Portencross Castle Summer Opening
The castle is now open daily until the end of August, 11am - 4pm, last entry 3.45pm. Very occasionally the castle may be closed for private functions but we will always try to give advance notice of this on this page.
On 23rd July there is a free guided walk in the area of the castle - please see Forthcoming Events page for details.
Portencross Castle Art Exhibition
Around 400 visitors attended the Art Exhibition this year during a lovely weekend. Although the number of exhibits was well down, we were delighted to sell 35 from a total of 88 items exhibited. The tea tent was very popular in the sunny weather, and altogether around £1800 was raised for castle funds. Very many thanks to all who helped, hopefully they enjoyed it too, and also to the exhibiting artists without whom the show would not be possible.
Winner of the raffle was Moira Pearson, who selected the Pam Glennie print. Particular thanks to Pam, George Crawford and Linda Mitchell for generously donating prizes. The photo above shows the visiting family who selected the raffle winners.
Please note that the castle will be closed to visitors on the afternoon of Saturday, 21st June, due to a wedding taking place.
Art Exhibition 2014
The annual Portencross Castle Art Exhibition will take place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th June, 11am-4pm both days.
Anyone wishing to submit work should bring exhibits to the castle between 3-6pm on Thursday 26th June. You should be aware that if a queue forms you may have to wait outside, however this is rarely necessary after 4pm.
There is a limit of two items per exhibitor. Hanging charges depend on size: small (up to 18 x 18 inches) £4; medium (up to 27 x 27 inches) £5; large £6. Commission remains 15%. Please clearly mark on the back of each item the title, name of artist, medium and price. There is no catalogue for the exhibition so we will supply and attach labels. Exhibits will be removed as they are sold. Any unsold exhibits should be collected on Sunday between 4-5pm. If there are any problems with the above arrangements please phone 01294 823799.
This has previously been a very successful show and every effort is made to sell as many items as possible. A great deal of work goes into making the show a success and we would be very grateful for any offers of help for either Thursday afternoon when the exhibits arrive, or during the show itself. Please telephone 01294 823799 if you are able to help.
Successful Coffee Morning
The coffee morning fundraiser of Saturday, March 29th, at South Banks House in Portencross produced a very successful net profit of £668.65!
Thank you very much to all who participated in donating their time, effort, money and supportive presence.
2014 Opening Hours
The castle will re-open for the year on 5th April, and will then be open daily until, and including 20th April. After that date it will be open every weekend and public holiday until September. During July and August the castle is open daily.
Opening hours are 11am until 4pm, with last admission at 3.45pm.
One exception to the above is Monday 14th April when the castle will close early afternoon for a private function.
Castle volunteer Guides Required
Do you have a few hours a week you could spare to be part of the Portencross Castle team of guides?
We are always keen for new , enthusiastic volunteers to join us and help us share this beautiful castle with visitors. If you are interested or would just like to find out more information, please contact Kay on 01294 823537 or email email@example.com
The picture opposite shows our group of volunteer guides meeting up in the castle last Autumn to celebrate the end of a successful 2013 season.
Events and Fundraiser Schedule 2014
In order to assist you in planning your participation in Portencross Castle events and fundraisers during the course of 2014, the following are currently scheduled. At approximately 2-3 weeks prior to the scheduled event, a more detailed reminder will be published in this column of the website. Should there be any questions, please contact either Walter or Audrey at 01294 823949
Saturday March 29th: Coffee Morning Fundraiser, South Banks House, Portencross
Saturday, April 26th: Beach Clean (from Portencrtoss Car Park to the Waterside)
Friday, May 2nd: Story Teller, Portencross Castle (wine and nibbles)
Saturday, June 21st: Ceilidh Fundraiser, South Banks House, Portencross
Sat & Sun, June 28/29: Art Exhibition, Portencross Castle
Sat & Sun, August 9/10: Craft in the Garden, South Banks House Garden
Amazing as to how many people you can crowd into South Banks House! We had a wonderful turnout for the fundraiser coffee morning on Saturday...despite the miserable weather! Those who ventured out were soon probably wishing to get in out of the cold and wet and warm up in front of an open fire! The demand for tea and coffee and homebaking was satisfied and it was good to see new faces as well as familiar ones.
The fundraiser netted just over £500 and we thank all who attended as well as those who made it all possible. We look forward to the next fundraiser of the year.
January Coffee Morning
The first Portencross Castle fundraiser coffee morning of 2014 will be held from 10.30am to 1pm on Saturday, 18th January 2014 at South Banks House, Portencross.
Enjoy a late-morning opportunity to have a never-ending cup of coffee with home baking in the company of your friends and neighbours...warming up in front of an open fire...catching up on gossip!
A donation of £5 per guest upon entry is suggested. All proceeds go towards the Portencross Castle Operations and Maintenance Fund.
The South Banks House driveway is open for drop-off and pick-up. Please park in the nearby Portencross Car Park. If you have special mobility considerations, please call Audrey or Walter at 01294 823949. We look forward to your company!
Castle Christmas card
This beautiful Christmas card is available now from West Kilbride library.
Individual cards cost 60p or a pack of ten cards can be bought for £5. All proceeds go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the castle.
The castle is now closed to the public until April 2014. We would like to thank everyone who has visited the castle or supported us in any way over the course of 2013. A total of 8,172 people visited the castle this year which is a great achievement. We hope to welcome many of you back next year!
During the closed season access can occasionally be arranged by contacting Ann on 01294 823799. Anyone wishing to book the castle for a special event should contact Walter on 01294 823949.
Ardrossan Youth Association visit
A group attached to Ardrossan Youth Association, called "Discovering Ardrossan Through the Ages" visited the castle on Wednesday 11th September. They are involved in the exciting projects currently taking place at Ardrossan Castle and wished to gain from our experience at Portencross Castle. A range of topics was discussed including issues of funding and management.
We hope they found their visit both enjoyable and helpful, and wish them every success at Ardrossan Castle.
September Opening Hours
The castle will be open every Saturday and Sunday throughout September from 11am-4pm (last admissions 3.45). The castle will also be open on Monday 23rd September, when schools in North Ayrshire have a holiday. We will also be participating In 'Doors Open Days' on 7th and 8th September, when many local interesting and historical buildings will be open to the public.
We hope to see as many of you as possible before the castle closes for the winter.
Fund Raising Ceilidh
Saturday, August 17th 2013 will be ensconced in our memories for quite a while! This was the day of the Music Evening, or Ceilidh, at South Banks House in Portencross. There were quite a few preparations which took place, eg the erection of gazebos (in addition to the large marquee) to ensure that there would be sufficient cover in the event of inclement weather, sale of entry tickets, drinks procurement, license application, publicity, preparation of buffet, procurement and transport of tables and chairs, construction of the dance floor, the list goes on...and at the end of it all, everything has to go back to its original state. This time, the weather was less than kind, with fluctuations taking place throughout the entire period of the ceilidh. Early (4am) on the morning of the ceilidh, with everything errected and in place, continuous and strong gusts of wind blew down half of the marquee, despite our efforts to keep it up. We had to allow the marquee to settle to the ground until the winds abated, which was later that afternoon. All of this is just to let you know that there are no "fundraiser fairies" coming to help in the middle of the night.
Despite all of the "mini events", guests turned up and enjoyed themselves to the music delivered by the the MacFadjen Sisters and the buffet delivered by the organisers and contributing neighbors. All total, the net contributions raised by this fundraiser exceeded £2,050.00! Mustn't grumble about the weather! To all of you who continue to support us and actively help...a very big and most sincere THANK YOU!
The Craft-in-the -Garden event which took place on Saturday and Sunday, August 10th and 11th at South Banks House garden, was eminently successful despite fluctuating weather...which really wasn't too bad! Over 465 visitors (not counting the vast number of children) came to watch crafters creating and ultimately selling their unique handicraft, as well as enjoying tea and coffee with home baking.
This annual fundraiser (for the operation and maintenance of Portencross Castle) raised a NET total in excess of £1,500! This was only achieved by considerable time and effort devoted by local volunteers. To them (and they know who they are) and to all who supported the event...a resounding THANK YOU!
We Won a Prize!
Portencross Castle has won the group prize for its entry in the West Kilbride Scarecrow Festival! The prize was for the "Fishermen trying to catch three mermaids"...courtesy of considerable effort by Audrey Kolon! For those who haven't seen the fisherman on the castle roof and the three mermaids on the rocks in the castle's old harbour, time has run out and they can be viewed in the South Banks House garden over the next couple of weeks. The unfortunate part of this was that one of the mermaids (who was attached to the walkway railing) evidently appealed to some person who decided to mermaidnap her! It may have made that person very happy, but it deprived others of the smiles she brought. We would truely like to see her returned to her "family". Meanwhile a "little sister" had to be created in her stead.
Summer Opening Hours
The castle is open daily throughout August from 11am - 4pm, with last admissions at 3.45pm. The only exception to this is 17th August, when the castle will be closed to the public in the afternoon for a wedding.
Make the most of this lovely summer with a visit to the castle to take in both the history and the beautiful views from the roof top!
Castle Art Exhibition
We were very unlucky with the weather this year and consequently visitor figures were down to around 330 for the annual art exhibition. Despite this, 21 of the 116 exhibits were sold and altogether just over £1,400 was raised for the Castle Fund.
In the raffle the photograph of Arran by Colin Robb was won by Sam Maguire of Largs; Howard Moiser's photograph of Portencross Castle by Thelma Wilson of West Kilbride; and the print from an original watercolour of the castle by Derek McLean was won by Nan Kafka, again of West Kilbride.
Many thanks to Colin, Howard and Derek for their contributions to the raffle; to the many helpers involved in setting up and running the exhibition; to Margaret and her helpers for serving the teas; to the visitors who braved the weather; and especially to the artists, without whom the exhibition would not be possible.
The castle is now open daily during July and August, 11am until 4pm, last entry 3.45. Please note that the exception to this is 20th July when the castle will close to visitors at 1.30 due to a wedding.
Annual Art Show
The annual Portencross Castle Art Show will take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June. This is always a very popular and successful event, with a wide range of paintings and other items for sale at a wide range of prices.
The exhibition is staged in the castle, which will not therefore be open for normal castle visits on these dates. Opening hours will be 11.00-4.00 both days. Admission is £1, and teas and coffee will also be available.
Sunday 26th May
The castle will close to the general public at 2.45pm on Sunday 26th May as it has been hired for a private function. All other opening hours as normal.
Coffee morning success
The fundraising coffee morning at South Banks House, Portencross on Saturday, 13 April 2013, successfully raised a net total of £676 for the Portencross Castle Fund. What began as a day promising miserable weather, surprisingly cleared up throughout the few hours of the coffee morning! Sunshiny, but cold, weather brought guests in to warm by the open fire while enjoying their coffee, home baking and chat. Thank you to all who made this a successful event...your support is important to us.
Dr Nicole Rousmaniere, a leading expert on Japanese ceramics and currently project curator of the Japanese collection at the British Museum, was in West Kilbride recently to give a lecture at the Barony Centre. She took the opportunity to visit the Castle on what was a bitterly cold but beautiful morning.
She is pictured here with Jean and Angus Kerr from West Kilbride.
Interested in Volunteering?
The castle is owned and managed by Friends of Portencross Castle, a Scottish Charity. There is no regular funding, and management and staffing is done on a voluntary basis. We rely on volunteers to work as guides, help with fund raising and assist with every aspect of keeping this important building in good order and open to the public.
There are many different ways to contribute as a volunteer and if you would like to be part of this team, or think you can help or support us in any way, please contact Kay on 01294 823537.
The castle will re-open on 29th March and will be open daily until 14th April. After that date it will be open at bank holidays and weekends until September with the exception of July and August when it will be open daily. Occasionally the castle is closed for private functions but any such incidents will be posted in advance on this site. Opening hours are 11am-4pm, with last admission at 3.45. We look forward to welcoming you!
Coffee Morning Fundraiser
The fundraiser coffee morning held at South Banks House on Saturday, November 17th, 2012 was blessed with good weather and thirsty attendees. We managed to raise just under £600 (net)...not bad for a two-and-a-half-hour event! (Of course we don't take preparation and clean-up time into account).
Many thanks to all who participated in making this a well-attended and successful event...so many talented bakers! We're supposed to stress that all home baking served at this event was dietetic...(and if you believe that you are truely ready for Santa Claus!).
In case we don't meet again before the end of 2012, we hope that we see you in 2013 and that you have a joyous and healthy Holiday Season! Thank you for all your support over the past 14 years and may it continue!
Apollo Astronaut visits Portencross Castle
Portencross Castle had its most far travelled visitor on Tuesday 16th October when veteran Gemini and Apollo astronaut Richard Gordon visited the castle with family members. Richard flew on the Gemini 11 flight, orbiting the earth. In 1969 he also flew to the moon as Command Module pilot on Apollo 12 when his two companions Conrad and Bean descended to the surface. Richard's Scottish roots are traced through his Great Grandfather who migrated from Scotland in the mid 1900s. The Gordons have been entrusted to important missions over the centuries. A Gordon was one of the three who took the Declaration of Arbroath to Avignon in 1320.
The photo shows Richard signing the visitor book in the castle.
The castle is now closed for the winter. We plan to reopen at the beginning of April 2013.
In 2013, the castle will be open daily for the first two weeks in April and every day throughout July and August. We will also be open at weekends and public holidays during the rest of April, and during May, June and September.
On occasion, the castle will close for private events. Details of such closures will appear on the news page.
It is possible to arrange access to the castle outwith the normal operating season. Anyone interested in a private visit or other event should contact Ann on 01294 823799.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to visit us this year, and we look forward to seeing you again in the spring.
Ken Jarrett from Largs was the lucky winner of the recent Art Show raffle. His prize was a beautiful painting of the castle. All 600 raffle tickets were sold and a profit of £450 was made which will go towards the upkeep of the castle. A big "thankyou" to all who took part.
The castle will be open everyday for the rest of August, so we hope to see as many of you as possible over the next few weeks.
The castle will be open daily throughout July and August from 11am-4pm (last admission 3.45pm).
The only exceptions to this are Friday 27th July and Saturday 4th August. On both of these days the castle will close at 1pm as it will be used for weddings.
Summer opening and architectural exhibition
The castle will be open daily during July and August. Normal opening hours are 11am-4pm - (last admission 3.45).
We are coinciding the daily opening of the castle in 2012 with an exhibition of the work of students of architecture from Glasgow School of Art.
Annually, the first-year students come on a fieldtrip to Portencross, visit the castle and take in the atmosphere and the historical, social and natural features surrounding the castle. They undertake individual projects in the context of the castle and its surroundings.
This year students were asked to design a small-scale building (for one or two people - so not a house or offices) that blends well with the environment whilst being functional in the lives of someone who might regularly visit Portencross. Part of their project was to create drawings as well as 3-dimensional sections of the landscape containing the design of their small-scale building.
FOPC is keen to support such community use of the castle and to recognise the work of the students and of Glasgow School of Art more generally. The students have very kindly agreed to have their work displayed for a few weeks at the castle. Their work forms an impressive display of ingenuity, creativity and design. Please come along to visit and be stimulated and impressed by their work. The display is in the Great Hall.
Of course, you can also visit the castle's own display while you are there and see round the whole building, guided by our stewards and volunteers.
Our thanks go to Graeme Robertson from Glasgow School of Art for working so closely with FOPC on this Exhibition.
The annual Art Show which took place at Portencross castle on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July was another enjoyable success.
As usual, visitors enjoyed the wide range of art on show and the offerings in the hospitality tent. In addition to the entry receipts and raffle, the money raised from the high quality filled rolls, cakes, teas and coffees contributed greatly to our fund-raising efforts.
We hope that everyone who purchased a work of art at the show will enjoy many years of contented appreciation. Of the 164 exhibits, 32 were sold.
This event is an important fundraiser for the castle as we are totally reliant on donations and contributions to maintain the castle.
Thank you to everyone who supported us on the day and to all our volunteers who set up and dismantled the display and organised the catering.
Forthcoming Art Show
The annual Art Show will take place at Portencross castle on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July. Opening hours are 11am-4pm. Normal guided tours will not be taking place that weekend.
This has always been a hugely enjoyable show with a large range of exhibits for sale. Teas, coffee and home baking will also be available, making this a very sociable occasion. A raffle will also be taking place with the fantastic prize of a large watercolour of the castle, painted in 1891 by Hugh Allan. Tickets are available at the Art show or, prior to that date, from the castle guides during opening hours. A picture of the painting can be seen on the 'Forthcoming Events' page of this website.
This is an important fundraiser for the castle as we are totally reliant on donations and fundraising to maintain the building, so we do hope as many people as possible will come along to support the event.
American Boyd visits Portencross Castle
On 15th May we had a visit from Mr Neil Boyd of Alabama, USA. Not only does Neil share the Boyd family name, he is also a Guardian of the castle. He is passionate about Scottish history, and although he had visited the castle before, he had not seen it since it has been re-opened to the public, and was delighted with what he saw.
Castle Opening 2012
An impressive total of 1,146 visitors came to look round the castle during the first two weeks of opening this Easter.
The castle is now open at weekends and public holidays until September. It will also be open daily during July and August. Normal opening hours are 11am-4pm (last admission 3.45) but it does occasionally close early for private functions. Details of early closure will be published on the website.
Isabel Garrett, one of our volunteer guides, celebrated her recent graduation by hiring the castle for a reception with family and friends. Isabel graduated with a BA(Hons) in Humanities with History and Art History. Congratulations from all at FOPC!
The castle is available for the public to hire for special events and celebrations, see the 'contact us' section of this website for details.
Anyone wishing to act as a volunteer guide would also be very welcome to contact us.
Easter opening update
We are delighted to announce that all the work at the castle has now been completed and we will be open to the public on Monday 2nd April for the start of the 2012 season as detailed below.
It is anticipated that the castle will open to the public on Monday 2nd April until Sunday 15th April from 11am - 4pm daily (last admission 3.45pm).
Some essential work is still being carried out, delayed because of the very wet winter, and it may be that there will be a brief postponement. The website will be updated should this occur or you may phone 01294 823799.
Entry is free, but please be aware that the Friends of Portencross Castle are entirely dependant on donations and fund raising both to maintain and open the castle. Please donate generously if possible.
Students Castle Visit
On the 16th March 2012, 64 students from The Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow visited Portencross as part of a project to design a small building to support an outdoor leisure activity.
For many overseas students this was their first trip out of Glasgow, and therefore a wonderful chance for us to show them the beautiful Ayrshire coastline as well as the castle itself.
Opening hours for 2012 will be available on the website in the near future.
Portencross Castle Steward
Part time work is available for the season April-September 2012 for a castle steward to join our team of four stewards.
Times of opening will be daily in the first two weeks of April and during the months of July and August. Outwith these times the castle will be open at weekends and public holidays.
A fixed term contract for the above period for between 5 and 15 hours per week including weekends is available at £7.00 per hour.
Applications to, and further information from, Mrs Ann McLachlan, Company Secretary FOPC, Auldhill Cottage, Portencross, West Kilbride, KA23 9QA or e-mail FOPC@btconnect.com
Closing date for applications is 29th February 2012
First Visitors of 2012
Although the castle is not open to the general public until the spring, we were delighted to be able to show a little local history to visitors from Picardy in France.
The group were in Scotland to enjoy the delights of Celtic Connections and werel staying with local hosts. They visited the castle on a very cold, but thankfully dry, January day. Everyone seemed to enjoy the visit, after which they were heading off to a Burns' Supper. A Full day of Ayrshire history and culture!
Final Fundraiser of 2011
The final Portencross Castle fundraser coffee morning for 2011 was held at South Banks House, Portencross on Saturday, December 3rd. Despite truly vile weather that morning, we had a suprisingly good turnout of supporters and raised in excess of £700 for the castle operating and maintenance fund. To all who selflessly donated days of their time and effort in preparing home baking, marmalade, chutney, tablet and numerous other "goodies" as well as assisting in serving tea and coffee to our guests...THANK YOU! We also introduced the 2012 Portencross Castle Calendar which, this year, was the class project of Primary 6a of West Kilbride Primary School. Everyone has been highly complementary of the wonderful job the children have done...and all they have learned in the process! A limited number of copies of this calendar are still available and may be ordered by calling Audrey at 01294 823949.
To all our friends...we wish you a Happy Christmas and a safe and healthy Hogmanay...we look forward to seeing you in 2012!
Thirty honours students and three lecturers from Glasgow Caledonia University visited the castle on Friday 7th October. The visit was part of the Conservation module for the final year students, who are all studying for a BSc in Building Surveying/Quantity Surveying and Project Management.
As can be seen from the photograph, the students were lucky enough to enjoy a beautiful sunny day.
End of Season 2011
After a fantastic 2011 season, with over 7,000 visitors since April, the castle is now closed until next spring. Everyone has been delighted with the enthusiastic response of the public, with many people saying they have waited many years to get the chance to see inside the castle.
The photograph shows the 'End of Season' get together of many of the stewards, volunteer guides and FOPC directors, which took place on Monday 26th September.
Temporary Change to Opening Hours
Due to the hire of the castle for a private event on Saturday, 24th September 2011, Portencross Castle will be open to the public between the hours of 11am until 2pm ONLY ON THAT DATE
Ayrshire Open Doors 2011
The castle was one of the venues participating in Ayrshire Open Doors weekend, which took place at the beginning of September. A total of 116 visitors were welcomed to the castle on Saturday, with a further 250 on Sunday.
Amongst the visitors on Sunday afternoon was the NAC Provost, who was welcomed to the castle by Walter Kolon (Vice Chairman FOPC) and given a guided tour by Alastair Glen (Chairman FOPC).
"Art in the Garden" a success
The first "Art in the Garden" event, which took place on Saturday and Sunday August 20th and 21st, 2011, was eminently successful! Some of the artists were able to demonstrate the various stages of their creations, as shown in the photograph of Sandy Campbell finishing off a wood sculpture. The weather was with us, and 310 visitors (not including the "wee people" and pet dogs) to the South Banks House garden showed that this event has great future potential and will be fine-tuned and repeated next year.
Many thanks to the friends who not only brought delicious scones and pancakes, but who also helped serve the afternoon teas. As usual, refreshments were quickly sold out!
We thank all who participated and supported this fundraiser...which, incidently, netted £1,170 for the Portencross Castle operating and maintenance fund!
Chernobyl Children visit castle
On Tuesday, August 9th 2011, 18 children (ages 9-14), their two escorts and a handful of their local hosts, were given a guided tour of the castle. All of these were 'Chernobyl Children', born of parents who were subject to the contamination of the border area between Belarus and the Ukraine (at the time, both were republics of the USSR) by the world's worst ever nuclear disaster when the nuclear plant at Chernobyl exploded in April 1986. These children have grown up in a heavily contaminated environment and are in need of a break in a clean and healthy environment to promote their immune systems. Some are recovering from cancer or leukemia, some have weakened immune systems. More information can be found under 'Chernobyl Children' on Google.
Wedding Photo Shoot
A Sunny but windy Saturday afternoon on June 4th, 2011, saw the castle as the venue for a post-wedding-ceremony photo shoot. The newlyweds, Louise Buckley (formerly of Seamill) and Alex Knight (of London) and their party enjoyed catered champagne and canapes around the castle and Mr and Mrs Knight and their wedding party were photographed in and around this ancient monument. The wedding ceremony itself took place at the West Kilbride Parish Church. Following their fantastic reception, the newly weds departed for their honeymoon on the lovely Caribbean island of St Lucia before returning to their home in London. We wish them a future abounding with health and happiness...and kind memories of Portencross.
Photo courtesy of Ian McDonald
On Sunday, June 5th, 2011, Nan Mackay, her family and friends celebrated Nan's 'significant' birthday in the Great Hall. Cake, champagne and canapeswere served and all of the guests were provided with a guided tour of the castle. Happy Biirtday Nan...Queen for the day!
Music Evening Success
The annual "Music Evening" fundraiser, held on Saturday evening (July 23rd 2011) at the South Banks House garden, was blessed with outstanding weather! After last year's 'do', participants learned to bring something warm to put on after the sun went down...pleasantly chilly, but look...no rain!
Guests danced (courtesy of "The Banned"), ate, collected their spoils from the raffle and tombola...and enjoyed themselves (very important!). On top of that we managed to net just over £2,300 for the Portencross Castle Maintenance and Operating Fund! Thankyou all for your continued and generous support! Without you, the castle would have been in desperate straits.
A most sincere "thankyou" to all who made this evening possible. The preparations, the food and drink, the dance floor, setting up of the marquee and the gazebos, handling the bar, raffle and tombola sales, procurement of the required licensing, advertising etc! Enjoying the evening for three and a half hours...then back to post-event cleanup! Special thanks to the members of "the Banned" who have contributed their time and talent to these music evenings. Ladies and gentlemen...we salute you all!
On 23rd July we welcomed our 5000th visitor to the castle.
Mrs Elizabeth Burns came from Ardrossan and is pictured here receiving a celebratory bottle of champagne from senior steward, Tricia Elder.
As many of you will be aware, the tall ships recently visited Greenock. Many of the ships could be seen from Portencross as they left Greenock for the next stage of the race.
The picture on the right was taken from the roof of the castle and depicts 'Spirit of Fairbridge'. On board was the son of Alastair Glen, Chairman of FOPC, and in honour of the castle the ship was brought inside the Cumbraes and as close as possible to the castle. The saltire on the castle was dipped in a salute to acknowledge this fine display and show our appreciation of the visit. The ship sounded it's horn and cheers rang out from the spectators on the castle roof!
A fine tribute to the many such ships that must have sailed past the castle over the years.
Art Show Raffle Winner
We are delighted to let everyone know the result of the Art Show Raffle.
The winner was Maureen Boyd - a very appropriate result given that Portencross Castle was originally a Boyd family home. Maureen came down from Barrhead with her sons Alistair and Jonathan to be presented with the prize 'Homefoot, West Kilbride'. Michael Durning, the artist who created the painting, presented it to Maureen at the castle.
We sold nearly 700 tickets in all, so another great effort. Thank you to everyone who bought tickets.
Art show hailed as a great success
Despite some miserable weather, the first Annual Art Show to be held within the castle itself was a great success.
Approximately 600 visitors viewed the exhibits with a total of 37 works of art sold. The total money raised for the castle funds is estimated at £2,500.
Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of this event, including the artists, helpers and visitors. Particular thanks go to Bobby McKee for designing and building the new hanging system and Anne Brooks who has supervised the hanging of the exhibition for many years.
Portencross Art Show 2011
The art show this year will take place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June, 11.00 – 4.00 both days. The plan this year is to use the Great Hall of the Castle as the main exhibition space. (Picture: The Great Hall by Sharon McBride.)
This year's raffle prize is an outstanding painting by successful local artist Michael Durning, with the title "Homefoot, West Kilbride". Click here to see the flyer for the raffle. If you wish to buy tickets, please contact Margaret on 077 99 125 215, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A guide for artists who wish to display their work is also available with timings, instructions and background information.
Many thanks to all who participated in the beach clean on the afternoon of Saturday 30th April . Beautiful weather and over 100 participants with a "can do" attitude cleaned up 87 black bin bags full of litter from our local beach, extending from just south of the Seamill Hydro to Portencross! Refreshments were enjoyed at the Portencross Car Park at the conclusion of the event. After last year's 505 bag haul of litter, 87 may seem like a small amount, but last year it was the accumulation of years of beach neglect. This year we were in 'maintenance' mode, which probably reflects the amount we may expect to see in future years.
Again..."THANK YOU" to all who participated in this concerted community civic effort!
Castle Open to the Public for 2011
At the conclusion of the Easter holiday weekend, 1,932 visitors had been received at the castle since it quietly opened for the season on 4th April. There was certainly some wonderful weather (along with some quite nasty!) but we were really gratified by the interest and enthusiasm shown by so many people who had been looking forward to getting their first chance to see inside this well loved local landmark. The paid stewards and volunteer guides were kept very busy, but all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience.
If you would be interested in supporting the project as a volunteer guide, bearing in mind that Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days, please contact Kay on 01294 823537 or email@example.com for further information.
Entry to the castle is free at the moment, but we hope that visitors will be aware that FOPC depends entirely on income from donations and fund raising events to maintain the building and keep it open, and that they will donate generously if possible.
Pictured above are Johnny, Tricia, Elizabeth and Andy, the castle stewards.
Re-affirmation of Wedding Vows
On March 26th,2011, the castle had its first hiring out for a private event, when Audrey and Walter Kolon (both of Portencross) celebrated their wedding anniversary with a reaffirmation of vows in the Great Hall. Reverend Norman Cruickshank administered the vows while a clarsach player from the Scottish Royal Academyof Music played what was probably the first music of its kind played in this castle in over 700 years. The flower-decorated Great Hall was filled to capacity (40) and champagne, canapes and cake were served after the ceremony. It proved to be an ideal venue for future small, intimate ceremonies.
On the 19th March Jen McLachlan and friends celebrated her 40th birthday at Portencross Castle. Jen was gifted the use of the castle in return for her superb work as Project Organiser for the official opening of the Castle last year.
The castle is now available for private hire - contact details are on the website.
Spring Coffee Morning
The Spring Coffee Morning fundraiser on Saturday 5th March was successful beyond expectation! Despite the depressing weather and unexpected closure of Portencross car park, there were nearly 100 guests at South Banks House! We netted just over £700 for the Portencross Castle Fund, and we anticipate some additional funds yet to be received from parties who were unable to attend but who are long-term supporters of our goals.
Although it may sound repetitive, we again extend our thanks to those volunteers who work so hard to make these fundraisers possible...without them and the supporting public, these fundraisers would come to nought.
A special note of thanks is extended to Susanne and Gordon Proven who have made a substantial contribution to fund the purchase of tea/coffee and dessert crockery for FOPC. It couldn't have been more timely!
On Tuesday March 1st, Alastair Glen (Chairman, FOPC) made a presentation regarding the Castle to the Professional Businessman's Club (PROBUS) in Kilmarnock. On the same afternoon, Walter Kolon (Vice Chairman FOPC) made a similar presentation to the West Kilbride Parish Church Ladies Guild in the Church Hall. The latter presentation resulted in two new Guardians.
On Friday February 25th a small trial Fashion Swap fund-raiser was held at South Banks House, Portencross. The evening's activity proved to be both successful and entertaining and netted £230 for the Portencross Castle Fund. It is planned to repeat a larger version of this type of fund-raiser later in the year.
Far travelled Visitors
Recent visitors to the castle included Delia and James Brodick from Melbourne, Australia and Nigel and Gregor Forrest from Arizona. They were in the area to visit Delia and Nigel's mother, Marjorie, who lives in Seamill and had expressly asked to visit the castle.
The recent snow and ice made a spectacular backdrop to the castle
Sue Carmichael recently celebrated a special birthday with her family at Portencross Castle. Sue is a volunteer at the Castle and made a generous donation to the Castle fund to mark the event. Everyone at F.O.P.C would like to wish Sue 'Many Happy Returns' and to thank her for her kind donation.
On Tuesday October 26th Walter Kolon (Vice Chairman, FOPC) gave a presentation concerning "Working Towards a New Life for Portencross Castle" to 60 members of the Largs Probus (Professional Businessmen) Club at Brisbane House, Largs. Arrangements will be made for the group to have a tour of the castle early in 2011.
Cheese and Wine Evening
It was a convivial cheese and wine evening fundraiser on Saturday, October 23rd at South Banks House, Portencross, which netted £250 for the Portencross Castle Fund as well as a Life Guardian application (£200).
Open Days a great success
The response to our Autumn open days was fantastic with over 200 people coming to look round the castle over the three afternoons. More than £300 was raised in donations, a valuable contribution to the on-going work and upkeep of the castle. Thankyou to everyone who attended and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors next year.
An exciting, sunny and emotional Opening Day
The castle was finally opened on a gloriously sunny day on 26th September. The event was one huge thank-you to all those who had helped to turn the vision of A New Life for Portencross Castle into reality. Achieving that goal was only possible through the assistance of our funders, including local charitable and philanthropic organisations, our Guardians and every single person who helped to organise events over the years. Nicola Benedetti graciously accepted FOPC's invitation to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony and to play in the Great Hall of the castle.
The programme went smoothly from start to finish thanks to the hard work of everyone concerned from the FOPC Board, volunteers and our events organiser, to Nicola, our guest of honour. Also represented as speakers were our major funders: Colin McLean from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scotland and Ranald McInnes from Historic Scotland. We also had invited guests from our other sponsoring organisations.
We were blessed with an exceptionally fine sunny and still autumn day. Nicola chose to play the Scottish Fiddle tune, Mrs Jamieson's Favourite, adapted by Ally Bain for a single violin, and then Jules Massenet's Meditation from Thais from her new album, Fantasie. No-one was quite sure how the sound engineers managed it, but the beautiful sound of Nicola's gifted playing slowly wafted across the castle environs and village bringing everyone and everything to an awesome and emotional silence. "It was as if the castle itself was playing to us," said one enthralled and almost tearful listener.
Nicola was thanked in great style by one of our youngest residents - granddaughter of Derek McLean the local artist. Derek donated a painting of the castle to Nicola to complement her newly acquired status as a lifetime Guardian of Portencross Castle.
The day ended with a series of castle tours led by some of our experts in the form of our architect, project manager, Board members and trained volunteers.
What a fitting day for Portencross Castle!
Panorama by Fergus Sutherland. See also a first short film by Howard Moiser. Further films and pictures will be available soon.
Sunday, 5 September 2010
Dr. David Caldwell, Keeper of Scotland and Europe at the National Museum of Scotland gave the first ever expert presentation in the Great Hall of Portencross Castle to a delighted audience.
Saturday, 28 August 2010
A "Practical Completion Certificate" has been issued to FOPC and the key to the castle has been handed over to the Company Secretary.
After a run of 12 years, this will be the last entry on this website by this writer. The website has been placed under new management and promises to be successfully "more academic" in its presentation.
Monday, 02 August 2010
A MESSAGE FROM THE FOPC CHAIRMAN, ALASTAIR GLEN:
The substantial programme of work to repair the castle and make it safe for public access is now nearing completion. Later in the year, following the installation of interpretation materials, it is hoped that access will be available, in this instance by arrangement only. This limitation is because the castle can only accommodate 40 visitors at one time.
From April next year, the intention is that the castle will be open as follows: First two weeks of April, all of July and August, daily. May, June and September, Saturday and Sunday. All 11am - 4pm. At other times, by arrangement only.
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Another successful Music Evening Fundraiser took place on Saturday, 24th of July 2010! Despite very unsettled weather conditions throughout the day, evening brought dry, although a bit chilly, conditions. Our local music makers, "The Banned", were in top form...and we must thank them again for their generousity in donating an evening of professional entertainment! The dance floor is going to have to be enlarged for next year's event, as it was filled to capacity to all of the dance numbers.
The evening concluded with high praise for the delicious buffet and "The Banned"...quite evidently, the guests were all in an upbeat mood. On top of all this, we netted just over £2,100.00 for the Portencross Castle Fund. Thank you all...supporters, participants, the ladies who provided the buffet, those gentlemen (and one lady) who erected the marquee and gazebos and dance floor (and also helped disassemble and clean up on the following day). We had a wonderful time...it all fell into place with great results! Thank you!
By the way, two raffle tickets neglected to respond to their numbers when they were called: 441 (white) and 471 (bright green). If you still possess either of these tickets, please call Walter.
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
The 10th Annual Portencross Art Exhibition, which took place at Farland House, Portencross on the weekend of June 26 - 27 June, successfully raised a net sum of £3,295 for the Portencross Castle fund. Of 198 exhibits displayed, 55 were sold. The weather was kind once again, attracting visitors throughout the two days. Our thanks to all who participated and made this event possible. Special thanks to Bobby and Margaret McKee, who made their property and garden available in support of this event.
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Again, a successful fundraiser coffee morning! The weather was pretty decent, the daffodils were (and still are) in bloom and loads of familiar and friendly faces came through South Banks House in Portencross. Always good to see old friends and to make new ones. Nearly £750 was raised, with donations still being received from those who were unable to attend. Many thanks to all of you!
Sunday, 25 April 2010
The Ardneil Beach Clean-up, which took place on Saturday, April 24th, far exceeded expectations! A turnout of over 200 people with positive attitudes resulted in the collection of 505 black bin bags of trash, six tires, one television set, one computer monitor and two very large pieces from someone's boat from the beach between Seamill and Portencross. This civic effort was sponsored and supported by the: West Kilbride Civic Society; Friends of Portencross Castle (FOPC); Hunterston Rotary; West Kilbride Boys Brigade and Girl Guides; Youth With a Mission (YWAM); North Ayrshire Council (special thanks to Mark McNeil for providing bags, grabbers, gloves and a special pick-up of the mountain of collected trash and litter); Community Service Department (George Hannah and his teams); Kate, Karen, Laura and Audrey's super soup, filled rolls, coffee, tea and soft drinks; and Seamill Hydro for providing rolls. A note of appreciation also goes to the "Keep Scotland Beautiful Campaign", which provided support and supplies (posters, tabards, bags) throughout our effort. A number of welcome volunteers also appeared out of nowhere...to all, you should be proud of your accomplishment...it has been many years since our, your, beach has looked so clean!
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Many thanks to all of the guests and those who made the coffee morning fundraiser a success! Nearly £700 was raised! The debut of the 2010 Portencross Castle calendar surpassed all expectations! We thank you for your continued support and look forward to the Spring 2010 coffee morning to welcome you back. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays to all!
Saturday, 01 August 2009
The Music Evening at South Banks House in Portencross on Saturday evening (July 25th) was again one of the favourite events on the fundraiser calendar! Someone (up there!) must distinctly be casting a kind eye upon us...the weather on the preceding week was pretty wet and on the subsequent Sunday was atrocious...but we could not have asked for a more lovely day for the event on Saturday! If we were to put in a "wee" request for next year, could we possibly have just a bit warmer evening?
The fundraiser brought in a net sum of £2,500! We thank each and everyone of you who supported the event. We especially wish to express our appreciation to "The Banned", who have made the music evening fundaisers such a pleasurable event for all of us. They have contributed their time and talent for the past three years, and we thank them both collectively and individually. "The Banned" is made up of local residents who have have a love of music and are willing to share it with us. The group is made up of: Bernard Thain (leader of the group and guitarist), John Kindness (drums), Ken Fegan (saxophone), Ike Grant (bass), Howard Smallwood (guitar and banjo), Stuart Fyfe (keyboard) and..."she who belts out our favourites"...Ann Brooks. To each of them from all of us, "Thank you for your valuable participation in providing us with an evening of fun and music!"
To our supporters, thank you...without you it would have been an empty dance floor!
To the ladies (and a couple of gentlemen) who prepared and donated the makings of a lovely buffet...delicious, attested to by the fact that very little was left over.
To the team that erected and disassembled the dance floor, the marquee and the gazebos...a job well done!
To the houseguests who cleaned up on the following day and who learned how to take down and store the marquee...you earned your breakfast!
To Audrey, without whom the entire event wouldn't have come to pass...many, many thank you's!
We hope to see all of you...and more of your friends...next year!
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
A most successful 9th Portencross Harbour Art Exhibit! Of 224 items which were exhibited, 67 were sold! A total of £3,299 in proceeds from sale of the exhibits, raffle and sale of homebaking and teas went to the Portencross Castle Fund...exceeding the amount realised from each of the previous eight exhibits. Two outstanding works of art, donated by Derek McLean and Pam Glennie, were the top raffle prizes, won by Janette Scott and David Moroney, respectively. Many thanks to all who attended and many more thanks to all who made the event possible...we appreciate your continuing support.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
We're very pleased to report that yesterday's fundraiser coffee morning netted £638.44 for the Portencross Castle Fund. This exceeds the money raised at the Spring fundraiser of last year by about £30. Not bad for a very chilly, but clear almost-Spring morning...on the brink of reverting to Winter! Thank you to all of our supporters who braved the cold and to the small army of helpers who made the event possible and successful.
The next fundraiser will probably be the Art Exhibition during the last weekend of June. On Saturday, 25 July, we hope to reprise the successful Music Evening of last summer.
Monday, 16 February 2009
Formal site works were initiated on this date. A portion of the Portencross Car Park has been allocated to contractor's equipment and storage, while the immediate grounds around the castle have been cordoned off. A heavy-duty scaffolding has been erected around the exterior of the castle and entry to the works is restricted for obvious health and safety reasons. Although work has been sporadically progressing inside the castle, the general public has been unaware of any progress/activity. Now, it is more evident and as significant progress is made you will be be informed.
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
'Tis Christmas Eve, and we wish all of you a Happy Christmas and a healthy and bountiful New Year! There is much to reflect upon as we close out 2008. We have lost friends, gained new ones, had our sad moments and enjoyed lighter ones. To all of you who have travelled a long road with us, a very sincere and heartfelt thank you. We look forward to a brighter 2009. In the event we don't see you before then...Happy New Year!
Monday, 24 November 2008
The weather was kind, once again, for the winter fundraiser coffee morning. In total, just over £700 was realised! Donations are still trickling in from those who were unable to attend our coffee morning! Many thanks to all our supporters as well as to all of the organisers and volunteers who made this event possible and successful.
The introduction of the new Portencross Castle Calendar for 2009 was heartily received...and was almost totally sold out. Equally, a new Portencross Christmas card made its appearance, and has also been a popular item.
Thursday, 31 July 2008
The music evening fundraiser at South Banks House on Saturday, 26 July 2008 was eminently successful! The weather was outstanding..."The Banned" played all that we wanted to hear...the guests (approximately 180-200) were wonderfully supportive...and, the dance floor was crammed with happy feet. On top of everyone truly enjoying themselves, the fundraiser netted over £2,800!!! Considering that many of our stalwarts were away on vacation, the results very pleasantly surprised us...and it looks as if we have developed additional new "stalwarts" and friends!
Many thanks are extended to all who made this event possible. All of the members of "The Banned" deserve special thanks for once again contributing their time, effort and talent to support this charitable evening. We heard nothing but praise for them and the enjoyment they provided! One would not believe the amount of preparation (and clean-up) that had to take place to hold this three-and-a-half-hour fundraiser! We thank you and all of the supporting public, without whom none of this would have been possible. This encourages us to do even better next year! THANK YOU!!!
Monday, 30 June 2008
The 8th Portencross Harbour Art Exhibit was successful...thanks to all of you who supported it and worked hard to make it possible! The weather cooperated with the event, the supporters flocked to see and purchase the art work and to enjoy tea, coffee and homebaking...which netted the Portencross Castle Fund just over £2,800...better than we have ever done in the past!
This year, 54 paintings were sold...again, better than we have ever done before. The attendees must have been thirsty and hungry, because of the net total, £506 was spent in quenching their thirst and hunger pangs!
We thank all of you and look forward to the 9th Portencross Harbour Art Exhibit...YOU make it what it is...THANK YOU!
Sunday, 01 June 2008
The May 25th Portencross Carboot Sale benefitted from excellent weather and good attendance. This was the third such event (the others being in 2003 and 2004) and the fundraising aspect of it netted £668 for the Portencross Castle Fund. In 2004, we netted £531 and in 2003, it was almost £400. While most of the funds were the result of the public purchasing homebacking, tea/coffee and snacks, we must also thank those who made generous donations during the course of the day...and some who were unable to attend, but mailed their donations for the event. Our thanks to all of you!
Wednesday, 07 May 2008
On this day...on a beautiful afternoon...the ashes of Sadie Naomi Ridgway Douglas, MBE, were committed to the Clyde at the Old Harbour of Portencross Castle and the castle flag was flown at half mast. Sadie died on this date two years ago. She was a founding director of the board of Friends of Portencross Castle and, concurrently, the Chairman of the West Kilbride Amenity Society. Among her last wishes, she asked that the proceeds of a collection taken at her funeral service be passed to the Portencross Castle Fund...this was done, and with that money a replacement flagpole was erected atop Portencross Castle. Her other request, was to have her ashes either scattered or interred near the castle...this has been accomplished...with fondest wishes from all of us.
Thursday, 01 May 2008
Since the beginning of 2008, there have been a number of noteworthy activities pertaining to Portencross Castle...mostly of a positive nature.
It has been gratifying to see the funding aspect of FOPC efforts showing results. In addition to the Heritage Lottery Fund award of £510,000, the Historic Scotland award of £367,442 and the promised contribution from FOPC's own funds (derived from fundraising activities and donations from individual supporters), there have been several quite sizable donations from the following trusts and funds: Moffat Charitable Trust, £30,000; North Ayrshire Council Community Landfill Fund, £27,300; W.M Mann Foundation, £6,500; The Dalrymple Donaldson Fund, £3,500; The Architectural Heritage Fund (which has provided enormous support and encouragement throughout the project), £6,000. All of this has brought the grand total of funds raised to £1,009,269. A funding gap of approximately £32,000 remains.
On the downside, during the early part of this year, an internal management upheaval within the parent organisation of one of our consultants created slippage in our projected schedule of works. The matter has now been resolved, but some work which was anticipated to have been initiated this year has now slipped into Spring 2009.
Nevertheless, some of the passing public may have noticed movement and activity in the castle area during the past few weeks. First, a small group of volunteers cleared rubbish and stored materials from the castle cellar. This was in preparation of an archaeological survey of the castle by the Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) prior to initiation of works. The archaeological team is currently on site.
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
The first fundraiser coffee morning of 2008, held on April 19th, was blessed with fine weather and excellent attendance. A total of just over £600 was netted for the castle fund! THANK YOU to everyone who made this into another successful event! The homebaking goes down a treat, because there is never anything left over! For those who missed this coffee morning, there are a series of events to follow this year (...they are listed in the Events Diary section of this website...) and your desire for homebaking may be fulfilled at these.
Again, many thanks for your support!
Monday, 31 December 2007
We watch 2007 becoming a matter of history. To recapitulate significant events for FOPC in the closing months of November and December, we cite the following:
FOPC had a first-time presence at the Farmers' Market, held at Fins in Fairlie on the last Sunday of every month, on November 25th. Virtually all of the home baking and "sweeties" were sold together with a number of cards, with a profit of £205. Many thanks to Jill and Bernard Thain for donating a stall for FOPC use We believe that this was an excellent opportunity to expose FOC to a different target audience.
On December 1st and 2nd, FOPC had a presence at a table at the West Kilbride Craft Fair, which it shared jointly with the West Kilbride Amenity Society. On this occasion, with a very limited supply of home baking and sweets (which were totally sold out) and FOPC cards, a total of £67.60 was realised.
The final fundraiser coffee morning of 2007, on December 8th, earned £582. The atrocious weather did not deter attendance. The raffle first prize, a painting of the castle, kindly donated by William Hunter, was won by Alison and Will Wood. The unique part of this painting is that it was rendered on a feather!
The combination of money gained through fundraisers (while the amounts pale in light of the more sizable recent grants), the conscientious voluntary investment and individual contribution of time, effort and money are reflective of public support and the continuing development of public awareness.
In this vein, we wish to wholeheartedly and sincerely thank all of you who have supported FOPC goals and activities during 2007 as well as the lead-up years! To all of you, a very Happy Christmas and a bountiful and healthy New Year!
Saturday, 01 December 2007
Friends of Portencross Castle are delighted to report the award of a Heritage Lottery Fund of £510,000 toward the project "A New Life for Portencross Castle".
An application to Historic Scotland for a £400,000 grant has also been accepted. The exact amount will depend upon the final tender for the contract.
FOPC has committed £55,000 from its own resources toward required matching funds. This money has been raised entirely from donations from the public and fund-raising activities. We sincerely thank all of you who have contributed to this and provided support and encouragement. There is still a shortfall of approximately £50,000 toward confirmed matching funding and this is being actively addressed.
The £50,000 donated by BNFL at the time of title turnover in December 2005, has been set aside to provide an endowment for long-term maintenance.
Apart from financial contribution, your support has displayed, to the grant-awarding bodies, the enthusiasm for this project within the wider community. We depend upon, and are very grateful for, your continued support. We began this effort together nearly 10 years ago...we are finally viewing results! Efforts are now concentrated on starting work during the summer of 2008.
We wish to encourage those of you who are not yet participants in the Guardian Programme to consider becoming a Guardian of Portencross Castle in return for small regular payments. For further information, please call the Company Secretary at 01294 823799 or see contribution information in this website.
Monday, 20 August 2007
Letters to FOPC: We thought that we should share the following message which was received yesterday:
"Yesterday, my mother took me to Portencross. As a child, her father used to take her, and she always dreamt of owning the castle (as I am sure many children did). My mother loves the castle, but nothing prepared me for how stunning it is. As a design student, I don't have any money to donate to your cause, but I wish I could, because it's a tragedy that the castle is in a state of disrepair.
I hope once I am working and I have some money, I will be able to help you in some physical way, but for now all I can give is my best wishes and absolute support for your cause.
It seems to me that the enigmatic beauty of this building is a staple that has fired the minds of generations of people, and I hope that it inspires generations of people to come.
I admire your work and your dream, and I hope for it to be as strong and steadfast as the walls of the tower themselves."
Many thanks for your message of encouragement and support. It is always good to hear from others who understand why we are determined to bring Portencross Castle back to a better state of repair. It all takes time, but I hope you will have the opportunity for a visit to a consolidated castle before too long. We hope that you have no objection to our posting the text of your message on our website...we feel it should be shared. Best wishes for your studies.
Tuesday, 07 August 2007
The music event fundraiser on July 21st was attended by over 160 supporters and netted just under £1,800 for the Portencross Castle Fund! This was the first time we had attempted this type of fundraiser and were overwhelmed by the supportiveness, good will and generousity of all concerned. Special thanks go out to "The Banned", who provided us with an evening of very listenable and enjoyable music...all on a voluntary basis! To all of you, again...THANK YOU!
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Many thanks to all who participated in making the 7th Annual Portencross Harbour Art Exhibit a success! While the weather was a bit "iffy'', at least we were not forced to wear wading boots as in one previous year! The fundraiser netted just over £2,000...almost as much as we raised last year. Now, to begin to look forward to next year's exhibit. Keep supporting us...and, thank you!!!
Saturday, 31 March 2007
The first coffee-morning fundraiser of 2007, held at South Banks House in Portencross, was well-attended both by stalwart supporters as well as new faces. A net total of £502 was raised! Many thanks to our supporters as well as to all of our helpers!
Monday, 25 December 2006
A most Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all of our friends and supporters...wherever they may be!
Thursday, 26 October 2006
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a grant of £33,100 for the Project Planning Stage of work required to safeguard Portencross Castle and to ultimately allow access to visitors. The 635-year-old castle, a Scheduled Monument, needs work to consolidate its structure. Project Planning will provide necessary detail as to what is required to give the castle a new lease on life.
The Heritage Lottery Fund is the major contributor to the £42,188 planning project, which has also been generously supported by the Moffat Charitable Trust, North Ayrshire Council and public donations to the Friends of Portencross Castle.
Colin McLean, Heritage Lottery Fund Manage for Scotland, said: "This grant will enable the FOPC to carry out important planning work before they embark on a larger-scale project to ensure the future of Portencross Castle."
Monday, 28 August 2006
Sadly, we were just informed of the death of Patricia Gerber, who passed away after a prolonged illness. Pat was a long-time supporter of our activities in respect to Portencross Castle and was one of our first "Guardians". A lovely lady, who will be missed by all of us. Friends of Portencross Castle offer our sincere condolences to Pat's family.
Further information will be posted in "The Herald", either today or tomorrow, regarding her funeral, which will take place in Kilmalcom.
Sunday, 27 August 2006
The Summer Garden Tea Fundraiser took place on Saturday, August 26th...dodging a sudden squall and generally not-too-wonderful weather! There really were attendees...they were simply all hidden inside the marquee on the South Banks House lawn, here at Portencross! Never mind...it created a certain aura of intimacy and crossed conversations!
Many thanks to all of our faithful supporters, who braved the weather to attend the tea (hopefully, the weather will be kinder next year) and to participate in the raffle and the "lucky dip". Pat Anslow walks away with the special prize for "garden tea dress (hidden under her outback raincoat) and hat (momentarily brought out of the car). We'll try this again...also next year.
The fundraiser accrued £545 this time, despite Mother Nature's attempt to put a damper on the event. To all of you who made the fundraiser possible and put forth your significant personal efforts before, during and after the event...a HUGE "THANK YOU"!
Friday, 30 June 2006
The Portencross 6th Annual Art Exhibit enjoyed a "first", in that the weather was glorious on both days! Just over £2,300 was raised at this fundraiser for the Portencross Castle Fund...thanks to the ever-supportive public and to the enthusiasm and hard work of all of those who made the event tick along smoothly! This amount surpasses that of just over £2,000 which was raised at the 4th Portencross Art Exhibit in 2004. Again, we must express our gratitude to Bobby and Margaret McKee, who provided the venue and their hospitality here at Portencross.
Monday, 05 June 2006
We wish to thank all of the donors to the Portencross Castle Fund (at her funeral services, as expressly requested by the late Sadie Douglas). To date, the donations total £710. Even under these sad circumstances, Sadie reached out to the civic causes and activities which she held close to her heart. Protecting Portencross Castle for the heritage of Scotland and for future generations was a goal about which she felt passionately. Frequently, she and her childhood friend, Olive, came to have their tea near the castle in order to enjoy the vistas and the aura of serenity and history surrounding the castle. Words are inadequate. For everything...thank you, Sadie.
Wednesday, 10 May 2006
The following is extracted from the Obituary page of The Herald of Wednesday, May 10, 2006:
"Douglas, Sadie. Peacefully, at Crosshouse Hospital, on Sunday, 7th May, 2006. Sadie Naomi Ridgway Douglas, M.B.E., loved friend and mother. We will miss you forever. Funeral service at Overton Church, West Kilbride, on Saturday, 13th May, at 9am, thereafter to Holmsford Bridge Crematorium, by Dreghorn KA11 4EF at 10am to which all friends are respectfully invited. Family flowers only, please. A retiral collection for Portencross Castle preservation will be taken at the church, if desired."
Sunday, 07 May 2006
Very early this morning, Sadie Naomi Douglas, MBE, passed away in her sleep while undergoing treatment at Crosshouse Hospital. Sadie, who was 83, has been suffering from debilitating illness for some time. She leaves a history of total involvement in civic affairs. As of late, she was the Chairman of the West Kilbride Amenity Society; a director of the Friends of Portencross Castle and a director of the West Kilbride Initiative Group. As soon as there is any news concerning funeral services, we will post them on this website. We will miss her very much.
Sunday, 30 April 2006
The weather could not have been more glorious for yesterday's first coffee morning fundraiser of 2006! A steady stream of guests raised just over £560 ! We thank each and every one of you who have supported the effort to ensure the future of Portencross Castle...please continue to do so since now the fundraising aspect of making the castle structure safe intensifies.
Thursday, 22 December 2005
"A Castle for Christmas!" - to quote one of our directors. On December 22nd, 2005, the title to Portencross Castle was transferred from British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) to the Friends of Portencross Castle (FOPC), a locally based Scottish charity. A formal transfer will take place, at Portencross, on a date yet to be specified. Further details will be announced as they become determined during January 2006. As we enter 2006, with the responsibility of stewardship of the future of Portencross Castle, we wish to extend our most sincere appreciation to all who have supported and encouraged us in pursuing our goal of maintaining this Ayrshire ancient monument and its foreshore in the public's interest. We ask for your continued support. The major endeavour will now be in seeking funds to stabilize and maintain the structure.
Wednesday, 21 December 2005
The December 20th joint fundraiser, "Carols by Candlelight", successfully raised almost £300. Festive voices were contributed by attendees, while accompanying music was provided through the courtesy of the West Kilbride Overton Church. Thank you all for your participation and generosity...and Happy Holidays!
Monday, 05 December 2005
Once again, we extend our thanks to all who made the Morning Coffee Fundraiser on Saturday, November 19th a success! We enjoyed a clear, but very cold day, but the warmth exhuded inside South Banks House was gratifying! Thanks to all, we managed to raise just over £500! We also noticed some first-time attendees among the long-time supporting stalwarts! We hope to see you here again. In the event we don't have the opportunity to see some of you again before the New Year, have a wonderful Christmas and a very safe and Happy New Year!
Thursday, 25 August 2005
The Annual Portencross Summer Garden Tea fundraiser at South Banks House was again blessed with beautiful weather! The three-hour event netted nearly £700 pounds for the Portencross Castle fund. Again, we wish to thank all of our supporters for participating and displaying their continuing encouragement and approval of FOPC goals. Our appreciation to all of the FOPC members who generously donated their time and effort in making this day a "shining" success!
Sunday, 10 July 2005
The 5th Annual Portencross Harbour Art Exhibition made its debut on Saturday, July 2nd, 2005. For a change, it was a beautiful, sunny day. Attendance was high, sales were good, - and the Fates noticed that things were going altogether too smoothly! That night, or I should say early Sunday morning (about 2:15 AM), a strong gust of wind lifted the marquee off of its centre poles and the entire structure came down in a very unceremonious heap! By 2:30 AM, FOPC hands were exercising damage limitation. Of approximately 138 paintings, only 7 sustained broken glass in their frames. Amazingly, none suffered any other damage. Some of the display boards suffered minor damage, but were subsequently repaired by Alastair and John McLachlan. The damage to the marquee is extensive, and we are still obtaining quotes for possible repair. An initial estimate is for £500 - £600. Even if we do have the marquee repaired, we have already decided not to use it for the Art Exhibition again.
The paintings were all removed to South Banks House, where prospective buyers and viewers were directed by Audrey (who was still manning the teas and snacks "little marquee" at Portencross North Harbour with Alison and Kate). At South Banks House, the remainder of the FOPC volunteers were able to continue the second (and final) day of the exhibit.
Under the circumstances, the results (insofar as sales were concerned) were quite good. Of the approximate 138 paintings, almost 40 were sold, with a total in excess of £1,700 contributed to the Portencross Castle Fund.
For the past five years, the Portencross Harbour Art Exhibition has gone from strength to strength. It has proved both well-attended and supported by local-area artists and the viewing public. Notably, there has been a continuous improvement in the quality of submitted artwork. To abandon the continuation of the art exhibition (as some have suggested) would be a disservice. Hopefully, we will arrive at a practical solution to enable us to continue with this popular event.
To those who have supported our activities over these years, - a very sincere "Thank you!" For the volunteers who have made it possible to make our fundraising events come true, - "Thank you and well done!" Without all of you, it would have been "a burst balloon"! There's more to come, - stay with us!
Thursday, 16 June 2005
We wish to thank all who supported us before, during and since the BBC Restoration Programme, which we did not win. There was a considerable amount of time and effort expended, and the FOPC board and our supporters paused over the Holiday Season to take a deep breath and continue with the business of negotiations with BNFL and grant-giving agencies. BNFL has supported our activities and made it known to us that they proposed to transfer title to Portencross Castle and two remaining plots of property at Portencross to FOPC. The target date for this title transfer was December 31st, 2004. To meet this date, certain formalities and agreements had to be reached. Fundamentally, there was (and still is) agreement between BNFL executive management and the FOPC Board. Details were given to respective legal representatives to work into a viable agreement. To avoid boring everyone with a plethora of detail, suffice it to say that the sense of urgency to conclude the turnover by the initial target date failed to trickle down to some of the legal help. Since then, there have been a series of delays, with the latest target date of June 30th, 2005 mentioned. We will strive to keep you apprised. We were informed by Brian Wilson, MP, that in his communication with the head of BNFL, it was reiterated by BNFL that they urged early completion of the transfer as well as preparing to donate the sum of £50,000 for subsequent use in Portencross Castle preservation work at the transfer of title. Hopefully this positive attitude will translate into a greater sense of urgency to their legal representatives. We look forward to see forward movement. In the meanwhile, our staff continues to pursue tedious, but necessary, actions with grant-giving agencies and to pursue other fundraising activities. Again, we sincerely wish to thank all who have, and continue, to support our goals.
Tuesday, 15 February 2005
The first fundraiser coffee morning of 2005 brought old friends out of hibernation and provided the ability to catch up on local gossip (I was going to say "news", but let's call it what it really is!). Smiling faces and full tummies were a good indication that the coffee morning was a success! This was confirmed by the fact that over £500 was raised that morning. We wish to thank all who were concerned in the preparation and conduct of the coffee morning,...and a sincere "thank you" goes out to all of you who either managed to attend or sent contributions to cover their non-attendance.
Sunday, 01 August 2004
The Annual Summer Garden Tea at South Banks House was again blessed with beautiful weather! (We must be doing something right!) Thank you all, participants and staff alike, for all of your goodwill and support. The afternoon fundraiser succeeded in raising over £1,300 for the Portencross Castle Fund.
Saturday, 31 July 2004
BBC - Restoration Results - As you are all well aware by now, Portencross Castle did not fare well in the Scottish heat voting results. Now, we can put that behind us and apply ourselves in continuing to develop funding through other sources. To all of our supporters, who for the past five years have steadfastly encouraged FOPC to pursue our goals, we wish to extend a very sincere, "Thank you!". We need and look forward to your continuing support.
Saturday, 17 July 2004
The "Castle Fun Day" was highly successful, what with the participation of the Cumbrae Legion Pipe Band, a fabulous Punch and Judy show, and the support of all who attended and made the event a truly enjoyable day!
Saturday, 26 June 2004
Chants and incantations notwithstanding, we again had terrible weather to accompany the 4th Annual Portencross Harbour Art Exhibition! There were many pairs of thoroughly soaked shoes! Never mind, the enthusiastic attendance and participation of artists and the public alike attested to this annual art exhibition's popularity. With a display of 216 paintings, 37 were sold! Between commissions on sold paintings, raffle tickets and the sale of coffee/tea and home- baked goods, over £2,000 was raised for the Castle Fund! We can only humbly say, "Thank you for everyone's efforts and support!" (Questions have been asked concerning the representative paintings submitted by visiting Russian artist, Aleksey Pyanitsa. These were promptly sold. There are still paintings of his to be seen at the Enigma Gallery in West Kilbride, where he is exhibiting until July 31st under the auspices of the West Kilbride Initiative Group.)
Monday, 21 June 2004
On Friday afternoon, June 18th , a most interesting event was held at the base of Portencross Castle. An invasion by a group of children from Primary 2 of the West Kilbride Primary School, who had just completed their study of "Knights and Castles". Dressed in "medieval" garb, they performed around the castle. The event was an excellent example of a community bringing life to that aspect of education which awakens a deeper appreciation of heritage. It is also a strong argument for the preservation of our ancient monuments in a manner to benefit the public now, and for future generations.
Saturday, 29 May 2004
On a cloudy and murky afternoon, as one begins to expect of a Saturday, FOPC held a "Not-Yet-Open Day" at the base of Portencross Castle. A surprisingly large crowd gathered to hear speakers address the significant history, unique architectural qualities of this castle, and its historical influence on the area. As it frequently happens at our events, the sun broke through and streamed onto the gathering! (Doesn't something like that leave you wondering?) After the brief presentations, the participants were treated to tea and home baking in a marquee set up for them in an adjoining property, beneath the cliffs of the South Banks. The event was filmed by a team representing BBC Restoration, and all finally wound their way home a bit more informed and full of nice things to eat, and a feeling of ever-growing community cohesion and support.
Thursday, 06 May 2004
At the FOPC EGM, the membership agreed to the proposal that the Board of Directors continue coordinating with BNFL toward the goal of transfer of title to Portencross Castle by the end of December 2004. Other matters included: The presentation of "Portencross Castle Guardianship" certificates, and commending the Company Secretary, Ann McLachlan, for the development and administration of this program which provides the castle fund with a modest sustainable revenue. We encourage your participation in this program to demonstrate your support of FOPC goals in a painless, but meaningful, manner. The FOPC Website was designed and is maintained by one of our FOPC members, Gordon Scott. Gordon has continuously, selflessly ... and patiently guided the FOPC Vice-Chairman through a morass of "do's, dont's and how to's". Gordon's professional expertise is recognised and highly appreciated. Additionally, he has donated his time and effort in assisting in virtually all FOPC-related fund-raisers and related activities. To Gordon, a well-deserved thank you!
Saturday, 03 April 2004
The coffee morning fundraiser had a surprisingly active turnout, considering the inclement weather. It was good to see so many familiar faces and a number of new ones! Welcome and thanks to all! We raised £551 at this fundraiser,...and kept the coffee growers of the world gainfully employed! Again, thanks to the FOPC members for their generous contribution of time and effort in making this coffee morning a success!
Tuesday, 23 March 2004
BNFL and FOPC are accelerating plans for a Portencross Castle title transfer. Currently, attention is focused upon the formulation and refinement of the Heads of Agreement, detailing respective responsibilities and time frames for both parties.
Saturday, 20 March 2004
Contrary to belief, hibernation was not on the books this winter! A number of developments have occurred which necessitated close attention on the part of the FOPC Board. While we are restricted from disclosing the details of these developments at this time, allow us to direct your attention to the beginning of May 2004 for an announcement, which will not only have an important bearing on FOPC goals, but will also involve some action on the part of every one of you. Consequently, please keep your eyes on this space. [By the way, did all of you watch the excellent BBC Restoration program series last year?]
Saturday, 06 December 2003
The last Portencross Castle Coffee Morning Fundraiser was held on Saturday, December 6th, 2003. The weather was abominable,...but the coffee morning was highly successful! Thanks to all who attended and those who organized it and made it run, over £600 was deposited to the account. Since all of the raffle tickets for the Maxton painting were sold, the drawing was held that morning, and was won by a lucky ticket holder from Fairlie,...congratulations! For now, we wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and a most Happy Hogmanay! We'll be back with you in 2004!
Friday, 19 September 2003
The two-day 2003 Portencross Harbour Art Exhibition fundraiser enjoyed quite decent weather (much better than last year!) and excellent participation and attendance. Over 200 exhibits were displayed, with 51 sales! Between commissions on these sales and the proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets (drawing in June 2004), cards, teas, home baking and snacks, this fundraiser generated over £1,500 for the FOPC Portencross Castle Fund! Our thanks go out to all of the volunteers who worked hard to make this event possible,.and to all of the participants and guests who displayed a marvellous level of support and made this event a successful one. There is an obvious increase in the level of professionalism and competence in the submissions from a broad spectrum of artists, and we look forward to the 2004 exhibition! In the meantime, there will be another fundraiser coffee to be held at South Banks House, Portencross in the beginning of December. Watch this website for more details. The Guardians of Portencross Castle program is off and running! For further details as to how individuals can support our activity and concurrently gain benefits through this program, please click onto the FUNDRAISING AND CONTRIBUTIONS page.
Sunday, 07 September 2003
Press Release - Portencross Castle gets conditional support from BNFL At the annual general meeting of Friends of Portencross Castle (FOPC) held at South Banks House, Portencross on 7th September it was announced that the castle owner, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd has given conditional approval to proceed with its plans to find funding for the proposal to consolidate the castle. In May of this year FOPC submitted a feasibility study with a series of professional supporting documents for consolidation work and re-roofing of the castle to BNFL's estates department. In his reply, Peter O'Donnell, estates manager for BNFL said "I support in principle the proposal to transfer the castle to FOPC subject to FOPC having sufficient funds to offer a sustainable future. However, I cannot make a firm and binding commitment to this proposal, I can only make a recommendation to my Board." In welcoming this move, FOPC chairman Alastair Glen, explained that a number of conditions had to be met before the BNFL Board of Directors could be expected to give its final approval. "We need to persuade Historic Scotland and the Lottery Fund that the work on Portencross Castle is important for our heritage, locally and nationally - a task made easier by King Robert II's close association with Portencross and the interesting architectural history of the castle. In turn, BNFL must be assured that FOPC can successfully engage professionals with the ability to turn plans into action." He pointed out that "FOPC remains fortunate in having remarkable public support for its plans to retain public access to the castle and has an energetic team to sustain fundraising efforts. FOPC is been encouraged by an early donation of £1,500 from the W M Mann Foundation and the promise of a donation from the Moffat Charitable Trust if the project goes ahead, having secured the remainder of the necessary funding. We are also grateful to the Architectural Heritage Fund for their advice and grant support of the feasibility studies. Further work is required but we now have clear way ahead to secure the castle for future generations.
Sunday, 07 September 2003
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Friends of Portencross Castle (FOPC) will be held at South Banks House (Portencross) at 4:00 pm on Sunday, 7 September 2003. The agenda will include the Chairman's Report, the Financial Report and the confirmation/election of directors and office bearers. The business plan and feasibility study concerning the future of Portencross Castle have been completed and submitted to British Nuclear Fuel Ltd (BNFL) for their board approval. The FOPC board will now seek the approval of FOPC members to proceed with the preparation of grant applications for the funding of Castle repair.
Saturday, 12 July 2003
Many thanks both to guests and the organizers (workers!) of this Summer's Garden Tea, held at South Banks House in Portencross on Saturday, July 12th. This fundraiser for the Portencross Castle Fund was able to bank over £750 from this event,..."well done!" to all!
Sunday, 01 June 2003
The Portencross Carboot Sale was successful, although the weather was not as wonderful as it was last year for this event. This fundraiser's total came to £531, with £245 derived from the sale of teas and snacks, £151 from the sale of raffle tickets, and £135 from car entry fees. Once again, we wish to thank the organizers for their generous contribution of time and effort and the public for their participation. Please continue this display of your support,...every bit helps!
Wednesday, 30 April 2003
The FOPC Business Plan with its supporting Feasibility Study and other pertinent documentation concerning the future of Portencross Castle were submitted to BNFL. Now, we draw a breath and await BNFL's decision. Watch this space! Another successful afternoon on Friday, 11 April 2003. Audrey and Ann organized and sold coffee/tea and snacks at the Portencross parking area, raising £90 within three hours for the Portencross Castle Fund. Many thanks, ladies! Please keep supporting us, it's really appreciated!
Saturday, 29 March 2003
The first fundraiser coffee morning of 2003 had an Easter theme. Just over £500 (net) was raised from donations and the sale home-made baking, preserves, chutney, gift boxes of tablet, flower baskets, greeting cards and paintings. Heartfelt thanks to all who made the event possible and to all who attended. From all reports, an enjoyable morning was had by all.
Saturday, 15 March 2003
Our appreciation is extended to the W.M. Mann Foundation (of Glasgow) for their generous gift of £1,500 to the Portencross Castle Fund.
Monday, 10 March 2003
The draft feasibility study was completed and submitted to FOPC for review and comment. After adjustments are made, it will be consolidated with the business plan, published and submitted to BNFL with our option recommendation.
Saturday, 23 November 2002
The fundraiser coffee morning was very successful. A total of £475 was raised from donations and sale of home-made Christmas gifts. This money goes directly into the FOPC - Portencross Castle Fund. Many, many thanks to all those ladies who made this possible,...and to those who attended. The above amount does not include an additional £480, which was raised through the sale of the West Kilbride Amenity Society's new publication, "West Kilbride, Seamill, Portencross,...and thereabouts".
Friday, 08 November 2002
FOPC Board approved purchase of Portencross Castle (in winter) Christmas Cards for sale as fundraiser.
Wednesday, 28 August 2002
Portencross Castle (in the winter) Christmas Cards are now in stock. Order now to avoid being disappointed!
Thursday, 22 August 2002
Draft text for FOPC website submitted for Board review prior to website going on line.
Thursday, 22 August 2002
FOPC Board directed initiation of feasibility study under lead of APLorimer Architects of Ayr.
Tuesday, 20 August 2002
Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) approved £7,500 grant for conduct of feasibility study. Thank you AHF!
Thursday, 08 August 2002
FOPC Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at South Banks House, Portencross. New members welcomed.
Wednesday, 07 August 2002
Board Directors met with Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) to discuss possible grant to support conduct of castle feasibility study.
Sunday, 04 August 2002
Afternoon Garden Tea Fundraiser (another glorious, sunny day!) at South Banks House, Portencross raised over £700 for Portencross Castle Fund.
Saturday, 29 June 2002
Portencross Harbour Art Exhibition Fundraiser successful (despite inclement weather!) in raising over £900 (over £400 in sale of teas and home baking). Over 120 paintings by local artists exhibited in marquee,...35 sold!
Sunday, 12 May 2002
Car Boot Sale at Portencross on a beautiful, sunny day raised nearly £400 for the Portencross Castle Fund. Over £240 of this amount was from the sale of teas and home baking, ... thank you, ladies!
Saturday, 27 April 2002
Coffee Morning at South Banks House, Portencross raised over £300 for the Portencross Castle Fund.