The volunteers behind Stonehaven’s heated open air pool have plunged more than 1,000 hours of work into ensuring the grand re-opening in 2021 will make a big splash.
The pool had to be shut this year due to the pandemic, the first time since the Second World War it has not opened during its annual summer season.
But instead of leaving the future of the attraction high and dry, the Friends of the Pool group – alongside the Live Life Aberdeenshire organisation that operates the council’s sport services – got down to business carrying out vital work that would have been impossible had the pool been open to the public.
It is hoped that with a head start on the pre-opening maintenance programme, next year will be one of the best yet for the popular facility.
Pete Hill, chairman of the Friends group said: “The Friends didn’t need much enticing to come back to work and we formed special shifts to work at the pool.
“Designed to minimise any Covid-19 risk, an unexpected bonus of this way of working was that sessions proved easier to manage and our shift productivity improved as well.”
Since August, the Friends have carried out all manner of projects at the pool, including giving the whole eastern and northern perimeter walls a fresh lick of paint and removing vegetation from the front of the building.
A great deal of other painting work was completed, including turning all the poolside railings a “nice shade of rampant yellow”.
The 2021 season will also include the grand unveiling of the pool’s new chute, funded “to the tune of £50,000” by the Friends group.
The chute will replace the old one and the Friends group say they hope it will become a firm favourite with swimmers, both young and old.
Mr Hill added: “We used more than 180 litres of paint in the painting campaign.
“Thanks to a generous 50% funding of materials by the council, we also re-modelled the frontage of the southwest corner of the pool, landscaping the ground, laying paving bricks and spreading five tonnes of gravel.”
The unique open air pool is Olympic-size and is housed within a listed art deco-style building.
And although it is open air, the filtered seawater it is filled with is heated to a pleasant 29C, so swimmers can enjoy themselves even on chillier Scottish summer days.
Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Avril Nicol said: “The decision not to open the pool for the 2020 season was taken with a heavy heart, but we’re very pleased the Friends group has been able to make such good progress with preparations for next year, despite the obvious difficulties in doing that.
“Their work alongside us is so important to the operation of the pool and their funding of the replacement chute is also very significant, as we all know it was very much missed and will be a big attraction for many customers in future seasons.”
Progress on the chute and the rest of the activities of the Friends group can be followed on the website www.stonehavenopenairpool.co.uk.