The Poor State of Kames Bay

by Charles Kelly

Despite the fact that the toilet block has been removed from Kames Bay and the K2 Café and adjacent shop are no longer providing local services, Kames Bay is still an important tourist attraction for Millport. The recent move to suspend the service of clearing the top half of the beach of vegetation has resulted in the beach taking on a totally neglected and visually unappealing appearance.  I am fully aware that the growth may not be considered as ‘weeds’ by some but this area above the high water mark is the one area in the bay which, over recent years, has consistently offered dry, clean sand - ideal for visitors. It is now becoming an unsightly mess and is encouraging dog owners to use it as a dog loo.

The rest of the beach, now that the harrowing has stopped is no longer covered in water saturated furrows and has returned to the quality it had in previous years. Surely something can be done to clear the vegetation from the top half. With the economy of the island relying on tourism, Kames Bay must be considered as part of the tourist infrastructure of the island and not just returned to the wild.  

 


Add a comment

Sandy Morton says

I'm getting worried Charles.  I totally agree with you again!

ken brown says

Charlie beat me to the punch with his comments. Kames Bay had the best beach on the island and this overgrown stretch has  totally ruined it.Before long, apart from becoming "jungle" like, it'll become a haven for litter that gets washed in or blown in and who will want to sit on the benches and look out at that?

This beautiful stretch must be tackled soon before it becomes an embarrassment.

Eric Marshall says

I was in Millport last week and agree that Kames Bay looked in very poor condition. Surely pressure can be put on NAC to deal with this.

Ian Jenkins says

I have have also just returned from a great week in Millport and it was sad to see that Kames Bay was in such a sorry state. Some of the other beach areas looked like they had been swept clean why can't the same be done for Kames Bay. Does anyone know if there is anyway we can make a requeset to the apprpriate authorities for action?

 

Stephen Dobbin says

Posters are on display throughout the town explaining the current position re Kames Bay, but to cut a long story short...

 

For 30 years or so, Kames Bay has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Scottish Natural Heritage.  The works which NAC had been carrying out to maintain the beach were damaging the natural biology of the beach, and were illegal. In consultation with NAC it was agreed in 2011 that only hand picking of man-made litter would continue, and NAC are meant to be creating signage to explain to people why the beach is no longer being maintained.

A poster explaining all of this is currently on display on the back of the VG Store door should anybody wish to read the full article, and it has been written by Professor Geoff Moore, Prof of Marine Biology, University of London, who currently resides in Millport.

 

Hopefully this will answer some of the comments.

June Allison says

Thanks Stephen.

However, surely there is a balance between nature and use of the beach for holiday makers. This seems a bit of a draconian attitude towards the beach by the scientists and Millport does rely on tourists so can't a compromise be found?

 

ANGELA DOIG says

Thanks Stephen - however, not everyone is aware of this agreement with NAC and Prof Moore, NAC should be displaying good signage with this information.

I don't agree with the decision not to clear the beach because our island thrives on tourism, not marine biology, something needs to be done to save this beach.  Kames Bay has been stripped of all its facilities- Kames Bay Cafe, toilets, grocery shop, putting green, deck chair hire, diving dell and who could forget Hector McKinnon's toffee apples and melon?? 

If Millport was a wee island elsewhere in Europe or USA, there would be millions ploughed into the economy for tourism, we should have gone with Highlands and Islands years ago and had half a chance of survival!

 

ANGELA DOIG says

furthermore, students could at least have the decency to fill in the holes they dig up for their studies to prevent small children falling down them when the tide comes in and covers them from paddlers!!

June Allison says

Angela - you're quite right. If we keep on this route the whole island can become a SSSI as there will be nobody here.

Come on scientists and NAC come to a workable compromise - keep half the vegetation and let holiday makers have the other half?

The beach used to be great and now with so many facilities having gone, let's at least keep the sand.

Draw a line along the beach - one side vegetation for the bugs and the other side cleaned up for people and signs explaining what is happening and why.

Anna Kucharska says

Totally agree with the comments, the idea of half-and-half is good, but  what would it look like in practice? Better to go for keeping it all clean for the visitors.

Ross Goldie says

Kames Bay .. an SSI .. thats fine .. or a great excuse for NAC not to keep it '' user human  freindly ' .. ..I can only guessi it wasnt one in the 1960s to 90;s .......... make no mistake,  the 'bugs'  will still be here long after we (the humans ) have all gone .. so lets it get it cleaned up right now and make it very very, very nice for visiitors and their families .....and what a load of tosh !  .......

Calmac + NAC  =  Doing their best for the island ..hmmmm ....  you work it out.

best regards

Ross Goldiewww.cumbraemarine.com

Sandy Morton says

If you walk on Kames Bay sand and see an offensive weed pull it out and put it in a bin..Should not cause a problem to the SSI since the weeds are well above the sea at high water mark

Jean Kerr (McKinnon) says

Sorry, Sandy but this is not an option either. Since the beach started to decline I have regularly been pulling up weeds there when walking Bonnie along that way and was on the point of getting an appeal out on S1 Millport for assistance for a full cleaning day.

I thought I had better check with  Geoff Moore before I did that and was told that I could be prosecuted as it was illegal even to do that !

I do not know what the answer is but there must be some sort of compromise to be made somewhere as I totally agree the status quo does nothing to enhance the area.

Ian Jenkins says

Hello all, I have been doing a dig around the internat on SSIs and find that it may not be as all clear cut that maintainance is not allowed in these areas. The web site below has a lot of information but if you scroll down you will see that it is allowed and even encouraged for environmental management of SSIs to be undertaken SNH recognise that it may not be in the best interst of the site just to leave it unattended.

http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/designatedareas/sssi.pdf

I then had a look at the SSI register entry for Kames Bay and it includes a document called an ORC (Operations Requiring Consent) and you can read this on line:

https://www.eservices.ros.gov.uk/ros.sssi.presentation.ui/ros/sssi/presentation/ui/sssi/findPage.do

Just enter Kames Bay and following the links to Documents. Anyway, this document does not specifiy that clearing the beach above the waterline is an activity requiring consent. (if this link doesn't work and it may not because I see its a secure link, just go to the SSI register via Google )

I don't imagine for a minute that this gives us the right to bring a tractor down to the beach but it does give something to work on, NAC can't hide behind the SSI regs. as maybe they have done so far

What does anyone else think?

BTW thanks to Angela for reminding me about Hector McKinnon, I had forgotten about that. But just the mention brought back memories of the smell of fruit and vegitables mingled with toffee apples like it was yesterday! We had a Room and Kitchen (AKA a flat nowadays) at 20 George St and walked past the shop on the way to the sea front.

Iain Bissett says

I found teh info on the Sepa site.  This map seams to show the area in question but in my mind shows the top of the beach is not included and could be cleaned.  What do others think?

http://gateway.snh.gov.uk/sitelink/documentview.jsp?p_pa_code=825&p_Doc_Type_ID=33

Iain Bissett says

http://gateway.snh.gov.uk/sitelink/documentview.jsp?p_pa_code=825&p_Doc_Type_ID=33

 

This map shows some of the beacj being outside the area of interest (or thats how I read it)

Boz says

We must have been trawling at the same time, this map appears to me to show that the SSSI boundary stops before the weeds begin.(dotted line)

https://www.eservices.ros.gov.uk/ros.sssi.presentation.ui/ros/sssi/presentation/ui/sssi/mapPage.do?requiredId=825

 

Sandy Morton says

Looks quite clear to me that you are correct Iain although it is an old map.

Ian Jenkins says

Iain, I think your are right the upper boundary mark is the avarage height of high water at the time of spring tides. The bit that we want cleared is from there to the path

I think this with the fact that SSI sites can be maintained and that environemntal clearing of Kames Bay does not require consent gives us a strong argument. 

Now, who do we need to convince !!

 

Boz says

By the time someone in the council in Irvine looks at the evidence, consults some committee,consults with SNH, etc..etc it will be next year if we are lucky.

From what I have seen the SSSI boundary ends at the high water mark.

On Sunday the raft race begins at 14h00, if enough people rock up at around say 13h00 with a few bin bags,gloves and perhaps a trowel or two then a good start could be made to clear at least the part of the beach where kids tend to play and most people tend to sunbathe.( there's optomism for you).

June Allison says

knowing the speed with which bureaucracy moves, and we aren't exactly despoiling a panda/gorilla reserve here, I think we should resort ot he great Millport tradition of doing it ourselves keeping to the line defined on the map.

Whoever "they" are who are going to prosecute "us" can't prosecute all of us for tidying up our own island and keeping to the map I wouldn't have thought.

 

Tom McAulay says

It appears that Kames Bay has been a designated SSI for almost 30 years, yet NAC only stopped their beach management routine within the last 12 months. Sounds more like a decision based around cost cutting than any concern for the protection of the Bay habitat. Was there not any local consultation before this decison was made with say the Community Council?

Margaret Elliott says

I agree with everyone who wants to clean up Kames Bay, I look out to the beach from my living room window every day and have witnessed many students taking their samples over the years and have seldom seen anyone take anything from the upper part of the beach!

If this area is protected why has it taken so long to be highlighted?

We have a beautiful Island which is a great attraction to Tourist and is not a Nature Reserve. If we are to survive as a very small and unique community we must preserve our Tourists Attractions.

Have your say...

Add your own comment

Add

You need to be logged in to add news & pictures. If you haven't already, it's quick & easy to Sign up.

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with. If you have forgotten your password we can send you a reminder.

Sign In
  1. Forgotten Password?

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with.

Password reminder
  1. If you have forgotten your password, simply enter the email address associated with your account below and we will send you a link to reset it.

    Please note for security reasons the link will expire within 1 hour. After that you will need to request another link.

  2. <<Return to Login

Your sign in details have been retrieved and an email is on its way to you!

<<Return to Login

Contribute
  1. By posting on s1millport youíre agreeing to abide by our Posting Policy. Your email address wonít be displayed to the public.

  1. Here's your chance to make sure your contribution is exactly as you'd like it.

  2. Your photos will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your photos and video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

  3. By clicking 'send it' youíre agreeing to abide by our Posting Policy.

Tell everyone your news

If itís topical in Millport, this is the place for it.

Remember that news doesn't just mean crime and politics Ė a golden wedding, a new baby, or a personal achievement are news to any community.

Add

You need to be logged in to add news & pictures. If you haven't already, it's quick & easy to Sign up.

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with. If you have forgotten your password we can send you a reminder.

Sign In
  1. Forgotten Password?

Sorry, there were some problems with your request

Please check that the email address you are using is the same one that you signed up with.

Password reminder
  1. If you have forgotten your password, simply enter the email address associated with your account below and we will send you a link to reset it.

    Please note for security reasons the link will expire within 1 hour. After that you will need to request another link.

  2. <<Return to Login

Your sign in details have been retrieved and an email is on its way to you!

<<Return to Login

Contribute
  1. Please make sure what youíre adding is news. If it's an event, you must also add it to our What's On section before it'll be allowed here. History and advertising have their own sections, too.

    Posting Tips
  2. If your contribution is about a specific location, please enter the nearest postcode (if known)

  1. Here's your chance to make sure your contribution is exactly as you'd like it.

  2. Your photos will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

    Your photos and video will be uploaded when you click 'Send it'

  3. By clicking 'send it' youíre agreeing to abide by our Posting Policy.

In the News

Want a site like this for your community? Suggest a new location
© Herald & Times Group. All rights reserved.
Contact us | Terms of use | Privacy policy | How we use Cookies | Newsquest Media Group