Oct 222010
 

The first run of a beautiful new calendar depicting the unique and stunning scenery of the Menie/Foveran coastal area has proved so popular that it has already sold out – within 3 weeks of production. Apart from raising funds for the Tripping Up Trump campaign, the pictures bear witness to the beauty and wildlife of the dunes and draw attention to the on-going destruction of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A second run of the calendars is now being negotiated and will be available for sale in the coming weeks.

Indeed, despite a marked lack of coverage in most of the local media, this has been a very busy period for the Tripping Up Trump campaign as Rohan Beyts tells Aberdeen Voice;

‘”What with producing our newspaper, preparing the calendar, mounting an exhibition and organising the March of Menie it has been a period of intense activity for all of us.

While it seemed that the media could not get enough of Trump – threatening householders, running for president, claiming that his resort had been a ‘done deal’ and posing with his new doctorate – we decided to focus on the real issues – the loss of a wonderful national asset and the effects on the local community.

So the idea of putting on an event was mooted, a walk possibly in the dunes before winter set in, a show of support for the threatened householders and an exhibition close by to get across what the local press has not been saying.  There were a few obstacles and time moved on. Was it going to be too much?

On 16th September came the announcement of that Degree.

We decided to do the walk – The March of Menie – from Balmedie to The Bunker in support of the householders.

Then there was the exhibition. It was a lot to organise in a mere 3 weeks but TUT is more than 2 people and a dog so we did. Could we get a suitable venue for the exhibition? Would the calendar be ready?  Could we get the newspaper out?  Yes, Yes and Yes again.

Despite information from the police to the contrary there was good route all the way to The Bunker.

  • The March was publicised on 21st September
  • A venue for the exhibition obtained on 3rd October
  • 2 Slide shows were put together
  • Bob Smith agreed that we could display his wonderful verses
  • Displays were made on the Environment, People and Economics of the development.
  • Sheila Forbes and Susan Munro offered to provide light refreshments.
  • We were up and running (or marching).

On Saturday 9th October the March set off (a short delay was filled by some excellent drumming) with dogs, grannies, mothers, fathers, grandads ,sons, daughters, farmers, fishermen, workers, students, greens, socialists, lib dems, tories, graduates, soldiers; we had them all walking the dunes to the Bunker led by an excellent young piper and representatives of the families.

The Police and the Evening Express estimated 250 on the march so draw your own conclusions.

The calendars and David Milne’s book ‘Blinded by Bling??’ [Still available via Waterstones or Amazon] sold well at the exhibition. The calendar all but sold out in 10 days from the first production of 250 with no publicity other than word of mouth.

If you would like to pre-order from the next reprint e-mail me at r.beyts@btinternet.com and I will let you know when they will be available through the website. They cost £5.00 each plus P&P.”

Aberdeen Voice understands there have been a number of enthusiastic comments from those – including some professional photographers – who have already bought the A3-sized calendar;

‘Amazing, the pictures are fantastic.’
‘Wow, it shows just what we are in danger of losing’
‘Great value, that’s my Christmas presents sorted.’
‘Love the pictures and all the information on the back.’
Aberdeen Voice wishes TUT all the best of luck with the calendar, and are grateful for permission to reproduce those beautiful images.


Oct 152010
 

A personal account by Erica Hollis of the experiences and thoughts evoked whilst attending the March Of Menie.

Yesterday I went on a walk along a favourite path only this time I did it in the company of a couple of hundred others, all marching in support of the families under threat of eviction by Donald Trump as he builds his new golf resort on the Menie estate.

We walked along well-established paths from the council car park for Balmedie Country Park to the farm of one of the threatened families at Mill of Menie.

I am not generally someone who joins protest marches, not one of the so called rent-a-mob, but rather a local resident appalled by the way a wealthy U.S. developer seems to have conned the local council and even the Scottish government into believing that his wretched resort will bring so much prosperity to the area that it is worth destruction of SSSI and intimidation of local residents.

There were probably a few on that march who do belong to the rent-a-mob mentality to judge by their overtly political banners but most of us were not. There were grannies and young families with children, dog walkers and naturalists of all political persuasions. I fell in and chatted to people I would probably never have met in day to day life as our lifestyles and views are so diverse, yet we all felt strongly that if this American tycoon gets council backing to evict innocent locals from their houses and small farms then which of us is secure in our house?

it supported the widest array of medicinal herbs in one small area that I have found in the whole of Aberdeenshire

An Englishman’s home is his castle it is said, yet it appears, from the Highland Clearances to the present day that a Scot’s home is no more than a blot on the landscape – to be swept away in the name of economic prosperity.

Let me ask one simple question – how do rich tycoons get rich? It is not by spreading their money around for others, it is by hanging on to every last penny (or cent in Trump’s case no doubt).

Whilst it was no doubt cheering for the beleaguered Menie residents to be shown so much support, it was what I saw along the way that depressed me into seeing what a ruthless, boorish vandal this man Trump really is.

Normally when I walked along here, like many dog walkers, bird watchers and others, I did not normally turn inland to Mill of Menie but continued along the Blairton burn where it widened into a veritable paradise of a habitat with such a wide range of plants supporting an equally diverse spectrum of bird life – warblers singing their hearts out among the reed and willows in the Spring and summer and wintering ducks and geese taking full advantage of the sheltered valley in the winter.

But it is as a Herbalist that I most appreciated this valley amongst the dunes, for it supported the widest array of medicinal herbs in one small area that I have found in the whole of Aberdeenshire. I used to lead herb walks here every June/July when most of the herbs were in flower so that the public could see and understand how to identify them and learn their health giving properties. There was willow and meadowsweet, valerian and Scot’s lovage, wild angelica and water cress, eye bright and yarrow, horsetail and nettle, willowherb and daisy, dandelion and dock, comfrey and red clover and probably others that I have forgotten in my distress.

And for every medicinal herb that I could identify, there were probably 5 to 10 other plant species that I could not.

Aware that this was an important part of the SSSI, I stressed to people that they must never dig-up or damage any of these plants in any way. Why the past tense you may ask? Because yesterday I saw that this mini-paradise, this oasis in the sand dunes, this cornucopia of natural medicine has gone forever. Trump has sent the bulldozers in and obliterated the whole habitat under a mound of tangled tree roots and sand.

I could not believe my eyes.

I had seen the warning signs he put up saying “Keep Out – Construction Area” yet still never believed he would actually destroy this beautiful oasis in the dunes. I thought he would surely keep it as a feature.

I don’t think I can bear to walk at Balmedie Country Park ever again. Why should any of us ever respect or value SSSI status ever again. A beautiful habitat evolved over hundreds, maybe thousands of years – bulldozed away, probably in a single afternoon.

I could have wept.

Sep 242010
 

By Cllr. Martin Ford ( Introduction by Dave Guthrie ).

It was at a meeting with then First Minister Jack McConnell in Trump Towers back in January 2006 that Donald Trump announced that he was looking for a business opportunity in Scotland.

One year later his planning application for a golf resort at Menie Estate was rejected by Aberdeenshire Infrastructure Committee with the deciding vote being cast by Martin Ford who was subsequently removed from his post as chairman. After referral to the Scottish Government the plans were accepted and the diggers moved in earlier this year. Continue reading »