Local celebrity contractor Gordon Currie and his team Allan, Stuart, Duncan and Elliot have all been working on the groundworks. The spur off the path down to Port Ban bay has been constructed by Peter McDiarmid, former Bruichladdich employee and one of the landowners along the route. The spur down to the sheltered bay which is good for picnics and swimming is part-funded by The Botanist Foundation. The Foundation hope to support more along the pathway including benches and helping the route’s wild flowers.
Fencing was completed by local Kenny Carter. The stonework repairs and amendments to existing walls along the way will be done by Argyllshire drystone waller Pat Gillespie. Pat is hoping to start work in the next few weeks including a large portion of wall that needs to be taken down and rebuilt at the entrance to the Port Charlotte lighthouse. This will join up the path to the existing pavement in Port Charlotte.
The heavy construction of the bridges and boardwalks across what they call “the swamps” is being done by “the Irish lads”. Michael, Anthony, Paul and Kevin are from the midlands, west of Ireland but some have “been on the road since 1986”. The team are used to Islay living having spent several years on various projects over here, including the Machrie golf hotel. “They’re basically locals and they’re the best around; I can rely on them to do the top job.” says Iain.
The steelwork they’ve been piecing together is from West Lothian based Craig Engineering. Iain sends his CAD designs to them, which are replicated in galvanised British steel. The parts are drilled and then galvanised to seal the edges. This production sequence is important to allow fewer problems down the line with erosion, something we are all aware of here, where we’re exposed daily to the salty air of the Atlantic.