The group's secretary Eleanor Young tells us about the project, their greatest achievements so far and their biggest challenges.
The Old Kirk at Logie is an old and very interesting historical site which over a number of years had been allowed to fall into a dangerous state of neglect.
Our group aims to have it preserved as a site of interest and education. There are therefore several different parts to the project:
The Old Kirk at Logie is situated just outside the Stirling City boundary. The present Logie Kirk is on the A99 Stirling to St Andrews road and is very clearly signposted. There is a large car park that serves the church. From the church continue up hill towards Sherrifmuir for about 300 metres and the Old Kirk and Graveyard is on the right hand side at the back entrance to the estate of Stirling University. There is no car parking space available in this area and the road is very narrow. If possible cars should be left in the car park at the bottom of the hill or at Logie Kirk. From the Kirk it will take about three to four minutes to walk uphill to the site.
The Group has a constitution of six trustees who oversee the work and 62 subscribed members some of whom live abroad.
Stirling Council own the site and therefore have a big say in what happens there. We try to have regular communication with the departments involved particularly the Cemeteries Department. The south and west walls of the ruin are listed and work done to them must be approved by Historic Scotland, we have sought their advice form the start of the project. Stirling University is the immediate neighbour and a good relationship has been established with the estates department there.
For historical reasons Logie Kirk has an obvious interest in this project. Since the beginning of the project we have tried to involve as many people as possible this has included the two local Community Councils, the local High School, and even passing visitors. We also expect to become part of the Ochil Landscape Partnership within the next year.
Historic Scotland are expected to pay 50 percent of the cost of the repairs to the two scheduled walls of the ruin. A final figure has not yet been agreed.
Stirling Council's Cemeteries Department has agreed to cover the cost of the re-erection of fallen stones.
Initially contact was made with Stirling Council, regarding ownership and care of the site. Information was then sought from Historic Scotland, about procedures. A local expert on old gravestones gave some advice and we consulted an expert from Edinburgh.
A history professor from Stirling university has an interest in medieval churches and we attended his seminar. We attended as many meetings and talks about the subject as we could and read widely about the subject in both books and internet articles. TV programmes like Who do you think you are? and other history programmes, and an Open University course on Family History Research also proved useful.
We trawled the internet regarding funding sources and submitted applications following the guidance given by the source. We consulted a friendly and supportive lawyer who kept us right on the legal issues. We visited as many old Graveyards as possible to look for examples of good practice. We spoke to the Council Archaeologist and we asked advice from monumental sculptors, wrought iron workers, gardeners,
The first award of £46,000 from Heritage Lottery Fund was a fantastic achievement and really encouraged us to go on.
The first work day for volunteers probably matched it. Sixteen volunteers came along to prune bushes and help clear over-growth from the site. We worked for two and a half hours and three full skips of rubbish were removed. There was a fantastic atmosphere among the volunteers. Some did not want to stop as they were seeing such a great change happening as a result their work. A second, long lost 11th century hogback stone was uncovered during the clear up which was a very exciting find.
Sadly our greatest challenge is an on going saga. "War and Peace" one might say. Planning Permission is required for this project . Initially applied for in October 2008 after many delays and negotiations between ourselves and Historic Scotland it was finally granted in April 2009 with 35 conditions which had to be fulfilled before we would be allowed to actually start work on site. We are still trying to comply with these and are now really concerned that our funding will expire before the work is even started. We have a professional project manager appointed and a conservation architect appointed and we are all we are all working flat out to try to get something under way soon.
The other heart breaking moment was when we were told that the prepared photographic record of the stones was not correctly done even although we had followed the previously prepared method statement and produced everything as per the proposed sample. At this point we were all ready to walk away and give up completely. We decided however that this was our project and that the educational resource would be produced as we wanted it and have carried on regardless.
Get as much information and advice as possible before you start it helps when you have to answer question to officials of various organisations. If construction work or anything that needs Planning Permission is involved start that early, it is an interminable process and can put your funding at risk if it takes too long.
Employ a professional project manager early it may cost money but will save you weeks of time.
Keep records of everything no matter how trivial it seems at the time, even emails. Keep minutes of all meetings particularly those with official bodies and keep copies of everything that you send away. Back up with hard copy in case the computer crashes. You will have a mountain of paper but proof of what you have done if needed.
Until we can finally convince Planning that we have complied with their conditions the project is static. The conservation architect will submit information to Historic Scotland a the end of February and then with their permission stabilisation of the ruin can begin, hopefully not later than April/May this year. We will continue to work to comply with the Council's planning conditions so that the rest of the work can be done this year.
We are currently preparing a tourist leaflet for publication. The stones resource has been completed and the information is being transferred to a data base. A DVD slide show about the project start to finished is being made.
Our web site is at www.logieogg.com
A newsletter is sent to members approximately monthly the information from it is then put on the website.
The secretary visits groups eg. Rotary Clubs or Guilds to talk about the project and raise awareness about what is happening.