Monday, 16 November 2015

Please DO confer!

Last week I attended the Trust's annual Countryside Conference. It was based in Lochgoilhead in deepest Argyll and comprised two half days inside discussing various topics from health and safety to promoting the Trust's countryside work. We also had one full day out on site, split between the Beaver Reintroduction Project site at Knapdale and the Trust's fabulous woodland garden at Crerae. Storm Abigail was kind on the whole - although it was a tad breezy and we had one major downpour that soaked us all in the space of about 90 seconds!

The annual conference is the only time that NTS countryside staff from all over the country get together in one place (there's a lot of us about - something like 50 or so attended the conference and no everyone was there!).  As always, it was great to share news, ideas and experiences, as well as a couple of beers and plenty of laughs! 

The main highlights for me were seeing the signs left behind by beavers (I now totally understand where the term "busy as a beaver" comes from!) and also being on the winning team for the quiz - two things I have never experienced before.

Here's a few shots I took to give you a flavour...

Just half of the conference attendees learning all there is to know about beavers

A 45 degree angled cut - classic beaver sign
They will fell quite large trees - it just takes team work and time!
Once the tree is felled they will cut off small branches to build their dams and lodges, and eat the bark off the larger branches.
Although it may look like beavers are just incredibly destructive, they bring lots of benefits to the wildlife of an area and also help with flood control!

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