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Work begins to reopen historic Portsoy Outdoor Pool with cycle challenge fundraiser

By Kyle Ritchie

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A community has commenced work to bring the historic Portsoy Outdoor Pool back into use.

It was built in 1934 by residents in the town and was a favourite summer spot for generations of youngsters and families.

It closed in 2001 but now a charity group has been formed to resurrect it from its run-down state.

A community group has commenced work to bring the Portsoy Outdoor Pool back into use.
A community group has commenced work to bring the Portsoy Outdoor Pool back into use.

And to help fundraise for the project a local triathlete is taking on a mammoth cycling challenge to support the group's work.

The charity operations manager Colin Clark said: "A pre-planning application was carried out for Aberdeenshire Council as part of the expression of interest process.

"Aberdeenshire Council's planning department responded positively, and the project is 'likely to be supported' which is good news.

"We have an existing footprint from the demolished buildings, and we plan to use this which is why we believe planning have been so accommodating.

"Once this stage is accepted it will allow the charity to move on to the official asset transfer proposal where we have to prove the project is viable and will be managed correctly. The pool site is currently owned by Aberdeenshire Council.

"We are currently looking into services regarding water and electricity. Energy efficiency will be an important part of this project and we are looking at solar panels on the building while also looking into other options available to us.

"Mental health, wellness and inclusion are at the forefront of most people’s minds, so we plan to make the pool available to everyone.

"We are proposing a fully accessible building with toilets, showers and changing areas so everyone can enjoy the benefits of the outdoor pool. It will also have a ramp straight into the water.

"Adapted wheelchairs suitable for sand and a hoist on the pool wall will be part of the plan. This, as far as we are aware, will give Portsoy Scotland's first fully accessible tidal pool.

"Internally, there will be a communal area that can be used by various groups who will be able to book the room for meetings. This can be partitioned off and not affect the everyday use of the building.

"There will also be a servery where hot drinks and snacks can be purchased and small gifts and pool items will be available."

One of the tasks for the group will be dredging out the sand which will be time consuming as there is a build-up of 20 years' worth to remove.

Two car parks will be proposed with the main one being at the top of the hill, leaving the current pool parking area for disabled vehicles.

The top car park will be leased from Seafield Estates which will be cleared and made good.

The original footpath to the pool will be reinstated to lessen the foot traffic on the tarred road down to the pool.

Anyone looking to get involved with the group can get in contact via its Facebook page or the Portsoy Outdoor Pool website where much-needed donations can be made.

The outdoor pool has a long history and entertained generations of people in Portsoy.
The outdoor pool has a long history and entertained generations of people in Portsoy.

Portsoy triathlete Jodie Smith will soon be taking on a huge cycling challenge to help raise funds for the charity.

He said: “I was brought up in Portsoy and we came down to the pool as children.

“My whole childhood was spent at the pool in the summer and to see it going to ruin is a shame.

“I’ve just had a son so it would be good if he could have access to the pool in the future and enjoy what we did when we were younger.

“For my fundraiser I’ve decided to try and cycle 500km in under 18 hours, leaving from the borders at Berwick-upon-Tweed and cycle along the east coast of Scotland up to Aberdeen, Peterhead and Fraserburgh and then along the coast ending at the pool in Portsoy.

“It is bang on 500km and will take place on the summer solstice this year. I plan to leave as soon as daylight hits and hope to finish before sunset.

“The plan is to stay on the bike as long as I can. I will have a support crew who will keep me going.

“I should be able to do it in under the time and I hope to complete it in 16 hours.

“The bike I’m using is used for time trials, it’s not a conventional one, so it is a lot faster.

“I broke my pelvis after coming off my bike training in Majorca which has set me back.

“I was selected for a talented athlete pass with Live Life Aberdeenshire which gives me access to the gym to help build up my strength. This effort paid off as I was back on my bike in early January.

“All the money raised via my JustGiving page is going to the Portsoy Outdoor Pool charity towards its efforts to bring back the pool, so any donations will go a long way to help make this happen."

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