Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Long time no see

So sorry that it has been so long since the last post.  I can assure you that this is not because we have not been doing anything – rather to the contrary really.  It is due to the fact that we are having IT problems in the office.

So, what has been going on since July I hear you cry!  Well, we had a couple of groups of volunteers out fighting the good fight against creeping thistles on our grasslands.  A group of NTS Conservation Volunteers (or CVs as they are affectionately known - pictured right) came down from Edinburgh, and a group of Berwick Academy students who are working towards getting their John Muir Award.

Also, out on the grasslands one of the Trust’s Nature Conservation Advisors, Lindsay Mackinlay, came and spent a few days monitoring our grasslands – all part of our new grassland management plan that we have instigated this year.  This has also included us replacing nearly 2.5 km of fence to make sure that we can graze areas when we want to, but exclude stock at other times.

In August, Jack and Dave spent a couple of days working with the Trust’s in-house Footpath Team up at Ben Lawers.  The Footpath Team are experts in using a variety of techniques to repair footpaths, making the paths more comfortable to walk on, and so, in turn, protecting the habitat through which they pass.  Because if a path is uncomfortable to walk on, people will take a route that they find easier, forming more and more paths, and spreading erosion across the surrounding area.  Although the weather was far from balmy (see pic of Dave in the mist, left), Jack and Dave really enjoyed their time at Ben Lawers and learnt an awful lot.  This week, they have been putting their new skills to use on the path around the Mire Loch, improving drainage and surfacing, and putting in some steps. 

We had yet another wedding on the reserve last week - Anita and John got married on the clifftops above Petticowick (picture left). A bright and breezy day, but that only enhanced the already fantastic back drop, by adding in white caps on the dark blue sea and scudding clouds in the bright blue sky!

Also last week, we got a brand new 4WD for the reserve.  We have been having terrible trouble with vehicles over the last 3 months.  Our old 4WD died without warning in June, which rather left us in the lurch.  Luckily, our colleagues from Glencoe had a land rover that they could spare, and they were kind enough to lend it to us for a number of weeks.  It was a bit of an old banger, but better than nothing, but I must admit to being very relieved when I was told our new vehicle was ready to be picked up.  The land rover obviously didn’t want to go though, as it had two punctures in 24 hours, so delaying me being able to pick up the new vehicle by a number of days! 

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