If you have been walking along West Bay over the last few days, you may have noticed a timber exclamation mark on the shingle beach, just in front of the Selbourne Hotel. This is a travelling tidal marker and is in the Dunoon area until the 8th of November. It will be appearing at several places, including West Bay, before hitching a ride on the Wee Isle Dairy milk van and to be taken to Gigha.
The timber marker is traveling around communities across Scotland as part of the Inspiring Futures project, coordinated by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. The project is designed to draw attention to the threat climate change poses to Scotland’s diverse built environment, at a point in time when the world is focused on Glasgow for COP26. You can read more here about Inspiring Futures.
Locally the marker is being put to good use in our ‘We are Building a Beach Hut’ project. It is helping us broker new conversations in our community around coastal erosion, predicted sea-level rise, and the protection of biodiversity on West Bay, and has been placed on a spot where a seasonal beach hut used to be.
By researching and discussing these interconnected issues, we hope to understand how our future beach hut can be designed and managed in a way that is responsive and resilient to change; social and cultural change and climate change.
Last Saturday the marker was placed on West Bay with the help of local people and members of the Dunoon Area Alliance, a new community trust for Dunoon committed to sustainable development. We were also assisted by Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands region, Ariane Burgess and founder of Green Map System and Eco designer Wendy Brawer, and her team from the GIS collective. Our guests were visiting Dunoon and wider Cowal to find out more about community challenges around local action on climate change.
Whilst they were in Cowal they also took part in a workshop on Dunoon’s historic pier, co-hosted by Tacit Tacit and Green Map. The workshop was designed to share learning about Green Mapping - a creative, flexible, and cost-effective approach to community engagement with sustainable development through map-making.
With the help of Taxi George and Community Forest Ranger, Rhyddian Knight, we also explored Glenan Wood, an ancient community-owned rain forest near Portavadie, in South Cowal. This was followed by a stop off at the stunning Ark – a timber structure located on a hill in Tighnabruaich and created by engineer, artist, and climate activist David Blaire to draw attention to the threat of climate change.
COP26 will be over within a few days. Hopefully, decisions made at this globally attended event will provide a policy context for sustainable living that goes beyond anything we have seen before, but there is always a danger that good policy intentions forget rural communities and the nuances of living in places that are geographically dispersed and disadvantaged.
We hope that some of the work we have done locally and the discussions that have taken place in Dunoon, through the beach hut project and Green mapping, support our community over the longer term, as we hopefully transition into a more sustainable and equitable era. Fingers crossed!
Credits: Films produced by Sure Shot Film.
The We are Building a beach hut project is funded by Culture, Heritage and Arts Assembly, Argyll and Isles (CHARTS) as part of their Evolve Arts and Tourism programme, with in-kind support from project partners