Janet Mountford-Smith

Written 20 posts

Newcastleton: it’s a Vision Thing

15th October 2021

Newcastleton, in Liddesdale is about as deep in the Borders as you can go. Roll over one or two more hills and you’re in sight of Hadrian’s Wall. The village – known locally as Copshaw Holm, has been described as a ‘landlocked island’ – reaching it via any form of transport has its challenges. School…

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Community Land Week is back!

6th October 2021

Community Land Week is back, but post covid, this year will be slightly different. With all the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, we decided to celebrate this year’s CLW with ten community groups which have taken ownership over the last year. They thoroughly deserve their moment in the spotlight! Community owners have had a…

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Dunshalt: reinventing the village shop

13th February 2020

The Scottish Land Fund is seeing more and more applications from communities in rural parts of Scotland, who want to save their village shop. Internet shopping, car ownership/use, and competition from the discounters, are all playing their part in the steady decline of local shops.  This is happening in towns and cities as well, but…

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Ochiltree Community Hub

8th October 2019

On a cool, cloudy October day, the remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo are fizzling out overhead, and I’m headed to Ochiltree in East Ayrshire for the opening of their new Community Hub.  Overnight temperatures have dipped, and reds, browns and golds tinge the trees and bracken: autumn is making its presence felt. The dull greens of…

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“A’ The Airts”, Sanquhar

19th August 2019

On a sunny, breezy August afternoon I take the A703 south to Sanquhar, in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s Community Land Week, and “A’ the Airts”, a community hub based in a historic building in this attractive town, is screening a film, and putting on a spread. The film focuses on the role of the arts…

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5th August 2019

Morebattle lies at the foot of the Cheviots, seven miles south of Kelso, so deep in the Borders that only one or two hamlets and a few hills are left before you reach Northumberland. We’re in the middle of a short but very intense heatwave: 30C is forecast. Sheep huddle into the shade of trees,…

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Bonnymuir Green, Aberdeen

29th July 2019

It’s high summer and from the exuberance of spring, the Scottish countryside is now settling into a more subdued palette of greens. Fields of barley are not yet cut but are beginning to dapple yellow. The cerise of rosebay willowherb is taking over from the foxgloves, whose thimbles have opened, one by one, until they…

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MACH 1 – Machrihanish Airbase Community Company

16th July 2019

Communities use their land and buildings for many activities but Mach 1 is definitely one of the more unusual ones. The former MoD airbase at Machrihanish, Argyll, now owned by the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, is the venue for one of the big tarmac rally events on Dunfermline Car’s Club’s racing calendar. The play on…

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Killin – More than a Post Office

5th June 2019

Killin nestles under the Lawers range at the west end of Loch Tay. I’ve got an invite to the opening of the community’s new premises for their postoffice/newsagent. It’s wet wet wet, and has been for days, the weather resuming something like normal summer service after last year’s heatwave. The verges are frothing with cow…

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Fort Augustus – opening the new Cill Chumein Medical Centre

11th April 2019

At sunrise on a frosty April morning, I am on my way to work to meet Kyle, who has recently joined our team as a Modern Apprentice. We’re driving up to Fort Augustus for the opening of their new Medical Centre. It has been funded partly by the Scottish Land Fund, and partly by Scottish…

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