointing and/or consolidation of the masonry will preserve the tower for many years to come and should not be less costly than originally expected.  Historic Scotland has agreed to extend the existing Scheduled Monument Consent (approval) to permit cutting of the trees at the base of the south wall of the tower on the next trip and all data needed to complete the requisite reports should be in hand after the next visit.

The Ellan Vhow Preservation Fund will continue to promote preservation and archaeological study of the island and can provide the channels for additional projects to be peformed by other groups or can continue to sponsor projects directly.  The Fund's ties with local archaeologists and with Historic Scotland ...created through the projects enabled by your donations ... can help to ensure approval for additonal works that will preserve this important archaeological site for generations to come.

Thank you again for your support!

Things still a bit hectic here.  Still planning an additional 1-2 day trip in the summer ... whenever the water level is low enough .. to complete the survey work started in October 2013.

Note that we have published the quick intermediate report on the October 2013 progress that was sent to Historic Scotland as a requirement under the second SMC.  You'll find this on the home page and here.

We still expect to need to raise almost 6,000 GBP to complete all the surveys and associated reports and then, if granted permission to do masonry repairs on the tower, we will likely need to raise some 20,000 GBP for that and some exploratory excavation.  Great progress.  Lots still ahead.

It appears that one of our earlier posts got lost in the bit bucket somewhere.  It has included some longer term vision summaries.  We will try to recreate that at first opportunity. 

We are still waiting for lower loch levels to allow us to record the outer wall features observed in the June 2012 survey.  Hopefully, in March or April.  We did add a few comments to the Projects page to outline near term plans and update a few tenses :-) ... having completed some of that work.

Currently visiting the colleges where Katherine has early acceptance/action and waiting to hear from at least one other.