The new spectator stand arrives.
The new grass seems to be thriving in the Glenalmond sunshine.
Visit the gallery for more.
The pitch is coming to life!
Drainage has begun to be laid at Neish’s. Part of the outlying 160mm perforated cut-off pipe, draining to the river Almond, is in place already. Site Manager, Adrian Alcorn from Souters, explained: “Pipes are laid 500mm deep, surrounded by 10-20mm of gravel. This links into an existing drain at the far northerly point and down into the river through an underground pipe.”
The framework drainage, across the pitch, will be ten metres apart, with one in place already.
Readers will be pleased to hear that the beech hedging, formally growing to the south of the pitch, have been ‘redeployed’ to one of the Master’s houses and a nearby field for horse shelter. Thankfully, the old tree - just to the west of ‘Mad Wifies’ – has also been saved and will preside over future matches. It is currently surrounded by snowdrops, carefully driven around by bulldozer operators!
Top soil has already been applied and smoothed to a large percentage of the site and the banking has been completely removed.
This week we were lucky enough to have Adam Flint from Progression Bikes in Dunkeld with us, taking pictures of Neish’s with his ‘Drone’ camera. This is a ‘quadcopter’, twelve mega-pixel aerial camera that can fly up to an impressive 1200ft. A booster on the handset even produced its own WiFi signal, giving instant images on the attached iPhone. Fascinating results, we’re sure you will agree. Thanks Adam
What a difference a week makes!
The team working on the site have made great progress in levelling the upper area to bring it down to the original level of Neish's. There is still some way to go but 4 weeks in you get a real sense of how the development will look once complete.
Take a look at the gallery to see the progress so far.
For many the frosty conditions are a drawback to progress. Not so for site manager ‘Rab’ from Souters, the specialist sportsturf contractor. “Firm ground allows quicker progress as the machinery can get across the surface well,” he says. Half the pitch is now lifted but ALL of the stand is gone! “It took less than a day” Rab tells us. What remains is now lying in rather a sad heap, awaiting removal.
The original banking, site of the new stand and training area, is half way removed. Three excavators, a bulldozer, four dumpers and seven men are working flat out to make sure the project comes in on time. Despite the cold working conditions the men are cosy during breaks in their on-site ‘welfare unit’, which provides all modern conveniences plus the essential kettle.
In total, around 7000 cubic metres of sub soil (12-14 tonnes) will have to be removed before drainage can be laid. When this is done, a network of 100mm diameter pipes –across the pitch north to south – will be laid. Along the north side a new 300mm wide main drain will suck-up any excess.
Ben Grigor, Souter’s maintenance manager and resident grass expert, was on site to assess the area. “We’ll use about 30, three quarter tonnes of acclimatized perennial rye cultivators – cool season grasses from Europe and Russia.” Grigor continued: “top soil is mixed with a medium fine sand – to help drainage - and fertilizer. Seeds are tough but they need an eight week growth period at the minimum.” The freezing wind was whipping round the site as we spoke. It’s a good job the grass seed will be hardy. It’ll need to be!
Despite a first week of frozen temperatures, hurricane-force winds and a foot of snow, work on Neish’s has progressed well since starting on January 12th. The construction site is fully fenced off and protected and only those working there can gain access. However, progress can be viewed from the end of the road up to Neish’s car park.
Site Manager Rab Tait explained that the initial drive is to remove the grass and top soil (to a depth of about one foot) from the mound to the south of the pitch and from the pitch itself. The mound and half of Neish’s is already cleared.
The removed top soil is relocated to the bottom of the field below Skrine’s. This will be reinstated after new drainage is installed. The old drainage system should be completely removed within the next month.
Project Manager Malcolm Clapperton from SAC Consulting in Edinburgh explained that the plan is to get the pitch laid as soon as possible so that grass can be seeded in early summer, giving it the best possible chance, over the warmer months, to be ready for kick-off in September!
Despite blizzard conditions, heavy duty equipment arrived and contractors started fencing off the area to be improved at Neish's. So far, just over £280,000 has been raised by very generous parents, OGs, staff and other donors. It is hoped that Phase 1 of the work will be completed by summer 2015. The new pitch will be home to Glenalmond’s First rugby and lacrosse teams.
Rob Wainwright, former Scottish rugby captain and OG said: “Thrilled that’s it’s all kicked off on time and a massive thanks to each and every donor, we couldn’t have done it without you. Myself, and many more, can’t wait to watch the first match on the fantastic new facilities.”
Carolyn Bircher, Head of Girls’ Games at Coll agreed: 'We are hugely excited by the prospect of having a dedicated 1st XII Lacrosse pitch . We are well known as being the top Scottish school at 1st team level and with so many of our players going on the represent their country in Lacrosse it will be a huge asset and no doubt help to increase further the amount of representative Scottish players we have within the school at all levels as well as help to develop out school lacrosse players.'
Picture by Ashley Coombes