SRUC Elmwood Campus students make their mark at Sandwood

Twelve students from the SRUC Countryside Management course were at Sandwood last week gaining valuable hands-on work experience

Twelve students from the SRUC Countryside Management course were at Sandwood last week gaining valuable hands-on work experience while helping the Trust's footpath officer Chris Goodman to make necessary repairs to the path.

Work involved constructing new drainage features, digging ditches and landscaping trampled ground. The students all got a good taste of the different elements of path work including moving big stones (left), building cross drains (right), breaking cobble and the seemingly endless task of cutting turf.

In total two new cross drains and two new water bars were built while another water bar was upgraded to a cross drain. Approximately 30m of the path was resurfaced and nearly 100m of ditch dug. This has made a real difference to sections of the path where water damage was apparent and will help protect the path from further erosion.

Lecturer Victoria Pendry pointed out what a difference the work makes to visitors and how grateful people are for all of their hard work. The week also counted towards the students John Muir Award.

This has now become a regular feature in the calendar with this being the third year that students have made the long journey up from Fife. The relationship between SRUC Elmwood Campus and the Trust continues to strengthen and we look forward to continuing these placements in the future.

As well as the useful practical experience and knowledge gained, the week also provides the opportunity for the students to get a taste of one of the remotest parts of mainland Britain and an idea of what life in a rural community is like with limited mobile reception, one village shop, the vast expanses of landscape and sea and, of course, highland cows. The group walked out to Sandwood Bay for their lunch one day to see for themselves why the path is so popular with walkers heading out to the windswept beach.

Many thanks to all the students for their hard work and also to Lochinver based path contractor Martin Callus who helped with supervising for the week.