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.
The team has one more day on site to complete the Phase III surveys. We are hoping to schedule this when the loch levels are low so that we can survey the outer ring walls that were seen in the June 2012 visit. Since loch levels have been exceptionally high this winter ... with flooding in some areas ... many are praying for lower loch levels. We will need just the right combination of events to catch the island at low levels and hope to do so in the next few months.
We plan to recycle the salvaged wood from the Scots Elm that was threatening the castle cellar ... Christmas ornaments, coasters, plagues, boxes, etc. We hope this will help us to continue to raise funds for future works. We produced a few ornaments from a log we brought back in October. The rest of the wood is drying safely with Liam ... (we hope) well above the high loch levels.
Thanks for your continued support!
Bruce, Katherine and Kelty
Welcome back from the Holidays! Happy Hogmanay! The team has had a well-deserved break and will be mapping out the next stages of work in the next few weeks.
We have completed Phase II, with early drafts of that report in review, and on-going preservation maintenance work will be continued adjacent to other projects as trips to the island permit. We want to keep some foliage on the wallheads to shed rain, but we do still want to finish clearing some of the high ivy that we could not clear in the last effort. There is other preservation work to be done, like removing fallen trees across Buildings 4 & 5, but we think this will require another SMC.
Also, as mentioned, we will need another day, likely in April, with the three archaeologists to complete the Phase III work ... particularly the Standing Buildings Survey, and EDM topographical survey. Work is on-going on the assoicated drawings, maps, and reports.
From a business perspective, All invoices for the Phase II work and prior have been paid from generous donations made by individual donors, CMW and CMSA. (Thank you!). The Phase III work is in progress and is being sponsored/driven by CMSI. CMSI leadership is currently arranging for payment and remaining funding for that work. (Thank you!)
There is much more to be done, of course! The work to date was intended to preserve the site and enable future works for permanent consolidation and for archaeological excavation. All additional donations will go toward these same goals as well as any work not covered from prior funding.
The EVPF Board matched and supplemented donations received to cover the Phase II work and has provided a $2,600 non-donation buffer in the EVPF account for any short term emergency needs and to minimize bank charges.
YOU have accomplished great things! Thank you ! We look forward to the exciting work to follow in this New Year!
p.s. Katherine was accepted Early Action to The University of Chicago and is waiting to hear from her other top choice ... hopefully soon now that all applications are submitted!
Apologies. Katherine and I have been swamped with college applications (Unversity of Chicago) and work respectively. We hope to get photos from the projects posted during Thanksgiving. The archaeologists are progressing the various reports and surveys. Much more to follow!
Thanks again for all your support!
Much, much to do with the results of the works earlier this week! We will get more before and after photos posted and new project pages created ...along with a full report. (See one before/after on the Home page if you didn't spot it.) We do have to get the report in for Historic Scotland as a time-dependent priority, but will share more info/photos just as quickly as we can. (We also have college applications and work calling for attention simultaneously this week.)
We had an exceptional team on the ground .. and many, many thanks to them! Fiona did a wonderful job leading the teams and it was a very enoyable bunch to work with. Again, more to follow.
THANK YOU! for all your support!
Bruce & Katherine McFarlin
We are happy to report that the rangers from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (LLTTNP) have graciously agreed to provide boat transport for the team to Ellan Vhow from the 21st to the 23rd and all systems are "Go" for the preservation and archaeology works. Phase II focuses on the core preservation work at the site and is sponsored by generous donations from many individuals, Clan Macfarlane Worldwide, and The Clan Macfarlane Society Australia, Inc.
In addition, The International Clan Macfarlane Society is sponsoring a Phase III project for an EDM (Electronic Distance Measurment) survey and Standing Buildings survey ... to follow as soon as possible after the Phase II work permits and, most likely, starting the 22nd.
We have to, once again, sincerely thank all of the many people who have helped make this possible. We have a great team assembled for the two phases. This work will help preserve this important site for future generations as well as completing the foundational archaeology work.
Katherine has leadership duties (as well as Homecoming Week) and will not be able to join the team for this part of the project. I will join the team on Monday afternoon (at my expense) to represent the EVPF Board and we are looking forward to a glorious event!
We are sure that the many who are honored or remembered by our donors will be pleased.
All systems are Go for October 21! We are still confirming transportation for the team to the island and are hoping that the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park rangers will be able to provide transport as planned. We also have some skilled skippers locally in the Clan as well. Leads have been working through the final details. More to follow!
In just weeks, from October 20-24, three archaeologists (Fiona Baker, Tom Addyman, and David Connolly) are lined up to tackle the Phase II preservation work on Ellan Vhow and, potentially, Phase III EDM and Standing Buildings Survey! Licensed tree surgeon, Liam Mckenzie, and local bat expert, Helen Lundie, complete the team.
Phase II is committed and funded for preservation of the castle cellar and castle walls ... coppicing threatening trees and trimming ivy to remove weight and retard root damage. Of course, our bat expert will confirm that our guest bat is not resident at the time and the areas around his roost will be undisturbed.
Ellan Vhow is located in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park, but is not part of the park property. It is visited by hundreds of visitors each year who enjoy the solitude and the history ... as well as the flora and fauna.
These works will help preserve this historical archaeological site for generations to come. This has all come to pass from that initial high-school independent study sixteen months ago, a keen eye to recognize the opportunity for an expedited SMC, ficeand the energy inspired in those who had been hoping to preserve Ellan Vhow for two decades.
Thank you for all your support!
Bruce and Katherine
Many thanks to Helen Lundie of Wild Surveys Ltd. for performing the wildlife and
bat surveys for the project this past week! Helen stayed over night on the
island to perform a dusk and dawn survey.
We do have one resident! We have a soprano pipistrelle bat roosting in the main wall of the castle. We will need to work around his schedule and there seem to be a couple of options. First, the window of opportunity for the work is September and October. This is the window when birds have finished nesting and bats are more likely elsewhere. If our bat (we should probably name him) is at home when we arrive to do the preservation work, we would be limited in what could be done and would have to plan a second trip. There are several things we can do to minimize disruption, however, and we still could accomplish quite a bit. We would leave the ivy in the area of the bat's roost untouched in any case.
In parallel, we can also apply for a license with Scottish Natural Heritage to allow us to complete the ivy trimming and to clear the way for repointing and consolidation of the walls. This may be necessary long term. Since the turnaround time for approval tends to be 90 days minimum, this would push the project beyond the optimal September/October window if we tried to do this before initial preservation works and EDM survey.
At present, we are sorting out plans for a September or October visit and discussing which specifics activities and
methods will be appropriate ...with natural heritage given its appropriate
HELEN ALSO NOTED that there were campers on the
island and the several large fire rings had been made from stones from the
castle buildings! We really need to find a way to get some signage on the
island to encourage more respect for this important site! We will work
Also please note that the bat surveys
(including transportation) have been funded from donations made directly by The
Ellan Vhow Preservation Fund Board (us) and no public donations were
More to follow!