Autumn work parties update
Read what our impressive volunteers have achieved during conservation work parties carried out during September and October.
For the second time in the year Trust volunteers headed out to the Western Isles to help out with some of the land partners that the Trust has in Harris. With the North Harris Trust (NHT) we continued with building the electric deer fence in Gleann Trolamaraig which we started in May.
The NHT staff had extended the fence beyond the summit where we left it and we added several hundred metres along the steepest section down towards the sea around from Reinigeadal. The hope is to get the 3km fence finished by the time the deer try to return from higher ground this autumn. An area of 1,500ha will then be largely isolated allowing natural regeneration of trees to get away with the continued deer control by the Harris Stalking Club.
Volunteers also carried out some Gunnera removal as part of the pilot programme being run by the NHT. This is supported by the community councils and Scottish Natural Heritage to find the best methods to eradicate Gunnera Tinctoria the invasive plant known as Chilean Rhubarb. Some path repairs were also carried out alongside Loch Lacasdail on the Maraig Urgha path and a beach clean at Huishinis. The last couple of days of a dry and sunny week were spent with the West Harris Trust repairing around sixteen metres of historic drystone dyking at Scaristamore. Many of the volunteers stayed on the following week for the Isle of Harris Mountain Festival.
Mid-September a group of volunteers spent a day on Ben Nevis carrying out maintenance on the zig zag section of the path close to the summit and collected several bags of rubbish from the summit area as well as on the way down.
The last of three work parties in 2015 with partners in the Coigach Assynt Living Landscape (CALL) project saw a group of volunteers staying for a week on the largest of the Summer Isles, Tanera Mor. We carried out more path work in the south of the island close to Fuschia cottage as well as rebuilding a section of drystone wall around one of the cottages at Ardnagoine where we also installed some drainage outside the post office/café where we normally camp.
We carried out a beach clean across at Mol Mor on the west of the island and dragged five large bulk bags of rubbish back across the island to Tigh an Quay. We analysed the composition of the rubbish using the breakdowns suggested by the Marine Conservation Society who will be sent the data as part of the Great British Beach Clean 2015.
Two weekends at the end of September and the start of October were hosted back on John Muir Trust properties. On East Schiehallion volunteers maintained the built path, carried out some spot turfing on the old path line and rebuilt a section of eroded path with around four metres of new stone pitching. A trial brash hedge to monitor woodland regeneration was also repaired. On Li and Coire Dhorrcail the Trust's boat took a group of volunteers in from Arnisdale to camp at Inbhir Dhorrcail. They carried on weeding the bracken around seedlings planted earlier in the year above Poll a Mhuineil.
The programme of work parties for 2015 is almost over, but you can see photographs from the work parties mentioned above (and the others of 24 work parties carried out so far) by following links to the Flickr sites on the work parties page.
You can also get details of the remaining work party at Glenlude there and the programme for 2016 will be posted sometime towards the end of November.