- 40,000 native trees have now been planted in Strathaird across a 25 hectare clear-felled site, and natural regeneration continues to increase within the wider 300 hectares of the forest plan area here.
- 35 hectares of peatland were restored in early 2021, which involved the felling and extraction of 17 hectares of sitka spruce, smoothing the ground and reprofiling the ditches.
- With the help of volunteers we continue to map the extent of invasive non-native species across Strathaird, which include rhododendron, prickly heath, fuscia and cotoneaster. This will help us target problem areas and monitor long term impacts.
- We extended our species monitoring to include breeding raptors, and this data will feed into the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Programme (which includes ravens). This year a 4 square kilometre monitoring area was established, home to 1 buzzard nest and 1 raven nest, both successfully fledged young.
Working with communities
- Over eight volunteer days were spent removing invasive species from our woodlands and peatlands. Volunteers included local residents, trustees and students.
- We have been working with residents to document and map old Gaelic place names and landmarks across Strathaird and Torrin to help preserve local history and culture.
- We established an agricultural plastic collection scheme to help our crofting tenants reduce their carbon footprint. They can now recycle their plastic waste and we have collected around two tonnes so far.
- In June we completed the purchase of the disused Kilmarie fish hatchery, which sits within the Strathaird Estate. There is a lot of potential on this site, and our ideas will be evolved over time in consultation with the local community.
Collaborating with partners
- We partnered with Species on the Edge to help develop bat conservation initiatives on Skye. This is a partnership of NatureScot and other nature conservation charities, all dedicated to improving the fortunes of 40 priority species in Scotland. A local bat group has been established as part of this project.
- We began work with Real Scottish Journeys to develop a voluntourism programme for 2022.
- The Skye and Lochalsh Rivers Trust conducted wild salmonid monitoring in several catchments within John Muir Trust stewarded land. Results indicated a successful sea trout spawning in the River Sligachan in the last 2-3 years, and a small but healthy population of adult sea trout in Loch Slapin. Damagingly high sea lice loads were found on fish at both locations, likely due to both drought-like conditions experienced during the spring and summer of 2021 and the presence of nearby aquaculture facilities. Low but stable numbers of juvenile Atlantic salmon and brown trout were found in the Strathmor and Sligachan Rivers. The report concluded that fish populations in all three rivers would benefit from habitat restoration works including tree planting to stabilise banks, increase nutrient input and provide shelter.
Wild places for all
- New interpretation boards were developed and installed at the Bla Bheinn car park, and include information about the recent peatland restoration works.
- We continue to work closely with Broadford Outdoor Learning Centre to inspire young people to connect with nature. This year we lead pond dipping sessions at the local primary school, and hosted tree planting sessions.
- Development of the Kilmarie Hatchery and Strathaird Farm project.
- Upgrade the Sligachan Gateway to include an all ability loop path and a visitor structure with interpretation.
- Regular volunteering and launch the voluntourism programme.
- Habitat and species monitoring work.