Gifts for Bird Lovers in Aberlady

If you have any bird lovers in your family, look no further than the SOC (Scottish Ornithologists’ Club) for original gift ideas this Christmas. Based at Waterston House in Aberlady, the SOC operates an art gallery and shop inspired by nature and birds.

On offer, this Christmas are prints by Robert Greenhalf and Matt Underwood, sketches by the late John Busby and a range of small gifts by artists and makers from Scotland and beyond. The shop also offers optics, books and guides for the committed birdwatchers in your life.

Waterston House is open Thursday to Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm until and including Christmas Eve.

About the SOC: The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club is a charity promoting the study, protection and enjoyment of birds in Scotland.

End of Salmon and Sea Trout Fishing Season Around the Forth

This Message is Distributed on Behalf of the Forth District Salmon and Fishery Board

The 31st October 2020 marks the end of the salmon and sea trout fishing season around the Forth. The fishing season will reopen on the 1st February 2021.

Fishing for migratory species after the 31st October is a criminal offence and Board bailiffs will be patrolling rivers throughout the Forth during this period.

We cannot be everywhere at all times so If you spot someone fishing for salmon or sea trout in a river around the Forth during the closed season, please contact the Forth District Salmon Fishery Board bailiffs and/or the police.

Contact details:-

Lee Fisher, Superintendent Bailiff – 07887 835549
Police Scotland – 101
River Tyne/Esk Bailiffs – 07736 466725

Please report as much information as possible when calling in. The below is a guide as to some of the information which might be useful:

Location (grid reference if possible)
Time and date of incident
Any observations
What have you seen them do,
Description of individual,
License plate
Anything else you might think useful or worth noting
Any pictures or video taken of the incident

Opportunities To Participate

The Below Information is Forwarded to You From Our Partner Organisation The Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN).

1/ HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland were carrying out an inspection on the policing response to hate crime which was paused earlier this year to refocus priorities to respond to the pandemic. Work has now restarted and HMICS are seeking views:

Please note that the survey closes at 12 noon on 30 October 2020.

2/ Community Empowerment Act Survey

The Scottish Parliament are doing a survey on people’s experiences of the Community Empowerment Act.

3/ The Scottish Community Development Centre has been working on a toolkit for community-led action research with some useful guidance and tools to help communities conduct their own research.

Here is some background on what community-led action is:

Community-led action research is where the community decides on the issue to be researched, designs and carries out the research, and makes use of the results to achieve positive change.

By community-led we mean that a community group or organisation decides to take action on an issue that is important to them. Help might be sought from academics, council officers or organisations like ourselves but it is ultimately the community who decides what they want to find out, how they will do this and why.

By action we mean anything that leads to positive change in and for that community: it could be a new community amenity, park, service or activity or an improvement to something already happening.

And by research we simply mean the organised collection of information to create knowledge that is recognised as having value. In community-led action research the community has a greater role in deciding which knowledge has value, which gives the research a validity that traditional forms of research struggle to achieve.

Community-led action research is the bringing together of these components to increase the ability of a community to achieve change.

Message Sent By
Mark Armstrong (NHWN, Community Support Officer, NW Scotland)

ScotRail joins Samaritans and asks people to look out for each other

On World Mental Health Day 2020 (Saturday, 10 October) ScotRail is joining the Samaritans and encouraging people to look out for each other.

Railway staff across Scotland are being encouraged to share their coping mechanisms and to strike up a conversation with people who they feel may be struggling.

From taking a walk and chatting with friends to boiling the kettle for a cup of tea, staff have been sharing what they do to improve their mental health when they are having a tough day.

The train operator has 70 mental health first aiders across Scotland who have received extensive training through NHS-accredited material.

The training has provided staff with the skills needed to be able to identify someone who is developing a mental health issue and guide them to the relevant service.

However, while physical distancing guidelines have been in place, ScotRail’s mental health first aiders have had to find new ways to ensure colleagues receive the support they need.

Derek Monaghan, Customer Service at Glasgow Central station, has made use of video conferencing calls to allow support group meetings to continue to take place.

Colin Reed at Markinch station received ScotRail’s Employee of the Month Award earlier this year for his kind-heartedness.

Colin reached out to his customers during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic through a thoughtful notice board message displayed at the station. He offered to keep in contact with any person requiring help by calling them weekly and even giving out his phone number to those needing it.

The kind gesture was shared on Twitter, resulting in hundreds of re-tweets, thousands of likes, and comments from others who had their own story to tell about Colin.

Martine Gravil, ScotRail Fatigue Manager, said:

“During this unprecedented global pandemic, it’s more important than ever to ensure those going through a difficult time get the help they need.

“Don’t be afraid to speak to someone and strike up a conversion if you think they may be struggling. Whether that’s texting a friend, chatting to colleagues through video conferencing apps, or checking in with a vulnerable neighbour – a moment of your time can make a massive difference in someone’s life.

A Samaritans spokesperson said:

“As the pandemic continues, we must remember to prioritise our mental health and stay connected with others. The age of social distancing has meant people are having less face to face contact so it can be much harder to spot signs that someone might be struggling.

“Looking after mental health and emotional wellbeing is everybody’s business, we all have a part to play. We need to work together to ensure that we check-in and support anyone who may be struggling during these challenging times.”

East Lothian Tastes Success at Food Awards

Four businesses from across East Lothian have been awarded much-coveted stars in Great Taste 2020, the world’s most trusted food and drink awards. The four businesses, all extremely different, but each very much embodying quality artisan produce, are now able to display their stars on their product packaging.

Well known Gifford business, Yester Farm Dairies won a two-star award for its signature cottage cheese which the judges said had ‘lifted cottage cheese to a new dimension.’

The Spice Witch has also won two stars for her flagship product, Mango and Chilli Chutney, which is still made entirely by hand in small batches in order to ensure the ‘amazing aroma’ that the Great Taste judges loved so much!

Gullane based By Julia won one star with her Gullane Glögg which is a drinks mixer; a delicious combination of orange infused with spices, which can either be added to red or sparkling wine.

Last, but by no means least, Brodies, a business that has been synonymous with the finest teas and coffees since it was founded in 1867, won two sets of one star awards for its Kilimanjaro coffee and its Skeachan cake, which is based on a traditional treacle and ale rich fruit cake.

Judged by 144 of the most discerning palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, as well as food writers and journalists, Great Taste is the most coveted of all food and drink awards. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to an outstanding product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind tasting.

This year’s winners have been found through a combination of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions.

Jackie McCreery, co-owner of Yester Farm Dairies, said:

“We have some of the best farming conditions in the UK here in East Lothian and we can make the best quality produce. I believe that this, combined with the extraordinary support we have received from the local community, has helped us to be able to produce products worthy of such prestigious awards as Great Taste.”

Janice Strachan from The Spice Witch, says of the Great Taste Awards:

“Those little black and gold stickers really do catch the eye of customers. But apart from the increase in sales, they give us an enormous sense of pride. There’s a wonderful history and love of good produce in East Lothian and we are incredibly grateful to work alongside such a wealth of local talent and producers.

Julia from By Julia says of the Great Taste Awards:

“Great Taste awards are so important to the business, as they are an endorsement of the quality of the product that carries the logo. Everyone recognises it on sight and would be likely to choose that product over another without the seal of approval.

Ann Hameda from Brodies feels strongly about the importance of artisan produce when it comes to winning customers over:

“Artisan producers are more connected to their products, as it is made through their passion and commitment and I think that shows in the quality and taste of the food they make.”

Rebecca Muir, Busines Manager for East Lothian, Scotland’s Food and Drink County said:

“These four businesses should be extremely proud of what they have achieved, and they demonstrate the breadth of talent and wonderful taste coming from East Lothian’s food and drink sector. The community has been so supportive of our local producers, particularly over recent months, and I’m sure that has contributed to what they’ve been able to achieve. I know that our winners are all grateful for all the support they receive from East Lothian residents and I too find that particularly uplifting.”

Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding and packaging. Whether it is cake, coffee, kippers or kombucha being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award. There were 12,777 entries into Great Taste this year and of those products, 205 have been awarded a 3-star, 1,294 received a 2-star and 3,818 were awarded a 1-star accolade.

Prestonpans 275: Online festival announced to mark anniversary of Battle of Prestonpans

An online festival to mark the 275th anniversary of the battle of Prestonpans and 300th anniversary of the birth of Bonnie Prince Charlie has been announced.

The planned programme was originally to have taken place in East Lothian with events taking in Prestonpans. It has now been adjusted to take account of Coronavirus guidelines. Other aspects of the anniversary year are also likely to take place in 2021.

The events include a specially prepared evening of music and storytelling, a programme of talks and a commemoration ceremony. The weekend’s events are free to attend (online) and will include:

  • The Fall of Edinburgh 1745 (16 September, 8pm): this online talk will take place over Zoom and will be live-streamed on Facebook. When the citizens of Edinburgh went to their beds on 16 September 1745, the city was in the hands of King George II. When they awoke the following morning, it had fallen to the Jacobites. This illustrated lecture from historian Dr Arran Johnston explores the events which led up to the capture of the capital city, an event which paved the way for the Battle of Prestonpans just a few days later.
  • Beneath the Thorntree (19 September, 7pm): an evening of music and storytelling that has, thanks to the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, been specially filmed across three days in the historic Prestongrange Church and around the battlefield. With over 40 participants to choreograph in readings, costumed drama, musical recitals and song, all in keeping within coronavirus guidelines, the filming was a complex affair. Helping to tell the story of the battle from a particularly local perspective, most of the extras and performers have been drawn from the battlefield communities. The film will be shown online on Facebook and YouTube.
  • Live from the Prince’s Pavilion (20th September, 11.30am – 4.15pm): Join Bonnie Prince Charlie and friends for a virtual festival featuring a series of 15-minute video presentations hosted live from Prestonpans battlefield. Viewers will learn about the tactics of the battle, learn about the clans and regiments that fought there, and how the rival soldiers dressed. There’ll also be an 18th century cooking demonstration, and the Prince will answer questions submitted by local primary schools. The timetable for the day and full details can be found on Facebook.
  • And finally, a commemoration ceremony (21 September, 12pm) will remember those who fell in battle on both sides, featuring a minute’s silence, bagpipe lament and a wreath-laying. Held on the battlefield itself, the commemoration will be live-streamed and it is hoped that viewers, especially members of clan societies, will watch from around the world.

The Trust intends to hold a family exhibition and event day, which they had planned to hold at Prestonpans Town Hall this month, in the spring of 2021. In the meantime, from now until 20th December, children between the ages of 10 and 17 are being invited to take part in a creative project to mark the anniversary of the battle through literature and art. Entries in prose, poetry or art and design in Gaelic or English, focusing on the battle will be considered with selected submissions published in a special commemorative book. A separate category is also open for adults over the age of 18. Full details and some inspiration materials can be found at

Further exhibitions, talks and events will continue throughout next year, climaxing with a major re-enactment of the Battle of Prestonpans in September 2021. This large-scale living history event will bring the heritage to life for the widest possible live audience. The event will provide the opportunity for visitors to come face to face with re-enactors in full character and period dress, and even try hands-on period activities.

The Battle of Prestonpans was the first major battle of the last Jacobite Rising. The battle took place on 21 September 1745. The Jacobite army loyal to King James Francis Edward Stuart and led by his son Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) achieved a dramatic victory over the Redcoat army loyal to the Hanoverian king, George II, which was led by Sir John Cope. The battle took place in fields between Prestonpans, Tranent, Cockenzie and Port Seton in East Lothian. The victory was a huge morale boost for the Jacobites, and despite their ultimate defeat the following year, the battle left an important cultural legacy.

The Prestonpans 275 events are supported by EventScotland, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, East Lothian Council and Bòrd na Gàidhlig. As fundraising continues towards a living history centre to mark The Battle of Prestonpans, aspects of the centre’s planned activity programmes will be piloted in 2020 and 2021 to research the battlefield’s visitor profile and work towards the fundraising goal required to make this dream a reality. Find out more about the vision for a new living history centre at

Find out more about the Prestonpans 275 programme at #prestonpans275


Police were called to the Bughtknowe area of Humbie, East Lothian, at 4.40pm yesterday afternoon in relation to a possible hare coursing incident. A concerned member of the public reported seeing two males within a field in the area with a 4 x 4 vehicle parked across the gate. On approaching the field, the males made off at speed in the vehicle past Petersmuir Sawmill, in the direction of Pencaitland. The vehicle is described as a dark grey, Mitsibushi L200.

Anyone who may have witnessed anything related to this or who may have more information should contact 101 quoting incident number 2501 of the 19/08/20. Alternatively they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

ScotRail to increase services on 3 August

Five rules for safer travel remain in force, including the wearing of face coverings at stations and on trains. Customers still urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, as physical distancing can’t be guaranteed

ScotRail will increase the number of services it operates from Monday, 3 August, it was announced today (Wednesday, 29 July 2020).

More than 90 per cent of normal services will operate from next week. All routes will have normal early morning, late-night, and peak services. One hundred per cent of normal capacity will be provided during peak travel hours, although many seats will need to remain empty to maintain physical distancing.

17/07/18 – 18071706 – SCOTRAIL MILLERHILL DEPOT – MUSSELBURGH The new Class 385 trains are pictured at the Millerhill depot

The increase in services comes ahead of the expected reopening of schools on 11 August, which could result in an increase in the number of people travelling on ScotRail services.

The suspension of driver training during lockdown, due to physical distancing rules making it impossible for two people to sit in the driver’s cab at the same time, means it’s not yet possible for a full service to operate. Where ScotRail must operate a reduced service, it will be at the times of the day when fewest people travel. A video setting out the challenges faced by ScotRail can be viewed on ScotRail’s YouTube channel.

People are urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, including walking and cycling, to free up space for those who have no choice but to travel by train.

For those who do travel on ScotRail services, the operator is asking customers to continue to follow its five rules for safer travel and take personal responsibility:

A number of measures have been introduced in recent weeks to keep staff and passengers safe, including the provision of hand sanitiser and face masks at the busiest stations in the country. Face coverings are mandatory at stations and on trains.

Platform markings and guidance at ticket vending machines are supporting station announcements and messages on customer information screens, to help customers during their journey.

Customers are reminded to buy in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities to ensure waiting times are reduced and physical distancing supported.  All customers must hold a valid ticket before boarding a train.

In recent days, Scotland’s Railway announced a move to a minimum of one-metre physical distancing on trains and at stations, which came into effect on Monday, 27 July.

David Simpson, ScotRail Operations Director, said:

“Thanks to the hard work of staff across Scotland’s Railway, we’ll operate as close to a normal timetable as possible from Monday, 3 August. Like businesses across the world, we continue to face challenges caused by coronavirus, but we will have every available train in service from 3 August.

“We do need everybody to continue taking personal responsibility for their travel choices because physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. Customers who do travel with ScotRail should follow our five rules for safer travel, including the wearing of a face covering on trains and at stations.”

Wildlife Crime – Information Request

The Forth District Salmon Fishery Board would like to encourage everyone to remain vigilant when out next to rivers in East Lothian as bailiffs have recovered two illegal nets and a number of set lines in recent weeks.

The nets are used to take large quantities of salmon and sea trout which can have a substantial impact on the fish populations in the River Tyne or Biel Water and impact other wildlife such as birds and otters.  Set lines can endanger fish, wildlife but also dogs as they are hidden along the banks of the river or submerged below the surface.
One net was found next to the River Tyne near Knowes Weir and the second near the Biel Water at West Barns.  Both nets were removed by bailiffs and destroyed. The set lines were recovered from the River Esk near Musselburgh.

If you find a net or set line whilst out walking along the river bank or see any suspicious activity, please contact the Forth District Salmon Fishery Board or Police Scotland. It is important that you do not touch the net/set line until you have spoken with the police or a Forth DSFB water bailiff.
Please use the numbers below should you have any information with regards to fishery-related wildlife crimes.
Forth District Salmon Fishery Board Superintendent Bailiff –  07887 835549
Police Scotland – 101