But enough excuses...where to start? As you might have gathered from the title, this post is going to be dedicated to our fantastic team of volunteers, without whom we could not do everything that we do here at St Abbs. And there has been an awful lot going on as far as volunteers are concerned in the last month or so. We had our Christmas party on Robert Burns’ birthday (well, December gets ever so filled up doesn’t it?). As usual, we went on an expedition aimed at being both fun and educational, and this year we visited Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. If you haven’t visited, I urge you to go; it is such a great experience for all ages. Image left, the team enjoy the 3D presentation (L to R Dave, Ernie, Jack, Fran, Margaret, Georgia).
Also, we have taken Dave on as a Voluntary Ranger/Handy Man. Dave has been volunteering with us for a number of years now, but only as a member of our regular gang of volunteers who come and help out on a Wednesday morning. But as he has enormous amounts of energy, and a wide range of skills, it seemed a shame not to use them to their full capacity. So now he is spending the morning with the gang, and then in the afternoon is tackling the seemingly never ending list of jobs that need doing around the property. Regular visitors will notice that he has been doing a fair bit of work on footpath maintenance, as well as less noticeable, but just as important, handyman jobs in the various buildings on the property.
Then a couple of weeks back, Maggie Shaw, willow worker and friend, came to show us how to install a “fedge” (a cross between a fence and a hedge) between the Ranger’s Cottage and the Ranger’s Office, to form a natural looking dividing line, between the garden of the cottage and the surrounds of the office, and give those that live in the cottage a little privacy. Willow is an amazing thing, you can cut off branches, and push them into the ground, and they will take root and grow a whole new tree. We had to cut back some of the crack willow off the Mire Loch Dam so that the whole structure is visible for the annual inspections. So it was great that we could utilise this in the fedge – so free materials as well as giving the old willow in question a new lease of life. We also got free labour as Maggie donated her time as did a group of volunteers. Pictured right L to R Ernie, Ishbel Hayes, Maggie and Georgia. Thanks also go to Helen Cole and Peter Hayes. The fedge will take a couple of years to take root and start to grow above ground too, but once it does, there should be no stopping it. Not willing to wait, there was a robin investigating it before it was complete, and a whole variety of different types of bird have been seen on it since!
So as I say, what would we do without our volunteers hey? Many thanks to you all! And not just here at St Abbs, the Trust as a whole estimated that volunteers donated well in excess of £1 million worth of time to our cause last year alone. If you would like to donate your time to us, we are always looking for outgoing and knowledgeable people to man the nature and chat to visitors. SO if you fit the bill, please get in touch for a chat.