Friday, 1 March 2013

Time flies!

So, today is 1st March, but where did February go?  Sorry that things have been a little quiet on the blog front over the last few weeks, the reason being that I have been somewhat busy with so much other stuff that there just hasn't been time.  So what has been going on then I hear you cry!

Well, apart from the seemingly never ending stream of office work that needs to be done - report writing, work planning, updating our Safe Systems of Work, that sort of thing - I have also been managing a big project to upgrade the visitor facilities and footpaths around the property.  It has taken some time, and has been a bit of a battle with the weather, but we got there in the end.  So we now have a completely resurfaced car park (much easier for folk of all abilities to walk on), with demarcated bays (including two reserved for disabled visitors) and a path to the Nature Centre that is of a gradient suitable for wheelchairs (pictured left).  This should make life a whole lot easier for our less able visitors, and ties in nicely with our All Ability Trail which enables visitors in wheelchairs or with baby buggies to get to the viewpoint overlooking Starney Bay. We also have improved signage and a leaflet dispensing machine so that people can get a copy of the property leaflet (and map) even when the Nature Centre is closed.  And we have installed bike racks so that folk who are using a more sustainable form of transport can explore the reserve without fearing that their transport may not be there when they get back!

On top of all this we have also had work done on about 650 m of the coast path, primarily around the Starney Bay area (pictured right) where is the path was getting very gullied and muddy, and generally uncomfortable to walk on.  And also a good deal of path work has been carried out around the Mire Loch which has been a bit of a quagmire with the incredibly wet weather that we have "enjoyed" this year.

So, as I say, a lot of work, but the results have been great and should really improve visitor access to the Reserve.  The work has been 50% funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) because St Abb's Head is a Spotlight National Nature Reserve (NNR).  The designation as a NNR means that the area is nationally important for wildlife (one of only 50 or so in Scotland) and the term "Spotlight" indicates that SNH see St Abb's Head as one of the creme de la creme as far as visitor access and enjoyment is concerned.

And if all this wasn't enough to keep me occupied, I also has to go through the complicated process of recruiting a new member of staff as Georgia, our Marine Ranger, is moving on to pastures new, or more accurately, she is running away to sea!  She will working as crew on a dive boat that travels all around Scottish waters and even across to Norway on occasions.  Georgia will be leaving us at the end of this month, so you will need to get in quick if you want to say your goodbyes. 

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