I am reporting on a very successful collaboration between Farmer, Upper Tay Path Group, Rural Skills (at Breadalbane Secondary) and Perth & Kinross Community Greenspace which has seen works to help and protect a stunning wildflower meadow within 10minutes walking distance of Aberfeldy.
The issue for a number of years has been compacting of soil where people walked through the meadow and nutrient enrichment where people have not picked up after their dogs.
The Rural Skills students built a short section of fence to block off one of the entrances to the meadow. This hasn’t worked so the Path Group got the path that is to be used mowed. The path was widened by cutting back the Blackthorn and the cut branches were used to barrier the other entrance to the meadow. Waymarker posts were installed and a temporary signage installed.
It is hoped that the Rural Skills can produce a signage and funding is to be sought to highlight what is growing in the meadow.
31st July, International Ranger Day – the thin green line
‘Ranger’ is a job title used all over the world; with every Ranger role unique. Some bear arms to protect wildlife, forests and crops, other clean toilets and litter pick. There are also those, such as the PKC Greenspace Rangers whose remit is to bring people into Greenspaces and the wider Countryside.
In Scotland the Ranger job is thankfully not considered dangerous and we are incredibly luck that it often takes us to beautiful and wild places. However one of our roles is to educate people who are accessing greenspaces irresponsibly (as defined in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code) or doing illegal activities. These situations can be scary, especially when working alone and dealing with people with axes, chainsaws or dogs that have no collar or leads and are chasing the local wildlife.
In PKC we are lucky to have a robust lone working system and training to help us deal with difficult situations. We acknowledge that those who share our title around the world may not have such systems or techniques available to them.
On the last day of July every year Rangers throughout the world honour and remember those who put their lives at risk every day to protect our planet and we take time to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty. Behind every fallen Ranger there is a wider community affected by the loss of life and they too suffer. So, today (31st July) we unite to remember those whom have fallen and their wider communities, we thank them for all they do.
17th Perthshire Beaver Scouts spent a pre-midge season evening in the Birks of Aberfeldy where they learned how to make a shelter in the den building area, slack lining and responsible access into the countryside. As ever the Ranger was happy to be involved in making the access legislation fun by heating up water responsibly for hot chocolate and making the odd smore!
Community Greenspace keep a supply of litter picking equipment in Highland Perthshire for community groups to use.
In June the litter picking equipment was out on loan to the 17th Perthshire Beaver Scouts, the primary 3 class from Breadalabane Primary and to the Tay Valley Time Bank.
Please contact community Greenspace if you want to borrow the equipment.
Highland Perthshire was buzzing with volunteers during May! It was a busy month with community groups, school groups out working together. Tasks included refurbishing a boardwalk at Rannoch Station, removing Beech trees from the Birks of Aberfeldy, building bird boxes and bashing bracken.
As a result of the wet weather and number of tasks we had a mountain of gloves needing to be washed! Thank goodness for the amazing donations of cake that kept everyone motivated and full of energy!
A challenge has been set between the Rannoch Station Bloom Group and the Rannoch Path Group to jointly work on a project! However, the challenge has grown arms and legs! The priority was to fix and clean a boardwalk, but has developed into restoring the mini bog and provide an access for all eating area for visitors and locals.
The mini bog and boardwalk were developed by the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust over 20 years ago, which not only included the boardwalk and bog but also a shelter and way marker. All of these features have been a huge asset to the car park area and just need a little work to bring them back to their former glory.
The first session saw five volunteers almost madden by the midge…. the first day of them appearing as well! Midge nets and a fan did save the day! In three hours the group dealt with the broken section of boardwalk, cutting back encroaching vegetation, crown lifting on neighbouring trees, litter picking and cleaning of the information board.
If you are interested in joining these groups to restore the mini bog, please contact Annie on email@example.com or Jeannie at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be contacted with times and meeting place for the next stage of restoration in November.
In the volunteers own words of their experience, please see the facebook post below.
Rannoch Station Tearoom shared a post.
Many Thanks to Jeannie and the Rannoch Paths Group for their work at Rannoch Station Car Park yesterday
Annie Benson added 7 new photos to the album: Rannoch Paths Group.
Lead by Jeannie Grant PKC Greenspace Ranger 4 members of Rannoch Paths Group joined Rannoch Station in Bloom to START the renovation of the board walk at the station. Clearing, chopping and fixing. Pressure washing supplied by Moor of Rannoch Hotel and sustenance provided by Tea Room who saved the day with cake and welcome midge head bags! Future plans are to interpret and reinstate the bog garden.
The Robert Burns statue and seat in the Birks of Aberfeldy has been removed for essential maintenance. We anticipate that the statue will be back in place soon and we are sorry for any disappointment this causes visitors.
Whilst the statue is away, the seat is getting a clean and the seating area will get a proper tidy up. Please adhere to any other signs whilst this work is being completed.
It is not often that a Ranger get invited to a Bloom AGM, but we snuck in under the Path group remit as they are the umbrella organisation. What I hadn’t appreciated was that the Bloom Group is 25 years old, so we all got a bit of cake!
This group has achieved a lot over the 25 years but like all groups they need more volunteers and in their own words of their success and plea….
“Pitlochry in Bloom will be 25 years old this year.
I have been the Secretary of Pitlochry in Bloom for just over a year. I was quite new to the Committee and certainly had not realised what this Committee (The Bloomers) had done for the town over these years. They have worked tirelessly in Pitlochry since 1993, winning numerous awards and looking after the local environment, along with a band of volunteers and local groups including the Litter Pick Group and the Path Group. Were you aware of some of their work ?
Let me list some of them here for you.
- The three stone signs at each of the entrances to the town welcoming you to Pitlochry;
- The bed with the postman on his penny farthing beside the sorting office;
- The bed with the whisky still in the middle opposite Aldour;
- The fisherman in his boat just before the railway bridge;
- The Victorian nanny with her pram at the other side of the railway bridge;
- The stone loving seat opposite the scout hut;
- The four large round metal
- Containers at the War Memorial and the four metal benches depicting soldiers from the First World War;
- The Victorian flower seller outside the RBS bank and the Porter at the station.
This is only some of the work Pitlochry in Bloom have done with fundraising and securing different grants. BUT they all have to be weeded, planted and repaired and this is down to a very dwindling band of our superb volunteers.
The benefits the town receives are incalculable and I am sure you have all seen the tourists who come and take many photos and memories back home and describe Pitlochry as a beautiful, clean and welcoming town with its Summer Hanging Baskets and various floral displays and excellent path network.
The “Bloomers” urgently need some more local participation in order to continue. This is a very urgent appeal and without some new people stepping forward our survival is in doubt.
It would be tragic if this was to come to an end and all the flowers disappeared.
Please get in touch with me if you are able to offer some of your time to help this very worthwhile Committee, either as a volunteer to help with gardening or bring new energy to our Committee.
In Perth and Kinross there are a total of two full time rangers and three part time rangers covering an area of 5,286 km, the fifth largest area covered by a Council in Scotland.
Although every ranger service is unique, throughout Scotland we all have some common aims which are to engage with people of all ages and encourage all to use green spaces.
In Perth and Kinross we are taking the lead in working with community groups, in particular path groups, health and well being and dementia groups. Our work also contributes to the Scottish wide statistics as shown on the poster below.
If you are interested in finding out more about the work we do or want to volunteer in one of the many groups please do get in touch.