Helicopter Helps Assist Barlocco Beach Clean Up Operation

The Rotary Clubs of Dumfries Devorgilla, Solway Firth Partnership and D&G ECO Warriors have been engaged in beach cleaning along the Solway Coast for some years to address the marine plastic problem on the shoreline. Some beaches are extremely difficult to reach by land and innovative methods have to be used to remove collected plastic waste.


Barlocco Beach (to the south of Auchencairn, Kircudbrightshire) has been partially cleaned recently by the ECO warriors, assisted by Rotary Clubs of Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie and Dumfries Devorgilla and other volunteers. 29 heli-lift bags (1 Cubic Metre in capacity each) were filled and grouped along the beach ready for collection on the shoreline. The beach is remote with difficult land access and a rocky shore, with plastic left to accumulate and degrade in large quantities over the years.

On Monday a helicopter, on its way back north to Fife moved these bags from the beach to skips, placed in advance by Dumfries and Galloway Council, in a lay-by near Auchencairn village. The logistics of helicopter movements, placement of volunteers, roads management and waste disposal has been complex, with detailed planning taking place over the last few months to ensure a safe and efficient operation.

Charles Milroy of the Rotary Club of Dumfries Devorgilla said. “This project has caught the imagination of volunteers, environmental organisations and Council staff alike and has produced some excellent cross organisation working and community cooperation, proving that a multi agency approach is very much the way forward.” He went on to say that “ Dumfries and Galloway Council are often the target of negative comment. Our experience, working with the Communities Directorate, has been very positive and Rotary look forward to exploring other opportunities to work with them in the future. The landowners at Barlocco and Rascarrel Farms have afforded us every courtesy in gaining access across their land and Skyhook Helicopters have been so generous with their time.”

The aircraft was provided by Skyhook helicopters and their Chief pilot Guy Stephens commented that “The company was delighted to work with Rotary and their partners and pleased to provide the “Overhead” solution to removal of plastic debris from such a challenging location.”

Laura Howieson D&G ECO warriors said “We have worked so hard to get to this stage of the Barlocco clean-up and are delighted to be collaborating and working with the various Rotary clubs involved, Solway Firth Partnership and Dumfries and Galloway Council. There is still work to be done on this beach and we look forward to working with all agencies in the future.”

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