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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!

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March 2016
Carn Standing: Artist

Carn Standing: Artist
By Doug Matheson

Not much escapes the gimlet eye of the Editor of the KN : he knows everyone and everything that happens in the area. Just in case you think I have gone all soft and have started saying nice things about him, this has been said by way of observation rather than a compliment. It is the duty of the Editor to be well informed as there is a continual need to find fresh material to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the printing press. If all else fails and desperation sets in then he will ask/command me to write an article.

However, this was not one of these occasions and, as usual, it all started innocently enough. “Do you know much about art?” he asked one day. “Of course” I lied, not wishing to appear unsophisticated. “The Impressionists are my particular favourite, combining the brilliance of colour with the urgency of transmitting the essence of the scene with the minimal of brushstrokes”. He was clearly as stunned as I was at this though he probably suspected that I was quoting from an article in the arts supplement, which I was! After a slight pause he said “Good, then you can come with me to visit local artist, Carn Standing, to help to write a profile on him, but do brush up on your arts lingo before you come!”

Most of you will probably have seen some of Carn’s work even if you do not know his name. It was he who made the life-size dolphin sculpture which was on display during the last Portsoy Boat Festival, and will be permanently sited at the Old Harbour this year. He also has a small studio in Strait Path, Banff, where some work is displayed and where he also carries out unique, bespoke tattoo artistry. Those who may have visited the Community and Sports centre in Fraserburgh cannot fail to have noticed his impressive winged figure Community Spirit. Hundreds of lengths of round steel bar were used for the body. Ceramic was used for the face and hands. Acrylic glass was used for the wings creating a six metre-long figure in a ten month project. Its contemporary design ‘swoops’ from the reception’s ceiling welcoming visitors with outstretched arms. The work was funded by Aberdeenshire Council and key to the process were workshops and consultations with local people and schools which influenced the design. Other artworks by Carn are situated in the swimming pool area – which were commissioned by local fundraising group FISSH…

Banner image: Amy Davenport

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

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February 2016
My friend Nick Barnard

My friend Nick Barnard
By Liz Ashworth

Nick is one of the longest-serving, or should I say ‘stirring’, stalwarts of the annual World Porridge Making Championship, The Golden Spurtle. He holds the record for participation and has reached the final five times and counting! I have a long way to catch up, having taken part only three times. However, I have been a regular attendee over the years supporting the main sponsor Hamlyns. Nick and I have become friends through our mutual concern about the state of the British diet. He has done his utmost to address this, firstly forming his company Rude Health, which began in 2005 producing the Ultimate Muesli and on that healthy breakfast, the business was built.

In Nick’s own words, ‘In essence we wanted to make nourishing, honest and truly tasty food that we could not find made by others. We kept our focus on innovation, quality, trust, authenticity, no compromise and sustainability.’

‘If we let government decide what foods they eat, and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny’ Thomas Jefferson

Nick began to write a book which he has aptly called Eat Right . This idea has been simmering for years! In 2014 he was inspired to propose a book about one of his core fascinations, fermentation, which evolved into a much broader, important subject about truly nourishing foods. Research and development has been a ten year journey since the founding of Rude Health but, in reality, the actual writing took about four months.

The book is well written, erudite, sensible, informative, logical and
full of surprises about the food we have gradually begun to eat over the last decades. It describes in detail the insidious replacement of our wholesome, healthy, food produce that was eaten by our forebears. Once you read this book you will definitely start thinking about your own diet and about your shopping, cooking and eating habits – and I hope you can change what you can for the best. Nick has kindly shared some of his recipes with us this month, just a small flavour of this truly worthwhile and enduring publication.

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

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January 2016
The Whisky Lounge

The Whisky Lounge at the Speyside Centre

It can never be said of the Lambie family that they are content to sit back and rest on their laurels. From the moment in 1972 when David and Betty Lambie and their two young sons Craig and Iain arrived at the Skye of Curr from Carmunnock in Lanarkshire, their enterprising spirit has led them from small beginnings on to greater heights. Their inventive minds and entrepreneurial talents have resulted in what we know today as The Speyside Centre.

Their initial accommodation on the small piece of land at the corner of two roads was a caravan. They lived in the caravan for three years, bringing up two small sons. But being the enterprising souls that they are, it was not long – the summer of 1973 to be exact – before a sign was erected offering heathers for sale.

One thing led to another and soon Betty was offering tea and home bakes, all produced from the tiny kitchen area in the caravan. It proved very popular with tourists and residents alike and even earned the accolade of being the smallest tearoom in Scotland. With only one table and four chairs it must have been very cosy indeed.

In 1978 they were able to purchase the old Rothiemurchus School canteen/classroom and this was re-assembled as The Centre and The Clootie Dumpling Restaurant. This was extended in 1992 and, as David and Betty had completed 21 years in Speyside, they introduced the “21 ways to have your Clootie Dumpling”.

From very small beginnings indeed David and Betty have built up an incredible centre. David’s first love is heathers and there is very little he does not know about them. Forget any preconceived notions that heather is purple or white and covers the Scottish hillsides with a magnificent carpet of colour each September. There is far more to heather than that and a visit to the audio visual heather museum within the centre is a must. David has written a number of books on heathers. He is also a keen photographer…

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

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December 2016
Mountain Leader

By Megan S. M. Craig

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.”

The KN gang, led by Mountain Leader in training, Debbie Anderson,
clambered into our very own mystery machine, Ivan, and set off on an adventure to the hills of Moray. In a past life Ivan was a big white van but now he is a blue, self-built bespoke camper van extraordinaire.

In the words of John Muir, “the mountains were calling and we must go!”

A discussion of timings ensues as Ivan bounds towards Ben Rinnes, the gang’s destination on a chilly Wednesday morning. Timing is one of the most important factors taught in Mountain Leader Training. Debbie, the gang’s leader for our day out, had recently come back from the week long training course.

As we travelled from Knock to Dufftown, Travis, Debbie’s photogenic German shepherd, snuggled up by the gear stick and Debbie gave me a day-by day account of her training so far.

Navigation is still a major part of the course. This often begins with pacing, i.e. how many paces or double paces it takes you to cover 100m on different terrains – uphill and on the flat.

This is crucial for micro-navigation and takes a lot of practice. Also still taught are traditional map and compass skills i.e. orientating the map with your surroundings, using a baseplate compass with the map, understanding your surroundings, map contour lines, weather, first-aid and now a large part of the course, especially useful to us here locally, is to understand the seasons, the fauna and flora and sporting periods and access rights in Scotland.

Debbie was one of five on the course – this small group’s make up was varied with a doctor, a procurer and two outdoor centre workers. Despite confessing to an age gap between herself and the rest of her group Debbie did not feel deterred and held her own as an experienced and fit hillwalker for the whole week.

To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the December 2015 issue!