Summer volunteers make a difference to Scotland's wild land

Trust volunteer work parties lend a helping hand at Sandwood, Ben Nevis, Assynt and Glenlude

Blair fyffe   nevis workparty 300515 2 web detail

A pattern seems to have developed for Sandwood work parties with the group splitting into two when they meet on day one at the Blairmore car park.  One group heads off around the various beaches in the area, while the other concentrates on maintaining the path out to Sandwood Bay.  The visit at the end of May was no exception with the beach cleaners removing over 80 bags of rubbish from Sandwood Bay, Oldshoremore and Droman beaches.  The rest of the volunteers carried out maintenance along the whole track and path out to the Bay as well as resurfacing two sections of the path.  The evenings were spent painting inside and outside of the toilet block at Blairmore.

The first work party  up Ben Nevis right at the end of May also saw rubbish being removed but fortunately in much smaller quantities as it has to be carried down from the summit. Around 13kg (4 bags) of rubbish was removed by the group of six volunteers in addition to two bags of rubbish that had been taken from the summit shelter (pictured here) the week before. The volunteers spent some time on path maintenance clearing 21 cross drains and nine water bars as well as deroughening the scree off corner two in the zig zags close to the summit.

In Assynt the Trust volunteers spent a week working largely with several of our partners in the Coigach Assynt Living Landscape project (CALL).  On the first day most of the group of volunteers helped with various tasks around the CALL tree nursery (weeding, pricking out seedlings, setting up a new hardening off area) while a group carried out maintenance on the Quinag path. For the next two days we worked on the Assynt Foundation Glencanisp estate. One group were ferried out the Suilven track on arg cats to help repair parts of the track while the other half were clearing gorse close to Glencanisp Lodge in preparation for a native woodland planting.  A day in Culag community woodland saw a variety of tasks from repairing a fence brought down by a tree to clearing cross drains and removing out of date signage.  For the last day we carried out a maintenance run on the paths on the Little Assynt estate including the all ability path.  One of our volunteers stayed on for a second week helping the CALL team with their Lottery application for the project.

At the end of June a slightly smaller group of volunteers than usual turned up at Glenlude over four days.  Twelve volunteers may be less than usual, but they acheived a lot: fencing was repaired including putting in a new strainer, pruning in the orchard, over a hectare of larch brashed and thinned by ringbarking, part of a brash hedge built and lots of tree tubes all over the estate weeded and where sufficient growth has occurred the mesh removed. Two of our regular volunteers from Edinburgh also carried out some vegetation monitoring and two trips were made to dispose of rubbish such as broken tree tubes and old fencing to the recycling depot near Peebles.