On an eyrie Thursday morning just before Christmas, 15 Pitlochry path group volunteers turned up to clear leaves, dig out drains and steps and sweep the Aluminium Bridge in Pitlochry. Over 1km of tarmac footways and paths were raked and swept in just over two hours. Although this was one of the easy tasks, everybody kept warm fuelled by hot beverages and mince pies.
If you fancy joining in helping to keep the promoted pitlochry path network user friendly and “conserved” please contact the group via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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!
On the 25th of October I went out to Pitlochry to help Jeannie out with the Pitlochry Path group. The day got off to a good start as I arrived in Pitlochry and I noticed that the group were very hard workers. The task the group were doing was repairing a path just past the train station.
On the train ride home I was treated to some beautiful views with all the trees turning into really nice reds and oranges and a few mesmerizing streams. When I got back to Perth I went to a Modern Apprentice meeting about how to behave on social media.
Did you know that this week (24th-30th September) is Red Squirrel Awareness Week?
Perth and Kinross can be a great place for spotting these amazing creatures. From Kinnoull Hill in Perth to the Den o’ Alyth or the Black Spout Woods, many of our countryside sites are home to the Red Squirrel. Take a walk out in your local forest and you may be lucky enough to see one! Red squirrels tend to build their nests, or dreys, in tall coniferous trees, and are often seen scrambling up the trunks of trees.
A Red Squirrel spotted near Aberfeldy by Greenspace Ranger Calum Bachell
Red squirrels are very busy during the autumn, making this time of year perfect for spotting them. Keep a look out on the forest floor as they collect berries, seeds, nuts and fungi to keep themselves fed through the winter months. Listen for the sound of the squirrels climbing up the trees, chewing on a pine cone, or shouting to another squirrel. You can also often tell if red squirrels are nearby by finding chewed pine cones scattered around the forest floor.
Unfortunately red squirrel sightings are becoming increasingly rare in some areas, with the spread of grey squirrels, but you can register your squirrel sightings with Saving Scottish Red Squirrels and follow local sightings and discussions on the Red Squirrels in Perth and Kinross Facebook page
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeannie at email@example.com 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.