Latest Haddington News from our Local Paper the East Lothian Courier.
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We are pleased to announce that HDCC has taken over the Haddington website and will be working over the coming months with community groups and managers to update and reimagine the website.
In the mean time keep an eye and ear out for the exciting changes ahead.
East Lothian Council plans to develop a cycle path in the grounds of the new East Lothian Community Hospital. As they do this, they would like to get the views of people who walk, cycle or scoot in Haddington and the surrounding area.
Like Ross Geller from Friends, I’m carrying a little “holiday weight”. However, that holiday seems to have been going on for about 9 months! So in a bid to shift some of it, I’ve been getting back out on the bike recently. The poor frame creaks in despair every time I sit on it but at least I’m riding it.
Anyway, a mate of mine does a fair bit of work to promote Haddington so he asked me to write a piece on things to see that are within a stone’s throw. So at 6am one morning I went out on a wee tour with one of the other chaps from Haddington Cycle Club.
First stop was the Lamp of Lothian. Essentially they are some beautifully restored buildings on the north end of the town. You can read more about what they are used for here Lamp of Lothian.
Next stop was the Waterside Bistro. Perhaps my favourite place in Haddington. Alas it was not open at 06:15am. It’s recently changed hands and James (the new manager) has done a great job in turning it into a very popular, award winning restaurant. Check out the menu at Waterside Bistro.
From there we went to St Mary’s Parish Church. It’s a beautiful building and the grave yard has some spectacular head stones with some very moving statements written on them. Having a look inside is very worth while and you can see some pictures of the interior on their website.
Also, a real hidden gem is St Mary’s Pleasance which most folk are completely unaware of. It’s just past the church and is fantastically peaceful. We didn’t go in so I haven’t got a photo but I’ve spent hours in there before and I even once did some wedding photos using this as a back drop. A very beautiful place.
We began to cycle a bit further out of town and headed along to the weir at the west end of the town. This is a lovely spot and there is a path that essentially runs the whole length of the River Tyne. A boating pontoon has recently been built above the weir and someone’s put a rope swing there. Excellent idea given the recent unbelievable weather.
Crossing over the river at the “white bridge” took us up a path to the Bolton Road and after a short road section we went in to the Lennoxlove Estate. There’s a bit of a network of roads and paths in there so we took the less travelled route heading southwest. The fences are electrified due to the cattle so be careful when crossing the fields. Coming out at the south Gatehouse and taking a left brought us to (in my opinion) the most attractive view of the house. I’ve never been inside Lennoxlove but my wife has on a couple of occasions and says it’s an interesting place to visit.
We headed east from there and cycled up to Seggersdean Farm. Really, I was looking for a good shot of Traprain Law. Alas we had to go a bit further out of town for a decent view of it. We didn’t go up it on the bikes but I walked up it a couple of days ago. It’s a bit of a family favourite and a great place to watch The East Fortune Airshow. The walk is fairly easy but is a bit steep in sections. There are 13 Exmoor ponies that stay on the hill and provide additional interest when you are trying to entice your kids to do something outside. The view from the top is amazing and you can see the whole of East Lothian. I recently took my Canadian cousin to the top and it gave her good perspective on where everything was in the local area.
After that we cycled up to the Balfour Monument. The road up to it isn’t much fun and it’s an 800m section the local Strava users will know well. The view from the monument is really spectacular. It is a great place for a picnic and at night time it’s a good place to photograph stars and the Milky Way.
Thankfully there was a long downhill section next and we cruised over to the Amisfield Walled Garden. I love this place. It was one of the first places my son ever rode his bike (just before needing a poo in the bushes outside. He giveth and then He taketh away). The gardens are run by a team of volunteers and they do a cracking job. There are a massive variety of plants and herbs and the orchard area is lush. It’s also a brilliant place to have a picnic. Currently they are growing a hedge maze but it’s been slow to take and I’ve been able to just step over the hedges for the last couple of years. Perhaps one day it will be more functional.
Our final bit of the adventure took us along the river path. This runs from Haddington all the way to East Linton and you can visit Hailes Castle on the way. It’s very well kept ruin and the kids love it. It can be a bit midge infested as it’s right on the River Tyne but that’s not much of a problem most of the time. The path took us past another weir that I didn’t know existed. Clearly it’s favourite spot of the local kids as there are well worn paths down to it. There was even a pair of googles lying beside it that someone had forgotten to take home. I’m not sure I’d fancy swimming in there but obviously some people do.
The path took us back into Haddington and we parted company. All in all a nice wee magical mystery tour of the “Hidden Toon” and it’s surrounds. I’m sure there are a few things that we missed out but there’s always next weekend…
We are delighted to share an article from guest writer and recently re-elected Chair of the Haddington & Lammermuir Area Partnership (HALAP), Craig McLachlan, who explains why Area Partnerships are key to ensuring that communities like Haddington continue to thrive, by allowing people to get involved with decision-making at a local level.
Read on to find out more about HALAP and how you can get involved.
What are Area Partnerships?
Area Partnerships are the local face of community planning and are a way for local people to influence service planning and delivery in their area. The main focus for Area Partnerships however is to address inequalities and poverties and to do this we involve people from the wider community to develop a local Area Plan based on local priorities and takes these priorities forward.
In 2014, East Lothian Council worked with communities to establish 6 Area Partnerships across East Lothian.
Who is HALAP?
HALAP encompasses the communities of Athelstaneford, Bolton, East & West Saltoun, Garvald, Gifford, Haddington, Humbie and Morham and currently has 22 members. Membership is drawn from across this area and is made up of East Lothian Councillors, Community Councillors, Tenants and Residents Associations reps as well as Pupil and Parent Council representatives from the cluster schools and reps from other local Community Groups including the Haddington Community Development Trust (HCDT). I have recently been re-elected as Chair of the Area Partnership and Frances Wright, Chair of the HCDT has been newly elected as Vice Chair. We will both serve a two-year term of office and will take the lead role in directing the work for the Area Partnership. We meet approximately 6 times a year and all meetings are open to the public.
What does HALAP do?
Our Area Partnership currently has a devolved budget of £300,000 in this current financial year (2017/18) to be spent on delivering the priorities identified in the Area Plan. Some of this budget is however ring-fenced to be spent on specific matters only, such as £100,000 on raising education attainment and achievement.
Listed below are just some of the projects that we have supported over the past year:
How can you get involved?
On the 2nd November 2017 our Area Partnership will be holding its annual public meeting to speak about our recent achievements. This year our meeting is themed around improving Health & Wellbeing in our Area and we are encouraging any groups with an interest in this subject to attend and network with others. The event will be held at the new Community Hospital in Haddington and there will also be a chance to hear the latest news about the hospital project. This meeting is open to the public and more details can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/haddington-and-lammermuir-area-partnership-annual-public-meeting-tickets-38626794783 . For more information on the work of the Area Partnership, or details of our meetings, please go to http://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/info/200527/haddington_and_lammermuir
I hope to see you there!
Chair – Haddington & Lammermuir Area Partnership
by Beki Dover
Haddstock was a one-day music festival that took place on Saturday 24th June 2017. Around 1500 people filled Haddington’s cafés, bars and halls to listen to live music performed by local bands and musicians. The public donated generously by putting money into the musician’s red top hats.
It occurred to me at the start of the year that there are many talented musicians in the area, but that Haddington doesn’t have as obvious a music scene as Dunbar or North Berwick. I thought it would be fun for Haddington to have a musical celebration and to provide a platform for new bands in a community environment. It also struck me that there hadn’t been a music festival of this kind during my time in Haddington. So I asked musicians and venues if they might like to get involved, and people responded positively.
John McMillan was very supportive from the start, and directed me towards Visit East Lothian and Haddington and Lammermuir Area Partnership for funding. Following a Facebook post inviting musicians to play, 50 acts responded; youth bands, experienced singer songwriters and even bigger names like Aaron Wright, The Banjo Lounge 4 and Aberfeldy.
50 acts played across 10 venues: Place D’Aubigny, The Victoria Inn, The Tyneside Tavern, The Loft, The Railway Hotel, Diggory’s, Jo’s Kitchen, Jabberwocky and the Bridge Centre. Friends volunteered to steward each venue and we had PA systems and professional sound engineers looking after musicians. Ewen Ogilvie kindly let us use his retro van as help kiosk with all the line-up details and other festival information. Venues were packed with locals and visitors of all ages. They came in their droves to enjoy folk, jazz, bluegrass, rock, blues and acoustic sets, in most cases set up in the corner whilst people supped drinks and enjoyed their lunch.
The atmosphere was buzzing, people seemed to have a great time and it was a good day for local business too.
There were interactive family events at Jabberwocky, including a ukulele sing along where 100 kazoos and ukes were handed out to children and their families so they could get involved. There was an open mic session and a uke jam at The Railway Hotel where people could bring along instruments. Music was performed simultaneously throughout Haddington all day and night so folk could wander between pubs and cafés sampling all sorts of sounds.
The Town House hosted rock bands in the afternoon and the headliner gig in the evening which was the ticketed finale. Aberfeldy, well known and loved my many since the 1990s are from Haddington and were supported by Haddstock & Friends, mylittlebrother and The Banjo Lounge 4. Vic Galloway of BBC Radio Scotland introduced the bands and before we knew it, the night was in full swing. The crowd was a mix of locals and people from Edinburgh, East Linton, Dunbar, Manchester, Perth and the father of the brothers in the band Aberfeldy came from Kansas! They showed their appreciation by dancing the night away and enjoying drinks provided by Gary McFarlane and Mike Pisanek’s pop up bar.
Robert C Brady has made a short video that captures the flavour of the day – https://www.facebook.com/haddstock/
A music review was also written for Mumble – https://mumblemusic.net/2017/06/26/haddstock/
Photo credit: Ruby Smith
A good team is a group of people who have a common goal and a way of working together that they all understand. Members of a good team hold themselves accountable for delivering what they promise. In the best teams I have worked in you can see and feel that happening: people openly supporting each other and constructively challenging each other when things get really tough.
There are some great examples of volunteer teams here in Haddington, the Hidden Toun- the Pipe Band and Blooming Haddington have been recognised as national winners, and have lots of local admirers. We all have the same goal- to make Haddington better and better known.
Lots of teams work hard and deserve recognition for their work as parents with schools and in our sports clubs and community. If you are part of such a team you’ll know when it’s really powerful and achieving.
But, I think we need more ‘teamworking’- teams pulling together to solve problems and make decisions about Haddington’s future, to make Haddington a better place to live, work, visit and play
It’s easy to knock other folk for not doing something, or for not doing enough, but that kind of ‘blame culture’ doesn’t help build positive relationships between teams. Why would I want to work alongside somebody who criticises and hasn’t bothered to talk or listen to me, to understand my point of view or share my vision? Let’s listen more…
There are lots of informal networks in the town, and they are already essential for getting on with things: daily working on important projects. Spreading new ideas through them , and experimenting with new ideas requires help and encouragement.
Good teams need thinkers, leaders, carers and and doers- so if you have any ideas about making a difference to Haddington, want to do something, take the lead because you care enough about our town and surroundings, get in touch with me, the Area Partnership or the CDT and let’s pull together.
There are real challenges and opportunities. New funding for the Corn Exchange, more families joining our community, better bus links from Edinburgh…we can encourage folk to visit the best small town in Scotland, use our High St shops, and local pubs and restaurants and admire the best small town in Scotland.
Nobody’s perfect but a team can be…
John McMillan – Provost of East Lothian