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Ardrishaig’s brand new heritage and community hub, the Egg Shed, opened to the public on Friday August 2, and with music, entertainment and lots of sunshine, it was a cracking day out.
The Egg Shed, which had historically been used as an egg grading station, has been revived from a disused building into a bespoke interpretation and community centre which tells the story of the Crinan Canal and the communities which lie on its banks.
The building is now home to a living archive with stories, photos and memorabilia, much of it donated by the local community, just waiting to be discovered.
In amongst the formalities of opening the £1.5 million Egg Shed and marking the official twinning of the Crinan Canal with Sweden’s Dalslands Kanal attended by CEO Benny Ruus, there was plenty of time for some fun in the Ardrishaig sunshine. Ardrishaig Bothy was open and help was on hand to introduce youngsters to riding a bike, or brush up on their cycle control skills. There was also a unique opportunity to join the 5th Duke of Argyll on a walking tour of the Crinan Canal as he uncovered the Chronicles of Crinan, but if that was too energetic then there was the option of sitting back to be entertained.
Mid Argyll Pipe Band took time off from competition to play to the crowds. They joined some local bands who made sure toes were tapping from early morning until the end of the day.
Of course, the main event was the ribbon cutting to formally open the Egg Shed and let the crowd who had gathered in Pier Square get a first look at the much-anticipated new building. Scottish Canals Chief Executive Catherine Topley together with Chief Executive of Argyll and Bute Council Cleland Sneddon addressed the crowd before enlisting the help of some young local helpers to help cut the ribbon and allow the first guests to flood in.
As well as learning more about ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’, and its souvenir shop, the Egg Shed hosts a multi-purpose community space, free for the local community to use, which has a multitude of uses. It currently hosts an exhibition of Crinan Canal paintings by artist Richard Demarko, who when asked how he would describe them said they were: ‘a love letter to the Crinan Canal.’
Mid Argyll Councillor Dougie Philand attended the launch and said: ‘It was a very well organised event and well attended. It sends out the signal that not only Scottish Canals but other partners are interested and are now investing in Ardrishaig. Long may this continue in order to regenerate the village back to the splendour it once enjoyed.’
Councillor Donnie Macmillan, who also attended said: ‘I had a wonderful day at the opening of The Egg Shed. I would like to congratulate everyone who helped to make it a professional and successful day. Everyone involved played their part in a professional manner.
‘I hope this is an important part of the regeneration of Mid Argyll and I will continue to give them all my support in my duties as a councillor.’
The Egg Shed is the latest marker in the regeneration of Ardrishaig Harbour and has already been taken to the community’s heart. It will be eggciting to see what the future holds.