Friday 29 June 2012: Jess Smith at the Tinkers' Heart
At the end of last year I blipped the "Tinkers Heart", which is in a field at the Lochgoildhead road end above Loch Fyne.
Since then I have been working with Jess Smith - writer and traveller - to take forward the idea of restoring this absolutely unique monument and improving acccess to it.
The naitonal heritage bodies have been very helpful , as has Christina Noble and every one at the the "Here We Are" Project at Cairndow.
Today we met there and then visited the site, avoiding the torrential showers but still having to face the mud. Jess spent some time picking weeds out of the stones and all of us I think were shocked by the general state of the place, at the cattle mess all around the heart, and at the barbed wire which is strung loosely between the stanchions.
Last restored in 2008 it has deteriorated badly and it is neither easy or safe to park in order to see it.
Jess and I agree that we would now try and talk to the land owners to seek their involvement in improving the site and we wold also start the process of trying to attract some funds for that purpose.
The Rotal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) confirm that there is nothing like this anywhere else in the country and they are in the process now of recording the site. The Travellers did not mark their passage or their sacred or culturally important places so this is very much worth preserving for in the interestes of the whole nation.
Jess's additional ambition to use this very poignant memorial as a means of demonstrating the involvement and influence of the community in Scotland's history and culture and reconciling Scotland with the travellers is also one I completely support.