Category Archives: Uncategorized

ScotRail reminds customers to claim extra compensation

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Rail commuters on the North Berwick line are reminded that they will be able to take advantage of ScotRail’s extra compensation offer for the first time this weekend, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March.

The additional offer has been introduced for customers most affected by cancellations caused by the need to train drivers and conductors on new routes and trains. 

Season ticket holders on affected routes can travel anywhere on ScotRail services, accompanied by one extra person, for six specified weekends in March, April and May 2019.

The offer weekends are:

Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March 2019

Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March 2019

Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April 2019

Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April 2019

Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 April 2019

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May 2019

This compensation offer is in addition to the Delay Repay Guarantee which allows customers to claim money back if they are delayed by 30 minutes or more.

Lesley Kane, ScotRail Commercial Director, said:

We know it has been a challenging time for some of our most loyal customers, which is why we want to thank them for their patience with this extra compensation.

While it’s encouraging that recent performance is moving in the right direction, we know that there are still areas where we need to improve. Everyone at ScotRail is working flat out to deliver the service that customers expect and deserve.

Full details can be seen here:
www.scotrail.co.uk/compensation

RHS Greening Grey Britain grants up for grabs

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The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is calling on communities across Scotland to transform an unloved local space into a green haven this summer.

Now in its fourth year, the RHS Greening Grey Britain scheme, supported by M&G Investments, is offering up to 50 intergenerational gardening projects across the UK £500 worth of plants and materials as well as expert advice to help get their plans underway.

Projects should help improve health and wellbeing, address environmental issues or support local wildlife and might include turning forgotten littered corners into vibrant wildflower meadows, car parks lined with trees to slow down storm water or disused areas becoming productive gardens, with food to share with the community.

Last year’s funding recipients included Dunbar based social enterprise, The Ridge, which built a new therapeutic ‘Sanctuary Garden’ bursting with sensory planting to be enjoyed by people with dementia and their families.

Liz Stewart, RHS Community Outreach Manager, comments: “In 2018 the RHS Greening Grey Britain scheme helped nearly 3,000 people with their greening projects and supplied over 5,000 plants. We’d love to hear from communities interested in improving a local space this year and encourage them to get their bids in.”

The deadline for applications is midnight on 28 February 2019. Please visit www.rhs.org.uk/ggbwithcommunities to apply.

Wildlife Printmaking Exhibition

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2 March – 11 April 201

Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady

The SOC is delighted to welcome a group of printmakers: Carry Akroyd, Babs Pease, Kelly Stewart and Susie Wright for a group exhibition inspired by wildlife.  For some, Carry Akroyd in particular, wildlife is a central concern and the focus of their art practice, for others it is a rich source of inspiration to which they return frequently alongside other interests.  All share the language of printmaking (screen-prints and linocuts in particular) as their main medium. Each has a very personal and distinctive approach: from bold shapes to subtle lines, paired down compositions to overlapping transparencies.  The result is a contrasting and joyful exhibition and a perfect spring display!

The exhibition runs from Saturday 2nd March until Wednesday 11 April 2019. 

Open daily, 10am to 4pm, at The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady, East Lothian, EH32 0PY

For more information, please call 01875 871 330 or email exhibitions@the-soc.org.uk

Getting there:  The SOC is situated at Waterston House, in Aberlady, East Lothian. By car, just off the A198, on the left after the Aberlady sign, free parking. By bus: East Coast Buses 124, X24 and X5 stop almost at the door.

Open times: daily 10am to 4pm, free entry.

About the SOC: The Scottish Ornithologists’Club is Scotland’s national bird club with over 3000 members and a network of 15 branches across Scotland which host a programme of talks, discussions and outings from the Borders to Orkney and beyond.

About Waterston House: Waterston House is fully accessible and houses a resource centre for bird-watching including a shop, the largest ornithological reference library in Scotland and an art gallery dedicated to wildlife art.  The centre is open to all (members and non-members) free of charge.

Wildlife Printmaking Exhibition: 2 March – 11 April 2019, Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady

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The SOC is delighted to welcome a group of printmakers: Carry Akroyd, Babs Pease, Kelly Stewart and Susie Wright for a group exhibition inspired by wildlife.  For some, Carry Akroyd in particular, wildlife is a central concern and the focus of her art practice, for others it is a rich source of inspiration to which they return frequently alongside other interests.  All share the language of printmaking (screen-prints and linocuts in particular) as their main medium. Each has a very personal and distinctive approach: from bold shapes to subtle lines, paired down compositions to overlapping transparencies.  The result is a contrasting and joyful exhibition and a perfect spring display!

The exhibition runs from Saturday 2nd March until Wednesday 11 April 2019. 

Open daily, 10am to 4pm, at The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady, East Lothian, EH32 0PY

For more information, please call 01875 871 330 or email exhibitions@the-soc.org.uk

Getting there:  The SOC is situated at Waterston House, in Aberlady, East Lothian. By car, just off the A198, on the left after the Aberlady sign, free parking. By bus: East Coast Buses 124, X24 and X5 stop almost at the door.

Open times: daily 10am to 4pm, free entry.

About the SOC: The Scottish Ornithologists’Club is Scotland’s national bird club with over 3000 members and a network of 15 branches across Scotland which host a programme of talks, discussions and outings from the Borders to Orkney and beyond.

About Waterston House: Waterston House is fully accessible and houses a resource centre for bird-watching including a shop, the largest ornithological reference library in Scotland and an art gallery dedicated to wildlife art.  The centre is open to all (members and non-members) free of charge.

For more information on the SOC and events at Waterston House,

visit www.the-soc.org.uk

More seats for Scotland’s Six Nations clash

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ScotRail is adding more seats for fans travelling to Scotland’s Six Nations home game at the BT Murrayfield Stadium this weekend.

Scotland play Italy on Saturday 2 February at 2.15pm, and to help the day run smoothly extra carriages will be added to key ScotRail services on the following routes to/from Edinburgh:

  • Fife Circle (Glenrothes with Thornton / Cowdenbeath)
  • Dundee and Perth
  • North Berwick
  • Tweedbank
  • Glasgow Central (via Shotts)
  • Helensburgh and Milngavie (via Bathgate and Glasgow Queen Street low level)

This year is the first Six Nations that all trains between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh via Falkirk High will be operated by brand-new seven carriage Class 385s.

However, trains to and from Edinburgh are expected to be very busy. Supporters heading to the game are advised to allow more time for travel, as queuing systems may be in place before the match, and at Haymarket after the final whistle.

ScotRail will have extra staff on hand to help customers, and a map showing which queue to join at Haymarket is available at www.scotrail.co.uk/sport

As with most large events, alcohol bans will be in place.

ScotRail Head of Customer Operations Phil Campbell said: “The Six Nations matches always attract a big crowd.

“We’re adding extra seats on key trains into Edinburgh, and although we can’t make every train longer, we will be using every available train on the day.

“If you’re going to Murrayfield, please allow extra time for travel, and buy your ticket in advance, not on the day. The last trains of the day will be very busy, so please plan ahead to avoid disappointment.”

ScotRail Foundation awards £5,000 to Musselburgh project

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Three community art projects in Edinburgh are being provided with extra support thanks to almost £12,000 worth of grants from the ScotRail Foundation Cultural and Arts Fund.

The ScotRail Foundation is part of the ‘ScotRail in the Community’ initiative and aims to empower residents making a positive difference in their local community.

The funding has been awarded to:

  • Art Walks Projects (£5,000) – the grant will contribute towards the cost of a ‘Healthy Living Cultural Trail Map and Guide for East Edinburgh and Musselburgh’. As many as 12,000 people will benefit from the project, improving physical and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Edinburgh Tamil Sangam (£2,000) – funding will help the Edinburgh Tamil Sangam (ETS) to deliver the ‘festival of lights’ event which takes place annually. The event attracts around 400 people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to celebrate the Tamil culture and bring communities together.
  • Photographer Kenny Bean (£4786) – this will allow Kenny to create several unique pieces of light art work, using LED lights to mimic the Border Rail tracks. The artwork will be placed at six libraries in the Borders and Midlothian, all within walking distance of a station. The celebration of the resurgence of the Borders Railway will reach around 2000 people.

The funding provided to 18 groups and individuals throughout the country is the largest the Cultural and Arts Fund has ever made, with £60,215 being awarded to support local communities.

Applications are taken from groups or individuals across Scotland looking to fund arts, community recreation, or sports activities in the vicinity of a train station, or with a travel or safety theme.

James Ledgerwood, Head of Economic and Community Development at the ScotRail Alliance, said:

“It’s fantastic to see the real difference that these grants are making to the lives of people throughout Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, bringing communities together.

“We know how important the railway is to the communities we serve, and we want to do all we can to strengthen and support that link.”

Giles Ruck, CEO Foundation Scotland, said: “We have been working with the ScotRail Foundation since 2016 supporting grassroot projects across Scotland. This latest round has attracted a number of projects which will connect communities to their railway stations, bringing colour and vibrancy to the stations and the thousands of travellers who pass through each day.”

Rosy Naylor, Arts Producer at Art Walk Projects, said: “We’re really looking forward to being able to work with local people from across Leith, Portobello & Musselburgh who will benefit through this well-being programme to increase their everyday journeys.

“We’ll be bringing together these areas, connectivity and culture in a fun way with this printed guide, all arranged around some artist devised walking and cycling routes. The project is also being partnered by Paths for All.”

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Tamil Sangam said: “Edinburgh Tamil Sangam Festival of Light celebration is an outlet for the Creativity of the Tamil Community of Edinburgh, which brings us together and follow our passion in arts and culture while making us feel proud and at home.

“We are grateful for ScotRail’s funding, which helps make it possible to run this ever-growing event, while promoting sustainable living through use of public transport and reduced waste.”

Christine Johnston, Scottish Borders Libraries Officer, said: “This project will be an inspiration to the community and a great opportunity for local children to work directly with the artist.”

ScotRail Alliance joins up with Samaritans to combat the blues with brews

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The ScotRail Alliance and Samaritans are asking people to get together on ‘Brew Monday’ for a cuppa and help save a life.

Dubbed ‘the most difficult day of the year’, the charity is turning ‘Blue Monday’ on its head and is hoping to banish the January blues by encouraging friends, family and work mates to have a chat over a brew.

Volunteers from Samaritans will be handing out teabags and chatting with customers at Aberdeen, Glasgow Central, Edinburgh Waverley, Inverness and Paisley Gilmour Street stations on Monday (21 January) to raise awareness of how a simple conversation can be lifesaving.

Brew Monday continues the theme of the Small Talk Saves Lives suicide prevention campaign, which Samaritans launched in 2017 with the British Transport Police and the rail industry. The campaign carries a similar thread – encouraging people to look out for those around them.

Anyone who spots someone in distress is asked to keep the following in mind:

  • Remember that suicidal thoughts, while intense, can be temporary
  • Speaking to someone who is suicidal can’t make things worse
  • It’s important to act. If you’re not comfortable getting involved yourself: tell a member of staff or a police officer. If you can’t, dial 999.

David Lister, ScotRail Alliance sustainability & safety assurance director, said:

“Brew Monday provides us with a fantastic opportunity to show support for Samaritans and the great work they do throughout Scotland.

“At the ScotRail Alliance we take suicide prevention very seriously, which is why we have trained more than 300 of our people to support those experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“Through this campaign, if we can encourage people to talk about their problems over a cup of tea, we will have made a significant contribution to their lives and to the lives of those around them.”

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the railway, said:

“We’re proud to be welcoming Samaritans volunteers into our stations to give people a boost on one of the most difficult days of the year. The railway wants to support and strengthen communities and bringing people together over a cuppa is a great way to combat isolation and loneliness.”

Samaritans’ Executive Director for Scotland, James Jopling, said:

“Isolation and loneliness are one of the main reasons people contact Samaritans, so getting together for a brew with friends can provide a lift on what is meant to be one of the most difficult days of the year.

“Samaritans volunteers will be at stations across Scotland today, but you don’t need to be a Samaritan to reach out. Taking that time to listen just might save a life.”

Botanical Art Exhibition: 19 Jan – 27 Feb 2019

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The SOC is delighted to present an exhibition of contemporary botanical art, bringing together paintings by members of the Scottish Society of Botanical Artists (SSBA), alongside sculptures by Ellen McCann.

Botanical painting has a long and important history. It was used to record the nature of plants for scientific and medicinal purposes and continues to support scientific research as botanical illustration. While also steeped in the accurate observation of nature, Botanical Art differs from scientific botanical illustration by placing more emphasis on the aesthetic value of the plant.  The work in this exhibition, while always botanically correct, falls in this second category where detailed observation generates in the artist, and the viewer, a reflection on the beauty of nature.

The Scottish Society of Botanical Artists, founded in 2014, provides a forum for botanical artists from all over Scotland to meet, share expertise, exhibit work and generally promote interest in botanical art.  A cross-section of its membership is represented in the exhibition.

Ellen McCann’s sculptures complement the exhibition by offering a very personal response to the subject. Ellen takes her inspiration from the growth patterns of plants to create sculptures that distil the essence of the natural form using ceramics and metal. She lives and works in Biggar.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 19 January until Wednesday 27 February 2019.

Open daily, 10am to 4pm, at The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady, East Lothian, EH32 0PY

For more information, please call 01875 871 330 or email exhibitions@the-soc.org.uk

Getting there:  The SOC is situated at Waterston House, in Aberlady, East Lothian, just off the A198. From Edinburgh, take the first left after the Aberlady sign. The East Coast Buses 124, X24 and X5 stop almost at the door.

Open times: daily 10am to 4pm, Free entry.

About the SOC: The Scottish Ornithologists’Club is Scotland’s national bird club with over 3000 members and a network of 15 branches across Scotland which host a programme of talks, discussions and outings from the Borders to Orkney and beyond.

About Waterston House: Waterston House is fully accessible and houses a resource centre for bird-watching including a shop, the largest ornithological reference library in Scotland and an art gallery dedicated to wildlife art.  The centre is open to all (members and non-members) free of charge.

For more information on the SOC and events at Waterston House, visit www.the-soc.org.uk.

Haddington Golf Club members vote to change the face of golf

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East Lothian, Scotland – Golf enthusiasts are in for a treat this Winter, with a change to the way we play golf in East Lothian. Haddington Golf Club, a long established parkland course in East Lothian, is adapting to the changing face of golf. Yesterday was the final day of voting for the proposed new course layout at Haddington Golf Club to change the route of their golf course to feature 2 distinct loops of 9 holes. 

178 members voted in the Ballot, the result was an overwhelming majority, 79% voting YES to change to the new layout and 21% voting NO to remain on the same route.

Following this overwhelming result, Haddington Golf Club will now continue to play the new layout from this day onwards and immediately begin to make the necessary minor changes so that they are ready for the new season.

As part of a 4 week trial, Haddington Golf Club changed the route of their golf course to feature 2 distinct loops of 9 holes. There were 2 nines giving the club the option to sell 9 hole tickets, run 9 hole competitions and generally host shorter forms of the game. The two loops consist of holes No 1,2,18,14,12,10,11,15,16 and Holes 17,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,13. Members have now chosen to keep this layout and golfers can play for only £20.

Scott Thomson – Club Professional and General Manager of Haddington Golf Club commented, “We feel its vitally important to explore new ways of attracting more people to the game. We must adapt to show that people can still enjoy golf despite having less free time than ever before.  There is a very positive feeling about Haddington Golf Club right now and we want as many as possible to get involved.” 

There are a number of other courses in East Lothian who also offer 9 hole rounds, including Gifford Golf Club and many more. This is an ideal way to enjoy golf in the colder Winter months aswell as those who are tight for time.

For visitors with a little more time on their hands, Scotland’s Golf Coast is the perfect Short Stay Golfing Destination. East Lothian offers a diverse choice of accommodation, providing the perfect opportunity to rest, relax and reflect on the day’s play. All accommodation provides easy access to East Lothian’s 21 golf courses, meaning no need to waste valuable time traveling from base to course. Spoilt for choice with 5-star luxury properties, smaller hotels, bed & breakfast pubs and homes, self-catering apartments and even centuries-old stately homes are all on offer. While golf is the magnet that draws many to East Lothian, the County has a lot more to offer both the golfer and just as importantly the non-golfer. In addition to its proximity to Scotland’s Capital City, East Lothian boasts historic castles and battle sites mixed with a number of exciting modern excursions. And no visit to an area can be enjoyed on an empty stomach. The visiting golfer can enjoy the quality locally grown produce served in the hotels and restaurants across the County. Locally-raised meats supplemented with locally-caught seafood are there to tempt the discerning diner, washed down with a pint of local beer or cider, or perhaps a ‘NB Gin’, ‘Fidra Gin’ or a dram of ‘Glenkinchie’, Scotland’s Golf Coast aims to please the contented golfer.

To find out more about Scotland’s Golf Coast’s Winter golf offering, click on

www.golfeastlothian.com

LUXURY EAST LOTHIAN HOTELIERS LAUNCH NEW HANDMADE CHOCOLATE BUSINESS

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Owners of Garleton Lodge unveil details of their delicious new handmade chocolate business – The Chocolate Stag

Angela and David Cockerton, owners of Garleton Lodge, a luxury small hotel in East Lothian, are delighted to announce the launch of their new handmade chocolate business – The Chocolate Stag.

Having worked in the property and catering industries in the Middle East, Angela and David Cockerton decided to return to the UK and set up a small hotel, Garleton Lodge, which offers a careful blend of five-star luxury in a homely environment. One year on, and having received various quality and food awards for the hotel, Angela (and David) have launched their very own handmade chocolate business – The Chocolate Stag – which is a complementary business to Garleton Lodge.

David & Angela previously ran a very successful handmade chocolate business before they moved to the Middle East. This was Angela’s first step towards following her (& David’s) passion for food & drink after more than 20 years as an accountant in the corporate world. The chocolate business has been ‘waiting to happen again’ – since their businesses in the Middle East focused on catering and a Cookery School.

Relaunching the chocolate business has always been part of Angela & David’s business plan since their return to the UK and establishing Garleton Lodge. In 2017, they launched Garleton Lodge primarily as an accommodation business. In 2018, their plan has been to expand Garleton Lodge, with greater focus on the food & drink/restaurant side of the business and to (re)launch the chocolate business. This is now a reality. Next, the plan in 2019, is to add a Cookery School onto Garleton Lodge to add yet another reason for guests to stay at this amazing hotel – which recently received a Quality Assurance Gold Award from Visit Scotland.

Angela Cockerton,  commented; “There are strong linkages between Garleton Lodge and The Chocolate Stag, with guest room ‘treats’, end of dinner petit-fours in the restaurant (open to non-residents on Saturday evenings as well as private events), and with our famous afternoon teas. Before adopting the GL letter-based logo for Garleton Lodge, we had intended on using a stag as the Garleton Lodge logo. This was dropped but the stag became embedded in our brand and internal décor – we have stags everywhere!  With this, and the daily visits from local deer (including stags), the name ‘The Chocolate Stag’ was a natural choice for our handmade chocolate business.”

 David Cockerton said: “Angela and I are delighted to launch The Chocolate Stag and we have further exciting plans in the pipeline – including the introduction of a Cookery School aimed at showcasing not only Angela’s cooking but also East Lothian’s abundance of food and drink producers.”

 The Chocolate Stag will be available through retail outlets or via their website:  www.thechocolatestag.co.uk