Staff blog: Creating something magical around the fairy hill

Comms & Membership's Emma Cessford and Stephanie Harcus head to sunny Schiehallion to witness the start of a special project

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Schiehallion sprinkled some of its fairy dust on the weather earlier this week – ensuring that we celebrated the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership launch on one of the sunniest and hottest days of the year. However, it wasn’t just a blue sky over the ‘fairy hill’ (or indeed all the heart-shaped home baking on offer) that was putting a smile on people’s faces.

Landowners from a variety of backgrounds and a woodland charity had gathered to commit to working together for the good of wildness, wildlife and the community. The Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership aims to plant native trees that will, in turn, create a wildlife corridor. The project will also benefit local people by creating jobs and training opportunities.

After we had all helped ourselves to a cup of tea and a brownie or two, the John Muir Trust’s Property Manager of East Schiehallion, Liz, welcomed everyone: “It has taken many years and a lot of passion to bring everyone together and I’m so glad that we’re all finally here today”.

The Trust’s Chief Executive Andrew Bachell added his thanks to all who “had the idea, nurtured it and brought it to life”.


HoSFP launch

Six tree saplings were planted (one for each partner) to mark the beginning of the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership and a special day in the history of Schiehallion. We then walked to a perfect viewpoint to see the land that will one day be flourishing in native trees such as Scots pine, aspen, birch and rowan and willow.

It is heart-warming (if you can pardon the pun) to be part of a vision that aspires to work beyond boundaries. It is a project that is bigger than pieces of land, or lines on a map. It’s sharing ideas, efforts and resources, with the main objective to see an area in the heart of Scotland bursting with biodiversity, opportunities for local people and habitats for wildlife. Andrew Walker of Dun Coillich put it best: “The beauty of this type of project is it becomes greater than the sum of its parts”.

One day we can look forward to returning to the very same spot where we all stood together one cheery morning, to show our children and grandchildren what can happen when people work together to create something magical.

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*The partners: Dun Coillich, Dalchosnie & Kynachan Estate, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Woodland Trust Scotland, Forest Enterprise Scotland and John Muir Trust