Beach builder

The Galloway News - - VOICE OF THE PEOPLE - Stephen Nor­ris

A Glenkens man has com­pleted a 33- year labour of love by har­ness­ing the power of na­ture to cre­ate a new beach at a loch.

Roland Chap­lain sin­gle-hand­edly built the 50-me­tre beach and break­wa­ters at Wood­hall Loch near Lau­rieston us­ing only his own labour and a trowel.

The en­er­getic 76-year-old be­gan his marathon project in 1985 with per­mis­sion from Forestry Com­mis­sion Scot­land and Lau­rieston Hall.

The keen out­door swim­mer per­suaded both landown­ers that a small beach would pro­vide safer and eas­ier ac­cess to the water.

Un­til then swim­mers had to clam­ber through reeds and un­der­wa­ter rocks to en­joy a dip.

Now they can use the lit­tle beach and break­wa­ters next to where the Kenick Burn flows in from Lochen­breck Loch.

Mr Chap­lain told the News: “Be­fore I started, it was dif­fi­cult for peo­ple get­ting into the water. They just went in where they could at the side of the loch.

“Now we have a sandy beach which can be used by peo­ple of all ages. They can wade right in.”

It took Mr Chap­lain a third of a cen­tury to fin­ish his project us­ing gravel and boul­ders washed down by the burn.

He said: “Ev­ery­thing that has been done has in­volved thou­sands of hours of painstak­ing man­ual labour. What­ever I did was de­ter­mined by the sea­sons.

“I worked only with to­tally in­dige­nous ma­te­ri­als us­ing nat­u­ral pro­cesses to get the fine gravel and rocks I needed.

“I made the break­wa­ters so the waves de­posit the sand they are car­ry­ing on the beach to pro­tect it. It’s a lit­tle nat­u­ral sys­tem all of its own.”

Mr Chap­lain, from Bal­maclel­lan, added: “The water flow­ing out of Lochen­breck was be­lieved to have healing pow­ers.

“Once it was a pop­u­lar spa and Lau­rieston Hall used to be a TB hos­pi­tal. My son John Henry’s grand­fa­ther, Dr Cairns, was a TB spe­cial­ist who used to send his pa­tients there.”

“My wee project is very much in keep­ing with the long term tra­di­tion that it is a great loch to swim in.

“It has been a won­der­ful way of keep­ing fit and my mind clear over the years.”

Wood­hall Loch is around 2km long and be­tween 100 and 250 me­tres wide.

It flows north to join the River Dee near the Moss­dale bridge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.