The PURE Mile, an environmental competition which aims to create a greater awareness of the country roads of Wicklow and South Dublin, had its annual awards night on Tuesday 3rd of October at The Brooklodge Hotel, Macreddin, Aughrim.
The PURE Mile Competition encourages communities in Wicklow and South Dublin to adopt a mile of road in their local area and keep it free from litter, which benefits both, the people who live in these areas, and their environment. The awards and certificates were presented by Mr. Simon Harris, T.D., Minister for Health, and the Cathaoirleach for Wicklow County Council, Cllr. Edward Timmins.
2017 was the eighth year of the PURE Mile competition, and this year over 50 communities, groups, and organisations, collectively improved and enhanced over 150 miles of road in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands. The groups ranged from the beautiful Valley of Glenmalure in County Wicklow, to The Hill Road in Cunard South Dublin, stretching across the mountains of Golden Hill in Kilbride, to the coastal area of Brittas Bay.
Each group received a PURE Mile Certificate and a selection of native trees at the awards ceremony and all will be included in the popular PURE Mile Calendar, which will be launched in November this year. The PURE Mile is the perfect opportunity for communities and groups to positively contribute to their locality and the awards night enables the groups to meet people with similar interests. An individual involved in this years PURE Mile competition commented on how, ‘The PURE Mile, is a wonderful initiative which captures the imagination of the young and not so young. It provides an excellent opportunity to record all aspects of our heritage.’
There was strong competition in many of the categories, especially in, The Best Litter Free Mile, The Anti-Dumping Initiative, and The Clean Up the Uplands award. This year groups removed over 2,000 bags of rubbish from the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands.
There were 13 awards presented on the night with cash prizes reaching a total of €5,000.
The Best PURE Mile Award, and a cheque for €1,000, was presented to The Ballyteige-Ballintombay PURE Mile. The community produced a beautiful information leaflet detailing the local flora and fauna of the area, a route guide outlining the cultural/social heritage of the surrounding landscape and also created an amazing an informative website and blog. Members of the winning group were delighted with their Best PURE Mile Award, and commented that, ‘We have succeeded, not only in clearing ugly rubbish and fly tipping from the woodlands, but also deterring further illegal dumping. There is a wonderful community spirit amongst the PURE Mile and It is such a pleasure to drive along the road now and see that our efforts are not in vain.’
Best Cultural Heritage and a cheque for €300 was presented to Golden Hill and Three Castles PURE Miles. This joint award was presented to the two groups for their research into the field names of the area, old vernacular farm houses, archaeological monuments, and the many other cultural heritage features associated with their two miles.
The Amazing Educators KABOOOM Award and a cheque for €150 was presented to the pupils, parents and teachers, of Brittas Bay National School. The pupils of the school gave the PURE Mile Judges a presentation on their local history, including an insight into the infamous Brittas Bay Pirate resident of the past, known locally as Jack White.
The Best Education Award and a cheque for €300 was presented to Lough Dan Scouts, a group who organised a wide variety of eco-activities and kept their PURE Mile litter free, and organised regular clean-ups of the lake area.
A cheque for €500 was presented to The Baltynanima Green Road PURE Mile for The Best PURE Mile Interpretation. This award acknowledged the groups amazing interpretative methods relating to their cultural and natural heritage, including, a number of information panels along their two-mile looped walk, a website, and a local heritage booklet.
Best Community Effort and a cheque for €300 went to the numerous Grange Con PURE Miles. The community started with just one mile, which then grew to all the approaching roads of Grange Con. The group organised regular litter picks of the area and their community spirit was praised on the night.
The Highly Commended Community Effort and a cheque for €150 was presented to Donard Fauna Road and Kibaylet Road PURE Miles. Donard PURE Mile was the recipient of the Best Litter Free Mile in 2016 and since then other roads in the area have enlisted in the competition.
The Award for Individual Contribution to the PURE Mile Competition went to Steven Brennan from Brittas Bay PURE Mile with the community receiving a cheque for €300. The Brittas Bay area have been involved in the PURE Mile Competition for six consecutive years and Steven was commended for his promotion of the PURE Mile on an annual basis.
The Clean-Up the uplands Award went to a walking group who removed over 150 bags of rubbish in a one-day upland clean-up, which started at Kilakee Car Park in South Dublin and went all the way to the Sally Gap in County Wicklow. The group received a cheque for €250 on the night.
Joe McNamara, a member of the walking group stated.
‘Our group regularly walk in Wicklow/Dublin Uplands and we were appalled by the amount of litter dumped in the area, which is mainly thrown out of cars. Working with PURE, and by adopting this stretch of road, and doing this clean-up, is our way of keeping the uplands pure and clean, the way it should be.’ The joint efforts of The PURE Project and the walking group resulted in the removal of over 3 tonnes of illegal dumping. The PURE truck concentrated on removing the larger dumped rubbish, which included mattresses, chairs, and other household waste, while the group walked the scenic upland road filling bags of litter from the road verges.
The Highly Commended Clean-Up the Uplands Award went to The Stone Cross to Kippure Pure Miles who received a €250 cheque. The group organised a clean-up from The Stone Cross in South Dublin and travelled to Kippure Bridge in County Wicklow, which resulted in the removal of over 100 bags of rubbish, including some unsightly tyres, fridges and furniture from the landscape. This beautiful rural upland area, and the forest entrances, pull-ins and laybys are extremely prone to frequent illegal dumping.
The Award for The Best Anti-Dumping Initiative and a cheque for €500, went to the community of The Hill Road Cunard in South Dublin. This group worked with PURE, and a number of the Stakeholders involved in the project, creating preventative measures to reduce dumping in their area, and with regular litter picks and monitoring of this upland region, there has been a dramatic reduction in illegal dumping and fly tipping.
The Beech Road, Millennium Road, Love Lane and Avoca Kilmagig PURE Miles won The Best Litter Free Award and received a cheque of €500. This group organised a number of litter picks, starting from Love Lane in Arklow, The Beech Road, and Millennium Road, and then continuing on to Kilmagig road, and finally reaching the beautiful scenic village of Avoca, which resulted in the removal of over 250 bags of litter from the road ways.
The Winning Back the Valley Award, and a cheque for €500 went to townlands of Cullentragh Park, Bolenaskea, Baravore from The Glenmalure Valley, with a group member commenting, ‘We are claiming back our beautiful valley and in my opinion because of the PURE Mile we are more aware of what we have taken for granted for so long.’
Ian Davis, PURE Project Manager commented on the night;
‘This was the largest number of roads we have ever had in the competition and all of the groups deserve credit for improving and enhancing the areas they both live and recreate in. It always amazes me the amount of commitment and dedication these groups have to cleaning up the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands and I congratulate all of the groups involved in this years competition, and look forward to working with more groups in 2018.’
The 2017 PURE Miles were, Avoca Kilmagig, Blainroe, Blessington, Rowing Club, Ballycoog, Ballyknockan Rathdrum, Beech Road, Millennium Road, Love Lane, Ballyvaltron, Ballyteige, Ballinatombay, Ballinabarney, Baltynanima Green Road, Cullentragh Park, Bolenaskea, Baravore, Conary Chapel Lane Shillelagh, Drumgoff Fananieran, Donard Annalecky, Donard Fauna Road, Donard Kibaylet Road, Glenwalk Walking Group, Glencree Walking Group, Golden Hill Manor Kilbride, Glenealy, Castle Hill Grangecon, Knockarigg Hill Grangecon, Grangecon Hill, Baronstown Grangecon, Bessina Grangecon, The Hill Road Cunard, Jack’s Hole Brittas Bay, Newtown Saunders, Slaney Park, Holden’s Town, Talbetstown Woodfield Loop, Ballinroan Spinans, Knockavurrig, Graigue Cross, Kelsha, Newtown Bogroad, Kilmacurragh, Kilcoole Walk, Kiltipper Ramblers PURE Mile, Lough Dan, The Pound Redcross, Raheen Rampere, Redcross Ballykean Loop, Red Lane Sugar Loaf, Sugar Loaf Car Park, Stone Cross to Kippure, Three Castles Manor Kilbride, Tomriland, Wicklow Uplands Council.
The awards night was also the official launch of the 2018 PURE Mile Competition, and again PURE are inviting all groups and communities living in rural areas of county Wicklow and South Dublin to take part in the 2018 PURE Mile Competition. PURE are again encouraging special interest groups, scout groups, cycling groups, running groups, walking groups, etc., to adopt a mile of road, a woodland, an upland car park, a mountain, or a trail, in the Wicklow/Dublin Uplands and take part in the competition. PURE will supply all groups who enter the competition with bags, litter pickers and gloves, and they will also remove all rubbish collected.
Anyone interested in the 2018 PURE Mile competition can request an application form and information pack by emailing email@example.com or it can be downloaded from www.pureproject.ie/what-we-do/the-pure-mile/.
You can also write to; PURE Project, Wicklow Mountains, National Park, Kilafin, Laragh, Bray, Co. Wicklow and they will post out all the information or request an application form and information pack by phoning PURE on 0404 45547.
Further information on PURE can be found on www.pureproject.ie
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