The site for the community garden has been used by the community for over a century. It was originally used by the Curling Club. The land had been leased from the forestry commission since 1947 by the club for one shilling (10p) per year. It is amazing how well preserved the curling pond is as we scrape back the mud and grass.
The Lochgoilhead and Rifle Club was formed in 1927. It is believed that there had been rifle shooting in Lochgoilhead since 1900. Rifle shooting was encouraged to develop marksmanship in case of war. The club went through many name and location changes over the years and by 1975 the name had reverted to the Gun and Rifle Club mainly shooting clay pigeons out at Ardnahein beyond Carrick Castle.
In the mid 1970’s Ray Leeper moved into the village, a keen rifle target shooter. He began running an active rifle shooting section meeting once a week. The Curling Club had become inactive as Drimsynie had built an indoor curling rink and in 1981 the rifle club had taken over the lease and Lochgoilhead Rifle Club was formed. The members purchased the land in 1981.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s the club was active with local competitions and it ran several teams which took part in national league competitions. The ladies team were particularly successful with some members going on to shoot for the county. In 2000 the legislation on rifle ownership made it increasingly difficult to recruit new members and the club decided to cease operation. The final act of the members who had contributed to the purchase of the land was to agree that no individual should benefit from the purchase and the land would be held in trust and be made available for the benefit of the community.
The site is perfect for the community garden. The aim is to create a space that is inclusive to everyone, to garden, walk or just to sit and relax. We have a successful funding application submitted to Tesco bags of help which will go to a customer vote in May. We have applied to The Asda Foundation, The Postcode Lottery, The Calor Rural Community Fund and The ￼￼Co-Op Local Community Fund. I shall submit an update on the project and funding applications in my next article.
The site may look as if little has happened but work is going on to make the garden a reality. If you are able to volunteer or support the project in anyway, or require more information about the project please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook Loch Goil Growing Community. This is a wonderful opportunity to make something special on land that has always been part of our community.
Submitted by Karen Pollock