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!
(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!
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