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September 2016
Deveronvale FC

In an unexpected spasm of sporting generosity, the boss offered to chauffeur his football-mad sidekick to watch Deveronvale FC in training.

The August evening sun was bright and it was very hot. The club train adjacent to their stadium, the Princess Royal Park in Banff. If you do not speak ‘football’ you may have wondered what goes on there!

When we arrived, the goalkeeper coach, James Blanchard, was busy setting out training cones for a few members of the junior team to practise; this they did, throwing, catching, jumping and energetically diving about.

After a while the ‘first team’ that we had come to observe ran on to the pitch with their coach, Steve Dolan, and the training ground filled up. Training started with warm-up circuits, intervals and running exercises and then developed into possession-based drills. There is certainly emphasis on fitness. As the sun disappeared behind the buildings it began to cool and the players were still engaged in match-based scenarios under the watchful eye of the coach. The team were also preparing for their weekend clash against Cove Rangers, last year’s champions, and there were a few earnest ‘tactical’ looking discussions breaking up the training.

Deveronvale play in the fifth tier of the Scottish Football League, competing with seventeen other teams vying to be crowned champions of the Scottish Highland Football League. They accomplished this in 2002/03 and 2005/06. In order to gain promotion to Scottish League Two – the fourth tier – the champions of the Highland Football League would play the champions of the Lowland Football League. The winner of this game would then play against the team which finished bottom of League Two. The victor would then play in League Two the following season, whilst the loser would join, or remain in, either the Highland or Lowland Football League…

To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the September 2016 issue!

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August 2016
Functional Art

The Furniture of Mike Whittall
Photography by Craig Stephen

Two years ago, Mike Whittall made a dramatic change to his life. He left his accountancy-based career of twenty-five years – which had included working for Customs and Excise, Grant Thornton and Deloitte in the south and London – and moved to Scotland. He started in Aberdeenshire
working for Deloitte and after some time freelancing and
working, settled in Netherdale, near Aberchirder.

His new home, which he shares with wife, Jane Craigie – who runs a marketing business – is also the site of his new business venture. He will run ‘Ochre & Wood’, furniture-making and restoration in a steading workshop, which he is converting as we write. Mike gained an appreciation for woodworking from the age of five – from his grandfather and his father who were enthusiasts. Now Mike is in a position to realise his dream to be a professional woodworker. Although he is largely self-taught, he did attend a recent nine month course at the Chippendale International School of Furniture at Haddington – tutored by
Anselm Fraser. Until now he has been travelling back and forth using the
school’s well equipped workshops and has produced some outstanding sample pieces.

His aim is to use our local Scottish woodland heritage for the raw material.
Despite centuries of felling for fuel and building, our countryside is still home to some 1.4 million hectares of forestry – three quarters of which is coniferous and the remainder broadleaved trees. He is a firm believer in sourcing his timber locally where possible. Apart from the obvious ‘wood mileage’ benefits – his resulting pieces will have provenance. Mike’s philosophy is that ‘every tree has a story’…

To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the August 2016 issue!

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July 2016
Royal Enfield 350 WD/C 1940

Royal Enfield 350 WD/C 1940
By Nigel Bodiam

One of the first of the Enfield 350s ordered by the British Army for use in WWII.

Following the Second World War, this bike was sold as surplus and in the fashion of the day (or because all our metal paint colour available post-war was gloss black) was painted gloss black. I acquired the bike in 2007 and transformed it into its current ‘desert livery’ complete with the ‘used look’. This is quite accurate and looks just as it would have appeared during the North African Campaign between 1940 and 1943. This bike, which normally would have been olive drab (green) for military service, was used in its desert livery in North Africa by despatch riders (DRs) to deliver urgent information from one unit to another.

The army ordered the first 1,000 WD/Cs from Royal Enfield in November of 1939. Three months later in February 1940 the British Army received these motorbikes, of which this is one. It is one of the earliest Enfields ordered during the Second World War. This bike would have served throughout the war although it is likely it never actually left the UK, because many bikes used overseas were abandoned there once finished with. This is corroborated by eye-witness accounts of piles of bikes and jeeps being heaped up and burnt in North Africa after the war – burying them in the sand was more economical than bringing them back!
I have picked out evidence of traces of the original green paint on the
bike: orginal olive drab for European military use, which was the most
likely life of this bike. Otherwise this is the same bike that would have
been used in the desert.

To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the July 2016 issue!

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May 2016
Pete Danks: Model Maker

Pete Danks: Model Maker
By Doug Matheson

They are in our midst. We pass them by in the street every day without really knowing who they are. No, I am not talking about doubleglazing salesmen, but talented people; very talented people who quietly go about their lives doing amazing things while hiding their lights under bushels. People, such as Pete Danks.

Now, Pete is fairly well known hereabouts as a chap who knows about boats; and he has been heavily involved in a number of local boatbuilding projects. These have included the construction of a replica east coast salmon coble, a Faering skiff and the St Ayles skiffs in Portsoy and Banff.

He is also currently teaching boat-building skills to pupils in Banff Academy; and he prepares kits for the local primary schools – which the pupils assemble into small ‘Pragmatist’ dinghies. So far, so nautically good.

However, what is not generally known is that he happens to be one of the UK’s top boat modellers – who specialises in the construction of the most detailed scale replicas of wooden naval vessels of ‘museum’ standard. What is even more surprising is that he is an aeronautical engineer by profession and has no nautical background whatsoever. How did all this come to pass? Ed and I visited Pete at his workshop in Portsoy to investigate.

Pete’s interest in modelling started after a chance read of an Airfix magazine. Airfix was a well-known plastic model maker of the time. This inspired him to buy a few plastic tank kits though he was not content with just making them ‘straight from the box’. He preferred to model unusual variants of each vehicle instead, in order to create something unique, which exercised his creativity and modelling skills. Modellers have it much easier today, of course, as there is a vast range of commercially-produced modification kits available for this purpose – but this was a long, long time ago when Pete was a teenager.

To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the May 2016 issue!