We have been waging war with various invaders over the last few weeks. Not little green men from outer space, but a couple of plants that are making a bid to take over our flora-rich grasslands - namely creeping thistle and ragwort. And this year I have enlisted the help of as many people as I can.
Our regular volunteers (John, Dave and Ernie) have been thwacking away at the thistles for the last few weeks, as have Elaine and I whenever we have a spare hour or so. Then at the weekend we had a residential group of Conservation Volunteers (CVs) from the Trust's Lothian and Grampian groups; 12 hardy folk who persevered through the relentless rain in order to help out with both thistle control on the NNR and also marine litter clearance and surveys on the shores of the VMR. Sadly I have no pictures as the weather was just too foul to get the camera out! They were joined on the Saturday by the Trust's Director Of Human Resources who lives not too far away and wanted to experience St Abbs from the sharp end (pun most definitely intended!). Then yesterday a group of students from Berwick High School came to the Head to add to the thistle mortality rate, as part of their John Muir Award activites (picture top left). And this morning Dave, Ernie, Elaine and I have pulled all the ragwort that has been growing in our butterfly exclosure on the Kirk Hill (see Dave looking particularly pleased with a large specimen that he had pulled up in the picture to the right.
Phew! As you can see, volunteers have a huge impact on what we can do at St Abbs, and, in fact the Trust as a whole, which could not do what it does so well as Scotland's largest conservation charity without the help of our volunteers. So a big thank you to you all.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering for the Trust go to the volunteering section on our website at http://www.nts.org.uk/Volunteering/ .
We have recently taken on three additional volunteers at St Abbs, but more about them at a later date!