Take a look back on what a fantastic year 2023 has been for the Trust with a roundup of our best bits from our 40th anniversary year!
- Across all of our properties this year we managed to plant over 6,700 trees this year! In the Lake District, 1,500 trees were planted at Wythburn as part of the Thirlmere Resilience Project and another 400 were planted across Hellvelyn in partnership with Wild Ennerdale! At Glenlude, our hard working volunteers helped to plant around 800 trees!
- Thanks to our online 'Plant a tree' symbolic giving option, 341 trees have also been planted across Glenlude and Schiehallion, supporting vital work to regenerate native woodlands, restoring ecosystems and encouraging the return of wildlife!
- We have undertaken 15 wildlife and habitat surveys as well as surveying hundreds of transcet plots to monitor habitat recovery and health! One of these surveys resulted in the discovery of a rare dragonfly species (Somatochlora arctica) being discovered at Ben Nevis!
- The Trust took on two pieces of land in 2023 - in April we purchased a 45-acre site on the shoreline of Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin at Kylesku in Assynt, and in September we took on management of the John Muir Way, a 134-mile coast-to-coast route reaching from Dunbar to Helensburgh!
- This year, 184 acres of land have been 'adopted' through our online shop, supporting vital conservation work in Ben Nevis, Schiehallion, Blà Bheinn on Skye, and Ladhar Bheinn in Knoydart!
- In August, we were awarded funds from the Rewilding Innovation Fund to support our Growing Glenlude project - a woodland scoping study that will help shape a new long-term plan for native woodland restoration!
- In Hellvelyn, the Alpine Mouse-ear (Cerastium alpinum) was restored and is showing excellent survival results making this the only location in which these nationally important species grow in England!
- We repaired and maintained over 60km of paths across our properties, lifting over 60 tonnes of stone to help rebuild these routes that had been damaged by heavy footfall and landslips! At Glenridding, we worked with the Fix the Fells programme to help repair erosion on the main path to Helvellyn!
- On Skye, we surveyed and repaired 6km of deer fencing to help reduce the damage caused by deer to vital moorland and woodland habitats!
- We removed a whopping 1.5 tonnes of plastic waste from our shorelines on Skye - while at Ben Nevis we removed almost 700kg of litter and cleared 700 toileting sites!
- We repaired 35 fire pits on Skye, allowing for visitors to safely enjoy nature without causing damage and disturbance to the fragile habitats found here!
John Muir Award:
- Over this year, an incredible 29,193 awards have been achieved, with one in four being achieved by a person experiencing disadvantage!
- Across the UK, there is now 1,569 Award Provider organisations, ranging from schools to national parks, from outdoor courses to youth groups!
- We celebrated completing a six-year partnership with East Ayrshire Council who are dedicated to using the John Muir Award to reduce the poverty related attainment gap!
- The Trust supported over 14,000 pupils, staff and families to enjoy, connect with and care for wild places through their curriculum learning across 384 schools!
- Through our one-year partnership with Scottish Forestry, the Trust helped design and pilot a new Scottish Junior Forester Award! This year we celebrated nearly 1,500 of these Awards being registered since it was launched in May 2022, 80 per cent of which were achieved by people aged 7-14 years-old!
- To help recognise the Trust completing a 10-year partnership with Scotland’s first national park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, we created a new resource bringing together stories and actions from across the National Park, aimed at inspiring and supporting people and groups to benefit nature and climate through their John Muir Award.
- We celebrated reaching a total of 50,000 Awards being achieved in Cumbria since its launch in partnership with the Lake District National Park, helping people find ways to enjoy, connect with and care for nature and wild places!
- At Ben Nevis, 20 young people took part in 19 Junior Ranger sessions, learning about nature and the land and engaging with visitors to our stall at the Fort William Mountain Festival! Our Junior Ranger group at Quinag also worked hard developing their knowledge and skills, taking part in practical tasks ranging from tree planting to rhododendron removal and engaging with visitors at Ardvreck Castle!
- In June, we were delighted to co-host, with our partners, a group of Canadian students at Glenlude when they visited the Scottish Borders for their international service trip!
- Through their course with the University of Highlands and Islands, North, West and Hebrides, nine NQ Countryside Skills with Ranger Training students were given practical experience and training at Ben Nevis!
- In partnership with the Glasgow's Children's Hospital Charity, we welcomed the return of almost 200 patients, parents, siblings, friends and staff from the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow back to Schiehallion, to come together and pay tribute to those cared for on the Schiehallion ward!
- In August, we held a Strathaird Community Engagement Event - inviting visitors on a guided tour of wildflowers and speaking to hikers returning from the Camasunary trail, listening to the wonderful accounts of wildlife!
- We hosted 26 work parties across all of our properties! At Sandwood, two of these included fence removal within the machair habitat, a designated site of special scientfic interest!
- This year, our staff at Ben Nevis were able to engage with almost 1,500 visitors and complete 182 visitor surveys, sharing their knowledge about the site and how to stay safe in wild places!
- The John Muir Trust North East Scotland Local Members Group gathered for 15 conservation days and three two-day events in 2023 - hosted by the ranger services at Glen Tanar (Aboyne) and Balmoral and by the rangers and ecologists at National Trust for Scotland (NTS) Mar Lodge!
- Ten participants from The Welcoming joined us in a pilot educational hiking programme, Connect Outdoors, in partnership with Mhor Outdoor! Coordinated by Tiso, the programme aims to introduce people from under-represented communities to the outdoors through sustainable, educational, and empowering outdoor activity!
- At Sandwood, 21 volunteers helped with path repairs, fence removals, and becoming trained guardians of our river project which will start sampling in 2024!
- Over 8,000 people vistited the car park facility at the foot of Blà Bheinn in Skye, showcasing the need to continue increasing accessibility to wild places!
- In November, we held our 40th AGM with around 130 members joining us online to hear staff present updates on the amazing work the Trust has acomplished this year as well as exciting future opportunities!
- In November, Ben Lomond Gin unvieled a limited-edition Schiehallion gin, using botanicals hand-picked from the foothills of Schiehallion, and directly contributing to our Wild Woods Appeal!
- This year, six people have been granted funding to undertake adventures in and through wild places with a scientific or education focus thanks to the Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant!
- We had a fantastic 11,500 responses to our Wild Places survey - including Sir David Attenborough who nominated Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire!
- This year, we managed to raise £139,415 for eight different appeals - increasing awareness of our deer management appeal, gaining support for our campaign fund, helping to fund path repairs and protecting vital peatland, woodland and coastal habitats!
- We celebrated another fantastic Wild Action Week this year, inspiring people across the country to take part in a wild action, share it with their friends and family on social media and raise awareness for our Wild Action Fund, supporting our John Muir Award, Junior Rangers programme, volunteers and more!
- In September, hundreds of dedicated supporters took part in the Artemis Pentland Peaks Challenge in Edinburgh to help raise money for the Trust, walking up to 27 miles across 7 peaks!
- In July, we premiered our newest documentary, Clear on Deer, showcasing the different voices and perspectives behind deer management in Scotland! Showing this daily at our Wild Space in Pitlochry as well as embarking on a roadshow to 11 different venues across the UK, we resulted in a total of 133 screenings!
- We awarded 10 winning entries for the John Muir Trust Living Landscape Prize category in the prestigious Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition!
- We partnered with Community Land Scotland to commission a new play from acclaimed theatre professionals, with funding from Creative Scotland! The play will explore different views around the future of Scotland’s land through a mix of drama, comedy and original music!
- We attened two festivals - Fort William Mountain Festival, where we sponsored the International Film Awards Night and were delighted to present the Wild Places Film Award to Ryan's Story; and Kendal Mountain Festival, where we had our final showing of our Clear on Deer documentary!
- This year our policy team worked hard to scrutinise 300 planning applications including 10 telecoms masts, 4 hill track applications, 1 pumped hydro scheme and 6 wind farm proposals!
- In February, we signed the Climate Cymru letter to Welsh First Minister, to bring forward a Nature Positive Bill, legally binding nature recovery targets and ensures environmental justice for people of Wales!
- During 2023, we met with 25 politcians and ministers on our sites, at events and at parliament to ensure the protection of wild places are kept at the forefront of policy makers minds!
- In December, we joined the Target 2030 Call to Action alongside Education Scotland, Scottish Government and partners to issue a call to action to embed climate change education and outdoor learning within Scotland’s curriculum!
- This year we launched our Carbon Emissions Land Tax campaign, gaining almost 2,000 signatures and 50 organisations in support as well as being referenced in the Scottish Budget for 2024-25!
- Alongside colleagues in REVIVE, the coalition for grouse moor reform, we signed an open letter to the Scottish Government in April to license all muirburn to help increase protection of vital peatland!
- We continue to be a part of 4 alliances to help improve nature across the UK - Alliance for Scotland's Rainforests, Wildlife and Counrtyside Link, Wales Environment Link and Scottish Environment LINK!
- We added our support to 6 campaigns by other organisations - Learning for Sustainability Action Plan 2030 campaign, Nature 2030, Ramblers freedom to roam, Woodland Trusts Forestry Grant Scheme campaign, Nature for Everyone campaign and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales petition!
- In April, The John Muir Association (California) marked the Trust's significant contributions to conservation and advocacy across the UK with the 'Conservation Award to a Non-profit Organisation' at its John Muir Birthday / Earth Day event!
- During 2023 the Wild Space in Pitlochry hosted 4 exhibitions - including our special 40th Anniversary exhibition in which we reflected on our work over the last 40 years and looked forward to our vision and goals for the next 40 years!
- Our fantastic team of Wild Space staff and volunteers welcomed over 15,000 visitors through their doors, helping to promote the Trust to newcomers and increase support by sharing their knowledge and passion for wild places!
- We had a whopping 576 works submitted to our Creative Freedom Exhibition call - asking for writers, photographers, sculptors, podcasters, videographers, students, groups and outdoor enthusiasts, to submit their creative vision of wild places to be considered for our Creative Freedom exhibition, opening in Spring 2024!
- In August, we hosted one very special birthday party - our own! Trust friends - old and new - reunited in Pitlochry’s Wild Space for a fun afternoon of reminiscing, looking to the future and raising a glass to four decades of caring for wild places!
We want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our supporters, members, volunteers, staff, trustees and partners for their continued support over the last 40 years, helping us to work towards achieving our vision: a world where wild places are valued for present and future generations.
All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.
~ John Muir