SUP Annual Report, Accounts and AGM 2013 – June

The AGM of the Partnership will take place at the:

Gordon Arms Hotel in the Yarrow Valley at 2pm on the 4th July 2013.

The Draft Report and Accounts for the year to March 2013 are available here.
The Agenda and the draft minute from last year is here.
Proxy forms are available here.

We are very pleased to announce that Mr Andrew McNab is standing for election to the Board at this AGM. Andrew is a chartered town planner but has spent most of his career as a consultant in sustainable rural development issues.

Mike Fraser and Ann Fraser have agreed to stand for a second term.

Julie Nock will be giving a brief talk about the Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys project immediately after the AGM.
To reserve a place or for any further information, please call 01750 725154 or email

Finnish Visit

The Southern Uplands partnership hosted a group of Finnish businesses that were visiting Dumfries and Galloway on a fact finding mission in May. They were all rural tourism businesses that were looking for ideas as to how they could extend their traditional winter season into the shoulder season which is summer. They toured a range of D&G businesses including Galloway Activity Centre where they heard how a variety of different styles and levels of accommodation from Mongolian Yurt to bunk house to plans for 5 star chalets ensured they were able to cater for a range of budgets who all wanted to participate in outdoor activities.

At a reception on their first evening hosted by Destination Dumfries and Galloway they met a range of local tourism businesses and shared experiences from SW Scotland with SW Finland. Some of the Finnish ones were a slightly different take on our Scottish approach… they were big on the hunting of black grouse, whilst we are more focused on their protection, they had dog sleding and snow mobile safaris whilst we had wild life watching and segways. One idea they did have that could transfer to Scotland was a floating sauna, where you cooled off with a dip over the side. It came complete with BarBQ and I’m sure would work very nicely on Loch Ken or St Mary’s Loch!!

They visited Wigtown where they heard from Andrew Belinski about the RSPB and Nic Coombey from Making the Most of the Coast and in the evening they had a very informative talk from Keith Muir on the Dark Sky Park and how businesses have been developing new opportunities associated with it.

On their final day they visited Cream of Galloway and Kilnford Barn farm shop where they saw two different but successful approaches to farm diversification.

The visit was extremely successful and was a good opportunity for SUP to develop its knowledge base and new links with an international audience. Our thanks to all the local businesses who supported us in making it happen.

Visit from Spain. Gabriel Vidal Sitjes spent a couple of sunny days in SW Scotland as part of the Eurotour Heritage project we are a part of. Gabriel and Pip spent a day on the Rhins and at the Mull of Galloway, looking at the RSPB and community projects there. Gabriel then went out with the D&GC Access Officer to see access negotiation taking place. Finally Nic Coombey took him for a coastal walk and then delivered him back to Prestwick. We will be going out to Mallorca later in the year to see how they are developing a coastal heritage project.

Southern Uplands Partnership and Solway Firth Partnership are both participants this scheme. The aim of the EUROTOUR HERITAGE Project is to promote rural heritage using local cultural tourism strategies. To achieve this, it is developing a methodology based on the participation of local people, those involved in heritage and tourism and young people in their capacity as future professionals working in these sectors. Three European volunteer campuses will be organised this year as part of the project enabling young volunteers to make a contribution to local strategies. Each campus will involve 12 young Europeans.

For more information or to join a camp, go to

Mull of Galloway Coastal Path

Mull of Galloway Coastal PathThe idea of a long distance path around the coast of Dumfries and Galloway has been mooted for many years.  The stunning scenery, coupled with the region’s natural, built and cultural heritage, mean that the D&G coastline can stand comparison with any in Britain. As well as attracting many more visitors to the area and offering potential to extend the tourist season, a long distance route would provide exciting new opportunities for local people to enjoy informal recreation along the coast.

Development of a circular loop path around the Mull of Galloway is an obvious starting point in the vision, its Scotland’s most southerly point and can build on the work of the Stranraer Rotarians whose route down the east side of the Rhins opened in 2012. Using the route already identified in the Core Path Plan, our aim is to develop the path down the western coast of the Rhins linking the Mull of Galloway to Portpatrick. As well as clearly signing and waymarking the route, proposals include installation of necessary infrastructure such as gates, together with interpretation about sites and features of local interest, with a particular focus on maritime heritage. An integral part of the project will be development of a network of complementary businesses offering accommodation and other facilities and services that will all contribute to putting the Rhins of Galloway on the map as a favoured destination for a four or five day walk around Scotland’s most southerly point.

Demonstrating support for the project from both communities along the route and from businesses and entrepreneurs who can see opportunities to develop supporting services is crucial to securing funding to take the project forward.

If you are in the west of the regions why not join us for a public meeting to find out more about our proposals, how other areas have benefited from walker tourism, and how you can get involved.

25th June 7pm Drummore Community Hall
26th June 7pm Portpatrick Village Hall

And / Or fill in our simple questionnaire to show your support.

For more information go to

Community Broadband Event – Report and Presentations

Over the last few months the Southern Uplands Partnership has hosted a series of three events (funded by the National Lottery through “Awards for All”) about broadband access in the rural areas of south Scotland. Through a range of presentations, the events looked at how the Government was rolling out the broadband network and how communities and rural businesses can go about accessing high speed internet access for themselves.

A report on the events and all the presentations can be accessed by visiting

Interface – The knowledge connection for business.

Dumfries and Galloway and rural Ayrshire now has its own locally dedicated Project Executive – Mari Findlay who will represent Interface – The knowledge connection for business.

Interface is a matchmaking service connecting businesses quickly and easily to world class expertise, knowledge and research facilities available in Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes.

Interface’s free and impartial service stimulates innovation and encourages companies to consider academic support to help solve their business challenges. Open to all, regardless of sector or geographical location, Interface proves that collaborating with academic partners brings significant business benefits including increased competitiveness, the introduction of a new product or service and company expansion.

If you have a specific business challenge – technical, process or strategic, Interface will help you access the knowledge and facilities available from Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes to give you the best possible solution for your business.
To find out more and view our client case studies, visit or email

St Ninian

Third Sector Organisation continue to face financial difficulties and are always looking for novel ways to raise the profile of their struggle. The Whithorn Trust has an unusual request Countryfile recently showed the prize bull Highland cow that one of the presenters has been developing… among the calves produced by the ginger bull (of course, ginger!) has been a beautiful silver one, which is completely out of the ordinary. He’s asked viewers to submit names, beginning with the letter N.

Help The Whithorn Trust by suggesting Ninian, telling him that this is Scotland’s first saint whose name is commemorated from Hadrian’s Wall to the Shetland Isles, and that he was a royal who gave up his privileges for his cause.

Send your suggestions to the programme at

Enough’s enough on rural mobile coverage

Are you sick of ending every mobile conversation with “Hello, hello, are you still there?”. Then turn phone signal detective this summer to help lobby for better rural mobile phone services.

We all pay the same to run our mobile phones, regardless of where we live. But rural businesses and individuals tell us they have a far poorer service.

Now there is an initiative to search for proof to ensure people living in the countryside are not forgotten by mobile phone companies and benefit from the Government’s £150m mobile phone infrastructure project.

All you have to do is download an app onto your smartphone or tablet which tests the strength of your signal and automatically records the result. Just go to the iTunes app store or Google Play and download the free RootMetrics app.

Then test the signal while you are out and about, as well as at home, in order to rapidly improve the information on the map of rural reception that we are compiling. We recommend you test for signal only and leave it on continuously – it will not eat up your data. Click here for more technical details.

You are requested to keep on testing over the summer and beyond, to ensure the data is as comprehensive as possible. The results will be combined with readings from others in your area to create a map showing which mobile operator is best in your part of the country. The coverage map will be put to communications companies as well as Parliamentarians, so your help is vital to show the extent of bad coverage in the countryside.

For further information on how to use the app and to see results so far please

Scotland’s Third Sector and the 2014 – 2020 Structural Funds Programmes: a National Conversation

SCVO has secured Technical Assistance funding from the Scottish Government to explore options on how the Third Sector could optimise its participation in and best support the objectives of the 2014 – 2020 Structural Funds Programme.Throughout this project we are committed to engage with as many representatives of the sector (and sponsoring partners) as possible.As a contribution to sector-wide participation we would wish to invite all interested parties to a national conversation event.This event will be an opportunity to review and critique and comment on the work undertaken to date prior to submission of a draft report to the structural Funds division of the Scottish Government. To book your free place please click here.

Date: 20th June 2013
Time: 11:00 – 15:00
Venue: Station Hotel, Perth


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