May and June work parties

A very busy two months as the midges start coming out!

A very busy two months as the midges start coming out!

At the start of May a work party rebuilt several sections of the path just above the old fank at East Schiehallion. This involved digging out the eroded surface putting in around 5 anchor bars (stone steps to lower the gradient of the path) and then relay the path starting with crushed stone grading up to compacted fine path surfacing. The extra material needed was excavated from a borrow pit close to the path. In all around 10 metres of path was treated like this and associated landscaping carried out to prevent people cutting corners to avoid a section of pitching. The whole length of the path was also maintained on a quiet weekend for the hill as the access roads were shut on the Sunday for a mass cycle race in the area.

The next work party was the busiest so far of the year with 21 volunteers turning up for a long weekend at Sandwood. The party split into two with one keen group tackling five beaches around the area. As usual Sandwood Bay itself wasn’t too bad but is a long way to carry out rubbish from, the other beaches were Oldshore more, Polin (very large amounts of rubbish found) Droman Pier and Bagh Sheigra. The rest of the group concentrated on the path with extensive work on the track above Loch Meadhonach extending ditches, adding in an anchor bar and a water bar and resurfacing almost ten metres of track raising it above the ditch level.They also cleared a lot of the water bars along the length of the path and carried out some landscaping with turf just after the peat hags beyond the Loch a Mhuilinn.The Sandwood manager Don also worked with volunteers on two sections of the track closer to the car park rebuilding a blocked culvert and reinforcing the banking on the outflow of the Loch na Gainimh.

At the other end of the spectrum, one keen volunteer joined Nevis Conservation officer Sarah for a work party on the Ben at the end of May. Sarah writes: 'We cleared scree off the pitching on corner one and a wee bitty of scree off the pitching on corner two ... looking good. Then litter picked from corner two down. The amount of litter was pretty low and chatting to three local guides their view also was there was less litter than normal, due to local guides taking litter down with them each time out.

'Summit looking pretty good too as I was up there (not litter picking) the day before. Be good to get this done once the snow goes....maybe our July work party if we don't get up before. Pattern over the last few years is more guides and individuals taking litter down with them. At least four people stopped and told us they had picked rubbish on the way....fab!'

During the same weekend a larger group worked on the Skye estates. A massive beach clean created a large mountain of rubbish at Glen Scaladale in the shadow of the Cuillin and the group then spent three days working on the very attractive Strath Beag path. This starts in Torrin just opposite the Blue Shed café and comes out on the other side of Skye at Strollamus. We carried out a lot of ditching and small repairs on the section of the path on Trust land as far as the high point almost two thirds of the way across.

In June we had the first of two annual visits to Quinag and the other partners that the Trust has in the Coigagh Assynt Living Landscape (CALL) project. Starting on Quinag there was a maintenance run on the path and the main group dismantled around 600 metres of old fencing near the southern end of Loch Airigh na Beinne. We all then spent two days working with staff from the Assynt Foundation carrying out repairs to the Suilven track involving lots of stone breaking and harvesting stone from nearby rivers. A relatively midge free day was spent at the SWT CALL tree nursery helping Nick the manager with weeding, sowing willow seeds and general tasks in the poly tunnels. The midges were out in force on the last day so the work party kept on the move maintaining the paths (including the all ability one) on the Culag Woodlands Little Assynt estate.

The second work party of the year to Inverie was to help the Knoydart Foundation this time. The first morning was spent weeding and tending some of the trees in the community fruit and nitr maze which we had helped to plant in the spring. The afternoon was spent digging up ragwort near Inverrie and burning it on the Long Beach. Along with Jim Brown we spent two days ditching and clearing culverts on the Mam Li path beyond Follach. We finished around 450 metres of this path which Jim uses for the ponies while stalking. The final day was spent removing redundant fencing alongside the Inverguseran track above Inverie.

June ended with a long weekend at Glenlude when the polythene sheeting was eventually clad onto the poly tunnel that volunteers started building last autumn. The doors were also finished and hung. A long length of stock fencing up the hill was dismantled ready to finish of the deer proof fence that is being built around the tree nursery. Several hundred of the acorns sown in the autumn have started to sprout and these were carefully potted in root trainers to be grown on for planting around Glenlude in the future.

A few pictures from the very active May and June work parties can be seen below but if you want to see a much larger selection taken by a range of volunteers follow the links below to the relevant Flickr sites. You can get dates of the rest of the years’ work parties and other related events on the volunteering page.

East Schiehallion work parties
Sandwood Quinag & CALL work parties
Nevis work parties
Skye, Knoydart work parties
Glenlude work parties