Leadhills villagers rebuild the road themselves

Living in one of Clydesdale's most remote villages, the folk of Leadhills have to be a pretty self-reliant breed '“ even to the extent of rebuilding their own roads!

Leadhills residents, from left, Susan Roberts, William Whitaker, Amanda Davies, Gerard Godfrey and Anne Aragoni in Store Brae..

Due to its history and geography, the former leadmining community finds itself with more unadopted roads not maintained by council workers than most in South Lanarkshire.

One of these, Store Brae, was last repaired half a century ago and had deteriorated to an almost dangerous condition.

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Not having the option of asking the council to carry out repairs, villagers set about raising the cash to carry out the work themselves.

The result of what was a prime example of a community really pulling together was unveiled last week by Leadhills Community Council, the organisation that co-ordinated the effort.

Chairman Gerard Godfrey said: “The majority of the unadopted roads are unmetalled and require constant maintenance to keep them usable.

“Many of these roads are owned by the Leadhills Estate Trust, which is administered by Hopetoun Estates.

“One of the crucial roads is Store Brae and, because of its steepness, it was Tarmacked in 1967. The work was carried out by Lanark Borough Council but paid for by the old village council.

“It all cost £500, including the installation of a drain.

“Since then, the road had deteriorated to the point where it was practically unusable, particularly in bad weather, and we often get heavy rain, snow and ice in Leadhills. The cost of the work was just short of £7,000.”

He explained how the council had had discussions with the factor for Hopetoun Estates, Donald Noble, and “we decided to work together to come up with a scheme to resurface Store Brae and to fill in the potholes and regrade the unmade road leading up to Lowther View”.

Both routes are “key arteries” to service 45 village homes, he said.

The residents of those homes were contacted, and a donation of £100 each towards the work was requested.

That raised much of the cash necessary, the remainder coming from Hopetoun Estates, the community council and Leadhills Village Association.

Putting together the financial package took a mere two months, and a Lockerbie contractor was quickly hired to carry out the work.

Said Gerard: “I am really proud of the Leadhills villagers. This is a tremendous example of local enterprise.”

Lowther View resident Gordon Knott, the first person to drive along the finished section of road, commented: “What a big improvement.

“I can now get up and down the Brae without shaking my car to bits.”