I have one of the best jobs in Largs...in addition to spreading peace and goodwill in this column, of course.

As one of the merry Musketeers of the Kelburn Windfarm Trust I, and my fellow volunteers, disburse loadsamoney to hunners of good local causes.

We may not be in the same league as Bill Gates, but over the years we have handed out more than £500,000 to legions of organisations in Largs, Cumbrae and Fairlie from brownies to bowlers, from schoolkids to FOCCRs (the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing club).

And my good news this week, folks, because that is what I dispense in Cochrane's Column, is that we have almost £60,000, and more, waiting to be picked up between now and the summer.

Now, the dosh does not come from the personal bank accounts of myself and the trustees, as we are impoverished benefactors, but is the annual community benefit provided by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) - their slogan is 'Power for Good' - who built, and who operate, 14 of the wind turbines on the Largs Kelburn hills.

This year the fund is available again to support local environmental, educational, amenity or other appropriate registered, not-for-profit organisations.

Grants of between £500 and, say, £10,000 tops are available for supporting  the principles of environmental projects, energy efficiency, conservation and social sustainability within the local communities.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: St Columba's Episcopal Church in Largs was one of the new recipients of cash from the Kelburn Wind Farm Community Fund in 2023.St Columba's Episcopal Church in Largs was one of the new recipients of cash from the Kelburn Wind Farm Community Fund in 2023. (Image: Google Street View)

The 2024 Kelburn Wind Farm Community Fund application window is open until the end of April.  I am pleased to say that we have already received some applications, but would like to see some more.

In the past year notable recipients included the new Green Futures group, whose volunteers received £5,000 for their gardening work and allotment plans in Largs; the parent council at Fairlie Primary (£5,000) for continued eco gardening and planting at the village school; the Millport Town Hall restoration (also £5,000); as well as a host of sports, theatre and other cultural organisations.

New recipients in 2023 were the congregation at St Columba’s Episcopal Church, which was awarded £5,000 towards energy saving work in their hall, and the Millport Classic Cars group, for the development of the annual tourist event on the island.

As the founding chairman when the Trust was set up in 2012, I have been delighted to take over the administration of the fund and, by all accounts, we have, at least, another decade of good deeds to do.

Local solicitor Alistair Green, who is one of the original directors of the trust, chairs our community initiative company. He points out that in the previous 12 years we have made about 175 awards to worthy community-led projects.

Your group still has time to apply on the official website at www.kelburnwindfarm.co.uk.

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Thought  for the Week: Remember that we often have to go through the worst to get to the best.

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If you ever wondered how long the Boyd family had been in and around Largs - and I know you would have discussed it - let me astound you.

It was the Boyds who built Portencross Castle away back in yon 1300s, and their predecessors would presumably have been kicking around in their wee howffs a thousand years ago.

And what do you mean you’ve never been to Portencross Castle, just down the shore road from Seamilll and West Kilbride? Well, the good news is that the 700-year-old building will be open for inspection again in the holiday months, starting on Friday, March 29.

The castle, in which, incidentally, yours truly has performed Tam O' Shanter, is an official historic monument, (no, not because of me, madam), having been associated with Robert II, the first of the Stewart kings and queens.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Portencross Castle opens to the public for a new visitor season on Friday, March 29.Portencross Castle opens to the public for a new visitor season on Friday, March 29. (Image: Anne Welsh McKinlay)

Free to visit, the volunteer stewards - as opposed to Stewarts - show you around the castle, whose ground floor has illustrations of the building on its dramatic coastal perch, and its regal history.

The interpretation area includes an account of a Spanish Armada ship which was wrecked just off the West Kilbride coastline in 1588. The Great Hall has a barrel-vaulted ceiling and you can climb the stone steps to the roof, offering panoramic views of the Clyde and islands, hence its once strategic role in helping to repel raiders.

Check www.portencrosscastle.org.uk for opening times or call 01294 823799.

And if you fancy a wedding or a function in a castle, the charity is open to offers for a fee. It worked for Tam O' Shanter.