Final Blowdown at Cockenzie Power Station

The final controlled explosive demolition at Cockenzie Power Station has been planned for Thursday 17th December at 2pm, which will see the removal of the remaining boiler house structure.

Nearly two-years to the day since the first explosive blowdown (11th Dec 2013) , Brown and Mason will oversee their thirteenth and final event.

The remaining section of the boiler house stands 220m in length, 60m in height, 30m in width, and is predominantly made of steel.

Sections of both Edinburgh Road and the John Muir Way in the immediate vicinity of the station will be closed from 1pm, reopening as quickly as possible after the demoliotion. A section of the Greenhills will be open to members of the public wishing to view the demolition.

ScottishPower project manager George Camps, said: “Careful planning has ensured that the demolition work so far has been very successful, and we fully intend to carry out this final blowdown in the same manner.

“This will be the last of the main structures to be removed at Cockenzie, and we would like to thank the local residents and community groups for their patience and co-operation as work has progressed.

“The project will continue at Cockenzie for at least the next 6 months‎, as we clear the materials from the site and remove the old office and other ancillary buildings. We will ensure that local communities are kept fully up-to-date.”

Haddington Farmers’ Market: Saturday 19 December, 2015

goody-bag-lootHaddington Farmers’ Market is always special. Offering more than just the best of the season’s produce, Haddington Farmers’ Market is an atmospheric alternative to crowded shops during one of the busiest and most hectic times for shopping in the year. Oozing character, its stalls festooned with seasonal decorations as shoppers enjoy the great variety of home grown produce, friendly atmosphere and first class customer care. Where else could you speak with the producer who knows his produce inside out and who is more than happy to offer you advice and tips on the best cooking methods?

grottowebExtra care and attention is always afforded to HFM customers – twelve months a year – but this December excitement is mounting as HFM prepare for an early visitor. On Saturday 19 December, Santa and his golden grotto Lothian Bus will make a special visit. Not only will his little helpers will be singing Christmas Carols, Santa has promised there will be a goody bag for each child who would like to say hello.

Haddington Pipe Band will be playing a selection of traditional tunes, mulled wine and hot spiced apple juice, plus a range of mouth watering tasters will be available. There is also an opportunity to win a HFM hamper – packed full of delicious local produce.

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to soak up the magic than at a local Christmas market? Christmas shopping is never a chore at the market thanks to the huge array of speciality stalls offering unique present ideas and you can create your very own bespoke HFM hamper for your food loving friends.

Worried about parking? Santa’s golden grotto bus isn’t taking up all the room. There is loads of free parking behind Court Street and the market is next to bus stops to and from Edinburgh and the rest of East Lothian. The market town of Haddington offers some lovely cafes and restaurants, as well as a range of individual shops which are well worth exploring (see a list here).

Christmas is a very special time of year. Make your Christmas even more special with produce from Haddington Farmers’ Market and a visit to Santa.

Come the festive season, there’s nothing better than a spiced, warming glass of this mulled wine. Try this mulled apple juice, which the kids will love.

1ltr Laprig apple juice

strips of orange peel

1 cinnamon stick, plus extra to garnish, if you like

3 cloves

sugar or honey, to taste

Simmer the apple juice with the strips of orange peel, cinnamon stick and cloves for about 5-10 mins until all the flavours have infused. Sweeten to taste.

Serve each drink with a little orange peel and a piece of cinnamon stick, if you like.

CHANGES Cycling for Health Project

The Cycling for Health Project was a pilot project set up in 2014 to support people in East Lothian to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Volunteer ride leaders deliver a programme over 10 weeks to participants who wish to get back to cycling or build their cycling skills. Over the 10 weeks the group participants are encouraged to improve their cycling skills in preparation for cycling on local cycle paths and quiet risk assessed routes.

cyclingFinding new ways for people to be active is important and the cycling group is one of a number of CHANGES activities that promote physical and mental health through encouraging physical activity. The positive benefits of combining an activity with the outdoors is well documented and this is something the cycling project can offer . CHANGES is an inclusive project and encourages adults of all ages and backgrounds to take part.

Back in October I embarked on the programme, not having been on a bike for 30-odd years.

The first 4 sessions took place in beautiful Lewisvale Park, Musselburgh, where myself and the other participants wobbled in and out of cones, dropped frisbees and learned to change gears.

By the fifth week, we were considerably less wobbly and left the relative comfort of the park to venture onto nearby cycle paths.

cyclesCVTWRH4XIAEpmGy.jpg:largeToday, was my final cycle and I can now reach the top of the muddy slope that in week 5 I had to dismount and walk up.  I feel fitter, more confident and enthused about cycling than I thought possible.

Currently six volunteer ride leaders support the cycling sessions and two bicycle maintenance volunteers keep the bikes in good working order. Future developments for 2016 include running group cycle sessions once a month to support participants who have completed the 10 week programme to continue cycling. In addition, providing Basic Bike Maintenance sessions to past participants are being planned for 2016.

To take part participants have to be over 16 years old, resident in East Lothian or have an East Lothian GP.

The next programme begins in February 2016 and you can sign up here I can’t promise you will be as lucky with the weather as I was but you are guaranteed to feel good, become more confident and you will definitely have fun.  (A bicycle, helmet and high viz vest can all be supplied, if required.)

Thank you so much to the Volunteer Cycle Ride Leaders, Patsy (who was with us throughout the ten weeks), Ann and Hilda, as well as CHANGES Project Worker, Heather.

Robert Wedderburn – forgotten son of Inveresk

‘The earth cannot be justly the private property of individuals, because it was never manufactured by man; therefore whoever sold it, sold that which was not his own.  (from The Axe Laid To The Root)

Inveresk Lodge in East Lothian, is today in the ownership of the National Trust but, from 1774 to 1911, it was home to the Wedderburn family who made their fortune on a sugar plantation and in the slave trade.

robertwedderburn012ZZZ08156C714U000000FP[SVC2]Robert Wedderburn was the son of Rosanna, a slave and her owner, James Wedderburn.

Although born free, Robert was raised in a harsh environment, as his mother was often flogged at the insistence of his father.  When Rosanna was re-sold by James Wedderburn, Robert was raised by his maternal grandmother before joining the Royal Navy at the age of 16 and arriving in Britain.

Impoverished and desperate, Robert arrived at his father’s house in Inveresk only to be turned away.

“I visited my father, who had the inhumanity to threaten to send me to gaol if I troubled him,” he wrote years later of his trip to Inveresk Lodge. “He did not deny me to be his son, but called me a lazy fellow and said he would do nothing for me. From his cook I had one draught of small beer, and his footman gave me a cracked sixpence.” The Horrors of Slavery (1824)

Robert became a prolific writer and speechmaker and campaigner for abolition of slavery.

Read more about International Day for the Abolition of Slavery here.

Your Railway, Your Say

Any commuters on the North Berwick to Edinburgh peak time trains can attest to the overcrowding and unreliability of the ticket machines.

ScotRail has launched The Platform – an online panel to give you a chance to have your say on how Scotland’s railway is run.

To register, you will need to complete a few short questions about yourself and how you currently get out and about. Once you have registered you can then take part in your first survey!

You might also be interested in joining rail pressure group RAGES, which has as one its aims “To improve the rail service between Edinburgh, Dunbar and Berwick upon Tweed.”.  Membership is only £4 and you will be kept up to date with the latest rail developments.

East Lothian Postal Secret Santa

If you like spreading some festive cheer and like receiving surprise packages in the post, then you might like to sign up for Secret Santa.

How to take part:

  • Email your (real) name, East Lothian postal address and any helpful info (gender/age/interests) to by 30th November.  Lothian Loop will then pass on these details to your Secret Santa.
  • You will receive postal details of the person to whom you should send a gift – remember the very last posting date for 2nd class is Saturday 19th December.
  • You don’t have to, but it would be great if you could share a photo of the gift you receive by tweeting @lothianloop.
  • The system is based on trust.  Please only ask to take part if you are willing to send a gift.  Lothian Loop cannot be held responsible for non-delivery or anything else!

Top Tips: 

  • £5-7 is a guide spend – take into account postage costs when choosing your gift.
  • Aim to send a gift that will fit through a letterbox that doesn’t need to be signed for.
  • This gift should be family-friendly and absolutely not a platform for an agenda/political campaign!

Visit a reinvigorated Haddington Farmers’ Market

In order to celebrate the market undergoing a refresh, the Haddington Farmers’ Market Committee is holding a special market on Saturday 28 November.

In addition to the usual delights, the market, which will be part of East Lothian’s Saltire Festival, will host  music, magic, cooking demonstrations, recipes and competitions.

The programme of events is as follows:

10.10     Haddington Pipe Band

10.30     Cooking Demonstration

11.00     Yester Nursery school sings

11.30     Rita Bradd Harpist

12.00     Haddington Pipe Band

12.30     Melissa Bradd plays ukelele

Widely recognised as the friendly farmers’ market, Haddington Farmers’ Market offers you a tempting selection of home produced specialities and really demonstrates that buying Scottish is best!

Pauline Jaffray, market organiser and stallholders, said:

“There is always something new to experience and enjoy at Haddington Farmers Market. The friendly family atmosphere, the tantalising smells of barbecue cooking, the aroma of home baking, the tasty samples, guest stalls and the availability of recipe leaflets and first hand advice all add to the success of Haddington Farmers’ Market.

“Whilst we have a loyal following of customers there are still people who have yet to discover us! Our mission is to get all of East Lothian and beyond talking about us and joining the ranks of our happy customers, at the same time securing the future of the market.

“We should be delighted if you would show your support for local produce and visit us.

“Not only does Haddington Farmers’ Market make for a fantastic morning out but it also makes an extremely valuable contribution to the local economy.”

WHEN: Saturday 28th November – the market runs from 9am until 1pm
WHERE: Haddington Farmers Market, Court Street, Haddington (free parking behind the court building, regular buses to and from Haddington)


Campaign of the Month

Throughout November, @LothianLoop ran a series of scheduled tweets encouraging people to vote for @cuthillpark, Prestonpans, in the Best Park awards.

Voting has now closed and the winner will be announced on 2 December at a Fields in Trust event.

Good Luck Cuthill Park!

Throughout December, @LothianLoop will be campaigning for the Scottish Medicines Consortium to approve Translarna  – the first ever drug to potentially treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

This follows the news that East Lothian laddie Cormac Fegan was the 1st boy in the UK to receive Translana, albeit for a limited six month period.

Translarna is already available in several countries including France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Denmark, but it is not yet approved here in the UK.

You can read more about the fight for access to Translarna here.

Learn more about Muscular Dystrophy here.

Find out about Cormac and his family’s campaign to help him here.