Community Facilities and Organisations

Update February 2015

The well-appointed Strachur Memorial Hall and New Hall together host over 1000 bookings a year and are a great gathering point for the local community and for the wider Cowal area. There is also an outdoor tennis court, the community-owned Heron Park and a new Pavilion and Sports Field which caters for activities such as shinty. Strathlachlan also has a small community hall which runs a regular programme of events including carpet bowling, art classes and an annual Burns’ Supper.

February 2008

7.1 Shops, Restaurants and Pubs

There is a Post Office/Shop at St Catherines, another Post Office/Shop/Tearoom at Strachur, and Strachur Filling Station Shop. The Creggans shop closed in 2005, and is now a private home. There are still a few mobile shops which visit the area at weekly intervals and are greatly valued.

As far as restaurants, pubs and hotels are concerned there are the Inver Cottage Restaurant, the Creggans Inn, The Clachan Bar, and the Whislefield Inn.

Supermarket and large store shopping is generally done in Dunoon, or Glasgow by catching the ferry at Dunoon, or by road to Dumbarton, Clydebank or the shopping complex at Braehead,

The two nearest Tourist Information Offices are in Dunoon and Ardgartan, Arrochar.

7.2    Library

The nearest is in Dunoon although there is a weekly travelling library.

7.3    Village Halls/Community Centres

Strachur Memorial Hall
Strachur Memorial Hall, built in 1923, is a highly valued facility which was extensively modified and refurbished in 1999 when the New Hall and ancillary offices were built for the Millenium. A committee comprising 6 elected officers, 6 additional elected members and representatives of about 20 regular user groups meets quarterly to direct the management of the hall. Day-to-day management is delegated to an Executive Committee made up of the elected officers. The maintenance and management of the hall is almost entirely by volunteer labour with only one paid employee - a very efficient part-time cleaner. The Memorial Hall Committee is a registered charity.

The user groups are responsible for the majority of the 1000+ bookings annually but both halls are also booked out for wedding receptions, dances, concerts, exhibitions, charity functions and by local companies such as the National Park and Forest Enterprise.

Strathlachlan Community Hall
Strathlachlan has its own community hall, established in 1986 in the former Strathlachlan Primary School (closed 1974). It is run by volunteers for the benefit of the community, and there is an active programme of events all year round.  The hall has limited facilities compared to those in Strachur, Cairndow and other local halls.
It is hoped to build a small committee/meeting room to increase the flexibility of hall use and also extend the kitchen and improve the ablutions so that the hall can better serve the needs of both young and old in Cowal, as well as those from further afield (eg orienteering groups).

7.4    Churches

Strachur and Strathlachlan Parish
Strachur Church, which sits around half a mile from the east shore of Loch Fyne in an oval churchyard on the north side of the Clachan road, was built in 1789, and rebuilt in 1902-1903. It has a birdcage belfry and ancient medieval burial stones from the chapel field at Strachurmore are inserted into its walls. The churchyard (Kilmaglass) has been a Christian site for over 1,000 years.

Strathlachlan Church is situated beside the road, close to the Strathlachlan burn and the Garbhalt bridge, and has been a place of worship since its construction in 1792. It replaced an earlier medieval building in the Kilmorie graveyard, dating back at least to the 15th Century.

The combined parish currently has a total of 132 people on its roll. The weekly congregation is very much smaller than this number might suggest, numbering perhaps 40 people on average. The two churches are served by one Minister, with the weekly Strachur service being preceded by one at Strathlachlan church.

Free Church
There is a Free Church at High Hall Strachur, which holds services every Sunday.

7.5    Community Newspaper/website

There is a monthly newsletter, consisting of community news, events and notices. This is prepared and published locally, and sold for 20p each which covers half the costs. The balance is covered by advertising revenues. There is a community website which provides local news, details of accommodation and local businesses, local history and details of availability of the three rooms in the Memorial Hall and New Hall for bookings.

7.6    Social and community groups

Youth Club
Strachur and District youth club is run by a team of adult volunteers, and is held each Tuesday and Wednesday evening in the Memorial hall. At present, between 6 and 15 children attend in the 7-11 age group, and up to 10 in the older age group, up to around 15 years old.

Strachur and District Playgroup
This is run by a local committee for pre-school children. Around 15 infants ranging from two to five years old attend four days per week (Mon - Thurs). The playgroup is run by a playgroup manager alongside a play leader, both of whom are fully qualified for their respective roles.

Strachur Friendship Group
The Friendship Group is a voluntary organisation covering all the communities of Strachur and District (and extending to Cairndow) The members are drivers and helpers for Meals on Wheels twice a week and also from its ranks run the Lunch Club, held every Thursday in the New Hall, also providing transport where required. Other aspects of their voluntary work are arranging outings and giving local residents of all ages plants or flowers when the need arises. The group members also deliver cards and miniature brandies to 180 elderly residents at Christmas.

7.7    Sport & Leisure Clubs

Strachur and District Shinty Club
Strachur and District Shinty Club was formed in the late 19th Century - perhaps around 1880 - and there are traditions of annual games on New Year's Day, with sixty players from Succoth Glen alone.

At present, the club has around twenty players and home games are played at Strachur Park, where the club has always played.  It has never folded or merged with another club.  
Strachur achieved promotion in the 2006 season and currently competes in the second top tier in shinty, within South Division One.  The club has won a sprinkling of honours throughout its history, the most recent of these in senior shinty being in 1985, when Strachur won the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup for the second time in four years.

The club will have access to the new playing fields at Strachurmore. The Strachur District Development Company holds this land, and is currently looking to raise the final installment of grant funding to allow the project to begin.

Strachur and District Piping Association
Strachur and District Piping Association was formed in 1968 by the late Niall Campbell of Succoth. The association's annual competition has now been running for 38 years and attracts entrants from as far as Dumbarton and Greenock.  

Niall Campbell started the Summer School of Piping in Strachur 31 years ago. The week's intensive tuition in July each year is enjoyed by children from all over Argyll. The attendance averages 70 pupils, but has been as high as 99.  A concert in the Memorial Hall at the end of the week lets everyone hear what has been achieved.

Other Local clubs and groups include:
Aerobics & Keep fit
Country Dancing (adult and junior)
Fiddle Classes
Flower Show
Highland Dancing
Indoor Bowling
Keep Fit
Women's Guild
Orange Lodge
Sunday School

7.8    Community Council

The Strachur and District Community Council is the statutory channel for the community to express its views to the Argyll and Bute Council and to other public authorities and to initiate appropriate action. It is required to meet at least four times a year but additional meetings are arranged when particular issues arise. Regular topics of interest relate to planning applications, public transport provision, highway maintenance, together with water, wastewater and refuse collection services.

7.9    Community Development Company

The Company was formed in November 2002, as a charitable limited company.  It can act on behalf of the community of Strachur & District to provide facilities for leisure and recreation and to undertake environmental projects.
Currently the company is pursuing the provision of a sports field and recreation area on 3.85 hectares of land at Strachurmore purchased in March 2004.  The company also owns 1.35 hectares of land between the Hall and the Church now known as Heron Park, formerly a derelict felled woodland area and now comprising a heritage woodland area with a 30 space car park and recycling area adjacent to the Memorial Hall.

Strategic Issues

The sports field completion is a priority, followed by clubhouse provision.
The community is blessed with good shop and hall facilities which must be maintained.
Restricted bus timetables and lack of community bus or car availability inhibits the quality of life for a sizeable portion of the community

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Website text and photos: © Strachur Memorial Hall Committee