Inspired by Dennis Smith's description of the first John Muir Trust volunteer work party in Knoydart, John Corbett shares his own memories of that weekend - and the many conservation days (and soggy wellies) it led to in the 30 years since.
To Knoydart and beyond
My wife and I were also volunteers on the first work party into Knoydart in August 1989. Terry Isles, I believe, was the leader. As we sailed along Loch Hourn to Barrisdale Bay the beauty of the landscape was a revelation.
On landing there we were led up to the White House with the choice of sleeping in the house, or camping in the surrounding garden area – we chose our tent.
Our task was to create drainage ditches on the higher side of the footpath leading to Coire Dhorrcail and dispose of the waste material on the downslope.
Having had a tremendous weekend in this wild place, it inspired us to return several times to camp and work in Coire Dhorrcail and at Li. The walk along the footpath from Kinloch Hourn to Barrisdale Bay was always a captivating experience, no matter how often we had been there.
Our interest in volunteering on John Muir Trust work parties has continued over the last 30 plus years, leading us to beautiful wild places, such as Corrour, Skye, Ben Nevis and Harris – where I lost a brand-new pair of wellies in a bog, resulting in a very soggy walk back to the car.
The work parties led by Sandy Maxwell were not just enjoyable, but also of tremendous value in learning about land maintenance. We continue to support the John Muir Trust by heading south to Glenlude for the regular work parties there.
As Members of the John Muir Trust, we have gained a wealth of experience and knowledge over the years as well as meeting many new friends and interesting people.