2018 conservation work party update

Sandy Maxwell reports on how our amazing volunteers are helping to restore the wild places in our care

Sandwood path work 2018 detail

Work parties in 2018 got off to a slow start when we had to cancel two at Glenlude and East Schiehallion due to snow cover. Once we were eventually under way, the weather improved and we had two largely sunny visits to Li & Coire Dhorrcail, planting trees as part of a well-attended work party on Skye. A lot of essential maintenance and some improvements were made to the paths on Bla Bheinn and along Glen Sligachan by the group of 16 volunteers.

A smaller but just as enthusiastic group spent a week based at Inverie helping with the Knoydart Foundation and the Knoydart Forest Trust. We were carrying on with two projects from the previous year: the rhododendron control programme which involves hand pulling self-seeded plants in an area above the village, and further work on the stalkers path up Ladhar Bheinn.

The next week-long work party was at the Corrour estate where for several years we have been helping out with conservation management. Last year we trialled a brash
hedge on an area of spruce-felling beside Loch Ossian. This year, the head forester had arranged for a larger area to be specially felled to enable construction of a larger and stronger hedge, which we planted up with 500 trees – mostly willow, alder and birch. We also topped up the trial hedges from last year and carried on with the job of clearing self-seeded conifers from some of the large areas of planted and natural regenerated native woodland.

Carrying on the work parties with partners, at the start of May we spent a largely wet and windy week on the Western Isles. This was the first of three visits planned for the year working with both the North and West Harris Trusts. In three days with the North Harris Trust, a large amount of rubbish was gathered on the beach at Teilesnish and we built another 25 metres of new path between Huishinis and Cravadale. At the end of the week, we were back to the West Harris Trust’s new centre, Talla Na Mara, continuing to grassaround it and planting 400 trees behind it. Despite the weather, we were joined for part of the time in the tree planting by a class of primary school children from the Sir E. Scott School in Tarbert as part of their John Muir Award.

We ended the month with a return to two of our own properties – Sandwood and East Schiehallion. Recent publicity around beach litter has obviously had an effect as demonstrated by the fact that many members of the public were happy to help us carrying two trailer-loads of rubbish out along the path from Sandwood Bay. As usual, most of this was of marine origin (ropes, nets, floats etc.) but two abandoned tents, as well as other camping rubbish, were found. We also cleaned the other beaches around the property and carried out maintenance and repair work on the path.

At East Schiehallion, we repaired a small section of sheep fence and did some
much-needed maintenance of the path.

Find out more about our conservation work parties.

Our conservation volunteers share their photographs on our Flickr groups. Check them out here: