District News, November 12 2021

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Port Ellen pupils win photography awards

Three Port Ellen Primary School pupils have been highly commended for their entries in a prestigious photography competition.

Katie Harrison, Caillin Swanson and William Campbell were among hundreds of young people aged four to 18 who entered the Scottish Civic Trust My Place photography competition to document the impact of climate change on their local spaces and places.

The prizes were awarded at a digital ceremony on October 29.

The annual competition encourages young people to use photography to explore their local buildings, architecture and archaeology.

To tie in with the COP26 UN climate summit being held in Glasgow, the theme of the 2021 competition is climate change.

Katie’s photograph features Port Ellen’s distillery, Caillin’s depicts a rusting electric car charger by a sea wall and William’s is a detailed close-up of corroding metal sandwiched between stone and wood pillars.

All entries to the 2021 My Place Photography Competition can also be viewed online at bit.ly/MPPC2021gallery

Elizabeth McCrone, a member of the My Place photography competition 2021 judging panel and director of heritage at Historic Environment Scotland, said: ‘Places are important to us in so many ways and it was fascinating to see how our young people view their places through the lens of climate change.

‘The images powerfully capture the changes in our built and natural environment. The sharing of their observations with us gives real hope for change.’

The My Place Photography Competition is supported by Historic Environment Scotland and Jessops and is free to enter and is open to schools, youth groups, clubs and home-educated young people.

Visit myplacescotland.org.uk for information on how to enter for the 2022 competition.


Whisky giants’ peat bog pledge

The owners of two Islay distilleries have moved to help restore precious peatland and water resources to ensure drinks production is sustainable in Scotland.

Beam Suntory, the maker of Laphroaig, Bowmore and Teacher’s, and its parent company, Suntory Holdings, have announced the launch of the Peatland Water Sanctuary initiative, a large-scale series of peatland restoration and watershed conservation projects.

The companies plan to invest more than £3 million in the restoration and conservation of 1,300 hectares of peatlands by 2030, enough to produce the same amount of peat that Beam Suntory harvests every year in making its Scotch whiskies on an ongoing basis.

Once restored and conserved, peatland naturally accumulates by 1mm per year, and that 1mm growth spread across 1,300 hectares will equate to Beam Suntory’s annual use.

The first project is due to begin at Ardmore distillery in November 2021, followed by subsequent projects at Bowmore and Laphroaig, and other distilleries across Scotland.

In the first phase, nearly 15 hectares of peatland in the Ardmore Knockandy Hill north side slope will be restored, with more to follow in 2022. Restoration will also potentially include Malsach Burn Valley as early as 2022.

This initial restoration project at Ardmore will be undertaken in partnership with the James Hutton Institute, which is assisting with the research, planning, and execution of the restoration, and Forestry and Land Scotland, which owns the land.