Field Notes: Space and light to grow

Published: 12th February 2019

Skye resident Duncan started volunteering for the Trust three years ago, aged 15

Field Notes Duncan on Skye

I started volunteering for the John Muir Trust three years ago for my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award.  For one hour a week for three months, I (with my mum there for supervision as I was under 16) cut down rhododendrons in Glasnakille. It was really rewarding to discover young rowans and birches among the bushes and give them space and light to grow.

I came back to the Trust for my Silver DofE Award too. This time we helped to maintain the Blaven path, clearing drains etc. I found it quite satisfying when we found a drain that was completely blocked and with a bit of time and effort we got it flowing freely.  I also helped with a couple of bat surveys and a fish sweeping survey, both of which I really enjoyed. 

I am currently doing my Gold DofE Award. This time I am helping to look after the Blaven car park, replacing leaflets, collecting donations and doing litter picks. I am also helping keep popular wild camping spots tidy by doing litter picks and dismantling and tidying up fire pits. It never ceases to amaze me how thoughtless some people can be, for example making fire pits one metre apart from each other on the nice grass and dumping large amounts of rubbish. 

I am currently in college doing the Crofting and Countryside Skills course in Broadford on Skye. The skills I am learning will be very useful for my volunteering as I will be able to do activities such as fencing and more major path work. After I have completed my DofE Award, I will hopefully continue as a volunteer ranger, being able to help with whatever is needed. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for the Trust over the years and it has set me up well for whatever I end up doing in life.

Find out more about volunteering at the John Muir Trust.

Photo by Sarah Lewis shows Duncan helping with a peat plot survey: "It was interesting and a beautiful day which made it really enjoyable."